Craft cannabis is the marijuana industry’s small-batch sector

Michael Steinmetz, left, CEO of Flow Kana, examines cannabis plants with Cyril Guthridge, founder of Waterdog Herb Farm in Mendocino County, California. (Photo by Bobby Cochran Photography)

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the August issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

The cannabis industry is becoming increasingly dominated by big firms, but there still is room for small, craft marijuana producers who peddle high-end products ranging from flower to edibles.

In fact, according to advocates of small cannabis businesses, if the sector evolves under the right conditions, craft will be the future of the marijuana sector.

Conversely, they say, under the wrong conditions, craft will perish and leave the space to a handful of cannabis conglomerates.

“We are in danger of rushing into implementation of this large industry so quickly and in such a way that it crushes the craft industry that does exist,” Adam Smith, president of the Oregon-based Craft Cannabis Alliance (CCA), told Marijuana Business Magazine.

“That is the main danger … that it will get crushed.”

To understand the dangers that a craft cannabis company faces, it helps to understand how industry stakeholders define “craft.”

Generally, it comes down to a set of factors:

  • The business is majority-owned by locals and also sources its inputs locally, produces locally and employs locals.
  • The business produces a smaller amount of product compared to larger competitors. (Exact numbers haven’t been defined.)
  • The business stresses values – such as compensating employees well and contributing to the community – and puts them ahead of the bottom line.
  • The business uses only organic or natural products and environmentally friendly methods.
  • Growers, processors and other employees are able to offer personal care to individual plants and products that larger operations can’t provide.

“A craft product is something that is sourced with intention, that has a connection to the community that it’s produced in, whether that’s through the sourcing of ingredients or paying homage, respect and tribute to the culture where the facility is in,” said Bryce Berryessa, CEO of La Vida Verde, a craft infused product company in California. La Vida Verde, which has a 5,000-square-foot grow, sources additional marijuana and organic ingredients from other craft businesses in Santa Cruz County.

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8 comments on “Craft cannabis is the marijuana industry’s small-batch sector
  1. Lee on

    Your story on craft cannabis shows Mr Steinmetz and Mr Guthridge looking at a plant with what appears to be opium poppies in the foreground. Hmmn? . Be careful what you post. If we see it, so does Big Brother!!

    Reply
  2. Marie on

    All the talk and action of legalization leaves me to worry will there be affordable weed and be what we want. Or will us av erage consumer be left to continue buying on the dark market.

    Reply
  3. William Burchette on

    How about just letting us all grow our own as the craft beer industry does? I for one would never spend a dime on their over priced products.

    Reply
  4. Rod Gass on

    “Craft cannabis is the marijuana industry’s small-batch sector”

    At first reading I noted the confused English language being tossed into chaos. But after additional spection, I was happy to see the journalists’ were crafty and correct.

    Marijuana is the industry. Cannabis is the handcrafted essence.

    “That is the main danger … that it will get crushed.”

    When the industry brings in millions of $$$ from foreign investors as in the CSE (canadian stock exchange), money becomes the ultimate controlling element. The love of profit rises to monster proportions. Monsters’ of profit can/will do anything for their drug of choice. The compassionate care of the essence gets lost and turned into a needless waste of effort.

    It’s now clearly a period in human history where compassion from us old-time small-scale cannabis cultivators is no longer a desirable force. We’re in the way of the growth of money unrelated to compassion. 215 is still called the Compassionate Use Act in the handcrafted cannabis culture. $64 is the drum-beat of money before cannabis.

    When we mistakenly support the misunderstand ramifications of “legalization”, we absolutely expose the requirement of the cash market for cannabis. Consumer’s gladly purchase the positive handcrafted cannabis over marijuana, when possible. The industry and it’s crushing fraud wants a long run at domination.

    Cannabis always survives because believe it or not … this isn’t the first attempt by the financial lords to unsuccessfully buy it’s way into the herbal culture of cannabis and take control. Truth is cannabis relations with people are considerably older and wiser than
    industry/taxation and it’s undesirable intentions and delivery.

    Reply
  5. kevin on

    With the larger companies devouring / absorbing the successful craft or boutique type stores and slowly divert their customers to the more commercial side of the business.
    I wonder if the “craft” product might become one of which is done in ones own basement?

    Meaning, the craft product is created and consumed by the individual homeowner? (like the home-craft beer business)

    Reply

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