Can/Should Large-Scale Operators Adopt Craft Cannabis Practices?
The legalization of cannabis has not only expanded the market but presented an opportunity to deeply explore and appreciate the potential within the plant. In fact, there is a growing number of consumers that are looking for specific qualities within their cannabis plant, whether it's a strain, terpene level, flavour profile or cultivation technique. These consumers expect to pay more for their product and are actively seeking producers that consistently respond to their needs. Master growers have identified techniques that are able to bring out nuances within the cannabis plant, elevating the entire cannabis experience. Currently, the majority of these growers are craft cannabis producers that hone their product in small batches allowing them to focus on the quality of the plant.
But, can commercial and large licensed producers apply these practices to a larger scale?
When Did Quality Get Put On The Back Burner?
Back in 2018, investors were excited by the upcoming legalization of cannabis. They connected with licensed producers making their funding decisions, not based on what was produced, but how much the licensed producer was able to produce. In October 2018, filling the square footage with plants and maximizing production became the primary objective, and quality (as well as a grower's experience) were often not a consideration.
Fast forward to today, and these licensed producers are beginning to identify the challenges with this process. Savvy consumers are rejecting substandard products and are seeking licensed producers that are able to deliver consistent, quality buds, and extracts.
A Well Crafted Cannabis Experience Starts In The Grow Room
Environmental factors, such as LED lighting, temperature, and grower’s technique including pruning, can dramatically affect the characteristics of a cultivar. Investing in good genetics is only a part of the puzzle. It is an ongoing journey, where the grower balances their craft with science to develop a strategy that will bring out the full potential of the plant. To become a leader in cannabis one goal needs to always be top of mind-Quality. Producers must deliver a consistent, quality cannabis product where the end-user is able to experience the unique attributes of the genetic strain.
Currently, there is a belief that standard cultivation facilities (often assumed to be large commercial ones) are either focused on quantity OR quality.
Do cultivators really need to choose one over the other? We don’t think so.
In fact, one example of an industry that has recognized the value of focusing on quality in order to maximize the profit in their large-scale operation is the specialty coffee industry.
What Coffee Can Teach Cannabis?
Similar to the craft cannabis industry, the specialty coffee industry began with micro-roasters. These roasters were focused on perfecting the art and science of discovering the full potential hidden within the coffee bean. Their methods were driven by their quest for quality, and it was initially believed that this could only be done with small-batch roasting.
These micro-roasters awakened consumers to the fact that not all roasts were alike. They engaged the customers in a conversation about coffee, sharing the story of the cup from the growing environment (elevation, soil quality, biodiversity) to the artisanal aspect of roasting elevating the consumer. However, It wasn’t until Starbucks entered the market that it moved from a select few coffee connoisseurs to the mass market. Today, there is a growing number of consumers that no longer balk at the higher coffee price, because they have a deep understanding of why you pay for quality.