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Ep.168: Sparc & LivWell Tours

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.168: Sparc & LivWell Tours

Ep.168: Sparc & LivWell Tours

It’s been a while since we did a tour- so we’re giving you a double helping.
This is a companion episode to Sparc CEO Robert Jacob in Episode 76 and LivWell CEO John Lord in Episode 151. As you well may know, Sparc is a storied dispensary in San Francisco and LivWell has a gargantuan operation in Colorado.  These are two great retailers each with distinct approaches to safe patient access in two of the top Cannabis Economies. So buckle in and enjoy the thousand mile journey in under an hour.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: the spark and Livwell tours. It's been awhile since we did a tour, so we're giving you a double helping. This is a companion episode to sparks CEO Robert Jacob in episode 76 and live while Ceo John Lord in episode 1:51. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two n's in the world economy and if you're into more direct communication or would like to support the show, feel free to send me an email. I'd engage@Canneseconomy.com. As you well may know, spark is a story dispensary in San Francisco and live well has a Gargantuan operation in Colorado. These are two great retailers, each with distinct approaches to save patient access in two of the top cannabis economies. So buckle in and enjoyed the thousand mile journey in just under an hour.

Speaker 2: Alright, so we are here with, with Freston, now I'm saying Freston because that's what's on your name tag, right? Yeah, that's what I prefer. Thank you. Yeah. My name's Joel Freston. Yeah, but we're calling you. Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. Thank you. So we're right outside of spark, uh, one of the better known dispensary's and all of cannabis. So, um, we're going to go ahead and take a tour of what is a, if someone's not familiar with spark, of course folks should be, but if someone's not familiar with spark, why are we on the map here? What, what's the, what's the mission? Well, I think the mission is been the mission of the entire time and what we're trying to do is just bringing a cannabis in a place of normalization. We have this retail space is beautiful. We an interior design awards and what we're trying to do normalize the experience for customers right now, their patients in California, but of course that's going to change. And so, you know, when you typically go into a lot of dispensaries in California or maybe in other states as well, it's sort of like a year at a cage and you get buzzed through, you go to the next cage and so forth. That's what we're trying to avoid here at spark as being an open, welcoming, warming environment here. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Uh, I've been standing outside here with my friend from security and uh, the stream of customers has been consistent to underplay it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Uh, well it's that time of day now we're getting toward the evening. People are getting off of work where we're right by the civic center, Bart Station and twitter's just around the corner. So I think a lot of people are getting off work. They're walking toward the Bart station. They stopped by and that's pretty typical weekday location, location, location, right? That's right.

Speaker 3: All right. So, um, you checked me in earlier and uh, you know, I'm sure that you get a chance to talk to customers and you get a chance to talk to people that aren't customers and see spark, understand it's a dispensary and start asking you questions. First things first, uh, for folks that are customers that do have recommendations, uh, what's a typical conversation?

Speaker 4: A typical conversation if they walk up and ask me what our need to, um, the comments out our club and I'll break it down to them. I told them they need a recommendation id once we check that out for them, we give them the speech, a house rules, house rules are, and I'll talk on the phone inside. No taking pictures to the site and not showing any feeling inside. When you go inside, you go right to the intake desk, speak to the intake people and they will start your paperwork so you can start your process.

Speaker 3: There we go. So everybody's informed here as far as folks that are non customers that just walk by and say, what's this? Or Oh, this is a dispensary. What, what does a conversation like that go like?

Speaker 4: Just tell them Mr. Dispensary, uh, you need a, you need a recommendation to come inside to see all the good stuff that we have inside, but they more welcome about it and I give him more information about recommendation or a doctor nearby and then we give them flyers and welcome them to come back.

Speaker 1: the spark and Livwell tours. It's been awhile since we did a tour, so we're giving you a double helping. This is a companion episode to sparks CEO Robert Jacob in episode 76 and live while Ceo John Lord in episode 1:51. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two n's in the world economy and if you're into more direct communication or would like to support the show, feel free to send me an email. I'd engage@Canneseconomy.com. As you well may know, spark is a story dispensary in San Francisco and live well has a Gargantuan operation in Colorado. These are two great retailers, each with distinct approaches to save patient access in two of the top cannabis economies. So buckle in and enjoyed the thousand mile journey in just under an hour.

Speaker 2: Alright, so we are here with, with Freston, now I'm saying Freston because that's what's on your name tag, right? Yeah, that's what I prefer. Thank you. Yeah. My name's Joel Freston. Yeah, but we're calling you. Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. Thank you. So we're right outside of spark, uh, one of the better known dispensary's and all of cannabis. So, um, we're going to go ahead and take a tour of what is a, if someone's not familiar with spark, of course folks should be, but if someone's not familiar with spark, why are we on the map here? What, what's the, what's the mission? Well, I think the mission is been the mission of the entire time and what we're trying to do is just bringing a cannabis in a place of normalization. We have this retail space is beautiful. We an interior design awards and what we're trying to do normalize the experience for customers right now, their patients in California, but of course that's going to change. And so, you know, when you typically go into a lot of dispensaries in California or maybe in other states as well, it's sort of like a year at a cage and you get buzzed through, you go to the next cage and so forth. That's what we're trying to avoid here at spark as being an open, welcoming, warming environment here. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Uh, I've been standing outside here with my friend from security and uh, the stream of customers has been consistent to underplay it.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Uh, well it's that time of day now we're getting toward the evening. People are getting off of work where we're right by the civic center, Bart Station and twitter's just around the corner. So I think a lot of people are getting off work. They're walking toward the Bart station. They stopped by and that's pretty typical weekday location, location, location, right? That's right.

