As their primary role is to assist customers and patients, budtenders are likely the people consumers interact with the most, inevitably making them the face of the business.
Budtenders help patients navigate the world of cannabis consumption by advising them of which products to use based on their specific needs or providing them with a comprehensive knowledge of cannabis, different products, dosing and much more.
Joseph Hendrix, chief financial officer of Resonant Cultivation and Mosaic+, an Oklahoma City medical cannabis dispensary, described budtenders as the "most direct connection that your organization has with its patients and customers," making it essential that dispensaries implement proper budtender training to ensure customers have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Cannabis Dispensary spoke with two industry professionals to explore the importance of budtender training and the best practices and techniques their dispensaries use in their training programs.
It Starts With the Patient
Corey Rimmel, operations manager at Feel State, a Missouri-based medical cannabis dispensary business, said one of the main things Feel State focuses on in its budtender training is the patient experience and how to offer excellent customer service.
"[We discuss] how to greet someone, how to sell an item, how to recognize social cues when talking with someone, and how to really get to know someone, learn something about them and make them feel welcome," Rimmel said.
One of Feel State's goals is for budtenders to have more extended conversations with customers and answer their questions. And the dispensary works to provide budtenders with the proper knowledge to have those in-depth conversations with customers, he said.
Hendrix also expressed Mosaic+'s passion for ensuring patients have a great in-store experience.
"The goal for us is [to create] that trusted experience, where a patient knows when they set foot in Mosaic+, they're going to walk out of there with a good experience [and] with quality products that they want and desire," Hendrix said. "And [our goal] is to have a fully trained team who really excels at delivering that experience to our customers."
Mosaic+ does "mock transactions," where one team member will play the role of different patients, while new hires act as the budtender, Hendrix said. The idea is to prepare new team members on how to handle and approach patients differently.
"Maybe it's a patient who is new to cannabis or is reconnecting with cannabis, so they don't really know what they are looking for yet,” he said. “Or maybe it's somebody who is very familiar with cannabis and a true connoisseur and may, to a certain extent, know certain parts of the plant better than our team. So, how do we handle that approach? Or maybe it's dealing with a customer who's not pleased with something; how do we handle that?"
From there, the new hires observe and monitor "shift leads," or the "frontline trainers," who are assigned to be the first line of help at Mosaic+ for any questions that that one might have, Hendrix said.
Hendrix and Rimmel noted that while customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to them, employees also need to be trained on various education topics to ensure they can properly meet patient's and customer's needs, answer their questions and educate them.
Education Training is Key
"I think it's the duty of the dispensary to be able to provide patients with education," Rimmel said. He explained that Feel State prioritizes cannabis education and science in its budtender training.
"We really try to give the employees as much information related to science and the products as they want," Rimmel said. "We have unlimited content, videos, tests, documents and people to talk to. So, we spend a lot of time on that."
Feel State budtenders go through a mix of online and in-person training, Rimmel said.
The dispensary puts its budtenders through a 10- to 12-chapter in-depth scientific course put together by one of its leading consultants, Emma Chasen, a cannabis educator and consultant at Eminent Consulting.
B Real’s Dr. Greenthumb’s Cannabis Dispensary to Open Sixth Location in La Mesa
The celebrity-owned dispensary celebrates expansion into San Diego County with a grand opening.
LA MESA, Calif., Sept. 14, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – Dr. Greenthumb’s, one of California’s most recognized dispensary chains, announced the opening of its sixth location. The dispensary is located in La Mesa, Calif., and will be hosting a grand opening celebration on Oct. 2.
Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensaries were founded by legendary Cypress Hill rapper and cannabis activist B Real in 2018. Dr. Greenthumb’s is known for its extensive menu of top-shelf cannabis including Insane, Alien Labs, CAM, Cannabiotix and Wonderbrett. Since the first Dr. Greenthumb’s location opened in Sylmar, the dispensary’s popularity has exploded, prompting its expansion into additional locations throughout California including: Cathedral City, downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and a just signed, but not yet open, location near LAX. The La Mesa dispensary is Dr. Greenthumb’s first in San Diego County.
