JAR Cannabis Company has rapidly grown into one of the largest Cannabis operations in the state of Maine. They operate multiple retail locations within the adult-use and medical markets. They also have an incredible cultivation facility and do their own extraction and manufacturing of finished goods. Jar Cannabis has become a staple at Budz Emporium as well as other Maine retailers. JAR is known for its quality products and superior packaging. We are blessed to be joined by JAR Co-Founder, Joel Pepin to discuss what it takes to scale a business in the current state of the industry. Joel is also known for his policy work and advocacy for the community. Join our conversation and hear for yourself what it takes to build a brand rooted in quality.
Guest: Joel Pepin, Co-Founder Jar Cannabis Co.
Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show
Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.
I’m excited to update you on a few things.
As you know, Budz Emporium here in Medway
is doing phenomenal and just continues to grow.
We have have the best vendors in the state and
some that I want to introduce you to today.
But when we first got started at Budz Emporium,
it was not all rainbows and unicorns.
It was a struggle and it was hard, especially as
some of you know, we had a few other ventures
that were going in the sustainability space and a few
things that just took a turn during the pandemic.
And so we had limited resources and we had
to work with just the best brands, brands that
were willing to work with us, that produced quality
product that we were proud of.
And there were so many.
But there’s one in particular that I
want to introduce you all to today.
In joining from the JAR team, the
J in JAR, is Joel Pepin.
Joel, thank you so much for joining us.
Pleasure to be here. Thank you.
So it’s cool, man.
I’ve been walking around the store and I was looking
at pictures side by side from where our shelves were
in February of 2022 to where they are today, and
just the work that we’ve done together.
When we opened, I remember having to ask Ryan if we
could do 4 strains and make that up into a pound.
So a quarter pound of 4 different things.
And he kind of was like, we don’t normally
do that, but if that’s what we need to
do to help you get open, then okay.
And I just remember we had 2 jars on each
shelf, and here we are today with upwards of 12 strains,
sometimes from just your brand concentrates and cartridges.
And so it’s just been so fun
to grow and to grow with you.
And I just want to say thank you for
kind of helping us out in those early stages
and helping us to be where we are today.
Man, it’s been fun to watch and thank
you for the support and for the interest.
And we’ve always really sort of had a
lot of excitement for your geographical location.
So watching the evolution of your business and
seeing the whole thing grow from our perspective
has been a lot of fun.
And I might add, I’m actually very excited to announce
this, but I do think we’re going to be up
your neck of the woods maybe mid October to try
to hike Katahdin before the park closes.
So we were just talking yesterday, Adam and
I were talking about coming up and maybe
doing a JAR pop up for the afternoon.
That would be amazing.
So definitely everybody will have to check out our Facebook
page and Instagram page for when that’s announced, but we
would love to have you here at the store and
kind of showcasing what you all do.
And I brought some samples for those that are
tuned into our YouTube channel today, so you can
kind of see some of the work.
But that’s so exciting.
So I can’t wait to have you all up here. So tell me.
I originally thought JAR was stood for jar in
these beautiful jars that your product comes in.
And I also brought for those tuned into the video,
a concentrates jar, so you can see that as well.
The packaging is beautiful.
So, Joel, I always thought JAR
just stood for these beautiful packaging
that your brand incorporates into itself.
And so can you tell me what JAR actually stands for?
So we’re not the most creative people, right?
And so when we were trying to figure out
how to come up with a brand for our
cannabis, we had all these different ideas and names,
some with multiple syllables, and we couldn’t really come
up with something that felt right.
And JAR is basically stood for
Joel and Ryan cannabis company.
My business partner, Ryan and I started
working together about a decade ago in
medical cannabis, and so it was simple.
Joel and Ryan cannabis company. Right?
And it was a little bit of a play on words.
You put your good weed in a jar,
so we kind of like that component.
And it wasn’t the most creative, but it just
felt right out of all the different things that
we came up with, so we stuck with it.
And then it’s funny now it actually
stands for Joel, Adam, and Ryan.
So our business partner Adam, he sort
of came into ownership years later after
Ryan and I started working together.
And we like to joke with Adam saying,
you’re lucky your name started with an A,
otherwise I’m not sure if it would’ve worked.
You would have needed a new business partner.
So how long have you and Ryan known each other?
About 10 years. 10 or 11 years.
We’ve known of each other for longer than that.
