Where do dispensaries get their weed from
Gone are the days when cannabis vendors can bring products into a dispensary for show and tell without professional packaging, lab testing results, accurate dosage information, presentable sales people, or a reliably consistent distribution system.
In the above video, Aaron Justis, President of Los Angeles dispensary Buds & Roses, reflects on his experience with vendors over the years.
Some tips for vendors. First, bring samples. Dispensaries want to try samples. And since the bud tender is your gateway to the customer, you should want them knowledgeable about and willing to recommend (push) your product(s). Good presentable packaging is also a must. Help your product stand out on an increasingly competitive shelf.
Aaron also talks about opportunity in product innovation. There are so many things missing from the dispensary shelves. Brands that can help fill a void on the shelf will find a receptive audience among buyers and decision makers.
Fortunately, when marijuana is involved, there’s not a lack of creativity among those creating new products. Innovative products are coming to market, whether it be novel delivery mechanisms, or products featuring isolated molecules such as THCA or CBD.
Thinking this type of feedback from dispensary’s would be helpful to vendors, and in turn, the dispensaries who are sold to on a daily basis, I reached out to a few dispensaries for their thoughts on a few questions. One responded 🙁
Fortunately, his comments are educational.
If others who work at dispensaries want to chime in, I’ll (try to) add your comments to whichever of the below questions you answer. Help vendors fine tune their sales pitches to make it more meaningful to all.
What makes for a good pitch / presentation from a new vendor looking to get shelf space in your dispensary? What are you looking for?
Liam Comer (Growhouse Dispensary, Nederland, CO): The very first thing I look for is their credentials. We’ve had a handful of people who come in who aren’t badged with the Marijuana enforcement division who want to sell to the dispensary, which would be highly illegal. It happens more than you would think.
From a sales perspective, it is very important to me that the salesperson knows their product. Also, they have to come in knowing all of their numbers. At Growhouse, the mark-up is typically 80-100% up from wholesale. So we immediately want to know the price-point and how it competes with similar products so that we’re not wasting our or the salesperson’s time. There are lots of great single dose edibles in our state that are sold wholesale at $5-$7. But we sell all single doses at $5. So there’s no scenario in which we will buy those.
When reviewing the product I always ask what is this product doing differently. For example, in the brownie market, I’ve only seen one company (Love’s Oven) that has strain specific brownies. The rest either say Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. For MarQaha tinctures, their tincture is agave based, so it doesn’t have as oily and chemically of a taste as some of the other tinctures. I’m always looking for something positive I can say that distinguishes that product from all of the others that are sold in our store.
How has your evaluation process evolved over the years?
Liam Comer: When we opened, we were getting samples every day because vendors were competing to get on our shelf. Everyone has always gotten samples of everything because we have a very small staff. Usually, a couple days after we were given samples, I would ask who I was working with how it affected them, but we never developed a formal rating system.
Growhouse hasn’t really needed to go that direction in part because of where we are based. Nederland has had a cannabis culture for a very long time, to the extent that locals are not afraid of over-consuming at all. Because it is such a small town we have many repeat customers, so even though we evaluate as budtenders, the customers do a lot of evaluation for us.
For example, Edipure is one of our candy providers. Personally, I had great experience with my sample of their product. But we’ve had a few people come in and say that since the candy is coated in THC rather than infused with THC, the dosing package to package is inconsistent.
What are the current hot product categories?
Liam Comer: By far the hottest category is 1:1 THC to CBD. This comes in the form of candy, capsules, and tinctures. It may be in part because our market is dominated by people above 50 years old, but CBD is very popular despite being more expensive. The 1:1 is always a pleasant high, but also since its not purely CBD (which is far more expensive), having that 50% THC drives the price down and makes it more affordable.
Other than that, cannabinoid specific transdermal patches are a relatively easy sell for CBD and CBN. There aren’t enough products that are CBN or CBD specific to match Nederland’s demand.
What new product categories are emerging – new product types that you’re now carrying that maybe weren’t around 6 – 12 months ago? Or product categories you see coming to market in the next few months that you’re excited to introduce to your patients / customers?
