Cannabis Entrepreneurs Specialize Way Beyond Buds And Brownies

Photo Credit: Brandi Fullwood

As America gets accustomed to the idea of legal marijuana, entrepreneurs are branching into a host of new products and ways of thinking about cannabis experience. Smokable flower is still the top consumption method, and edibles like chocolates, lozenges and teas come in second, but all categories are growing. According to the Marijuana Business Factbook 2018, with billions of dollars of product sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the U.S. in 2017, marijuana sales were nearly nine time higher than sales of Oreo cookies.

Cannabis as spa treatment?

Photo Credit: Civilized

“The cannabis wellness market has been largely untapped, but that is starting to change,” says Cindy Sovine, founder of Denver-based Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge, which aims to be the nation’s first legal cannabis spa. The global wellness industry increased by 10.6 percent from 2013 to 2015, becoming a $3.72 trillion market. “One of few industries outpacing that growth is cannabis, which is growing by 30 percent a year,” said Sovine. She believes there is a natural market in developing brands, products, and experiences built around cannabis’ health and wellness properties.

Cannabis and sports?

Photo Credit: Haydn Watters

While the image of hanging out on the couch stoned seems antithetical to working out, cannabis for some has become part of sports training, post-work-out relaxation, or a muscle salve. The niche is small, but growing. Cannabis-focused athletic events like 420 Games and cannabis-friendly therapeutic exercise programs like Break the Stigma Fitness are being developed for interested consumers.

High-end concentrates?

Photo Credit: Greendot Labs

Super high-potency THC resins that are smoked/vaped have generally been reserved for the most hard-core cannabis enthusiasts. While these kinds of products are still not for new or casual users, they are being differentiated by their producers. Alana Malone, CEO of Colorado-based Green Dot Labs, a cannabis extract company, is creating a high-end resin the company is calling Black Label. It’s a “live resin,” produced from freshly harvested whole plants frozen to preserve the plant’s essential oils. Green Dot labs also recently launched vaporizer pens featuring their Black Label extracts in various flavors.

Boutique Brands?

Owners of some smaller cannabis-growing facilities are aiming for higher quality and higher price per pound as a business model, hoping to position their cannabis in the same way expensive wine and coffee producers position their products. Anthony Franciosi, head grower of Honest Marijuana Company, says his small grow facility produces organic and eco-conscious cannabis using “plant-based nutrients, full-spectrum lighting, and probiotic methods.” The company packages the cannabis in nitrogen-sealed tin cans.

National Brands Reformulating for Cannabis?

National brands are also capitalizing on the marijuana legalization trend. Clorox created the Clorox® Odor Defense® portfolio of products to use in commercial spaces worried about marijuana smoke odors. The products “identify, capture and eliminate – not just mask – odor-causing molecules,” according to the company. Soil additives and greenhouse lights are among other products being reformulated for marijuana.