CURADOR blends plant passion and culture in medical marijuana
As more and more licenses are approved to operate in Missouri, the marketplace becomes more competitive and shelf space more limited in retail locations.
With over 50 medical marijuana manufacturers approved to operate, and nearly as many still to come – patients are set to experience a wide variety of offerings.
But how do manufacturers, especially those who are coming to market now – or in the near future, make an impact?
In the case of CURADOR, the answer seems to be quality and passion.
Blasting into the Missouri cannabis market with three offerings, a partnership with Airo, the acclaimed Head Change brand, and the aptly named Safe Bet – CURADOR made their presence immediately known as patients around the state instantly flocked to offerings.
Greenway recently spoke to CURADOR CSO & Co-Founder, Cory Sanson about what it takes to bring a stellar product to the patients of Missouri.
Sanson is a light-hearted, warm human being who drips with personality. He speaks frequently about his domestic life and his love of animals, but his passion for cannabis is inspiring. Aside from his knowledge, Sanson seems to derive meaning from cannabis – he speaks about the plant with resonation and enthusiasm. He is invested in cannabis as more than a business, but as a way of life.
“The word CURADOR translates to ‘natural healer’ or ‘Shaman’. We believe in a more natural, balanced solution for human wellness through the therapeutic use of craft cannabis, in all of its forms,” Sanson explained.
“We have personally felt the negative impact that opioids & street drugs have had on our lives and on our communities. Our experience working with this plant has shown us time and time again that cannabis can heal. We are proudly owned & operated by patients, many of whom reside in North St. Louis where we make all of our products.”
“It’s no secret that there are many groups eager to make their living or a newfound fortune in this new industry, but we are primarily focused on the plant itself and learning from it,” Sanson stated, “Each member of our team has had their lives transformed by cannabis. It is a centerpiece in their lives, and we take that value into every decision, every action, and every relationship. We owe this plant so much and we are so grateful for the chance to give back in this unique way.”
“We are a small crew of patients, lovers of the plant, and put our focus and energy into delivering quality products to the patients of Missouri. We’ve been keeping it real for a while now and look forward to more years of doing so,” Sanson said.
Who is CURADOR?
“CURADOR is our identity – home to all the different facets of our business, it is a house of brands that currently has three brands under its umbrella. Our proprietary brands Head Change, Safe Bet, and our partnership with Airo Pro are the first brands and offerings we’ve come to market with. Each is positioned to serve very different demographics of the cannabis market.”
“Airo Pro is an amazing piece of hardware that is super reliable, discrete, and easy to dose. The draw-activated vibration of the pen allows patients to measure a more accurate dose and stops vibrating to let the patient know when the cartridge is empty.
“Head Change is a premium cannabis brand that shares an affinity with the counterculture that is cannabis. Abandoning terms like stoner, a cannabis connoisseur can finally take pride in the experience and skillset they have been developing for years. Head Change is the TRUTH, we value transparency, and thrive to educate patients about the benefits of hash and dabbing.
“Safe-Bet is our solution to the cost-conscious Missouri medical patient. You don’t have to be low-income to enjoy cheaper cannabis, and cheap cannabis doesn’t have to be low quality; just our opinion. Safe Bet has simple offerings that are easy to conceptualize and don’t require complicated hardware.
“In all our products we focus on transparency, educating the patients, never sacrificing quality, and sustainability. We are very proud that all of our brands utilize recyclable, reusable, or plant-based and reclaimed ocean plastic for our packaging solutions.”
What products do CURADOR brands have available now and what do you hope to bring to market in the future?
“Head Change offers the best cultivar we can source in its greatest expressions: finished flower half-eighths, hash, and sauce carts. Head Change utilizes the term “Hash” to categorize all of our extracts including Live-Badder, Crumble, Live-Sugar, and Diamonds & Sauce. We are extremely excited to bring solventless options like Hash-Rosin & Jam to the market, you’re going to want to stay tuned for that. We also have our Sauce or (live-resin) carts out right now too, and we will have a solventless sauce-cart out sometime soon.”
“Safe Bet currently has two offerings. We have the (.5g) blunt made entirely from hemp and our answer to the pre-roll pack: Threefers. A pack of 0.3g mini pre-rolls we call, “Threefers” because we package them into tubes three at a time. They are super discrete.”
“We currently have eight strains of Airo Pro on the market including two ratio products. We plan on introducing new strains as the market grows and eventually some live-flower series.”
CURADOR is not vertical, how has that impacted your launch?
“The Cannabis industry can eat you alive if you’re not careful. We are very fortunate to be able to be operating in the current climate of the marketplace. Sitting in the middle of the supply chain allows for some flexibility and requires vigilance & experience to be effective, but also great partnerships with strong cultivation partners.”
“We believe that our team has a knack for identifying niches and being strong players in those niches. Access to capital is a large barrier for a ton of operators to perform at the level they need to. Money spent incorrectly early on will rock the boat hard for most operators. We are utilizing authentic interactions and vulnerability to gain trust in the marketplace rather than buy it, and the response has been organically positive thus far. We are very excited to watch this market grow over the next couple of years.”
While Sanson didn’t dive deeply into how CURADOR sources its material, he did discuss the company’s approach to selection, “At a high level we have a few different brands that require a few different material types. We have a few very select partners and procure material based on the demand of a specific brand. At an even higher level, we look for the terps that slap you in the face. #fireinfireout”
Can you tell me about some of the obstacles you’ve faced over the last year-plus?
“Getting any new business off the ground is a tremendous amount of work. Cannabis can be a very emotional business with a ton of deadlines, changing regulations, and capital requirements that would drive near anyone mad. The global COVID-19 pandemic really taught us so much; how to value the time we have together, how to bootstrap, how to trust your team, and how to stay positive in the worst of situations.
“We didn’t take salaries for 3 years and some of us had to take up second jobs doing door dash just to keep the lights on at home. We are firm believers in what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and are grateful to be here serving the patients of Missouri today.”
How is CURADOR involved in the community?
“We are our community; We live here, work here, and raise our families in St. Louis. We have been allies, activists, and advocates for this community long before we won our license. Our leadership has fought for trans rights in our schools, fought for drug policy change, worked in combating the opioid epidemic, and, ultimately, always bringing people together through cannabis.
This is not a foreign landscape for us. We came to provide the experiences we have spent so long searching out for ourselves. Missouri has a wonderful opportunity to grow and embrace this plant and invite the culture. The culture that surrounds it is unlike any other.
With a focus on sustainability, qualitative, emotional, and accessible experiences, we serve those who want to exit the stigmas of the past and move towards an inclusive future enhanced by this amazing plant. We work with our dispensary partners to have educational events and share our experience with the plant to help others grow. We have so many amazing things planned for this coming spring with our partners and allies. Stay Tuned.”