Creating a Feel State

Creating a Feel State


For over two years David Melnick, Corey Rimmel, and Mitch Greene have dedicated themselves to turning Missouri into a Feel State. The trio has devoted time and resources to education, community outreach, and advocating for inclusion in the cannabis industry as a whole and Missouri’s medical marijuana space in particular.

“One of our primary goals, when we started out over two years ago, was to create a dispensary brand that would be a reflection of our collective personal beliefs,” Melnick said. “For us, it was, and still very much is, important to create, build, and act in a way that our family and friends would be proud of and have that live through the name. It is why we prominently feature our four key core values on the homepage of the website: Community, Supportive, Education, and Consistent. They serve as constant reminders of why we started this company and what we must continue to work towards each and every day.”

When the company was awarded no dispensary licenses in Missouri after scoring they pivoted, putting their knowledge base and experience, as well as their resources and influence to use creating a replicable brand and license. Greenway recently spoke to Melnick, co-founder of Feel State, about the journey to this point.

Feel State has become one of the most recognized brands in Missouri, despite not holding licenses. Publicly, the team has created relationships with industry leaders, content producers, and other licensees putting out instructional videos, educational materials, and patient resources to further their objective of connecting with patients. The Feel State team has worked diligently to find partners for their brand to help lift dispensaries and create a support network of knowledge and function for licensees entering the medical marijuana market.



“We applied for our own dispensary licenses and, unfortunately, were not awarded any of them,” Melnick said. “It was a bit of a shock, but we were not going to give up on our dream. The same day licenses were announced, we got to work trying to contact everyone that obtained a license and kept doing what we could to build the brand. We had a lot of conversations with many of the groups and we were very fortunate, and appreciative, to land with the two that we did. We are working with two different groups in Missouri – one dispensary in St. Louis one in Kansas City – to brand their dispensaries as a ‘Feel State.’ We are also there as a support system to help provide assistance as they might need, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure, and encourage, that they have full control over their dispensaries.”  

Feel State’s partnership with dispensaries is built as a brand licensing arrangement. Feel State provides art, branding materials, and educational materials. They also provide operational advice based on years of retail and legal cannabis experience. Feel State, in essence, becomes not only a branding partner but an available consultancy while ownership groups maintain all control and decision making.

“Having never quite found a dispensary experience that truly resonated with us, Feel State was born out of a desire to create something a bit different,” Melnick said. “Our motivation is rooted in creating a welcoming and approachable place where individuals feel safe and comfortable knowing that they are making smart and informed decisions when it comes to obtaining high-quality cannabis products. The driving force behind this is not simply to sell cannabis. Rather it is to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with all of those we interact with: guests, team members, the general public, and of course, our dispensary partners.”

This dedication to service and approach to outreach has garnered Feel State positive attention from sources both inside the industry and in the patient community. A combination of interaction, engaging marketing, and community participation has made Feel State stand out.

Co-founded by three young Missourians – Greene, Rimmel, and Melnick, the brand has been vocal in its support of creating an inclusive and equitable cannabis industry and is constantly finding new and creative ways to overcome and refute the negative stigma and misinformation of cannabis. These things collectively have endeared the Feel State brand to nearly everyone with even a passing interest in cannabis. 


“We get a lot of people that are appreciative of us providing information about the plant. At the end of the day, we understand that a portion of the people who see our content may never enter a Feel State dispensary for one reason or another (we certainly hope that isn’t the case!), but if we are still able to help them consume cannabis in a way that’s best for them, then it is still 100% worth it.

“There is still a lot of confusion about what’s going on with the program in Missouri whether it be if dispensaries are open, the types of products in the market, how to obtain a medical card, etc.,” Melnick said. “Having experienced a medical cannabis program roll out in another state, this is completely normal, but it is still something that requires a lot of work to get the right information out there.

“For the past year, our primary methods (of engagement) have been through social media and virtual events. Now that we are starting to see an uptick in in-person events, we will be getting out to more of those, too,” Melnick said. “We do our best to be as open of a book as possible and if someone wants us to present on a topic, do an interview, sponsor an event, etc., we like to say ‘yes’ if we can. Also, we do what we can to support various organizations such as Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the St. Louis Jewish Food Pantry, and others through monetary and non-monetary contributions.”

The co-founders function like the characters in an action movie, each with their own unique set of skills. Melnick describes himself as “the back-office/corporate functions/financial lead,” a skill set honed as the co-founder of the successful Hot Box Cookies with Rimmel, before joining the cannabis industry. Rimmel is the operations lead, he served as the long-time CEO of Hot Box, before transitioning to the cannabis industry as well. Greene is considered the team cannabis lead, having been immersed in the plant for years. 

In addition to the founders, Melnick says Feel State boasts “a large and diverse team of other individuals from cannabis operations, branding/marketing, technology, legal, real estate, etc. who play key roles in helping us to build and grow this company.”

St. Louis and Kansas City locations are expected to in late April to May 2021. 

“The two locations are both excellent, but are also very different,” Melnick explained, “The location in Kansas City is in the 18th and Vine District right off of I-70 and the St. Louis location is in the suburb of Florissant in a neighborhood center. One of our brand goals is to adapt to and work with each community that is being served while still embodying the general Feel State tone. We look forward to seeing how the brand is received and how we will need to evolve it to best serve the community.”

While there are not currently other Feel State locations in preparation in Missouri, Melnick says that the company is close to expansion. 

“These are the only two locations in Missouri for the moment. If the opportunity presented itself for additional locations, we would make sure there was no conflict with the existing (locations) before moving forward. We also have some relationships in process in a few other states. Our goal is not to be a multi-state operator, but rather a multi-state partner.” 

Feel State is currently working on bringing to market relationships in Michigan and Colorado.

“We are excited to see these first two dispensaries get going and to help build them into something that can be replicated with other dispensary owners,” Melnick said. “For us, it’s build, refine, and then expand.

“When you visit a Feel State dispensary, we want individuals to feel right at home. We believe that cannabis should be easily accessible to those who wish to use it and we are dedicated to creating a safe, informative environment for curious adults to learn more about cannabis and wellness,” Melnick said. “We want to build something that our family (both older and younger generations) and friends would be proud to say support. We are strong advocates for helping as many people as we can and having any success we achieve be derived from the success of others.”