We both kind of grew up, and I grew up
in Auburn, he grew up in Turner, and there’s a
few years between us in age, so we knew of
each other before that, longer than that.
We had some we had close mutual contacts
that knew each of us, but he and
I together about 10 years, 11 years.
So business partners are hard as it is, and in this
space, I feel like it’s even more of a challenge.
Even myself, I’ve had, I think from
start until today, probably seven different partners.
It’s just you have different visions,
you have different levels of commitment.
So what makes up a good team and
how do you develop a good team?
Because I’ve only seen and been able to watch
about a year now, but it seems like all
3 of you really kind of have your silo
of execution, and you do it beautifully.
And so I was just curious, how did
that partnership come together and how do you
guys keep that oiled up and frictionless?
Well, I mean, I think in any
partnership, it’s not always frictionless, right?
So I think in any partnership it’s good, especially
in the onset, to figure out like, when there
is friction methods of working through that in a
productive way, which we’ve been able to establish.
I think the biggest thing for us, it’s probably
one of the biggest advantages we have as a
company, is the strength of our partnership, right?
And for Ryan and I early on, like I
said, there’s a few years age difference in us.
And so where do I go with this?
When I started as a medical caregiver, it
was really early on in the program.
It was late 2010, 2011, and for those watching that
were around back then in the program, that was basically
right when they came out with caregiver registry cards.
And so Ryan was one of the first
caregivers that received one of those cards.
And you knew it by the way they numbered the cards.
I think he might have been the second or
third caregiver to receive one of those cards.
I might have been like the 11th.
And so we had met right around that time.
And I don’t know, we just had a lot of the same values.
We were friends outside of business.
We had sort of the same
goals and beliefs around cannabis.
In a lot of ways.
Ryan has been a mentor to me. I’ve looked up to him.
He’s a few years older and he’s been able to
sort of accomplish things, but I was just sort of
trying to figure out how to get started in life.
He was a little bit further ahead and there
was a lot that I looked up to.
And the way he was cultivating was sort
of like on a different level even back
then, which was really eye opening for me.
So Ryan and I have a real close bond
in partnership, the closest of friends outside of work.
And it’s not always easy to
be friends and then have business.
But for whatever reason, he and I have been
able to navigate that I think, very well.
And I think you’d say the same
and we do anything for each other.
And then I think when it comes to business, we just want
to do the best that we can every day for our business,
and we want JAR to be the best it can be.
We’re very passionate about that.
We really want to make careers
out of working in cannabis.
We’re both entrepreneurial, right?
We don’t ever want to think about having to get
a job somewhere else or to work for somewhere else.
So we’ve always just wanted to run our
own cannabis company and make that our job.
And then Adam was a great fit.
So I think in terms of our
partnership and our silos of expertise.
Adam has sort of been watching JAR’s
evolution since I’d say, like, 2014.
Adam’s a childhood friend of mine. I grew up with Adam.
I’ve known Adam since I was maybe 10 years old.
So, again, just a very strong bond of trust and
sort of like knowing who the potential partner is and
what they care about, what’s important to them.
So I think the 3 of us, we share a lot of
the same goals and vision for business and specifically for JAR.
And I think we all have different areas of
expertise, which has complemented each other very well, and
it’s translated very importantly to the business.
So to break it down for everybody, Ryan, really, he
oversees everything, cultivation and what I’ve seen him do cultivation
and what we do today, day in and day out
with our cultivation team is so impressive to watch.
And so, really, producing consistent, high quality flower has
been the backbone of our brand over the past
decade, and that’s Ryan’s wheelhouse. Right?
I have been a little bit more involved
with building out the retail side of the
business, overseeing concentrates and the extractions.
As you know, I’ve done more of, like, trying to
help find retail locations, getting towns to opt in and
that type of thing, some of the lobbying stuff.
And then Adam just has a really creative mind
when it comes to just business strategy in general.
So Adam is like a great sounding board for anything
and everything that we’re trying to scheme or consider.
Adam really helps us keep our eyes on cash flow
and cash management in a way that is not easy
for me to do or for Ryan to do.
So the 3 of us together, it’s a lot of fun.
Now, you guys have been in this industry since the
conception of really legal cannabis in the state of Maine.
And so I’m fascinated to get your opinion on
the medical industry versus the adult use side.
And let’s take it from the business perspective.
What does it take to run a successful business on
the medical side versus what does it take to run
a successful business on the adult use side?