Speaker 3: All right. So, um, you checked me in earlier and uh, you know, I'm sure that you get a chance to talk to customers and you get a chance to talk to people that aren't customers and see spark, understand it's a dispensary and start asking you questions. First things first, uh, for folks that are customers that do have recommendations, uh, what's a typical conversation?

Speaker 4: A typical conversation if they walk up and ask me what our need to, um, the comments out our club and I'll break it down to them. I told them they need a recommendation id once we check that out for them, we give them the speech, a house rules, house rules are, and I'll talk on the phone inside. No taking pictures to the site and not showing any feeling inside. When you go inside, you go right to the intake desk, speak to the intake people and they will start your paperwork so you can start your process.

Speaker 3: There we go. So everybody's informed here as far as folks that are non customers that just walk by and say, what's this? Or Oh, this is a dispensary. What, what does a conversation like that go like?

Speaker 4: Just tell them Mr. Dispensary, uh, you need a, you need a recommendation to come inside to see all the good stuff that we have inside, but they more welcome about it and I give him more information about recommendation or a doctor nearby and then we give them flyers and welcome them to come back.

Speaker 3: There we go. See you doing a good job out here. Thank you. Alright, so let's go ahead and get processed. Right? So, you know, I notice a, anybody would notice there's the spark sign outside, but the, uh, the windows here, take us through the windows. It's beautiful. Sure. I mean

Speaker 2: there's two things to say about it really as late as later, right now there's sort of translucent, a rectangle shapes that are loosely based, uh, an reminiscent of the genetic code of thc. So that's sort of the design angle behind it. Another thing was, uh, you know, we're here in San Francisco. The first gay bar in the nation was called the tavern and that was not too far from here and a sort of a point of pride for them at the beginning of the gay gay pride movement was that they had a clear where they could see inside and it was a normal thing. And that's again, just speaking to the normalization that we're trying to create here. That's why we have these windows where people can see inside and it's not weird. It's not fishy, you know, it's, it's, that's the environment that we're trying to welcome here.

Speaker 2: So that's what you see. Yeah. And uh, you mentioned interior design awards. Uh, you know, just looking at the entire establishment, it's a big open plan, uh, to the left. We've got chairs and tables and a and some consumption happening on site, which folks not in San Francisco would be excited about. And we'll talk more about that in a second, but talk through the thoughts of putting this together as a big open plan. It is one big room. You can see everything from anywhere on the floor. Right? And that's the idea is openness, transparency, but also, I mean, when I first came into spark, which was maybe two years ago now, the first thing I thought of is this looks like an apple store, uh, the, the, the teak wood with the solid floor, the lighting and so forth. It's very much your normal, a high end sort of retail spot, maybe a little boutique also.

Speaker 2: You can notice the lighting here, the lights are nice, but they're also sort of loosely based on what a bong or a water pipe would look like. So there's a lot of little things here and there that you pick up on the longer that you hang out at spark. Yeah, no, absolutely. Okay. Let's go do intake I think is what security calls it intake and I think Dennis is going to help us out here. Perfect data. Hi, how are you? I'm doing great. How are you today? I'm doing well. So this is, we call this intake intake was a member services.

Speaker 5: We're kind of what we like to call the cannabis concierge in a way. Um, we provide a lot of information to our members about where they can find parking in the neighborhood, how they can use our vaporizers. We also verify all of the recommendations and contact their doctors to make sure that everyone's all up to date. But well, a lot of what we do is just like giving out free information of like where people can get information on how to know their rights and Americans for safe access as well as how to use a vaporizer as well as like where can I go find a doctor in the neighborhoods and get a cannabis recommendation renewed.

Speaker 2: So it runs the gamut of the, the conversations that you'll have, what, what's a kind of a, if you could a typical conversation with a newer customer. So obviously they're excited to get to, uh, you know, the bud tenders, what absolutely needs to happen here?

Speaker 5: Well, we first need to get there, um, recommendation as well as our government issued id and we actually hand them art, one of our new ipads and they input their information electronically. Now we're moving into the digital age, really excited about next week. Verify the recommendations, we get a photocopy of them and then we give them the grand tour and have all that, all that we can offer here at spark. My mother were the main features is the vaporizer lounge here and then a very intransparent seeing people medicate because we're one of the few dispensaries here in St Louis that has onsite medication is very important

Speaker 2: for the community wellness. And I was handed a patient handbook. Is that what you're calling? Yes, yes. I want to remember handbooks. It gives a little bit of history about how cannabis has been used medicinally for many years as well as benefits can provide for people in today's. So it's all about information and education. Freston. Dennis, thank you so much for your time. I should let you say thank you. Thank you. There you go. Alright. So, um, it does seem that it's really, like I just said about education and information, every single person on site here seems to be well informed. Oh, that's right. I mean that was the original intention here. Spark originally stood for San Francisco patient and resource center. So we want to be a resource center to those people who are either, if they're just learning about how to use cannabis as medicine now, or if they're the regular kronos or who's been doing it for years, you know what I mean?

