From Farm to Flame: The Cannabis Connoisseur

Many medical cannabis startups are focused on appealing to a single aspect of the customer’s experience. For instance, a delivery service may be concerned with convenience and availability, or a manufacturer might focus on sustainability and responsible farming practices. Fewer cannabis companies are involved in processes along the value chain, from farm to flame.

Sustainable and safe growing practices must be a priority in the industry, and this requires insight on the part of technology companies and retailers. Moreover, an increasing number of cannabis connoisseurs are looking for premium products and an enhanced experience. Such evolving demand, both in cannabis and the alternative medicine industry as a whole, are leading to the unveiling of new business models that emphasize transparency and a customized product delivered direct to the consumer.

Marvina and Potbox are two examples of companies looking to appeal to the modern day cannabis connoisseur. These companies offer subscription services to patients by offering customization and a focus on stringent lab testing, while providing a variety of quality strains. When Potbox CEO Austin Heap answered a few questions for MJINews, he placed a lot of emphasis on ensuring best practices along the supply chain.

According to Heap, “Most cannabis tech startups simply aggregate and deliver whatever inventory is available from local dispensaries. They have no control over the product—how it’s cultivated or processed, its freshness or quality.” Potbox is a California-based premium subscription service that offers top-line, sustainable products that are then delivered so that customers can avoid trips to the dispensary.

In regards to how Potbox’s value proposition is unique in the industry, Heap said it boiled down to control. “Because we collapse the entire supply chain, we have an unprecedented ability to guarantee our patients access to the best possible cannabis. That type of control over the product is unique to Potbox among California cannabis startups.” He went on to say that the upmost standards will help not only Potbox’s business but the industry as a whole, reflecting the company’s stated mission to elevate the industry.

While Potbox is challenged to stay in strict compliance with California law governing medical cannabis use and distribution, Heap said that the company is wholly focused on a successful launch and future expansion. As the cannabis connoisseur customer base grows, a company must be adaptable in order to expand and grow.

Given the maze of state-level regulatory challenges, medical marijuana startups need to have the same passion for their own business and for the whole industry. Transparency and trust are paramount to Potbox and other companies in this space. To achieve transparency, Potbox provides official lab results, reporting all chemical concentrations and cannabis origin, species and genetic information to enable consumers to make health-conscious and informed decisions.

Potbox believes there is no need for consumers to know the difference between the various strains or guess what effects each will have; for the consumers, it should be about experience. Accordingly, the company employs a strong team and expert curators who will test and use the strains to deliver the optimal product for the individual patient. Companies that find that middle ground between consumer-friendly service and supreme quality are best positioning themselves to adapt and grow in the industry. Fast growth may boil down to providing smart, swift and reliable service; but sustainable growth is about best practices along the value chain.

Although Heap claimed it would be unlikely that competitors would replicate the Potbox model, stating the difficulty companies may have “establishing relationships with ethical cannabis growers” as well as secure distribution infrastructure and packaging, it might be wise for any entrepreneur in the space to aim for a holistic view. Potbox’s vested interest in the entire medical cannabis ecosystem may soon be more of a requirement for market participants than an option, at least for companies wanting to achieve long-term success.

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