Is are the principles the same
or is it dramatically different?
I would say the foundational principles that we
have that made us successful would translate to
all kinds of different businesses, not just medical
cannabis, not just adult cannabis.
It’s translated well for Ryan and I and business
interests, like, outside of cannabis altogether.
So it’s just about being detail oriented,
doing things right the first time, not
cutting corners, treating people well.
Honestly, a lot of what we do is just very basic
things that we all believe strongly in, like treat others the
way you want to be treated type of thing.
Positive workplace culture, only put out your best quality,
and if you’re going to do something, do it
right the first time, or else what’s the point
in doing it in the first place?
To answer your question about what it takes to
be successful medically versus adult, I think it’s a
lot of the same type of thing.
Of course, each market is at a different
point in terms of its maturity and dynamics. Right.
But overall, I think the reasons we’ve been successful
in adult use were extensions of the same reasons
and principles that made us successful medically. Right.
And that’s just like for us, specifically, when it comes
to producing flower, we really believe you get what you
pay for when you build out a cultivation facility.
So we spare no expense when it comes to
our lights, our room design, our drying our curing.
And in our evolution over the past 10
years, we’ve been fortunate enough to build out
in many different facilities in Maine and Massachusetts.
And along the way, we’ve learned so much.
So we really believe, like, you can never
stop improving ways to produce better quality.
You can never stop finding ways to find efficiency. Right?
And so that was a big part of our success medically.
And of course, it’s a huge part of what
we’re doing right now in the adult use side.
And just since I’ve known you all, which would say
would be February of 2020, the growth has been incredible.
I mean, from stopping by SJR Labs to the building that
you have today, I mean, the growth is surreal, and I
can only imagine that you have to have a lot of
trust for each other to grow that fast.
But it’s truly like you’re trusting
each other’s, families with each other.
I got to meet Stephanie’s mom the other day
at the building, and I just thought that that
was so cool that everybody is truly involved and
invested in the business and with us.
Although it’s primarily Brooke and I kind of running the
operations in the day to day here, it’s my aunt
and uncle and my parents and so many other people
that have put blood, sweat, and tears into this building
in order to create what we have today.
So it really is kind of a
passion project, but it just incorporates everybody,
so there’s just so much love there.
Yeah, I mean, for us, it really
is more than, like, a business partnership.
It’s more than a friendship.
I mean, it’s like a family.
Like, JAR is a family to us.
We have our real families at home, but
JAR is such an important part of our
lives, my life, Ryan’s life, Adam’s life.
And so we have this big JAR family.
And for us, it is kind of surreal to
look at the evolution of what we’ve done together.
And I think when Ryan and I started working together
10 years ago, we had this hope of especially when
the referendum question in 2016 was on the ballot, we
were like, okay, if you don’t use cannabis passes in
Maine, maybe there’s a legitimate shot we could make a
career of working in cannabis in Maine for the next
15 to 20 years.
So there was a hope that we had, but
we didn’t really know exactly how it would turn
out, how it would play itself out for us.
So my family has been involved in the business.
Ryan’s family is involved in the business,
like the team that we’ve built. It’s surreal.
And we look at the talented staff that we’ve been
able to put together in the different departments and managers,
and it’s like we’ve got this amazing team of people
that move JAR forward every single day.
So it’s incredible and it’s a lot of fun.
It’s a dream come true, for sure.
Now, before we move, I have a
lot of questions about concentrates for you.
But before we go, I just want to show those.
And for those that are listening on the podcast,
head over to weedbudzradio.com and you’ll see a picture.
I’m holding some bud that has come from JAR Co.
And we were talking the other day here at the store
and we were talking about what is the brand behind JAR?
And obviously JAR has got a nice little
shield, but what is the actual brand?
And for us, it’s quality.
You know what you’re opening when
you open one of these jars.
It’s a quality piece of cannabis and it’s probably
one of the best that there is that the
state has to offer, if not in the country.
And that’s just a really special place to be.
But it’s something that the whole staff here is like.
JAR is so much more than just
a word on a piece of paper.
Like, it really is that crack when you open a jar.
So it’s just really special.
I wanted people to see that and kind
of how that’s packaged and just how beautiful.
But one thing I think we can all
really learn about today is the different types
of concentrates because there’s so many from live
resins, cured resins, to the sugars and batters.
And now I’m really excited because we have the
hash rosin carts here at the store from your
team, and those have been doing incredibly well.
