The humble cannabis dispensary buyer has one of the most powerful roles in the industry. Acting as a gatekeeper between the entire supply chain and the consumer, buyers decide which products receive coveted shelf space and support from budtenders. Buyers see more brands and endure more pitches than anyone else, and the best of them are hyper-in-tune with what their customers actually want. They’re able to glance at a new product and make confident predictions about how the item will sell.
Buyers are only as good as their response to consumer needs, and those are a fast-moving target. On one end of the scale are increasingly savvy consumers who are looking beyond the THC percentage and mere indica/sativa/hybrid categorization. When weighing their options, they consider things like terpenes, trichomes and minor cannabinoids, bud density, extraction methods, and whether the plant was indoor- or sun-grown. On the other end are new consumers, drawn to edibles and other easy-to-dose, non-inhalable products as they dip their toes into cannabis use. At that buying stage, consumers tend to look for indications of quality and preference (think vegan, gluten-free, fancy packaging, dose-control technology).
To remain competitive, dispensaries must cater to evolving needs and expectations. Stocking fresh options in every category at every price tier will keep customers coming back, especially the higher-volume recreational users, who love to experiment and are almost certainly your biggest spenders.
Flower continues to be king in dispensaries across the country. As a rule of thumb, keeping your store well stocked with a diverse assortment of quality flower at each price tier always will be good for business. From dense, dramatic nugs in exotic strains to loose-leaf trim and celebrity pre-rolls, mg has covered some of the most exciting or noteworthy newcomers in flower.
After taking a major hit during the vape crisis in 2019, vape sales rebounded spectacularly in 2020, particularly in emerging markets. Smaller-sized cartridges (0.3g and 0.5g) and disposables gained shelf space last year according to the Brightfield Group, which also reported users gravitating toward vapes aimed at stress-reduction and relaxation. There has been a growing taste among connoisseurs for live-resin vapes, and we’ve included a couple of SKUs from the leading players. (If you have a lot of concentrate consumers in your store, keep an eye out for the sexy Dr. Dabber pen.)
Expect to see more consumers making their way to the refrigerators in 2021, as the beverage market is poised to crack open at last. Buoyed by the overnight success of the hard-seltzer craze led by White Claw, a handful of cannabis companies have emerged to create the perfect, hangover-free beverage to pound at barbecues.
Edibles increased their share of shelf space in 2020 more than any other product category. Gummies are expected to maintain their popularity in 2021, with nano-emulsified THC edibles popping up to solve the age-old problem of sluggish onset.
We’ve also included some interesting niche products like intimacy lube, sleep-focused gummies, pet products, and super-high-potency recreational products.
Regardless whether these brands are available in your state, mg’s Spring Buyers’ Guide should give you a strong sense of the product landscape in 2021 and hints of what’s to come.
Infused beverage brand Cann turned a lot of heads in 2020 and is looking more and more like it will be the first beverage to convince people to start drinking their weed. The whimsically designed hard seltzers come in five flavors in packs of four, six, and twenty-four. Most cans contain just 2mg THC and are aimed at low- and micro-dose consumers who may be looking for an alternative to beer or White Claw.
Wholesale: email@example.com; (213) 444-2655 (text)
Locations: California, Nevada, Rhode Island
Platinum Vapes Live Resin Vape
Platinum Vapes is a legacy brand that has made big strides expanding beyond its home state of California. Known for bringing together exceptional oil and reliable hardware, Platinum’s new 1g live resin carts are a strong top-shelf addition to a portfolio of well-priced and widely available products. The Lemon Meringue strain is a buzzy, cerebral cross of Lemon Skunk and Cookies and Cream from the legendary Exotic Genetix.
Wholesale: firstname.lastname@example.org (California); email@example.com (Oklahoma)
Locations: California, Oklahoma
dreamt Sleep Gummies
Science-backed sleep brand dreamt just launched its twenty-night sleep gummies, which contain THC (5mg per gummy) and CBD (2mg) as well GABA, L-theanine, and valerian root. The company’s founder and chief scientific officer referenced more than 200 studies in support of the company’s proprietary sleep formula and has created more than sixty cannabis products. dreamt’s award-winning line also includes a forty-five-night pen, thirty-night tincture, and two-night shot.
Raw Garden Live Resin Vapes
As one of the big concentrate players, Raw Garden offers buyers competitive prices for good-value, high-quality extracts. The 0.3g live resin disposables will find a welcome audience with convenience users looking for something more interesting than a distillate cart. Pens are available in a whopping twenty-four strains, including novel crossbreeds like Twisted Citrus and Guava Haze.