Honoring the community that helped build Dr. Greenthumb’s into one of the state’s most highly reputed retailers, Dr. Greenthumb’s will be hosting a daylong grand opening celebration at the La Mesa dispensary. Patrons can expect to find a variety of activations, guest appearances, cannabis vendors, food trucks, murals painted on-site by notable graffiti artists Strive One and MEX, giveaways and more. B Real will be making a special appearance.
“I’m so excited to bring the Dr. Greenthumb’s experience to San Diego,” B Real said. “The community here loves high-quality cannabis and I feel honored not only to be able to deliver top-shelf product, but to celebrate the community that has shaped who I am as an artist, entrepreneur, activist and person.”
The grand opening will have a distinct Latin theme, paying homage to B Real’s Mexican and Cuban heritage. There will be local Latin street artists creating murals on-site, lowriders showcased in the dispensary parking lot and food trucks boasting Latin American cuisine, including George Lopez’s Chingon Bakery, which will be providing Pan Dulce and Tamales and cannabis edible brand Big Pete’s, who will be baking unmedicated churros on-site. All adults 21 and older are welcome to join the grand opening celebrations.
“After all of the uncertainty of last year and the terrible effects it had on the community, I want to bring everyone together safely for a day of celebration, not just to celebrate how far Dr. Greenthumb’s has come, but the community in general,” B Real said. “This grand opening marks a new era for La Mesa and all of San Diego metro.”
The Dr. Greenthumb’s grand opening celebration will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 2 with B Real scheduled to appear from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dr. Greenthumb’s La Mesa is located at 8760 Campo Rd., La Mesa, CA 91941.
Jushi Holdings Inc. Completes Nature’s Remedy Acquisition and Officially Enters Massachusetts Market
Jushi Holdings Inc. completes the acquisition of Massachusetts-based Nature’s Remedy.
BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- Jushi Holdings Inc., a vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator, has announced it has closed its previously announced acquisition of Nature’s Remedy of Massachusetts, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, a vertically integrated, single-state operator in Massachusetts, for total upfront consideration of US$91.2 million. Nature’s Remedy currently operates two retail dispensaries, in Millbury, Mass., and Tyngsborough, Mass., and a 50,000-square-foot cultivation and production facility in Lakeville, Mass., with approximately 22,000 square feet of high-quality indoor flower canopy and state-of-the-art extraction and manufacturing capabilities. The company expects to execute on the significant opportunity to expand Nature’s Remedy’s wholesale revenue in the fourth quarter, driven by additional cultivation capacity as well as the planned resale of excess inventory at the Lakeville Facility. By way of the net working capital adjustment contained in the Merger and Membership Interest Purchase Agreement, the company paid an additional US$2.9 million in cash to acquire excess inventory worth US$17.5 to US$22.5 million at prevailing wholesale prices.
“We are excited to officially enter the Massachusetts market, adding Nature’s Remedy, a vertically integrated business operating high-quality, well-managed assets,” said Jim Cacioppo, chief executive officer, chairman and founder of Jushi. “With its strong, defensible retail position and a scalable cultivation footprint, Nature’s Remedy offers significant opportunities for us to expand and grow our presence in this rapidly maturing adult-use market. I look forward to working with our new colleagues to introduce our complete line of industry-leading brands and products into the wholesale market and at Nature’s Remedy’s retail stores."
Cultivation and Product Manufacturing Facility of Nature’s Remedy
The 50,000-square-foot Lakeville facility is located within a 185,000 square-foot industrial complex. Currently, the Lakeville facility’s flower canopy encompasses approximately 22,000 square feet, which Nature’s Remedy expects to expand to approximately 32,500 square feet by the end of the year. The Lakeville facility utilizes CO2 extraction and has a full kitchen for edible production. Current biomass production at the Lakeville facility is approximately 16,000 lbs/year, including approximately 9,000 lbs/year of high-quality bud flower. As part of the ongoing expansion of the facility, Nature’s Remedy plans to increase biomass production to approximately 26,000 lbs/year, including approximately 13,000 lbs/year of A bud flower based on 32,500 square feet of canopy. In addition to the above-mentioned expansion, Nature’s Remedy is evaluating further expansion opportunities in the existing Lakeville industrial complex and/or on ten acres of land owned by Nature’s Remedy in Grafton, Mass. The Lakeville facility could potentially accommodate an additional 18,000 to 20,000 square feet of canopy through the expansion into approximately 26,000 square feet of adjacent space in the existing building. In Grafton, Mass., Nature’s Remedy has a Host Community Agreement in place with the town and recently received a provisional cultivation license from the Commonwealth. The ten acres of land in Grafton, Mass., could potentially accommodate a new 35,000 to 40,000 square-foot facility with approximately 18,000 square feet of canopy. These expansions are subject to business evaluations and needs, as well as receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.