And for people like me, I
just love that kind of product.
So I was wondering if you could kind of help
me differentiate, for example, to start Joel, what’s the difference
between a cured product and a live product?
So, like a cured resin versus a live resin?
So cured typically means that the plant material
that the concentrate was derived from, where it
was extracted from, was dried material.
So for us, like a cured resin cartridge that
was extracted from, you know, scissor trim, trim material
that was dry, it wasn’t fresh frozen. Right?
And then so on the opposite side of that,
live alive resin or a live raw means that
it came from plant material that was immediately frozen
right at the moment of harvest.
And was frozen up into and
during the point of extraction.
And so basically what that means, I think for
the most part, cured means came from dry material.
Live means came from fresh frozen material.
And I think the main difference is what we
see in a lot of our test results that
we have to do for every batch.
Like, it’s kind of funny.
Cured products sometimes and usually will have a
little bit higher potency in terms of THC,
the live products will be slightly less.
But what you’re getting in a live
product is maximum terpene retention for cured
concentrates that come from dry material.
That dry material went through a drying process.
There were some terpenes that came off
during that process from the plant material.
So there just aren’t as many terpenes
available at the time of extraction.
And so cured products for us, we freeze the dry trim
as soon as the trim is clipped away from the flower,
and we do everything we can to preserve terpenes from the
dry material that translate into the cured products.
And cured products can be phenomenal in
terms of flavor, profile and potency.
And this would be considered a cured product. Right?
Like something that I would typically smoke or
open from a package that would be cured?
Yeah, your flower. Absolutely.
And maybe we can talk later about some of
the techniques that we’re using to really cure flower,
but there’s a serious art to it and we’re
sort of like refining our approach to that.
We’ve made some big leaps forward, we feel,
in our process over the past year.
But, yeah, your flowers, cured concentrates
are coming from dry material.
Live concentrates typically are coming
from your wet frozen material.
Interesting, because that right there. Right?
So resin and rosin, it’s like, okay, live, cured.
I’ve now figured that out.
So the live comes from the fresh plant that’s
frozen, then extracted that’s live, and then cured comes
from something that we would just consume in practical
terms that would be ready for extraction.
So what’s the difference between something
like a resin and a rosin?
Those seem exactly the same to me.
Yeah, it’s like one letter that’s different. Right.
But actually it’s a
completely different extraction process.
And one thing I think that’s important to note
on the live product, so, like, the frozen material
that we’re extracting from is whole plant.
So it’s like, it’s for us, it’s your A grade flower
that you would smoke, like the wet version of harvest.
And it’s the trim that would get separated
in a cured product meant for only extracted.
So your live product isn’t getting
extracted from just like frozen trim.
It’s getting extracted from frozen whole plant material
shucked from the stem, which is pretty cool.
So the difference for us internally, and I
think across the market, the difference between a
resin and a rosin, rosin is concentrate that
is extracted via no solvents.
So solventless extraction.
So for us what we’re doing, and we’re
really excited about doing this now in our
current facility is ice water extraction.
And then go through some post processing where
you’re basically just using pressure and temperature to
separate out the rosin through a rosin crest.
So there’s literally no solvents.
You’re using ice water as the solvent to
extract the trichome heads from the plant material.
And then we’re using a press to sort of
like refine the finished rosin material in the various
forms that you would find in the store.
Resins go through hydrocarbon extraction.
So blend of butane protein.
You’re using a solvent to remove the
trichome heads from the plant material.
And then of course, we go through postprocessing
to remove those solvents and yield the concentrate
that’s still really good quality but just went
through a different extraction process.
So now I’m curious because I’ve got, let’s see,
for example, this is ice cream cake cured batter.
And I have this is sour snippets sugar.
And so those are a little bit different.
But if I had the live rosin or live resin out,
it might look a little bit similar to this.
Joel might be a little bit soupier in consistency.
What’s the biggest difference between that?
Because the batter and some of those resins,
they seem similar, but they taste dramatically different.
And so I’m guessing that those
are a different process as well.
Yeah, they are a different process.
The difference between your batter and the sugar
that you’re showing there similar extraction process.
The batter goes through a whipping motion to sort
of blend the cannabinoids and terpenes into the consistency
that you have there in front of you.
The sugar goes through a little bit
more of a lengthier post processing where
essentially the concentrate yielded from extraction.
