First-person account from the front lines of the marijuana industry
Peggy Noonan, CEO and partner at Cornucopia Health & Wellness
When Cornucopia first entered the medical cannabis community in Arizona, we saw a clear opportunity to promote health and wellness in ways that had been generally under-explored.
We emphasize that all our products are handcrafted and made from scratch. We began with primarily a savory line but have expanded to answer market demands with a wide range of products from confections and baked goods to gluten- and sugar-free options.
Maintaining strict standards for the ingredients of our products is the priority of our kitchen. Using high-quality cannabis in our extraction and infusion process is the most direct way we achieve our goal of promoting health.
However, what differentiates our product from average cannabis products is how we harness and utilize the positive interaction between wholesome food and effective medicine. Our peanut butter is roasted and ground in-house and our Dragon’s Teeth Mints are formed and cut by hand. We had molds made to produce our lozenges and gummies, and we test every batch of Co2 oil and final products in order to maintain consistent dosing.
To help address industrial discrepancies between milligrams and grams, Cornucopia has worked directly with the Arizona Health Department to help further the process of effectively regulating, testing and labeling for cannabis products.
Each product we offer has been carefully examined from both medicinal and nutritional perspectives. We would not be able to achieve this without experienced chefs, naturopathic experts and the overwhelming support of the cannabis community.
The basic cornerstone of our success and our brand is building a responsible business model that prioritizes patients before profits.
Bob Eschino, owner of Medically Correct
When we started in 2010, we made the commitment to produce high-quality, handcrafted products and it paid off.
We test every batch at a licensed laboratory to ensure quality and potency. We were one of the first companies to insist on reporting levels of THC in our products. It’s our job to educate patients and consumers on the need for edibles to be consistent and give medicinal results with repeated use.
Our bars are cut to precise weight tolerances to provide accurate and consistent dosing. This year we began manufacturing our bars with an “e-portion” score on each piece indicating the dosage amount in milligrams for consumers to accurately measure doses.
It’s this reliability and standardization that has helped us both retain customers and attract new ones, given that consistency can often be a problem in this area of the cannabis industry. Our commitment to providing customers with the same product and experience time after time is what sets us apart from the competition.
We have always operated under the belief that if we do the right things, good things will happen. We have always viewed cannabis as medicine and we treat it as such. We focused from the beginning on educating our customers when it comes to proper dosing and wait times when consuming our products.
Our products speak for themselves. Word of mouth between budtenders, patients and dispensary owners have been the driving force for our business. They appreciate our dedication to high quality, consistent medication and we have grown at a pace that has humbled us. The feedback we get from our patients has been one of the most delightful and surprising parts of the business. Hearing that our products help people everyday is very rewarding.
We’re grateful and appreciate our hometown fans and hope to gain new ones with our national expansion.
Michael Devlin, co-founder and president of Db3
While some people think a “brand” is just a combination of marketing tactics, we see it as a deeper part of our culture measured by the degree of ownership consumers invest in our products. Our fans trust us to deliver a consistent experience again and again.
To earn that trust, we focus on fundamentals that set us apart from a crowded field of competitors. Our brand begins with a clear understanding of our core values, picking the right people to join our company, and putting our values into practice every day in tangible actions.
For example, we offer above-market compensation and benefits to our employees. Our products are manufactured in a former USDA-approved food processing plant. We use the consumer packaged goods industry as a model for our standard operating procedures, and once we enter a store, we guarantee there will always be Zoots available to stock the shelves.
These practices provide the essential foundation to deliver an exceptional product that meets our customers’ needs time after time. By focusing on the fundamentals of “doing it right” for our employees, retailers and customers, we’ve built a reputation that the Zoots brand can be counted on to deliver the experience they want and expect.
So in the end, trust is what differentiates us from a crowded field of competitors.
Julie Dooley, owner of Julie’s Natural Edibles
We cater specifically to the health-conscious consumer, producing gluten-free, refined sugar-free and healthy edibles as a way to help set us apart from the competition.
We begin with a single strain of pesticide-free cannabis to ensure purity and allow the strain’s characteristics to shine through our handcrafted brew of cannabutter and cannacoconut oil. Each batch is lab tested to ensure accuracy and potency, as is required under Colorado law. Once lab reports are available, we then carefully bake edibles in our dedicated gluten-free facility.
Ingredients are important to consumers, so we use proteins such as almonds and seeds. The taste of cannabis is diminished by maple syrup, honey, cinnamon and sea salt.
Our labels reflect the integrity of our products. Earth tones, especially green, are chosen specifically so our products don’t appeal to children. Ingredients are highlighted with a large font rather than using the typical disclaimer-size fonts. We also include instructions for safe consumption as well as reminders, warnings and regulations.
All of this helps create a highly professional product that stands out from others.