The Millbury dispensary is located in the town of Millbury, Mass., just south of Worcester, Mass. The Millbury dispensary caters primarily to the local population and surrounding underserved areas and serves both adult-use and medical customers. The Millbury dispensary provides ample parking for its patrons and is strategically situated along the Worcester-Providence Turnpike, which sees approximately 10,600 cars per day. The Millbury dispensary is located in close proximity to the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley, the largest open-air shopping center in Central Massachusetts, and the Mass Turnpike.
Tyngsborough is located in northern Middlesex County just south of Nashua, N.H., and serves adult-use customers. The Tyngsborough dispensary is strategically located in close proximity to the Pheasant Lane Mall, one of the largest malls in New Hampshire, and in close proximity to an exit on Route 3/Northwest Expressway, which sees 60,000 to 80,000 cars per day. There is ample customer parking with potential for expansion.
Jushi acquired Nature’s Remedy for an upfront payment of US$91.2 million, comprised of US$40.0 million in cash, approximately US$34.7 million in stock2, a US$11.5 million unsecured three-year note and a US$5.0 million unsecured five-year note. Under the agreement, the company has also agreed to issue up to an additional US$5.0 million in Company Shares and a US$5 million increase to the principal balance of the 3-year note upon the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain conditions after the closing date, bringing the total potential consideration for the acquisition paid by the company to US$101.2 million. Assuming all conditions are met, the company expects to issue up to 4.3 million fewer company shares, assuming an average daily volume weighted price of US$4.61, as a result of the revised agreement. The revised purchase price (inclusive of the full US$10 million of additional consideration, but excluding any benefit from the acquired excess inventory) represents a multiple of 2.7 to 3.0x Nature’s Remedy’s expected full year 2022 EBITDA of US$34 to US$38 million.
Photo courtesy of Columbia Care
Columbia Care Turns Its Attention to Florida in Effort to Launch Cannabist Retail Brand
Chief Growth Officer Jesse Channon said the rebrand will help the company compete more effectively in the state’s unique market.
Columbia Care announced Sept. 2 that the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) approved the name change, paving the way for the company’s 14 dispensary locations across the state to take on the new brand.
In addition to its retail locations in Cape Coral, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Longwood, Bonita Springs, Bradenton, Brandon, Delray Beach, St. Augustine, Stuart and Sarasota, Columbia Care operates more than 100,000 square feet of cultivation and manufacturing capacity in the state.
The company also operates in Massachusetts; New York; Pennsylvania; Ohio; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; Washington, D.C; Arizona; California; Colorado and Utah.
All 99 of Columbia Care’s existing dispensaries across the country, as well as any new retail locations that will be built out, will all eventually operate under the Cannabist brand. Rebranding has already been completed in Tempe, Ariz.; San Diego, Calif.; Villa Park, Ill.; Lowell, Mass. and Deptford, N.J, as well as across all of Columbia Care’s retail operations in Utah.
Columbia Care’s chief growth officer, Jesse Channon, told Cannabis Dispensary that all the company’s dispensaries will be rebranded by the end of the year, and that the rebrand in Florida will help the multistate operator compete more effectively in that state’s unique market.
“I think Florida is a really interesting view into a licensed, regulated market where you see that just being present and just having product is not good enough anymore,” Channon said.
As more vertically integrated medical cannabis providers come online in the state, patients have more options—and operators have more competition. Increased product offerings have made patients more selective, Channon said, which pushes businesses to provide not only a wider variety of products, but also better retail experiences.