Liam Comer: Although producers haven’t caught up to this yet, there is a demand for non-sweet edibles. Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the country, but edibles are always packed with fat and/or sugar. People have asked for something savory, but we have nothing to carry to meet that demand.
We are about to carry for the first time a THC infused gum, which we anticipate selling well because many people are tourists who have had bad experiences with homemade infused baked goods. I haven’t tried the gum yet, but I think people are going to buy it once it’s in the store.
On the vaporizing market we were recently pitched an oil cartridge that is propylene glycol and coconut oil free. Instead, they said that they were using cannabis terpenes as the binding agent. Customers looking into trying vaporizing for the first time always choose coconut oil over propylene glycol because propylene glycol sounds dangerous. Personally, I haven’t done much research on propylene glycol, but I know that coconut oil based vaporizers have been known to cause a disease called lipid lung or lipid pneumonia.
Can you tell a story about the worst sales pitch you endured?
Liam Comer: The worst pitch I have experienced was for a concentrate that was essentially a reprocessed shatter that had the terpenes extracted from it. When I asked why you would remove the terpenes (and thus the taste) from the concentrate, he said it was for people who liked concentrates but don’t like the taste of cannabis. I really don’t think that market exists, and when I asked him the price point he presented me with a sheet that explained that we had to give them our extra trim in exchange for them to sell us the concentrate. We don’t have any trim because we’re a wholesale buyer. So the salesperson had obviously not looked into our business or just asked us about our grow.
What is the role of the budtender in both the evaluation process (pre-approval) and the sales process (once approved) for new products in your dispensary?
Liam Comer: For the Nederland store, the budtender’s evaluation doesn’t play a big role in whether or not the product gets to the shelf unless they have a seriously bad experience with it. Like I said, budtender’s approval is very important for the product to get off the shelf. A lot of people have no idea what they want when they walk in, and since there isn’t significant marketing of anything on our shelves (because there are laws that restrict depicting infused products in marketing), they are coming in for the experience of trying an infused product rather than seeking a particular brand out. So usually, I suggest a product, and they buy the first one I suggested.Gone are the days when cannabis vendors can bring products into a dispensary for show and tell without professional packaging, lab testing results, accurate dosage information, presentable sales people, or a reliably consistent distribution system. In the above video, Aaron Justis, President of Los Angeles dispensary Buds & Roses, reflects on…
Where Do Dispensaries Get Their Weed?
Cannabis consumers typically have one of two priorities when shopping at the dispensary:
- They want a lot of weed for not a lot of money
- They want high-quality weed that gives a stronger, more focused high
There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy pot. But whether you prefer cheap, abundant weed or high-end bud that looks, tastes, and smokes like a dream, there’s one question you shouldn’t ignore:
Where do dispensaries get their weed?
Not all weed is grown with the same passion for purity. Some growers utilize pesticides and other harmful chemicals throughout the process, while others stick to largely organic methods. Some concentrates are extracted using butane or ethanol, while others use “solventless” extraction methods, like CO2 or water, for a cleaner, more flavorful product. And some “strong” strains pack in the cannabinoids while losing many of the terpenes that give strains their unique flavor, aroma, and effects. Others prioritize the unique ratios of terpenes and cannabinoids that make each strain unique.
You don’t have to change how you consume cannabis to enjoy a healthier, better high. But with a couple clicks online or a few quick questions while you shop, you can make sure you’re getting the best, purist cannabis for your smoking needs.
Why Does It Matter Where Dispensaries Get Their Weed?
How weed is grown affects everything about the cannabis buds it produces, from their purity and aroma to their price and even the specific effects consumers experience.
Purity means the “cleanliness” of your cannabis. If a grower uses harmful chemicals or isn’t careful in their methods or testing, trace amounts of pesticides, heavy metals, mold and other chemicals can find their way into the finished product.
New mandatory pesticide testing in Colorado is revealing a range of pesticides were still present on a surprising percentage of commercially available marijuana flower. When choosing a grower, find a business that avoids synthetic chemicals and pesticides as a matter of principle, not because they’re being forced to because of testing and regulations.
