Imagine a farmers’ market. The air is filled with jubilant chatter and the booths are exploding with fresh produce — bushels of kale, ripe squash and bright red apples beckon. Now imagine there is also a booth displaying mason jars filled with buds of deep green cannabis. There might be an earthy scent drawing passer-bys closer, peering into the jars. As they peruse the options of flower on display, they may choose one based on its proclaimed effects, or on medicinal qualities.
This is the future of cannabis, as imagined by PremaFlora founder and CEO Jeff Jones; someday, not-so-far in the future, cannabis will be normalized and treated how consumers treat their food. Consumers may demand organic, high-quality products and the market, including the cannabis market, will respond accordingly.
While cannabis is far from being displayed side-by-side with local veggies at an outdoor farmer’s market, PremaFlora is forging the way for small-scale, California-based marijuana farmers to share their harvests with a greater medicinal consumer-base. The company, which opened its online “Farm Stand” Oct. 4, is taking northern California one cannabis bouquet at a time.
After joining PremaFlora’s collective, medical cannabis patients in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley can buy cannabis online and have it delivered directly to their doorstep.
“[PremaFlora is a] showcase brand for small farmers producing super high-quality product with sustainable methods,” Jones explains. “There is a way of growing cannabis for better quality medicine at a lower cost, and it is better for consumers and the community.”
Shoppers can choose from a variety of strains prominently displayed on PremaFlora’s website, or collections based on effects, palate or farm location. There are also options for those seeking high-CBD strains. All flower is sourced from around eight farms in northern California.
“The collections are the way to tell a story,” Jones says. “There is a women-grown collection, with flower from all female-led farms, or there’s a Round Valley collection. With that, we are telling the story of a diverse, sustainable and local-centric supply chain of cannabis for folks.”
PremaFlora appeals to a wide audience. In the past, the primary cannabis consumer was young and male. Now, cannabis is used by women and older individuals, who can benefit from the plant but were previously excluded in marketing. This company appeals to a broader audience, with hip packaging and wholesome, welcoming advertising.
According to Jones, PremaFlora is a vehicle for social and environmental change. PremaFlora works to preserve sustainable rural communities, many of which have blossomed in northern California due to cannabis farming. Farming partners are chosen carefully, with several aspects taken into consideration. At the very least, PremaFlora requires sun-grown cannabis without fertilizers or pesticides. The interview process for farms includes questions regarding water use — definitely a topic of concern for Californians — the treatment of plants, soil and employees. Flower from each farm undergoes testing for potency and any free radicals, such as microbes or mold.
PremaFlora ensures the flower is grown in a setting where people, the plant and the planet are all cared for before it reaches the buyer’s home.
“There is also the love factor — the love for the plants and the soil — which really shows itself,” Jones says. “This comes out in the color, the crystallization, the muti-note palette — you know, there are three or four or five flavors coming out — and when you smoke it, it is just a clean, pure breath of sunshine.”
Of course, the cannabis industry can be an intimidating field to break into. While there are definitely legal restrictions to abide by and lingering misconceptions about cannabis to overcome, Jones also describes how sun-grown cannabis gets a bad reputation by consumers and fellow business-owners. Outdoor cannabis is often assumed to be of lower quality and potency, a notion PremaFlora is trying to disprove.
“Generally when you present sun-grown cannabis to retailers, they read it as inferior,” Jones says. “It has been hard to break through that mindset.”
However, retailers and consumers are beginning to see sun-grown cannabis in a new light.
“When [sun-grown cannabis from PremaFlora] gets into the hands of consumers and budtenders, they fall in love with it. They say ‘wow, I didn’t know sun-grown could be like this,’” Jones says.
PremaFlora is just starting out, but has tapped into a quickly-growing market. More people are questioning traditional, large-scale agriculture, and are turning to smaller, local farms for their transparency, safety and freshness. It was inevitable cannabis would take a similar route.
“I’m not interested in mystery bags of who-knows-what, I really appreciate knowing about the farms and the farmers. Access to cannabis from amazing farmers and knowing that I can consistently order from them again and again is important to me,” said Alicia, a PremaFlora customer.
It is particularly fitting PremaFlora roughly translates to love flower: love for cannabis, love for the consumer and love for the Earth.