Besito Mini Pre-Rolls
We heard dispensary buyers saying they couldn’t keep pre-rolls on the shelves in 2020. Perhaps Besito was listening, as the company expanded its offerings beyond disposable vapes and dropped a line of dogwalker pre-rolls. Aimed at those looking for a “little kiss” as opposed to a mind-melting high, this tin of minis comes in Sour Diesel, Chemdawg, and Sundae Driver. The brand donates 1 percent of profits to Equity First Alliance.
2021 is going to be another big year for Michigan, with a lot of space for dominant homegrown brands to emerge. Grand Rapids-based Fluresh is coming in strong with a diverse offering of products aimed at new and existing users. In addition to its single-origin flower, pre-rolls, live resin vapes, and concentrates, Fluresh also has fast-acting softgels and a drink “enhancer,” allowing the canna-cautious to dose more precisely.
Wholesale: Fluresh.com/wholesale; firstname.lastname@example.org; (616) 566-3947
Papa & Barkley 100mg THC Chocolates
Since launching in 2014, Papa & Barkley has been one of the most successful cannabis and hemp brands in California. The new chocolates expand on the THC gummy line that debuted last year and see the company continue a cautious exploration of the recreational market. Made with 84-percent Fair Trade Certified ingredients and solventless fresh-pressed rosin, the treat is presented in a luxurious 100mg bar that easily can be broken into 5mg pieces, making it an excellent addition to the top end of your edibles menu.
Wholesale: email@example.com; (844) 234-8416
Quiq has positioned its fast-acting nano-THC technology as its big selling point. With a reported onset of five to fifteen minutes, Quiq could be an excellent option for consumers who are impatient with edibles. The brand offers indica, sativa, and hybrid options in milk, dark, and white chocolate flavors; dosages range from 10mg to 100mg per serving. For medical and rec users.
Luchador 1000mg Tinctures
California edibles are capped at 100mg THC per package, yet tinctures (along with gel caps and concentrates) are allowed up to 1000mg. Luchador invites consumers to step into the ring with a super-high-dose (1000mg THC) recreational tincture. Created by Mexicana scientist Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, Luchador’s 1000mg THC tinctures come in three classic Mexican flavors: horchata, pineapple habanero, and watermelon.
Wünder Sparkling Beverages
Joining Cann in building out the sparkling beverage category is newcomer Wünder. With some of the hippest branding in the game, Wünder manages to combine the flavored water trend, the CBD trend, and the imminent Delta-8 trend all in one can. Micro-dosed with just 2mg THC, the beverages are designed to be “sessioned.” Wünder claims its formula combines “THC for the mind, Delta-8 for the body, and CBD for the soul.”
Select Nano Gummies
Select, one of the few truly national cannabis brands, jumped on the hot nano trend and added a line of fast-acting gummies to its sprawling portfolio. The fruity bites come in Sour Blues and Fresh Treat flavors and promise to give new users the ability to better micro-dose and make “night-ending highs a thing of the past.”
Locations: California, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts
La Di Da Lattes
Upmarket clientele looking for something non-psychoactive they can integrate into daily life may enjoy La Di Da’s trio of morning, afternoon, and night beverages. Each eight-ounce, caffeine-free matcha, lavender, or turmeric latte is made with oat milk and infused with 15mg CBD from full-spectrum Colorado hemp extract. La Di Da’s products are 100-percent vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened with natural honey.
Wana Quick Fast-Acting Tincture
Colorado heavyweight Wana has been developing and releasing nano products for a couple of years now, most recently focusing its high-efficacy technology on tinctures. The brand has been a leader in the edibles category for more than a decade, and the new ratio tinctures see the company branching out to reach lower-dose and medical consumers. 200mg (1:1 CBD:THC) and 110mg (10:1 CBD:THC) products are available in a refreshing peppermint flavor.
For consumers who are using cannabis primarily as a wellness tool or are gravitating toward the plant as part of a wider spiritual awakening, the OHM 510 vape series has stepped up to meet the challenge. Aimed at the yoga and meditation community, the line launched with a three-part series of free online yoga classes that mix medical marijuana with an open practice. The company also offers a line of mood-focused THC:CBD ratio formulations.
Wholesale: (717) 610-4165 ext. 100
Many stores are finding upsell opportunities by offering their customers unique or novel smoking accessories. Consider Hydroponique’s easy-to-clean, shatterproof bong if for no other reason than there’s nothing else like it. Made from medical-grade silicone, the practical piece is angled for a comfortable grip. A must-have for stores seeking to add affordable high-end items to their accessories cases. All Hydroponique bongs are made in the U.S.A.