We’re trying to crystallize and crash out some of
the THCA into the sort of more chunkier forms
of the concentrate that you see there.
What we try to do is retain a
decent amount of terpenes with our sugar.
So I think the difference between the
2 that you showed right there is
there’s obviously a difference in consistency.
Sugar on average seems to test a little bit
higher and it’s potency does have some terpenes with
it, but not as terpene rich as the batter.
So I think someone who’s looking for more of a
flavor profile and depending on your method of consumption, you
might want to steer them towards a batter.
But someone coming in, again,
depends on their consumption method.
But someone who’s looking for like
a higher potency dab will concentrate.
Typically sugar is the direction you
want to push them in.
THCA is the precursor to THC. Right?
So THCA gets heated and then that becomes THC. Yeah.
So THCA, THC in its acid form is basically that’s
how THC occurs and is produced by the plant. Right.
And so THCA, when heated, converts to Delta-9 THC
and Delta-9 THC is what is psychoactive for us
that’s what basically gives us the high that we feel.
So your sugar that has a lot
of THCA has a high THCA value.
As soon as you put that on your rig or you
put it on a bowl and you put your lighter to
it, it’s converting in real time and you’re consuming quite a
bit of Delta-9 as you inhale and so that’s sort
of where you get that psychoactive effect from.
Perfect. Now. As a retailer.
One of the things that I’m really struggling with is how
to properly display my concentrates because I try to keep them
dark and I try to keep them cool and then I
have to open each of them to let people smell them
and check them out and I have not figured out the
perfect way to display concentrates and so as I’m looking at
kind of building out the right display I was wondering if
you had any tips or tricks or things because I know
even people at home they might get a jar of concentrate
and just stick it on their desk and open it up
a week later.
So what is the proper way for a retailer
to display concentrates and then for once I take
it home, how should I care for it?
Yeah, I mean it’s a challenge for us too.
In our stores a lot of the concentrates that we end
up putting on display you need to be able to display
a product if you really want to be able to showcase
it to the customers coming in but just by nature of
having the lid off of it showing in your display case.
Lights getting to it.
It’s degrading the concentrate slightly so for us
a lot of times like our display end
up either getting destroyed or they’re not
sold to an end consumer so you’re kind of
like sacrificing one out of the bunch to display but
when life is exposed to it, your terpenes are coming
off of it, it is degrading the quality of the
concentrates for the most part in terms of storage for
the majority of the concentrates just the coolest temperature that
you can get is the best right?
And then keeping it out of light.
So ideally like mid 60s to low 60s
is the best way to sort of store your
concentrates in a box out of light.
Most of what we do is shelf stable and
will retain its quality quite well for the consumers.
I think it’s really important to
I think the biggest thing.
Especially during summertime is like keeping any form of concentrate in
your car on a hot summer day and that’s like a
real quick way for either a vape pen to go bad
or shatter to get all liquefied so the big thing is
just like keeping it out of direct sunlight.
Keeping it away from heat on the rosin
side and there’s some versions of some SKUs
of hash that actually need to stay refrigerated
all up and through the point of sale.
And we haven’t quite yet gotten to the
point of producing those on a regular basis.
But for us, even in our stores, like,
we’re looking at adding special refrigeration for certain
types of coal cures and hash cues.
And then there’s some people that are really into consuming
hash that have these little portable coolers at home to
keep your hash in, that you would plug in to
keep it controlled at the right temperature.
So hashes a little bit more and
certain types of hash are a little bit
more particular and how they should be stored.
There are several forms that are okay at
room temperature, just like most of what you
have, like the cartridges, those are all fine.
Just keeping them in the coolest
temp possible at your store.
That’s amazing. So that was one of the things that we were looking at,
was getting a little bit of a display that sort of had
some sort of cooling element on the bottom and that way you
could put the concentrates on top of it and then just remove
the lid, keep it protected from the light.
But we’re bouncing a few ideas back and forth,
but we want to make sure that we definitely
do them right because we have such a loyal
customer base for concentrates up here.
For Sure. For us at our stores, what we like to
do is our back storage area where the vaults
are, keep them very cold, and we dehumidify.
We’ll add humidity in the middle of winter when it’s
really dry outside and make sure things don’t dry out.
That’s important for your flower quality too.
So I think retailers like even thinking about your
product storage behind the sales desk goes a long
way, especially for preserving quality and shelf life.
