With the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the cannabis industry and market, many are wondering what is happening in the states where these things are just emerging. While launching a cannabis business is always a rocky road with many hurdles to overcome, doing so during the midst of a global pandemic brings even more challenges to the table.
However, things are progressing and ties are continuing to emerge and strengthen in the state of Missouri, where medical marijuana was legalized in November of 2019. Two companies who are a prime example of this progression are Clovr and Wana Brands, who recently announced a partnership that will bring one of the leading cannabis-infused gummie products to medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri when that state begins serving patients later this year.
More than 45,000 patients have already been registered and approved for Missouri’s medicinal program since it came online. The 192 newly licensed dispensaries are expected to begin sales statewide in the coming months. There was potential for adult-use to be included on Missouri’s November ballot, but the the campaign has been suspended due to the pandemic.
Clovr’s CEO Josh Mitchem said, “Working through a crisis, the likes of which our world hasn’t seen for over a century, comes with its challenges, but it also comes with opportunities. Fortunately, the Mayor of Kansas City saw the importance of getting medical cannabis facilities up and running to serve the thousands of patients in pain and in need of our form of medicine. Being on the exclusion list for the “shelter in place” order has helped us accelerate our buildout process due to more access to the incredible construction contractors around our great city. I stay in touch with license winners across the state on a daily basis, and the overall mood is positive. Projects are moving forward across the state, and patients should be able to access cannabis products by the last quarter of this year.”
Bethany White is the Head of Marketing for Clovr and explained that the company, who has been awarded 2 manufacturing licenses in Missouri, is working to bring high quality brands to the state. “We want to provide patients with as many consumption methods as possible and are working hard to solidify contracts with industry partners.”
To gain perspective on the industry overall, I reached out to Rachael Dunn, the Publisher of Greenway Magazine. Greenway is a Missouri Cannabis Industry Publication that’s dedicated to the regulatory and political climate and culture of the cannabis industry in Missouri. Dunn said, “I talk to hundreds of operators each month. Despite expected and unexpected challenges, the industry in Missouri is full steam ahead. In some cases, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise, removing many distractions during the construction phase of this industry. Operators spend their days hitting the phones and each call takes them one step closer to providing medicine for Missouri’s patients.”
The overall tone of the emerging MMJ industry in Missouri is positive. Dunn added, “There is an exhilarating level of excitement at the grassroots level while many enthusiasts find their place in the market – Missouri’s market is expected to create 6,000-8,000 new jobs, but not a job for everyone. The cream will rise to the top and that talent pool forming can be considered a win for patients.”
Wana and Clovr are companies that both have huge potential to be in that talent pool of cream that Dunn is referring to.
“We regularly hear from medical marijuana patients that they count on Wana Brands products because of our consistent products, as well as the wide range of ratios and classes that allow the ability to dial in a desired experience,” said Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands. “With so many already registered for the Missouri medical marijuana program, it is clear that patients are looking for alternative treatment options for a host of health and wellness issues.”
“To say that we are excited to bring Wana to Missouri would be an understatement. Wana has consistently proven to be in a class of their own when it comes to cannabis-infused edibles in North America. Pairing Wana’s high-quality line of products with Clovr’s recognizable brand in Missouri will be a powerhouse combination,” Mitchem explained.
This partnership continues to cement Wana’s position as a leader in the midwestern cannabis market, as the Colorado company expands into states including Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma and now Missouri. This adds to Arizona, California, and Oregon. In the coming year, Wana also has plans to enter Maryland and Florida, as well as internationally to Canada.
Clovr is established on the principle that everyone should have access to cannabis, starting with those suffering from chronic illnesses or opioid addiction. Headquartered in Kansas City, Clovr is a cannabis-infused product manufacturer that believes in safe, consistent, and quality cannabis products for Missouri’s medical marijuana patients. As the extractor, infuser, and wholesaler of our own products, they can ensure patients are getting exactly what they are reading on the label. The company offers a variety of cannabis-infused chocolate bars, gummies, vape pens, concentrates, beverages, and many more products. Combating the stereotype, they believe cannabis can be a part of your life without becoming your life.
Much like Wana, Clovr is committed to providing safe and regulated THC products that patients can trust. Wana has expanded its product portfolio with a range of different CBD/THC ratios as well as a variety of different dosages, onset times and duration of effects. The portfolio is designed so that products can be used singly or in combination to address specific health and wellness needs. More than 30 different types of pectin were tested to determine the best possible consistency and scalability. Fruit pectin makes Wana Sour Gummies one of the only available vegan products on the market. During the cooking process, the gummies are infused with a high-quality tincture, not sprayed. All Wana products are made with gluten-free ingredients and taste like real fruit, thanks to all-natural flavoring, coloring and sugar. These are all things that patients should be taking note of, especially in an emerging industry where product makers may vary drastically in terms of both quality and overall responsibility.
In giving further insight regarding the Missouri medical marijuana industry, Dunn elaborated, “It’s a conflicting time. Missouri has a highly competitive, highly regulated market that demands a level of administrative accountability that few can be prepared for professionally. Missouri patients want medicine, but a multi-million dollar medical facility doesn’t pop up overnight. People are excited, but impatient, which has become the perfect environment for conspiracy theories. The reality is the industry is rolling out before our eyes. Even if our friends, family, and neighbors can’t go down the street to purchase their favorite strain or edibles, within the year, they will be able to make that purchase. Missouri is host to an abundance of incredible operators with talented, passionate teams – I believe Missourians’ expectations for the program will be exceeded. Regardless, Rome was not built in one day.”
Being a Missouri native, I am following this market and industry very closely and am incredibly hopeful for the future successes that legalized cannabis will bring to the state.