BUDDY BOY – Walnut St:  

Bananaghani,  Biker OZ,  Cherry Hills,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Yuk Mouth

NATIVE ROOTS Frisco – rec:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

Twin Peaks Dispensary:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Pancakes

Solace Meds Broadway:  

Sour Diesel,  Sueño

NATIVE ROOTS DILLON:  

Grape OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

KIND CARE OF COLORADO LLC:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Pancakes

Emerald Fields – Glendale:  

Blanco,  Georgia Pie

Tumbleweed Edwards:  

Cheetah Piss,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun

LOVA – Colfax:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

LOVA – Aurora:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

Higher Grade REC:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510

Dabbington LLC:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Pancakes

NATIVE ROOTS Grant St. REC:  

Grape OZ,  Sherb Crasher,  Sueño,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

Tumbleweed Debeque:  

Cheetah Piss,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun

Solace Meds Colfax:  

Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops

LIVE GREEN – SHERIDAN:  

Bananaghani,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Yuk Mouth

LOVA – Downtown:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

Native Roots Colorado:  

Grape OZ,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

NATIVE ROOTS LITTLETON:  

Blanco

Buddy Boy – S. Federal:  

Amarelo,  Bananaghani,  Biker OZ,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

PIG N’ WHISTLE:  

Lemon Pepper

GREEN WORLD EXPRESS:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

Tumbleweed Carbondale:  

Bananaghani,  Cherry Hills,  Sage N Sour,  Scooby Snax,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

The Underground Station:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper

RJJ Edgewater:  

Koko Puffs,  Scooby Snax,  The Sauce

COLORADO HARVEST COMPANY YALE:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

NATIVE ROOTS BOULDER:  

Grape OZ

MOUNTAIN MEDICINIALS RETAIL CENTER:  

Cherry Hills,  Colorado Cool-aid,  Sage N Sour,  Scooby Snax,  Sunset Drive,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

Tumbleweed – Steamboat:  

Cheetah Piss,  Lemon Pepper

Buddy Boy – N. Federal:  

Bananaghani,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

A Cut Above – Springs med:  

Amarelo,  Cherry Diesel,  Garlic Breath,  GG #4,  Milky Weigh,  Purple Papaya Punch,  Sage N Sour,  Sueño

NATIVE ROOTS VAIL:  

Amarelo,  Grape OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Sueño,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Yuk Mouth

NATIVE ROOTS ASPEN:  

Grape OZ,  Sherb Crasher,  Sour Diesel,  Tart Pops

BUDDY BOY – York St:  

Biker OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

COLORADO HARVEST COMPANY KALAMATH:  

Amarelo,  The Sauce

The Herb Shoppe:  

Colorado Cool-aid,  Sage N Sour,  Scooby Snax,  The Sauce

SOLACE MEDS LLC – FC:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510

Kinfolk Farms:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

Natures Kiss:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper

Nature’s Herbs & Wellness – Distribution Center (Flower only):  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Pancakes,  Sticky Buns

DOCTORS ORDERS:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper

Higher Grade Medical (at Galena):  

Amarelo,  Colorado Cool-aid

THE TUMBLEWEED DISPENSARY Parachute:  

Cheetah Piss,  Honey Bun,  Lemon Pepper

NATIVE ROOTS LONGMONT:  

Grape OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Sueño,  Tart Pops

Blue Heron:  

Blanco

OASIS CANNABIS SUPERSTORE (EVANS):  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Pancakes

Green Cross of Cherry Creek – REC:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

ALTITUDE AURORA:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Lemon Pepper

Rocky Mountain Blaze:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Pancakes

LOVA – Edgewater:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie

Native Roots Longmont:  

Amarelo,  Scooby Snax

Emerald Fields – Manitou:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

NATIVE ROOTS EDGEWATER:  

Grape OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

Standing Akimbo:  

Amarelo,  Colorado Cool-aid,  GG #4,  Sage N Sour

NATIVE ROOTS NORTH DENVER:  

Sherb Crasher,  Tart Pops

SIMPLY PURE:  

Sherb Crasher

Cherry Peak:  

Lemon Pepper

Rocky Mountain Cannabis Naturita:  

Bananaghani,  Colorado Cool-aid,  Scooby Snax,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce

Zengolds LLC Longmont:  

Sherb Crasher

Native Roots Highlands:  

Grape OZ,  Sherb Crasher,  The Sauce

THE JOINT BY CANNABIS:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

Higher Grade 38th:  