Advice: Find a dispensary you trust, and ask your budtender how they grow their flower. If they don’t grow their own, ask about their grower’s methods and how strains are tested.
For reference, Karing Kind grows almost every strain we sell in our own garden. We use intelligent, organic growing methods without synthetic chemicals or pesticides. Not only does this allow us to ensure a purer, more flavorful flower, but it means we can offer our customers a selection of rare, hard-to-find strains.
If cannabinoids control the strength of a strain, terpenes control the flavor. Intelligent, focused growing methods ensure a strain’s unique flavor profile and color are preserved (or brought out) while still maximizing the cannabinoids like THC or CBD. Growers manage temperature, lighting, humidity–and some use synthetic chemicals–to affect cannabinoid and terpene ratios.
Advice: Stick with growers you know use organic growing methods and who care as much about flavor profile as they do THC levels. If you’re buying concentrates, try CO2 extracted oil or water hash.
Karing Kind always carries a wide selection of sativa, indica and hybrid strains, most grown in our very own garden to preserve each strain’s aroma and flavor for a better smoking experience. And our Karing Kind Labs CO2 oil uses supercritical fluid extraction for a cleaner, stronger, more flavorful vape experience.
Different growing methods have a direct impact on the price of a strain. Some strains are priced high because they’re higher quality or especially hard to find. Others cost more simply because they cost more to grow–even though that particular strain might not seem like anything special.
When you trust your grower–or your dispensary to use the right growers–you can buy confidently, knowing that every strain is well worth the price it costs.
Advice: Ask your budtender what they think is the best value strain they have. Sometimes you can find incredible strains at great prices just because the dispensary has too much. And if you’re looking to treat yourself or try something new, they can help you find the best bud for your tastes and preferences.
Just because two dispensaries are offering Sour Diesel doesn’t mean you’ll get the same thing from each shop. Growing methods can vary widely from grower to grower. And subtle changes in how a plant is grown can result in significant changes to the strength and type of high it provides.
Advice: Find a budtender who cares about educating you (and doesn’t just push you to buy), and stick with them like a great mechanic or hair stylist. They can help you find great values as well as new strains and products you absolutely love.
The budtenders at Karing Kind have won First Place for Best Customer Service in the Boulder County Gold Awards 3 of the last 4 years (2015, 2016, 2018).
How Does Your Dispensary Stock Its Shelves?
There are different ways dispensaries source their cannabis. By asking a few quick questions, you can know where your weed comes from and feel better about smoking it (or start your search for a new dispensary).
At Karing Kind, we grow our own recreational marijuana. We’ve always held ourselves to the highest standards for quality and purity, avoiding pesticides and synthetic chemicals even before the new, stricter mandatory testing came into play. It also means we can grow strains that don’t often find their way to Boulder, so our customers can always find something unique when they visit.
Many dispensaries use commercial growers to keep their shelves stocked with new strains. In many cases, this means the dispensary is limited to the selection and quality available. It also means that dispensary has less control over the growing methods–and purity–of the product.
Other recreational marijuana shops outsource their grow operations. They know what strains they want and how they want them to be grown, and they pay someone else to deliver the goods. This increases dispensary control over the selection and methods. Just like with commercial growers, though, there are some variables the dispensary can’t control.
So hop on your dispensary’s website or ask a budtender to learn more about their grow methods. You’re spending your hard-earned money on this. Your putting this into your body. You deserve the best quality product from a dispensary that cares about your health and happiness. And that starts with knowing where dispensaries get their weed.
Smoke Better Bud, Get A Better High, Feel Better Sooner
Our award-winning budtenders are here to help answer your questions, whether you want to know more about how we grow, how a product works, or you just want a recommendation for a new strain to try.
Karing Kind is Boulder’s first recreational marijuana dispensary, and we have the lowest tax rate in the state. Stop by and speak with a budtender or browse our online menu (pre-order is available) and check out our wide selection of top-shelf bud, clean-extracted cannabis oil, soothing topicals and mouth-watering edibles.
Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.Whether you want lots of shake or a bit of strong, flavorful top-shelf bud, it’s worth asking: where does your dispensary get its weed? ]]>