Speaker 2: We want to appeal to everyone across the spectrum. All right, well let's get to some contours. Let's go talk to a bud tender and find out a little bit about what, uh, you know, kind of conversations are had here. Hello. How's it going? We end, uh, end you are Casey. I've been a bartender two years here. Okay. Happy Anniversary case. Um, were you a bud tender elsewhere before? I have a background in psychology, so I have a degree in psychology so I bring kind of that to the table, but I had just, this is my first full time job after college. Got You. You mentioned two years as a bud tender and psychology. What do you see as your role as a bud tender? Talk through, you know, that kind of psychology angle. I'm probably just a

Speaker 6: mediator between what the strains can do and how to actually get them to do that, so trying to pick the right ones for the member, teaching them how to use them and when, because a lot of these things, if you don't use them at the right time, if you don't use them appropriately, they can actually make the problems worse. So it's about identifying the problem that they're going through, figuring out what we have that could help it and then actually implementing that and making sure they know how to do that.

Speaker 2: Excellent. Can you give me, let me put you on the spot if you don't mind a specific, uh, example of a patient that came in that you were able to help with a specific product? Yeah, like a we'll

Speaker 6: get, you know, men in the financial or women in the financial district that you need to alleviate migraines or tension, headaches, things like that during the day. But maybe they have really high pressure, important jobs that they can't become really, you know, out of it or high if you will, at work are heavily medicated. So I will suggest, you know, CBDS that are real high in Canada, but then real low and TFC, so they're really working with the pain, the migraines that are keeping them levelheaded and then really finding them things that at night they can, you know, finds a little bit more effective but might cause and we feel a little bit more medicated, you know what I mean? But definitely the guy that uh, or the girl that wants to work with pain, inflammation, migraines, anxiety during the day but doesn't want to get high.

Speaker 6: We have things for that, you know, I was going to say manage the psycho activity levels. We have things that are just on various scales of cerebral activity. We can, we can, you know, help you without getting you super medicaid. Yeah. Excellent. Perfect. Thank you. What a does kind of said, well, let's go through flower. Um, you know, and then down the line. Yeah. So as far as like flower, what they could use it for or no, no, no. Just uh, what is currently selling? Well, just generally everything really sells well because it's just depending on what you need it for, you know what I mean? So right now we have a lot of really good sativas that are going to help elevate. You bought a bond, kind of that depression, you know, and then we have some nice indicas right now, like especially as pure Kush, that's going to be really sensitive.

Speaker 6: So if you're having a hard time sleeping or relaxing, we have separate that. People will use cbd, like I said, for anxiety, pain, inflammation. The CBD is, you can have various amounts of tcs, you know, so we can find ones that are going to be right for that person. So everything. That was a great a bud tender answer by the way. Let me specify what's one of your favorites, right? Okay. Yeah, I like the m three kings. It's something that we cultivate. It's a headband and sour diesel. I've always been a really big fan of sour diesel and in the Oge and the headband, it's kind of like set that strain off so it just as a really like very euphoric, but also clearheaded really nice. A daytime smoke, you know. Excellent. And I'm, am I right in saying that the orange, our sativa? Nope.

Speaker 6: Uh, what, what, what's the color coordination? Uh, we really color code everything to make it so that members can find things easily. So even if you're not willing or it's harder for you to latch onto the strain names and their effects than I can even just help you by colors. I can teach you a system, you know, we put all of our sativa is an orange, so if someone, you know, once you use the TV during the day, but it's having a hard time really differentiating, we can set them up with oranges or daytime's indicas, which we put in green or nighttime. So we want to make sure that all of these are used accurately in the color code, differentiates the different types so that people can really help pick it easily, use it easily, and make sure that what they're using this for the intended effect.

Speaker 6: Yeah. And that was my assumption, but then I saw a red, purple and green. I know one of one of them has to be some sort of hybrid. So most clubs you go to or just going to put hybrids in their own categories, but there's such a range of affect on a hybrid. So to give you a better idea, we break them down into sativa, dominant hybrids. So a combination but more sativa, it's going to be more, a little more heady, a little bit more energy, you know, those are the reds. Yeah. That's going to be a sativa hybrid. There was gonna be in the red and um, those are going to be great for someone who wants energy but doesn't want too much energy. That can kinda sparked paranoia. Uh, we put the Annika dominant hybrids in the purple. This is really great for someone who wants to relaxation but doesn't want it to be fatigued or heavily sedated at night, you know what I mean?

Speaker 6: They can cook dinner on slowly relax without just being knocked out. So yeah, we definitely try to go a little bit above and beyond in the hybrid category and uh, give people a better idea of what they're getting into because we're all about the education and knowing what you know, putting your body and what effect that could possibly be. Absolutely. And that was just flower. Let's go over to the next category. Yeah. We use the same color code on everything here actually. That way when people are kind of dipping their toe into concentrates or edibles, they can use that same color code system to find what they need. So we have both a Bho and CEO to super concentrates, waxes in your shadows and your butters. Also some resins that we're bringing on and I'm live resin that's really exciting. You know, new techniques that we are one what as far as concentrates is selling best now I think we have one that's actually a high cbd.

