MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 41

The Bohemian
grew medical marijuana in the
famed region. Her flower was sold
at dispensaries mostly in Southern
California; she also created balms and
salves to treat her rheumatoid arthritis.
Less than a half-mile away, Roberts
developed a Mediterranean-style
compound called The Madrones. After
closing the design business he ran on
the property, Roberts started renting
tasting room space to local wineries.
When California voters passed
adult-use marijuana legalization
in 2016, Roberts realized that a
cannabis brand would complement
the businesses already occupying
The Madrones, which over the years
had grown to include several tasting
rooms, guest accommodations, a
restaurant and a gift shop.
" I followed so closely, having so many
wineries on the property-at one time
we had four wineries-and I said, this is
the perfect thing for cannabis. Let's do
it like a small family boutique winery,
where we actually cultivate our own
cannabis and then we'll have a place
where we sell it. "
What's for Sale
In addition to its own branded
products, The Bohemian Chemist
sells " mainstay " brands such as Papa
& Barkley and Mary's Medicinals at its
storefront in The Madrones.
" We don't carry a lot of flower, just
because we're in a very small town, and
(foot traffic is) very seasonal. So, we
concentrate mostly on our own flower,
and then we're also trying to support
other craft brands, " Roberts said.
While he was cognizant of how his
winery tenants would respond to the
store, Roberts knew a lot of winemakers
use cannabis, which he describes as
part of Mendocino County's culture.
The reaction of tasting-room patrons
and guests at the inn, however, have
been surprising-sometimes even to the
guests themselves.
" A lot of people will come in and
they'll say, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm not
the first
box for its
cannabis club
this spring.
Courtesy Photo
interested in that.' And then the next
day, they'll peek their head in and
they'll say, 'My shoulder's hurting,' or,
'I used to do this in high school.' It's in
the way that we have it set up, it's very
approachable, " Roberts said, adding
that he recently opened a consumption
lounge at The Madrones.
" They'll come in maybe thinking they
don't want to have anything to do with
this, and by the end of their trip, maybe
they've purchased a gummy or some
pre-rolls or an ointment. And they'll
load up before they go. It's been a really
interesting journey for us. "
Benefits of Membership
In addition to welcoming guests to their
tasting rooms, boutique wineries often
cater to out-of-town customers through
wine clubs, which give members access
to exclusive offerings and events for a
recurring fee.
Roberts had long planned to create
a similar program through The
Bohemian Chemist, and the club's
debut box-The Alchemist-launched
in April at select retailers and through
California-based delivery services.
Going forward, Roberts plans to ship
three boxes to members per year: The
Alchemist, which focuses on rare cannabinoids,
landrace varietals and genetics;
The Summer Solstice, which will arrive
in June and contain his favorite products;
and The Harvest, which arrives in
November, after harvest, filled with the
company's latest offerings.
For cannabis enthusiasts, Roberts
said there are multiple benefits to
membership: " One is that they are
going to get a preferential release of
something. " With just 5,000 square
feet of cultivation space, yields of some
cultivars can be 5 pounds or less, he
said, adding, " They'll probably get
things before anybody else does. "
Additionally, The Bohemian Chemist
plans to include extra items in the
boxes, driving their value above the
$190 sticker price. Members will also be
eligible to receive perks when they visit
the Philo-based store in person.
Roberts said he looks at the box as
a sampling of products intended to
drive customers back to The Bohemian
Chemist and its retail partners.
The company's branded products
currently are available in fewer than 20
stores in California, and Roberts says
he tries to reward good retail partners
with geographic exclusivity.
" If we get into a really good retail
partner in a certain area, we're not
going to sell to a store that's really close
to them, " he said, adding that avoiding
two retailers trying to undercut each
other on the price of his brand helps
cement its value.
" Right now, we're going to be doing
straight wholesale (on The Alchemist
boxes), " Roberts said, " and then we'll
do a drop through some of our retail
partners. So, basically, the retailer
will be able to get their full markup
on it, with the thought that maybe,
eventually, this will be something that
customers could get from us directly. "
mjbizdaily.com | May-June 2023 39

MJBizMag May-June 2023

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