MJBizMag September 2022 - 38

STRENGTH AT ANY SIZE
isn't always the best action in those
circumstances, according to some
marijuana executives-and if they are to
be cut, they should be cut strategically.
For example, Wiseman said the drop
in Maryland's flower prices has allowed
her to offer discounts on flower, but
she is compensating by offering fewer
discounts on other products. Premium
flower prices have dropped in Maryland
from about $4,000 per pound to around
$3,000 per pound, while popcorn buds
sell for about $2,000 per pound.
" As an independent retailer, it's
difficult to offer a really steep discount
if you're not getting the product at a
decent rate. And you can't control the
wholesale market, " Wiseman said.
Buying popcorn buds that appealed
to value-conscious flower consumers
" allowed us to get better discounts, and
so we can offer better pricing and also
make sure that we're getting a margin
there. "
She also realized Mary & Main was
offering too many discounts and cut
back.
" We didn't realize how much money
we were giving away every year, "
Wiseman said. So, she changed her
strategy to offer fewer discounts, cut
discounts on some items and give
deeper discounts on others.
" It's really helped us survive, "
she said. " We just got smarter with
inventory and cut all the fat from our
expenses. "
3
PARTNER WITH ANOTHER
SMALL BUSINESS
Sometimes the best way to survive as a
small business is to work with another
small business. Calvin Akers and his
partner, James Dube, each launched
cannabis careers in Maine's caregiver
market about eight years ago.
After meeting through mutual
acquaintances, they realized they had
complementary skill sets and decided
to partner: Akers was a regulatory
and marketing expert; Dube was a
cultivation and extraction guru.
38 September 2022 | MJBizMagazine
Branding is key for Oregon's Siren Cannabis. Courtesy Photo
" It was a combination of watching
the industry grow and knowing that
if we wanted to grow, too, it would be
easier to do as part of a team rather
than solo, " Akers said.
But under Maine's complicated
rules, the two can't operate as a single
business. Their grows are under
one roof but in separate rooms; the
retail store is licensed under Akers,
while the processing facility where
they make solventless hash and other
solventless products is under a separate
manufacturing license.
Akers said it took about three years
to work through the zoning, ordinances
and licensing. The result was Wisely
Cannabis, a vertically integrated
medical marijuana business.
But Akers and Dube aren't done. The
town they are in, Sanford, Maine, opted
in to allow adult-use businesses, and
now the two are preparing to make the
leap into that market.
At the same time, Wiseley's
solventless products have caught the
attention of some out-of-state cannabis
businesses, so the partners are now
working on licensing deals that will
generate income and broaden their
brand name.
4
STAND OUT
WITH BRANDING
Akers and Dube knew that if they
wanted their small business to
compete in an increasingly crowded
market, they would need to somehow
distinguish themselves.
" We realized that quality in anything
is going to make you stand out
Budtenders at Winewood Organics led
the charge to start carrying bubble hash.
Courtesy Photo
over quantity, " Akers said. They also
realized that the best way to leverage
that quality wouldn't be in flower, since
there were already many cultivators in
the state. Rather, it would have to be
through another high-quality product.
The partners first looked into edibles
but saw a cost-intensive endeavor
in an increasingly crowded market.
Then, in 2018, they heard about rosin,
which was just emerging as a product
category.
" We decided that we needed to pick
a lane, and we went with solventless
(concentrates), " Akers said. That
decision led to hash production and,
later, solventless concentrate-infused
edibles.
" It was not a simple transition because
we took a lot of losses learning, "
Akers said. But once they finalized
their hash and rosin recipes, " the path
couldn't be any clearer. "
" Licensed companies from other
states want to bring Wisely into their
states, and we are exploring that, "
he said.
Matt Walstatter, co-founder and CEO
of Siren Cannabis in Portland, Oregon,
a cultivation business that recently

MJBizMag September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag September 2022

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