Flow Cannabis Co. Caldera
New from California flower powerhouse Flow Cannabis Co. comes Caldera: a volcanic-themed rec brand that promises to ignite “the fullest potential of the plant.” The line of vape carts and live resin extracts (dubbed “Magma Sauce” and “Lava Diamonds”) are crafted with 100-percent sun-grown, fresh-frozen plant. Caldera also is available in a half-gram PAX cart, providing fresh options in rotation for those loyal to the PAX battery.
CBDistillery Pet Tincture
CBD products for pets is a growing market, and CBDistillery has emerged as a major player thanks to big marketing spends and frequent media appearances. Customers will recognize the brand, which offers four full-spectrum tinctures in 150mg, 600mg, 1000mg, and 2500mg SKUs. Pricing is among the most competitive in a high-margin category.
Screaming Trumpets debuted at the end of 2020 with Western-themed 10g (pre-ground) flower tins and sold out of its first run extremely quickly. With the enormous cultivation capacity of Desert Underground behind the brand, it looks like a future staple in the making. The first wave of strains were Durban, GMO, Sundae Driver, and Wedding Cake.
Chalice Farms Chocolate Blasts
Chocolates are delicious, but there’s an added level of edible enjoyment with these bites from Chalice Farms. The Portland-based brand infuses the sensual treats with extract from its own flower. 50mg THC per package, in flavors including mocha, milk chocolate, and cookies and cream.
Wholesale: (503) 384-2141
Locations: California, Oregon, Nevada
Dutchie Hybrid Pre-Rolls
Dutchie’s sexy six packs of cannabis smokes are crafted from 100-percent ground hydroponic flower, machine rolled, and precisely weighed at one-half gram each. Available in mash-up strains like Gorilla Wreck (Cookie Wreck x GG #4) and Cold Creek Kush (MK Ultra x Chemdog 91), they’re a good option for customers seeking high quality, convenience, and added steez.
Easy Rider icon Dennis Hopper’s is the most recent celebrity name to adorn a cannabis brand. The late actor’s daughter Marin Hopper crafted a fitting tribute to her father by creating Hopper Reserve, a trio of pre-rolls (indica, sativa, hybrid) “like the ones Dennis smoked throughout his life.” Housed in classy glass jars and ornate psychedelic boxes so they will catch an eye on the shelves, they’ll resonate with over-50s and rebels of any age.
Wholesale: No direct wholesale; available through major distributors.
Studenglass Gravity Hookah
The world’s first gravity-powered, contactless water pipe accommodates shisha, dry herb, and concentrates. Included accessories—three-foot magnetic hookah hose and mouthpiece; aluminum bowl, wand, and coal tray; and glass dry-herb bowl—make consumption easy no matter the material. Concentrate users can attach their favorite concentrate accessories for a smooth experience. The glass globes are dishwasher-safe.
Lady Jays Pre-Rolls
Manufactured and co-branded in association with select Oregon cultivators, Lady Jays is a line of CBD and CBG hemp pre-rolls and flower from Ladies of Paradise (LoP). The LoP are known for their unapologetically feminine aesthetic, inclusivity, and empowerment, so market these to conscious consumers seeking products designed by women for women.
Dr. Dabber Stella
The Dr. Dabber name is familiar to concentrate lords. The sleek Stella pen is becoming a favorite because it removes much of the hassle of dabbing and delivers a unique experience thanks to its signature vortex airflow. Users simply unscrew the mouthpiece and add concentrate to the floating vapor chamber, which is designed to reduce external temperature while concentrating heat on the payload.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Eddie and Tamra Judge, this classy CBD brand offers a wide range of isolate and full-spectrum products for people and their pets. The new line of chocolates packs 250mg of CBD isolate into ten decadent bites. Available in dark chocolate, dark chocolate with peppermint, and milk chocolate with toffee crumbles flavors. The brand’s Instagram-ready branding is a plus for savvy marketers.
Garden Society Chocolates
Aimed at conscious consumers who want to patronize female-owned brands, Garden Society’s line of luxurious edibles may be an excellent addition to the top shelf. The artisanal recipes combine local and Fair Trade Certified dark and milk chocolate with full-spectrum cannabis oil. Varieties include milk chocolate with sea salt (relaxation), spiced dark chocolate (energy), and milk chocolate with chai (calm and focused).
Wholesale: firstname.lastname@example.org; (707) 331-0136