Speaker 6: That's really rare so that anytime people come in and they kind of want like a heavier dose of cbd, that's really awesome that we're able to provide a shot or have it. That's kind of harder to find because it doesn't produce as much, you know, but anything like right now the Chiquita Banana, that's my personal favorite. It's really nice. Why elevating really clearheaded? Um, but not too racy with a nice euphoric, really tasty. It's a great company. It's utopia. Farms that brings it in. They won a cannabis cup, do really great job. Everything's really clean with them. So you're not getting any residuals. Everything's tested. So we know that like everything that you're going to dab here is going to say. Sure. Excellent. The uh, we really excel in the water washes. That's actually how I found out about spark. So we have a bunch of water hazards from companies like w and just various hash makers that are really great solventless concentrate.

Speaker 6: So allow people to Medicaid at a higher thc level or high cbd level without having the solvents if they're worried about that. Understood. Okay. So we've got flour, we've got concentrates, edibles, and you've got nice cards there and that's fantastic. Out of the three which sells a most, in other words, I have a guest and I wonder if I'm right. Probably the flower really. I was going to guest concentrates, concentrates. It's kind of a more niche market. It's still. Some people were Kinda habitualizing into that or some people were born with a higher tolerance, you know what I mean? But it's kind of a select. It's still select. Yeah. Like probably a slightly less amount of people are using concentrates because it's such a stronger product. Is it on the rise do you think? Or. No, definitely with the vape pens it's made it a lot more accessible, sensible, you know what I mean, available to people without the stigma of any torches or any dab rigs that you would need.

Speaker 2: So definitely like a lot of the concentrated consult that I'm doing are more regarding towards a vapor pens and vape cartridges. You know what I mean? And that's really popular. It's just a cleaner, a little bit less out there, more discreet way to medicate, you know, we go put it in my jacket pocket and go. It's a lot more mobile. Yeah. You'll see. You'll see a lot of guys. We're going to go with them. Yeah, exactly. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. All right. So, so there you have it for us. And that was a nice coupling with you pulling out your vape pen. Um, I'd be remissed if I didn't ask what brand it was. Right. We don't have to say we have a smart battery. This brand is so blind ceo and it's a spark battery. It is, yeah. We provide our own batteries.

Speaker 2: All right. Excellent. Um, there seems to be a little work station area here. Yeah. So I mean this is just the same menu here as what's available online and our point of sale system is integrated so that if we run out of product or medicine on the floor, um, you're no longer gonna be able to see it online. And what we do is we just offer this computer here at sparks so that members can take their own time and read about the history of the pedigree, so to speak, of various strains and, and their availability here. So that's, that's about awesome. All right, let's go back into the admin office and literally talk shop. Obviously it's locked under lock and key and here we go and it's a, it's an office is what it is. And um, you know, here we are at and kind of your, your station as far as I see a lot of people around here.

Speaker 2: You know, how many people are on staff? Well, I think altogether between our cultivation or dispensary's and so forth, we have over 200 employees at this point. Wow. Constantly growing. I mean, it's that type of industry, right? And we're not unique, whereas the cultivation a well, we have cold division all over northern California. I mean more than half of the medicine that comes into spark isn't grown iceberg. That's what I figured. Right? But there's some of the cultivation that we have is up in Sonoma county, Mendocino, Humboldt, you know, it's difficult places for northern cal. The trying. Yeah, exactly. Emerald Triangle. Um, so what we're looking at here is actually, we call it the brain. This is where the medicine comes in and it's weight and it's tested. It's held here while it's being tested. And then when the test results come back, then it can go out to the floor.

Speaker 2: Got It. So there's inventory buckets and buckets and the specific quantities of uh, well, everything I guess. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And everything's prepackaged before it actually gets to the retail facility. Here are the dispensary, but that's where it stores, that's where it's stored. So we're at a, like you said, about 200 and, and growing and growing. Um, you know, we've been talking to folks in California about Murcia. I'm on the operational level, uh, you know, at the dispensary floor if you will, you know, has, has that kind of made its way down to you guys just yet. We're through to you or up to you, depending on your point of view, how much of the conversation has come to you, I guess is the question. Yeah, I mean, and that's a great question. It depends on what you're looking at. You know, when we're talking about things like there's just so much in Murcia to consider, right?

Speaker 2: We were talking about traceability. We're talking about licenses and how many licenses you can control. We're talking about a myriad of things and so what we're doing right now is we're trying to take a look at what's been written, what the law says and what we can anticipate and then pair that with what we do in operations and we're seeing some areas where we're like, oh, that's not going be a problem to comply with other areas where it's like, well, that's going to be a challenge, but you know what? In the end, we're happy to meet that challenge. We're happy to come into compliance. We want, as I said, to be this industry to be as normal as possible. Give it to us, give us the regulations and we will work through them and that's, you know, when we talked to city councilman's, uh, all across northern California because that's where we branched out, where everywhere basically is a, they tell us we never have an industry coming to us, begging us to tax them and regulate them.

