Manufacturing Success: Q&A with Hayden Pearcy of Heartland Labs
Missouri’s medical marijuana market continues to thrive. With dozens of brands and hundreds of products on dispensary shelves, medical marijuana has become the state’s hottest industry. In a new short-form q&a series, Manufacturing Success, Greenway looks to highlight and introduce the companies and individuals that turn plants into products.
Just north of Springfield, Buffalo, Missouri is home to one of the state’s most dynamic manufacturing companies. Heartland Labs produces some of the state’s most recognized and revered infused products and extracts, between their Heartland Labs, Dabs, and Sweet Stone brands, the company has built a following based on quality and consistency.
Heartland Labs balances its therapeutically focused products, including award-winning salves and capsules, with its wildly popular edibles, baked goods and gummies, and has quickly become one of the market leaders in vapes and concentrates, recently launching a highly sought collaboration with MOJO – MOJO Punch.
Greenway recently spoke to Heartland Labs Lab Director, Hayden Pearcy, about the company’s approach to quality and its patient-first mentality.
Pearcy is Missouri through and through, attending Glendale High in Springfield and graduating from Missouri State University before moving to Colorado.
“I have always had an interest in botany, when I learned about cannabis, I knew I wanted to be involved but wasn’t sure where to start, especially since at the time it was still illegal in Missouri. I moved to Colorado to learn and immerse myself in the medical cannabis movement. I was overwhelmed at the medicinal value of the plant. A majority of patients really needed the relief and wide variety of benefits that cannabis offers, it was not just a pass for people to use cannabis and not get in trouble. After having the opportunity to be involved, I knew this was the industry for me, and I had to do everything within my power to help bring legal cannabis to Missouri.”
While in Colorado, Pearcy learned the ins and outs of cannabis, from regulation to cultivation and extraction, before bringing that knowledge and passion back to Missouri and joining the Board of Directors for New Approach Missouri. For Pearcy, the mission was to bring cannabis and cannabis education to those in need in his home state.
What does medical marijuana mean to you?
Medical cannabis to me is a symbol of medical autonomy, a right to choose that should always be available to the citizens Missouri. The medical cannabis movement has been the first opportunity to help overturn the stigma that began decades ago. It is an alternative route to the pharmaceutical industry with astounding results that has helped save and relieve thousands of lives
Tell me about the process used to create Heartland products.
We use a state-of-the-art hydrocarbon setup for our base extraction to remove the cannabinoids and terpenes from the raw plant material into a crude oil. Depending on the product we are making dictates the process we use. The crude oil will either be distilled by a fractional spinning band distillation unit or put under heat/vacuum for a final purge to remove any kind of remaining solvents for the high-quality concentrates Missouri patients love and deserve.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in a manufacturing facility like this?
In the beginning, it was a scarcity of material. Now, with supply finally catching up and even surpassing demand, that is no longer a challenge we must deal with. We have so many ideas for new products and equipment to elevate our products, once we have been through the R&D process to roll out new products, we wind up being delayed anywhere from 12-16 weeks waiting on packaging lead times and in some instances, the lead times and even supply shortages on new equipment and supplies adds to the delay.
What lessons have you learned from day one to now?
Customer service is essential, we pride ourselves on being receptive to patients, wellness coordinators, dispensary managers and owners to make sure that their needs and wants are met. We are also very conscious about bringing the most affordable and high-quality medicine to the patients of Missouri.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
Luck is where opportunity meets preparedness.
What makes you passionate about cannabis?
Being a patient and caregiver myself, it has been awesome to help create some of the items that I’ve experienced and found relief through and see firsthand the help they bring to patients. When we receive feedback from patients who face some very serious health issues and are finally able to sleep through the night, or can function normally throughout the day, it just reminds me why I got in this industry in the first place.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to consume cannabis?
I prefer to vaporize concentrates through a water pipe. It is a smooth clean experience that amplifies the flavor, effects and diversity within the cannabis plant that truly makes you able to experience the differences from strain to strain.
What makes Heartland unique in this space?
We are family-owned and operated, Missouri natives, and we genuinely believe in the medicinal properties of cannabis. We have put an emphasis on the medicinal side of this industry, and our products are made by patients, for patients. We will not put a product on a shelf that does not meet our standard or that we wouldn’t use ourselves.
What can we expect from Heartland Labs in 2022?
We are rolling out a holistic health line, while a lot of companies are preparing for Adult Use, which we have in our purview, we plan on leaning into the medical industry and developing products to help patients feel better and live better. The holistic line will include everyday medical items to help ease relief for day-to-day nuisances, to high-dosed medical items sought after by patients with severe illnesses.
Heartland’s new products have a hyper-focus on the medicinal side of marijuana, can you explain why this was such an important part of the mission for Heartland?
The medical value of cannabis is why we got into the industry; we have had several family members that have suffered from cancer and close friends that have medical issues that are alleviated by these products. It is a great opportunity to help folks who need it, while getting to pursue a passion at the same time. With us being family-owned, getting to work alongside my family has allowed us to stay flexible to the market but remain focused on why we did this to begin with.