Amarelo,  Colorado Cool-aid

A Cut Above – rec:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

OASIS CANNABIS SUPERSTORE (44th):  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Pancakes

NATIVE ROOTS SANTA FE:  

Amarelo,  Grape OZ,  Scooby Snax,  Sherb Crasher,  Sueño,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Yuk Mouth

Solace Meds FOCO Medical:  

Amarelo,  GG #4,  Sage N Sour,  Scooby Snax,  The Sauce

Wolf Pac Cannabis Federal:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Pancakes

Tumbleweed – Eagle:  

Sherb Crasher,  Strawberry Milk

LA CASA CANNA BIS INC:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

BACKCOUNTRY CANNABIS COMPANY:  

Sage N Sour,  Sour Diesel,  Sueño,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Tractor Beam

Native Roots Littleton MED:  

Amarelo,  Sage N Sour,  Scooby Snax,  Strawberries N Cream,  The Sauce

Native Roots Tower:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

COLORADO HARVEST COMPANY BROADWAY:  

Amarelo,  Bananaghani,  Item #9,  Tart Pops,  The Sauce,  Yuk Mouth

Golden Meds Bryant St:  

GG #4,  Sage N Sour

Native Roots Austin Bluffs MED:  

Amarelo,  Koko Puffs

Eclipse Cannabis Company:  

Sherb Crasher,  Yuk Mouth

Native Roots Vail MED:  

GG #4,  The Sauce

Verts:  

Sage N Sour

Golden Meds – Sante Fe:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes,  Sticky Buns

Native Roots Trinidad:  

Blanco,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

Reefer Madness Dispensary:  

Cherry Diesel,  GG #4,  Sage N Sour,  Sueño

COLORADO BEST BUDZ LLC:  

Blanco,  Cake Mix,  Cheetah Piss,  Georgia Pie,  Project 4510,  Honey Bun,  Lemon Pepper,  Pancakes

Solace Meds – WR:  

Scooby Snax,  The Sauce

November 9, 2020

Trend Watch: The move toward “premium” products

MJ Brand Insights

By Margaret Jackson

November 5, 2020

As the cannabis industry matures, consumers are growing up along with it and gravitating toward more sophisticated products. Most cannabis data-tracking companies don’t distinguish premium brands from the rest of the products available on the market, but anecdotally, industry professionals say they’ve noticed more of their customers gravitating toward higher-end products

“Edibles have maintained their share of the market — it’s similar to where they were pre-COVID,” said Lisa Gee, director of marketing and corporate social responsibility at Lightshade, a vertically integrated Denver-based cannabis business. “What is markedly different for us, and I think it’s a trend in Colorado that we’re learning about from our friends, is that people are spending more money on higher-priced boutique flower.”

Lightshade dispensary in Denver

Among the brands flying off store shelves is Cookies, the San Francisco-based cannabis brand founded by grow expert Jai and rapper and entrepreneur Berner. Lightshade didn’t carry anything that sold for more than $42 an eighth until Cookies entered the Colorado market; it sells for about $72 an eighth, Gee said. 

So what is a premium brand? It depends on who you ask. 

Alana Malone, co-founder and CEO of the Denver cultivation and extraction business Green Dot Labs, said that in the consumer packaged goods arena, premium prices are on the upper end of the prices that already exist in the marketplace. 

“Premium is the top 20 to 30 percent of any category, but luxury is out of reach for most people,” Malone said.

Andrew Freeman, chief brand officer of the Los Angeles-based pre-roll cannabis company Drew Martin, said growing techniques are what set premium brands apart from the rest. 

“Specifically with flower products or vape, it’s about the growing techniques that have allowed the cultivator to create an incredibly controlled environment with an outcome that is potent,” Freeman said. “Within legacy markets and legacy retail, premium often means growing indoors, it often means high potency, and very often there is a design element — beautiful packaging with gold or metallic foil used to connote a premium product.” 

“At the end of the day it’s about the value of the product — it has nothing to do with price. The question is would I spend money on that again?”

Jon Spadafora, head of marketing and sales at Denver-based premium cultivator Veritas Fine Cannabis,  defines premium products from the perspective of user experience.

“Premium products are effective, consistent, have an amazing taste and cool aroma,” Spadafora said. “At the end of the day it’s about the value of the product — it has nothing to do with price. The question is would I spend money on that again?”

Partnering with a premium brand

When Cookies wanted to get into the Colorado market, it executed a licensing agreement with Veritas, which grows and packages the lifestyle brand’s strains and distributes it to Colorado retailers.