Speaker 2: And so yeah, it's definitely a unique situation, but it's one we're proud to be in, uh, on the, um, on the growth front, uh, anything else that you'd like to share as we make our way out here? Because this is a lovely office, but it's just an office we've seen kind of everything as far as growth or a spark in general. Anything else to say that we haven't said? I'm sure you guys are always busy, but, uh, anything top level. I'm not really right now. Uh, what we have to look forward to this month is of course every year is April 20th. So this month's. Yeah, it sparked. Everything gets a little crazy. We're all anticipating a huge crowd and you know, it's, but it's a great time. It's that time of year where we can all kind of work really hard, but then let loose when that time comes and just celebrate with the community.

Speaker 2: Excellent. It's packed in here automatically. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean there's a line that I would say maybe it goes around the block and then we don't allow combustibles at spark. We don't allow people to burn. We do allow vaporization and so forth, but on that day we make a special exception exception, so let. That is one thing that we were supposed to talk about that we didn't talk about. You guys have onsite consumption. Okay. Tell everyone else in the world what that's like. Well, onside consumption is really, from what I've heard is, is pretty unique to San Francisco or at least some areas in California and and that's just being able to purchase a medicine, walk a couple feet, sit down and and and Medicaid, so to speak, and what we offer at sparker. These vapor volcanoes is what they're called and it just heats up the medicine two point into a bag where you can breathe it in and it also allows it, unlike other dispensaries where they're allowed combustibles, you know, you walk in to some of those dispensers that cloud smoke, cloud of smoke, and, and for some patients that's really hard to tolerate.

Speaker 2: So what we've done is we tried to find a hybrid where people can enjoy medicating onsite without actually burning anything. And that's also really useful. You know, city San Francisco is very supportive of this because there's a lot of people in San Francisco, they don't have an opportunity to medicate in their own home. People are very close up next to each other is very condensed here and there, you know, so that provides that opportunity for them and it's been onsite consumption from the jump, right? Uh, yeah, we had onsite consumption approval since we opened in 2009. And uh, what issues have there been with onsite consumption? Actually, we've had no issues, not onsite consumption. What I would are you in and what we're trying to make an argument here in the city is that it should be encouraged really, uh, because you're, you're getting patients to come in and stay here while they're medicating instead of walking around the block or going down the corner in front of maybe people who don't want to see it or for whatever reason don't want it around them. Um, so it's really a service to everybody. Yeah. It's welcome here. Exactly. Yeah.

Speaker 7: Uh, okay. I think that's it. Uh, I'll go ahead and ask you the final question that we ask everybody, which is on the soundtrack of his life. One Song or one track

Speaker 2: that's got to be on there. Ooh, you're a younger guy. So yeah. That's why it's so tough. I mean, there's, I, I don't know if I should appeal to the older Bob Marley crowd or what has been done. Sure. Well, what would you pick there? Eh? Um, buffalo soldier. And I said, sure. Yeah.

Speaker 7: Dreadlock route. Dreadlock Russell. There you go. Yeah. Uh, what. Did you have another thought though? Did you have something else that rose to the top? Are we going with that? I think we'll have to stick with that. Buffalo Soldier Freston. Thanks so much. Yeah, likewise. Thank you.

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Speaker 7: It's done everywhere. We're in your grow and you know, we're looking at this wall of licenses, wall of certifications. What are we looking at? Well, you're looking at the OPC licenses or sentra for each operation that's supported by this grow. We run a vertically integrated system. So, uh, um, that's where it all comes from along with the city and county of Denver has a business licenses, etc. So pretty much a hodgepodge of all the things that we carry here to keep this thing running a one grow. How many retail locationS? A 14. And so there's about what, 35 pieces of document here on the wall? Yeah, I think there's actually a few more than that too. Well, it was never, never learned how to, how to add. This is what it is. Alright. So now we're going to go in here to the, to the grow a, everyone's warned me, uh, what, what I'm about to look at, you know, well, what you're about to look at, um, is, is what we consider to be a pretty efficient sort of a machine.

Speaker 7: Um, you know, our staff are very, very well trained, um, and hopefully happy and what they're doing. We're proud of them. All right, let's go check them out in real time. I'm noticing there is that uh, uh, one of the, uh, what heads from easter island, is that right? Yes. But it's actually made of hempcrete. So, uh, it's a ground up a cannabis leaf, a sitter and stalks that, uh, will waste from this particular factory and turned into hempcrete hempcrete. Yeah. It's a lightweight version of concrete and in actual fact it's used widely and construction in europe and uh, has five better in to rico properties than concrete. Alright. Yeah, there you go. So we'll talk about that a little bit more later. Maybe. What am I looking at here? A field. This is one of our big areas. So, uh, plants and here I'm a roughly a two to three months of age.

Speaker 7: It's not a lot of walls in here. No, no. Um, we do treat it as a farm as opposed to. I'm just replicating what perhaps somebody was growing in a basement. So let's just have more basements. Not a section and section and section of basement and basement in the basement. This is a farm. yeah, this is a fun. Alright. So here's bedroom number one. that's right. All right. Where are we going next? Well, we can show you a number two. And how many square foot do we want to get into that? How many square feet of veggies you have or some sort of number of the facility that you're in, you know, uh, as far as grow area goes is about 140,000 square feet. That's it though. Yeah. Only the 140,000 square feet. That's right. All right. And so we've got acdc playing in the background. Uh, axl rose. Now of course they're new lead singer again, we'll get into that later as we walk back through the doorway here and. Right. So I can see

Speaker 3: here we are. Okay. So a yet another field, a slightly smaller, but uh, this is not a small room.

