This article originally appeared in the June 2018 print issue of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.
There’s no doubt that Samuel Adams and its parent company, Boston Beer, are pioneers in the craft beer industry. The evidence: the Massachusetts-based brand helped bring the craft industry into the mainstream, became a mainstay at barbecues and sporting events throughout the Northeast U.S. and ranked second in total sales among craft beer brands in 2017, according to data collected by Statista.
Now, another Massachusetts company is trying to set craft standards—this time for the cannabis industry.
Theory Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis business with medical locations in Bridgewater and Great Barrington, Mass., is one of the few—if not the only—medical cannabis companies that grows what CEO Brandon Pollock calls “small-batch” cannabis.
Looking to craft beer successes such as Samuel Adams, Pollock sees three significant similarities with what his company is trying to do: limited batches, a local distribution chain and, above all, a premium on quality. He hopes that by going the craft route, Theory Wellness will distinguish itself and avoid the race to the bottom in pricing like the one many West Coast markets are experiencing.
“Our goal in the adult-use market is to … produce a unique, premium product for folks that may not be consuming every day and want to have the best experience possible,” Pollock says.
Theory’s medical patients will still benefit from affordably priced products, though, thanks to the company’s large selection and price points, as well as the state’s requirement that all medical dispensaries offer discounts to patients with financial hardships. Although the state does not specify what the discount should be, Pollock’s company offers 20-percent off purchases to qualifying patients.
“If you’re on state health insurance, you qualify; if you’re on social security insurance, you qualify; if your income falls below certain categories, [we] can offer tiered discounts,” Pollock says. In addition to low-income patients, Theory Wellness extends that rebate to veterans. As a courtesy, the discount is automatically given to customers when they mention their financial hardship or military status, with documentation required on the second visit to register them in the system.
Ultimately, the company’s goal is to consistently produce high-quality craft cannabis for medical patients and the discerning recreational consumer when the adult-use market launches July 1. To get there, Pollock is looking toward long-practiced cultivation techniques.
To read the full article in the June 2018 issue of Cannabis Business Times, click here.
Photos by Bryce Vickmark