“I think that’s a trend that we’ve seen emerging and part of the reason we made the decision to invest in the state by flipping every one of our existing locations to the new format, putting in the new technology, doing the new infrastructure builds, doing it all at one time,” he said.
The inspiration behind the Cannabist brand is the “total weed nerd” or the “sommelier of weed,” Channon said—the “cannabists” who have totally immersed themselves in the plant.
As they looked across the industry, the Columbia Care team felt that the cannabis retail experience had become too transactional and sterile, and they wanted to change that.
“We wanted to build something that focused on the concept of empathetic education and really put engagement with the consumer at the center of that whole experience, whether it’s technology or the infrastructure, the way that we design the spaces [or] the brands that we carry,” Channon said.
The team also wanted the new brand to immediately communicate to consumers what the store sells, and that it is a place where customers can engage with an expert on cannabis to help guide their shopping experience.
With the rebrand now underway in Florida and elsewhere across the country, Channon said it has been challenging to retrofit existing facilities under the Cannabist name.
“We often joke around that being a multistate operator and having the footprint that we do, which is among the largest in the country in terms of the number of markets that we serve, it’s kind of like running a multinational organization inside the U.S.,” he said. “Every state is a bit different from a regulatory and compliance point of view.”
Not only must Columbia Care seek regulatory approval in each state to change the name of its dispensaries, but the company must also evaluate its existing infrastructure when retrofitting its operational dispensaries to align with the new brand. Colors and logos have to be updated in each location, and Columbia Care must also be mindful of not wasting the existing structures and finishes already in place at its retail locations.
“The team has done a really good job and a thoughtful approach to taking the best out of those spaces that existed and then ultimately bringing them to a place where they feel as on-brand as something like Deptford, N.J., which was a new build that ultimately ended up the Cannabist,” Channon said. “The goal is to have a cohesive feeling across the country, but the retrofits are definitely the more challenging to do.”
The new branding also comes with updates to Columbia Care’s technology. The company has implemented Forage, a proprietary product discovery application that allows patients and adult-use consumers to take a quiz that ultimately recommends products and brands that they might enjoy.
Each of the Cannabist locations will also have touchscreen panels throughout the store that will display the dispensary’s menu and allow for express ordering.
“I think the combination of those two technologies, plus the new retail experience, just gives patients a lot more power when it comes to things that can make a difference for them,” Channon said.
Al Harrington speaks on developing meaningful social equity priorities during Cannabis Conference 2021 in Las Vegas.
Cannabis Business Times
Viola Launches Harrington Institute for Cannabis Education Powered by Cleveland School of Cannabis
The multi-country cannabis brand has partnered with the Black-owned cannabis school to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry through delivering high quality education to its community.
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – Viola, a premium Black-owned cannabis brand rooted in equity, announced the launch of the Harrington Institute, a school for cannabis education created in partnership with Cleveland School of Cannabis, which is currently on pace to be the first cannabis focused school accredited by the Middle States Association.
Aligning with Viola and its commitment to excellence, the mission of the Harrington Institute is to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry by providing high quality education to its community. With cultivation in Colorado, Michigan and Oregon along with long-standing partnerships across the greater U.S. and Canada, Harrington Institute provides unique access to a vast network of industry professionals, cutting-edge information and community investment.
“Harrington Institute is something that's very important for me and something that's needed,” Viola Brands CEO Al Harrington said. “I feel like right now the cannabis industry isn't seeing all of the talent available, so we wanted to create a platform and program that educates on all verticals within the industry. It's really important to us to provide access for young entrepreneurs and people from our community looking to get into the space.”
Harrington Institute will offer the Viola Build Scholarship to students of color who have been affected by the war on drugs up to $3,000 toward tuition. While classes are available to take individually, scholarships will be prioritized to students taking the full six-course program. To create more access to education, Harrington Institute will also provide student loans that will protect the students from predatory situations. The first classes will begin on Nov. 8, 2021. Interested donors are invited to invest in this life-changing opportunity to meet the growing demand for cannabis industry professionals.
“Access to education is paramount to advancing our communities that have been overlooked, left behind and marginalized. We’re providing in-depth education so that our folks have the ability to get in the game and I'm extremely excited for what's to come,” said Tyrone Russell, president of Cleveland School of Cannabis.