Speaker 7: no, it's not. And uh, the difference in this room is a, that of course it's all, all led lighting and that's the big gap purple color that you're standing under now. So, um, you know, we're steadily converting the entire growth over to led. So, uH, it's taken over three years to learn to drive them properly

Speaker 3: and it's a completely different temperature, physical temperature in here. It's a completely different source of light, of course. Uh, what else can you tell us about the grow, about the cost, about the cost savings?

Speaker 7: Well, the cost savings, uh, perhaps less than the light itself and more in the savings and air conditioning, um, because of the, uh, less heat of course. So we're finding that the air conditioners are running only 20 percent of what they used to and that's the real energy saving. There you go. All right. So, uh, we move on to the next room. All right.

Speaker 3: And it is, it's a completely different light and inside and outside your eyes need to adjust every time

Speaker 7: they do. And uh, you know, uh, we, we provide glasses for our staff that are working in there constantly. So over here, we're walking now past all the fertigation system. Um, it's a fully automated system that injects nutrients into the water line directly directly and, um, there's no mixing and holding tanks. So, uh, that's the system. And then it all goes out to the drip lines and, uh, all the plants are all on. And then here's a pretty advanced ceo to system. Yeah. Yup, yup. Of course. You know, we supplement the co two in the building. Um, you know, we're in a naturally oxygen rich environment and the plants are a styling. So

Speaker 3: how new is that a, because it, it looks, you know, on the new side there aren't tanks I'm noticing.

Speaker 7: Um, no, the uh, uh, the, the lodge tank is outside actually of course. But, um, um, the system itself, nails been there for two or three years. It has been. Okay, here we go. Yep. We're now, uh, in our, uh, mum farm area. So this is where we cut all the clones. Um, there it is literally somebody cloning right there as we speak. That's right. So, uh, they prepare the clones a trim them. Um, it's an exacting job. We're very proud of where we've got to in, in our strike rates, et cetera. Um, you know, when, years ago when they first started this, it was a down around 40 or 50 percent. And now we're well on 80 percent rate. Right. What, what do you think that that is? You know, Aside from a practice makes perfect. What else would you attribute it? The, uh, the increase to?

Speaker 7: I think the, um, the biggest thing is being to stabilize the conditions in our clean room, which we're about to aim to nail and you know, to get those conditions, you know, just perfect to strike route and a clone. A very, very important. Okay. And here we go into the next room and yes, here are the babies door closes behind us. I've got one of your workers working on working on something as we speak. That's right. I'm a coolest, you know, we're, we're tracking everything in here is, um, a thousand's of clones in front of us at varying stages of development. They're in here for about three weeks. Um, and, uh, coolest side, you know, all of the 30 5:40 strains that we have in production represented. And how often do you add, subtract your. You're doing that all the time. Uh, I would imagine that it's been 35, 40 for a while, or you know.

Speaker 7: Yes, it has, um, you know, we've stabilized around there and the respect that that offers, um, you know, very, very good sort of a selection from a customer situation and we've found that more than that becomes, I think, a daunting task to the, to the customer. Um, they, it, it just becomes as the decision, oh, so overpowering that they, perhaps one isn't made. So baskin robbins 31 flavors. They had something there. Yup. Yup. The, he uh, I think they did. And um, you know, um, I'm not one to reinvent the wheel if I don't have to. So there you go. All right. And uh, there are some similarities between ice scream and a cannabis, but again, we'll get into those later. Now we're going up the stairs, up the stairs and we'll show you one of flowers. All right, so here's the good stuff. We've been through vege, we've been through clones, we've been through, you know, the cloning process. We're walking up the stairs to one of the flower rooms. We've got some music playing. We can hear that. All right, here we are. Here's those sunglasses we were talking about. That's fantastic. Yo guys were sunglasses. Yeah. Yeah. we've got to keep the guys looking. Cool. So here we are. This is a remarkable. I'm looking to my left. I'm looking straight ahead and I can't see the wall in front of me if we. Do you mind walking down here?

Speaker 7: You know, uh, various heights. Five feet. It looks like at least over five feet coming up on six feet. And then this is still going. John, thIs is ridiculous. this is, this is crazy. This. What are we looking at? How good this is? Good. This is insane. Yeah, it's, it's,

Speaker 8: it's lodged to say the least.

Speaker 3: That. Okay. You are saying the least I guess. I guess. I mean if, if, how many. This is the flower room. You mentioned that there are more than one flower room.

Speaker 7: Yeah. This is one of our, one of four flower rooms. Four of these. Yes. We can show you a two this afternoon and two, you can poke your head in the door to prove that there. But I'm barren. Darkness. Yeah. And, and so we're talking, you mentioned the square footage. What, what kind of yields are we talking about? Well, it's one we're proud of and uh, I'll probably leave it at that. Also, um, you know, our yields, they have continued to increase, you know, as, as our techniques and have become more refined. Um, you know, we, we run a, a huge r and d department, um, everything is really, really solidly tasted before it's implemented into production regime.

Speaker 3: Uh, so, and you mentioned that at the beginning that really, this, there is a tremendous amount of process to what goes on here. This isn't just happening.