Now, Joel, before we go, I want to talk to you a
little bit about some of the policy work that you do, because
I feel like anybody in the cannabis industry has to do a
little bit of policy work at one time or another.
And I know that you are part of a couple
of different organizations, and I just love for you to
kind of talk a little bit about some of the
work that you’re doing on the policy side and some
of the organizations that you’re a part of and maybe
others want to get involved with as well.
Yeah, for sure.
So policy work in Maine has been I’ve been involved first
hand for the past, I don’t know, 5, 6 years.
And it’s something that I feel a lot of operators
in Maine don’t have the perspective of that policy work
in Maine, you can get results off of some effort,
a little bit of effort, especially when you join that
effort with other like minded people.
And I think there are other cannabis markets out
there where operators could put some work into
policy, put some effort into policy work and not
be able to get like, a state rep on
the phone or a senator on the phone.
And here in Maine, one thing that I’ve kind
of appreciated is there’s been certain times where I’ve
needed to call the rep in the district or
the senator in the district where SJR Labs, for
instance, is operating to try to get a piece
of legislation sponsored that would help our business.
And I was able to do that.
I think for anybody who has an
interest, like the politicians in Maine are accessible.
And I don’t think it’s like that in many other
cannabis markets, especially not the bigger ones, which is, I
think, a unique opportunity for our industry. So today
and for the past 2 years, I want
to say 2 to 3 years, I’m president
of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association.
We lobby for both medical and adult use policy work.
And then before that, I was involved with just
sort of like as a stakeholder who had hired
our own private lobbyists to sort of like, keep
us posted on what’s happening up in Augusta.
So really what I’ve been involved with, I
think since 2015, especially since 2016, when the
referendum was on the ballot, keeping my eye
on what’s going on in Augusta.
And then since then, there’s been a
lot that’s happened on the medical side,
going from plant count to canopy, 500 square feet of
canopy was something that we were very involved with
and in support of being able to wholesale what
was 70% of your product as a caregiver and
retail 30% was a big thing.
So getting caregivers legally allowed to wholesale their product
was very important to the industry that we believe
strongly and we were involved with being able to
for caregivers to have more than one employee.
More than one assistant.
Was a really important one and logical
one that we fought for. Caregivers
being able to have the right to a storefront.
One storefront is a big one that we fought for.
And then, of course, nowadays caregivers can
wholesale what they grow, and of
course, we supported that as well.
So medically, those are some of the
big things that we’ve been involved with
on the adult use side most recently.
What do we do?
We passed a bill 2 sessions ago that basically allowed
for an entry way to check IDs in stores.
It’s kind of like an oversight in the drafting
of the original rules for the adult use program
that you had to check ID outside the door.
So it was like the first year,
year and a half of the program.
That’s basically how the law read. So we changed that.
That said you could check inside the door if
you had sort of you could keep the patrons
from entering physically separate from the sales floor.
So that was a big one.
We’ve streamlined this last session, some of the
testing requirements, so, like, not having to test
your trim or your fresh frozen prior to
extraction final form testing seemed logical.
There’s a lot of redundancy in testing or there was.
And so we made progress last session
on sort of streamlining that process.
I think a big one we’re focused on we haven’t been
able to solve yet is the excise tax for operators.
So this whole $335 a pound to the state in
the adult use program definitely needs to be reworked.
And so we’re really looking forward, a lot of our
stakeholders are looking forward to trying to make progress.
We had made some progress on it, but it basically
stalled in appropriations and never became law last session.
So yeah, man, those are some of
the big ones that we’ve been up. There are many more.
I can’t think of them all right now.
That alone is sickening.
When you think of, let’s just say, for example,
for an outdoor plant, that excise tax could cost
double to 3 times as much as it costs
to put into the plant itself.
Yeah, it’s definitely an industry killer at this point
in time and I get why it’s there.
We conceded that original tax structure 10% at the point
of sale, 335 flat just to get the program launched.
We knew that this was something that
we’d be lobbying for in the future.
And when the program started, 335 was roughly 10%
of the wholesale price of flower for adult use.
Wholesale flower has come down more and so the
excise tax effective percentage is a lot higher.
I mean, it’s an industry killer for the
current wholesale rates and it’s sickening like the
amount of money that operators have to pay.
And it’s kind of funny.