“They knew they couldn’t go and start a new facility in every state,” Spadafora said. “They looked to people like us. For us, it was important that we weren’t just signing up with any brand. Berner is a cannabis legend before he is a hop-hop legend.”

Veritas dropped 35 pounds of Cookies cannabis the first day it was available; it sold out in eight hours, Spadafora said. While the buzz around Cookies has subsided slightly, lines still form at shops that send notifications to their customers that they’ve received a drop. The company recently delivered 65 pounds of Cookies to Colorado shops that Spadafora estimated would sell out in a few days. 

“Every Friday, we’ll have 100 people tag us on Instagram while they’re opening either Cookies or Veritas,” he said.

While partnerships are one way to bring a premium brand into a new market, positioning your retail store as a luxury destination is another strategy some companies are taking. In Aspen, Colo., a mountain town that oozes wealth, Dalwhinnie Farms’ retail boutique is selling high-end goods alongside its premium cannabis brands — think Rolex watches and Italian umbrellas and leather goods. 

Dalwhinnie Farms markets an “experience”

“We’re trying to bring the top-notch quality of everything to our store,” said Ashley Grace, the company’s chief revenue officer. “The idea is we’re trying to de-stigmatize cannabis, and we’re using an alternative retail model to do so. We’re really focusing on a finely curated selection of interesting goods.”

The company promotes itself as meticulously growing proprietary cannabis strains at a purpose-built, advanced cultivation facility that shares its grounds with a 210-acre working equestrian ranch in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colo. Its cannabis strains are available exclusively at its Aspen boutique.

“The Dalwhinnie products are for more of a connoisseur customer,” Grace said. “When we talk to customers about our product, the feedback we get is it’s by far the most superior product that they’re getting.” 

Brands can also convey premium status through carefully curated events.  Drew Martin had planned to launch its line of high-end pre-rolls with a series of dinners and cocktail parties, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to pivot to a virtual Zoom event. The company partnered with the exclusive Hollywood, Calf., club San Vicente Bungalows, which caters to A-list celebrities and power brokers. 

The Zoom event featured company founder Drew Martin, a former mixologist who has worked in several James Beard Award-winning bars, conducting a cocktail-making class. Drew Martin delivered packages to participants that included a list of alcohol and other ingredients they would need for the event, as well as a box of pre-rolls, a lime, a lemon, a measuring cup and a few mixers and elixirs.

“(Martin) brings that expertise in the way a chef would to a high-end restaurant,” Freeman said. “It keeps a premium consumer interested in the brand and gets in on the storytelling around the product. As we’re moving into new markets, it’s been an incredible way to introduce ourselves.”

Pretty packaging

Beyond the quality of the products, premium packaging needs to exude extravagance. 

“If you’re going to put the extra quality into the growing and curing, you have to convey that to the consumer and set an expectation that goes with it,” Grace said. “Packaging is critical to delivering on that expectation.” 

Jon Spadafora said Colorado has been resistant to pre-packaged cannabis, as opposed to having it weighed out when purchased, but he knew that the Cookies brand was strong enough for customers to accept it. That allowed Veritas to succeed with its own brand of pre-packaged products. 

“Berner is a man of the people,” Spadafora said. “His music is great, and it’s a very inclusive environment. It’s so different from what everyone else is growing.”

“Millennials as a group have high purchasing power and want a story and an emotion behind a brand”

While not all products in fancy packaging are premium, the aesthetic appeal of the container is important to ensuring a brand is attractive to millennials, a group that is more likely to invest in high-quality products and are increasingly demanding brands they can trust, said Susannah Grossman, marketing and sales director for Green Dot Labs. 

“Millennials as a group have high purchasing power and want a story and an emotion behind a brand,” Grossman said. 

It’s not only high-end cannabis flower and edibles that consumers are purchasing. They’re also interested in premium devices like DaVinci’s dual-use vaporizer. While the number of vaporizers the Las Vegas-based company has sold during the pandemic are down, its profits are up, DaVinci CEO Cort Smith said.  That’s because while in-store sales have declined, higher-profit internet sales have increased. 

“I’m sometimes amazed that people will spend $300 on an apparatus to ingest cannabis,” said Cort Smith, DaVinci’s CEO. “People are looking for safety. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t figured out how to regulate it.”

Drew Martin’s Freeman, who has worked with mainstream luxury brands like Tiffany and West Elm, said cannabis retail is evolving toward a more boutique experience, and brands must elevate their images to match. 

“The experience has to be curated, authentic, aspirational but still approachable for consumers,” Freeman said. “We really want to create an experience that’s something special.”