Speaker 7: No, this is a farm. It's a production facility in it and it's run as such. And so it has to be original, mean did flow through it and, and the processes have to be repeated every day. We can have, you know, 50 godness linking, well maybe I'll do this today, it just can't work that way. So, um, We have vsop vs, um, and they have to be followed day in, day out. And you have a couple of phds on staff. Yes, we do. Um, though within the r and d department, and uh, everything as a seed that we do here is firmly tested before we roll it out into the field. Uh,

Speaker 3: a field it is, sir. This is ridiculous. I mean, I could just, it's ridiculous. I don't, we need to move on. And also I keep repeating myself. I mean w, so let's talk about scale for a second. You know, as far as uh, well, uh, your, your cohorts in the industry that do the same thing as you. Um, I've been to, I've done many of these tours and this is, you know, significantly larger than anything I've seen a why is, that is the first question.

Speaker 8: Well, we,

Speaker 7: I think moved away from sort of having the master grower concept at a fairly early stage. We decided that production had to be something that was consistent and repeatable. Um, my goal was just as somebody going and buying wheaties at king soopers, you walk down the aisle, you put that box in your car and off you go to the checkout. You don't rip the lids off 20 wheaties boxes and put just snotty nose in each one and you know, expect to find one that's better than the others. And okay, That entire process I think has been born of a black market situation where you were buying something on the street and it did, it varied every day from something that that was before. So there wAs a reasonable amount of mistrust, let's say in the black market industry and here in a legitimate business where we, we're okay, we were in a controlled environment.

Speaker 7: We can rinSe and repeat and do this again. That ultimately the customer needs to have confidence that what they bought last week is what they can buy again this week. And okay, we have to earn that trust and confidence from, from a customer. Um, and, and I think we're getting there, you know, uh, with, with most now of our pre packaged product, the customers aren't going through that process that they're taking the one ounce jar, taking it home with the expectation that when they open that lid, it's good and that's the way I want their experience to be. good and consistent. Yup. Yup. Alright, here we go to the next one,

Speaker 3: just a to the next place here. And these radios that you have in here. These are serious. So sound systems by the way. They are. We've taken the liberty of turning them down right now or this interview wouldn't take place, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen to it loud and proud so to speak. Here we go. Coming back down the stairs and just the walls, you know, kind of expand. What, when did you move into this facility?

Speaker 7: Actually? Um, I own the facility for many years prior to cannabis and know I used to. I'm a manufacturing warehouse, a baby product for walmart and toys r us and that sort of thing in this building. That's not an example. That's what you did? Yeah, that's what I did right back upstairs, or let's have a look here with the actual lab working into the job. So in here, what you're seeing is a plants abroad in from the bus every day. Every day something happens in the garden. Every everyday we're planting every day. Uh, it's growing up being fine and everyday we have a. So it's a perpetual harvest. So in here what's happening is the plants are being sort of basically dissected into about five different categories. Um, and you know, the top of the crop is hand trimmed to see it. Um, I'm pre hung by hand trim and then I'm low. Lower in the mid crop is st full mechanical trImming and name the bottom of the crop goes up to our extractions. So we'll go and that's what we skipped, right? This extractions. Yeah, we'll come back to them towards the end of the tour in here and here. The trim is running right now.

Speaker 7: Hard to believe that that's the middle of the crop by the way. um, you know, we're pretty proud of that crop. It's prolific and consistent and every year it's gotten better. So we've got our trace here. Yup. Um, the product is graded, it's put onto drawing trays, um, you know, the, uh, the plant tags day with the crop all the way through with this point, of course the metric tax. yes. And I'm from here and it goes through, into our cure a scene to through here, which is a lot quieter than this. So let's do that. Nice big, what seems to be refrigerator door was modeled on, um, commercial refrigeration because this, um, these 10 drawing rooms that you see in here are curing rooms, are all individually insulated. They all have their own, uh, separate, uh, hvac and humidity controls so we can control individually what's going on in each room. Interesting. So after the grow, you have to grow in such large rooms after that, you do break it down. Yeah. Um, you know, for cure, we run batches of about two days of harvest than to a cure room. And then you know, it, it goes through the cure process, um, after that, um, it's a, it's bagged up into batches and then it goes through and do our processing area. All right, so here we go. So we're, we're having some of your workers from the other room take the fine looking plan into this role. So

Speaker 7: going back through and of course that's the mechanical schermer that's what it sounds like going right past

Speaker 7: and into now this'll, this'll probably be packaging, right? Yes. So the bulk product goes through, into the theory or over here, what's happening? Um, all the puddles are individually weighed out it's theater. Um, and this is sort of the pre pack area, um, product is around us. Um, you know, is extremely consistent quality. We're proud of it. Vacuum. Sealed. Yup. Yes. Uh, in nitrogen. Okay. And there are, I mean, everybody, what is easily noticeable is the fact that everyone here is working and working hard. Yeah, I'm really proud of the work ethic within the whole company. You know, every, everybody works their titles off and uh, and uh, we're very, very proud of that and for that consideration. And we do a four zero, one k plan, full pay for healthcare and uh, you know, uh, I feel strongly about that. The, you know, it's, it's really, it's a good thing to be able to do in this industry.