Like the state released office cannabis policy released a
study, a third party study that was done kind
of saying how it’s the adult use program, the
regulated program that has done more in the medical
marijuana program have done more to sort of like
curb black market illicit marijuana activity than anything else.
And I think for the regulated market to continue
to have success in doing that into the future,
we’ve got to lower the cost of operation.
That 335 is a significant cost.
It sure is.
That is absolutely a killer because when you think
about trying to get vertically integrated and working backwards,
whether you’re a cultivator working forwards or a retailer
working backwards, if this industry is so hard as
it is with the way that the tax system
operates that something like that, you’re right.
It’s just so limiting when we’re trying to
create an industry with rapid growth but with
the safety and security that is required to
keep the public and the stakeholders safe.
Because I think stakeholders are looking at some
of this in a positive light as well. Right?
I want to make sure that the products that we put
out are the best that are top notch and nobody’s going
to get sick and I also don’t want to get sued.
And so these accountabilities are
For sure. And I think one of the things the industry
has going for, especially the adult use industry, because
everything is tracked through final sale is like we’re
really able to communicate to politicians, to stakeholders outside
of the cannabis industry, like how much of a
force this industry really is and has been in
the state of Maine for all these years. Right?
So the adult use program this summer grew
to new highs in July and August.
$16 million months, $17 million ed, we e
We don’t know exactly what the medical regulated market is doing,
but I would imagine the two combined, we employ a ton
of people, you know what I mean, in the medical industry
and the adult use industry and those numbers to be able
to prove that to people is we’ve never had the amount
of data that we’ve had before.
So it’s a major economic driver for the state.
There’s a lot of people employed in the industry.
There’s a lot of people that come to Maine and appreciate
tourism in Maine that know that cannabis is a high quality
product at a very fair value in either market here, which
is a huge thing for tourism in general.
And I think it’s really important that Maine’s developed
that reputation in the Northeast and I think it’s
very important for both industries in Maine to continue
for that to be the case moving forward.
If you’re on a vacation in the Northeast, people need
to know that the best product at the best prices
in Maine, and a lot of people do, but we
need to make sure that continues in the future.
100% people come to Budz Emporium for that exact reason.
I mean, they’re driving from out of state
sometimes coming up here, doing their weekend snowmobiling,
hiking, camping, and then they’re doing whatever they
need to do because the prices are just
dramatically and so significantly less expensive here than
they are in other parts of the country.
But it’s also, I think even some of my
friends that from California, they were surprised when they
came out here that Maine truly has some of
the best products in the country by far.
There’s just incredible cultivators
here, yourselves included.
So we’re super grateful for that.
Yeah, I know, it’s true.
I mean, we’re also sort of like far down
the rabbit hole day in, day out to realize
what we’re doing and how it compares to other
markets in the country or even across the world.
And it’s like when you take a step back, it’s true.
Like Maine really does produce some of the best
cannabis in the country and in the world.
And I think it’s for a bunch of different reasons where
a lot of us are just blue collar, hard workers.
I think cost of business here is
competitive relative to other markets in the
Northeast and different parts of the country.
And there has been, especially the medical side,
sort of like a low barrier to entry.
So you have a lot of specific operators focusing
on 1 or 2 segments of the industry of
the supply chain and just maximizing their process and
their quality and their efficiency in that realm.
Whether it be like just concentrates or
just edibles or just flower production, we’re
all competing with each other.
So that elevates everybody’s quality
by nature of competition.
So, yeah, man, we take a step back, and
it’s really impressive with what the market means done.
It is. Well, Joel, I just want to thank you so
much for all the work that you all are doing
and for joining us today on WeedBudz Radio.
For those that are tuned in, where can they find
JAR retail locations and where can they find you online?
So, jarcannabis.com, we keep up to
date with our retail locations.
You can find us on weed maps.
So JAR retail locations.
So we have adult use retail in South
Portland, in Wyndham and Newry up by Sunday
River on the Sunday River Access Road.
We’re a week or 2 away from opening our fourth
adult use store in downtown Old Port, which is exciting.
And then we have sort of like our flagship medical
store in Wyndham, right next to our Wyndham use adult store.
So you can find our medical store in Wyndham as well.
Amazing. Well, be sure to check out all of
those locations and be sure to head over
to weedbudzradio.com, check out those show notes.
We’ll have links to connect with Joel
and to connect with JAR Cannabis.
And of course, we’re always so grateful to all of you
for tuning in to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.
We’ll see you in the next one.
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