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selling to dispensaries in california

Selling to dispensaries in california

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…

What are the requirements to sell to a dispensary in California

patrick17
Member
cuddlesthesheep
Well-Known Member
Jeremy Pivens
Well-Known Member
BigmanBud
Member
Jeremy Pivens
Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member

In CA, a grower can “donate” their “overage” (that which is beyond your personal needs, beyond those of your patient network as a “caregiver”, beyond that of your “collective” as designated grower, etc) to a legal medical dispensary and expect to recieve appropriate compensation for time, power/water consumption, and other related expenses.

Now that the “Legal” is covered, you either have to have beyond exceptional product, or nice smelling “mids” that you let go for “bargain basement prices”. All dispensaries grow for themselves and have an established network of “suppliers”. In order to get your foot in the door you have to “knock their socks off” with some super buds, or undercut the next guy with “mids” on the super cheap. Generalized.

Come 2018 this changes. Licenses available/required will be for Medical Dispensaries, Retail Distribution, Transporting, and Cultivation (various).

Jeremy Pivens
Well-Known Member

In CA, a grower can “donate” their “overage” (that which is beyond your personal needs, beyond those of your patient network as a “caregiver”, beyond that of your “collective” as designated grower, etc) to a legal medical dispensary and expect to recieve appropriate compensation for time, power/water consumption, and other related expenses.

Now that the “Legal” is covered, you either have to have beyond exceptional product, or nice smelling “mids” that you let go for “bargain basement prices”. All dispensaries grow for themselves and have an established network of “suppliers”. In order to get your foot in the door you have to “knock their socks off” with some super buds, or undercut the next guy with “mids” on the super cheap. Generalized.

Come 2018 this changes. Licenses available/required will be for Medical Dispensaries, Retail Distribution, Transporting, and Cultivation (various).

a mongo frog
Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member
Dr. Who
Well-Known Member

MI is doing the same.
Going lic. grows to sell to disp. NO caregiver overage anything!
Next step will be the reduction of plant counts for caregivers and patient growers.
I suspect that in the future (considering the strangle hold the religious FAR right has on state politic’s). They may down the road, simply phase out any caregiver/patient growing.

I laugh at the narrow minded that say they “can’t”. “We passed a law.” Yeah, so what?
As long as the state has a way for patients to get meds. The law is honored and they can change the rest of the content of the law as they see fit!

Yodaweed
Well-Known Member

MI is doing the same.
Going lic. grows to sell to disp. NO caregiver overage anything!
Next step will be the reduction of plant counts for caregivers and patient growers.
I suspect that in the future (considering the strangle hold the religious FAR right has on state politic’s). They may down the road, simply phase out any caregiver/patient growing.

I laugh at the narrow minded that say they “can’t”. “We passed a law.” Yeah, so what?
As long as the state has a way for patients to get meds. The law is honored and they can change the rest of the content of the law as they see fit!

Dr. Who
Well-Known Member
cuddlesthesheep
Well-Known Member
BigmanBud
Member

In CA, a grower can “donate” their “overage” (that which is beyond your personal needs, beyond those of your patient network as a “caregiver”, beyond that of your “collective” as designated grower, etc) to a legal medical dispensary and expect to recieve appropriate compensation for time, power/water consumption, and other related expenses.

Now that the “Legal” is covered, you either have to have beyond exceptional product, or nice smelling “mids” that you let go for “bargain basement prices”. All dispensaries grow for themselves and have an established network of “suppliers”. In order to get your foot in the door you have to “knock their socks off” with some super buds, or undercut the next guy with “mids” on the super cheap. Generalized.

Come 2018 this changes. Licenses available/required will be for Medical Dispensaries, Retail Distribution, Transporting, and Cultivation (various).

a mongo frog
Well-Known Member
BigmanBud
Member
Well-Known Member

No, but Yes. What I’ve heard is that CA is going to make it extremely difficult to qualify for “Medical”. Why? “Medical” is exempt from a tax (or two). Lower tax, less money for the State, cheaper for the consumer. Right now, damn near anyone (of age w/ID) can get a rec. My back is kinda fucked (not proper fucked, but close, good as long as I stay strong/in the gym). When 215 first came about, I grabbed all of my X-rays, MRI’s, Drs/Orthopedic surgeons diagnosis’/prognosis’, proof of “minor surgery”, and headed to a rec Dr “far from home”. Shitty building, unmarked offices, trying to find my may, when Inpassed a door and heard “Man, I smoke so much fucking weed. ”.

Only State approved “legitimate” patients will be awarded “Medical recs” as needed. Meaning, it will be close to prescription, monitored, and limited. They do not want anyone circumventing the new taxes.

This is where “smokers” failed themselves. It was essentially legal before, now the State can tax as they see fit, incarcerate as necessary.. It was not the “non-smokers” voting “Yes”.

xtsho
Well-Known Member

To get as accurate information regarding California’s marijuana laws as possible you would be wise to start at these websites.

Bureau of Cannabis Control
http://bcc.ca.gov/

Daveindiego
Well-Known Member

You took an entry level position with a dispensary with an understanding of bringing in ‘occasional’ ‘overages’?

xtsho
Well-Known Member

You took an entry level position with a dispensary with an understanding of bringing in ‘occasional’ ‘overages’?

No dispensary in any legal state is going to risk their licensing by allowing an entry level employee to provide product that they sell. Anyone that has gone through the licensing process and other requirements to provide marijuana to dispensaries is not going to be working an entry level job at a dispensary to begin with. Dispensaries already have access to all they need. There are over 150 licensed dispensary’s within a ten mile radius of where I live. They have so much that they’re almost giving it away. At any given time there are numerous promotions and discounts going on. In fact it’s cheaper to just buy it when you take into account the cost in time and money to grow it. Which in my case is minimal because I use the KISS method. For some like me it’s a hobby more than anything else.

It’s tough to get started in any business and the cannabis industry has many more obstacles, potential pitfalls, and an unknown future. There is nothing stopping the feds from overnight deciding to enforce federal law “cannabis is a schedule 1 drug” and conduct raids across the country in legal states. Seizing assets and shutting businesses down. They show up with tow trucks ready to seize your vehicle. You might prevail in court and recover your assets but that could take years. In the meantime you’re livelihood is put on hold. Nothing I’m putting my money into. I wish anyone the best if they decide to try and make a living off of cannabis. But for me I just don’t see the reward/risk ratio I need to. Once you’re all registered legally to do legitimate business your name is on a list that the feds have access to. That’s a list I don’t want to be on.

Does anyone know what the requirements are to sell to a local dispensary in California? Thanks!