Speaker 7: Yeah, absolutely. It set you apart, I would imagine. Um, yes, I believe so. Yeah. Alright. So how many employees do you have? I mean, there are a tremendous number of people here, um, company wide, around 550, um, within this facility, about half of that. So that's what you're thinking here. Alright. Yeah. Retail and uh, and, and the coolest a backroom, hr, accounting, cetera, admin and admin and such. You've got it. Now we're going from a packing and now we're in distribution from these computers. Uh, the staff can see inventory levels and real time at our stores. Um, and so that's what's going on here, that we're importing all the data into the metric system as well, but then they pull from our backstory, they can make up the orders to go out to the stores that pretty busy at the moment, as you can imagine with a 4:20, uh, you know, just two days away.

Speaker 7: Indeed. And that is, uh, one of the reasons why we're in town, how much different our is this week than last week? Actually, we, uh, I think, uh, last weekend being a one huge snow storm in a little bit of a damper on sales a week. I'm sorry, I'm in an average week. Yeah. So for 20 versus anything else. Okay. If we take last year, that sort of thing. Um, around about a 40 percent increase a week over week and then about a 20 percent decrease the following week making for a total of sort of a nato over a two week period of about a 20 percent increase which will take. Yeah. Which were all right. And so, Uh, you know, I know that we've got to get suited up to go through, um, you know, uh, extraction and all that would probably skip all that. Um, maybe you can send us some pictures of that area. What else?

Speaker 3: Why haven't we seen? We can take you up a show you l, a r and d area upstairs. Yeah, let's look at that. So here we are going back up the stairs in a very different part of the facility. It is really a gargantuan facility. Footprint is remarkable. It is two to three times larger than anything else in Colorado that I personally have seen. And uh, you know, you mentioned kind of the fact that uh, putting process into place and, and, uh, making sure that that was the guiding principle in production being the guiding principles as opposed to retail. When, when do you think you may be pulled away to a different, just a different scope and scale than, than anything else that, uh, that's around.

Speaker 7: Well, I think initially, uh, we play out every dollar of this thing back into the business, um, that helped build this thing that you're in now. Um, and that sort of gave us our production strength from there. Once we've got that sort of up and running and really performing, we were able to go out, sort of turn attention to retail by then and we're going back now three, four years ago. Um,

Speaker 3: which is a different time. That's before adult use.

Speaker 7: Yes. Um, our retail had kind of suffered at the expensive, sort of the concentration of money and effort that went into this growth facility, but it was a less sophisticated clientele at the time as well. Um, and, and less demanding and product, et cetera, et cetera. And then the, the, the public, I'm a conceptional or the public as to what they want now. his really matured rapidly. So, um, I think we got the timing right. We put the effort into the growth side initially and then we've swapped over to a lot of attention at retail. We've done some huge improvements within our dispensary's. the latest one we've done was in excess of a million dollar build out within the, within the walls. Um, so retail's become, instead of sort of a, a dingy dark room somewhere, a really great retail experience, well lit, bright everything you would expect from a sophisticated retail experience sale. They, uh, you know, uh, if you went off to a different sort of a store, a showroom. Exactly. And so, um, we're, we're now, I think reaping the rewards of that in a more sophisticated and demanding customer. We've really seen an incredible increase in the number of female shoppers. Yeah,

Speaker 3: that's it. The market has arrived

Speaker 7: as opposed to what is the market? Yes, it has. All right. So, which brings us to r and d, we, here we are an r and d. What is happening? Well, just smaller versions all around what you saw, right? Just scale. Um, so these, um, uh, a small crops basically, um, there will be some marked differences to what is going on. Um, and the results of say for our coolest logged, everything that went on is kept very, very carefully because, and then the experiment is usually repeated out there in the, in the main grow again, under those same conditions. So thAt we see the results sort of continued after that and we've sort of done it three times and got a similar sort of a result, then it's time to just that I'm rolling that out into the main grow. And even then it's done.

Speaker 7: And gradually, um, just in case there was any areas that we didn't foresee and that's all aspects. He showed me an area of, uh, led lights that were cordoned off from the rest, uh, that were different from the leds led lights that you're using. So it's everything from the plant to the lights to everything it is. It is, and you can't change too many variables at once, otherwise you'll never know what it was that you did change in an experiment. Um, and because it's well more or less a five month crawl r and d actually takes quite a long time and it's not something that we can come up with a result and a couple of weeks. So this is a extremely impressive john. It really is. And uh, I guess the one option would be now to go tour the 15 stores or we could just call it a day here.

Speaker 7: As far as the, the tour of this facility. Well, we get a, certainly a take it to the they are and see what you think of that too because we're proud of that experience. Um, but, uh, you know, this, uh, you know, now we just start walking in a, you know, a widening circles here within this grow. And you will get sick of that up for awhile. Exactly. And you know, there's no other bedrooms and other rooms. I think we've seen it times three times four. So, uh, as far as the tour is concerned, I have not seen a, an indoor grow of the scale and size as you well know. And uh, I appreciate you taking us through it. Well, thank you very much. San francisco and Colorado and under an hour

Speaker 1: can't make it up. Folks. hope you enjoyed that episode. The double header as work let us know. Engage@canadaeconomy.com. Looking for some direct communication. Also, feel free to, you know, check out the social networks and can economy two ends of the word economy. And thanks for listening.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.