Manufacturing Success: Q&A with Montana Dickerson of Vivid
With dozens of brands and hundreds of products on dispensary shelves, medical marijuana has become Missouri’s quickest-growing 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.
Sometimes the road to innovation is paved with gold, or in this case, diamonds. Montana Dickerson serves as Director of Science and Technology and is part of the ownership team of Vivid, a well-known high-end concentrate and edible company. The reputation of Vivid as one of Missouri’s top marijuana extraction companies is known throughout the state, and in the nearly 170 dispensaries where Vivid products can be found in Missouri. This success and reputation have not slowed down the minds of Dickerson and his team, as they recently released Rose Quartz Diamonds, rose-colored THC-A Diamonds. This revolutionary process of reintroducing natural plant coloring back into the extracted product is the first of its kind in Missouri’s cannabis market.
Dickerson grew up an hour south of Kansas City in the small town of Archie, Missouri. He went to college at the University of Missouri, studying Biochemistry. After graduating from the University of Missouri biochemistry program, and working for the University Research Department as a Chemical Engineer, Dickerson was intrigued with the possibilities of Missouri’s new medical marijuana program.. Meanwhile, his parents and brother, Boston, were having similar thoughts.
Dickerson reminisced about the time period saying, “I’ve always been interested in cannabis, but it wasn’t until my parents approached me and my brother with the idea of joining the industry that I decided to change careers and move to Colorado to learn craft extraction.”
When he moved to Colorado, Dickerson found a job as a packager at a concentrate company. While working there Dickerson took on many roles, eventually working his way up to extraction.
He explained, “I was doing the work I wanted but I didn’t have the freedom of expression I was looking for, so I went to work for a craft extraction company where I would be able to be more creative.”
Since its launch, Vivid has brought multiple cannabis brands to market, including the flagship Vivid Extracts, Missouri’s Own Edibles, a distillate-infused edible brand that offers natural flavorings of native Missouri fruits, and the Buoyant Bob brand, an affordable alternative to the connoisseur products that Vivid is best known for.
What does medical marijuana mean to you?
To me all cannabis use is medicinal. That’s the beauty of the plant, it has such a variety of uses and helps so many people in different ways. I love it and I love providing products to patients
knowing they’ll be able to get relief. Our passion is providing quality products to patients all over the state.
Tell us about the process used to create Vivid extracts.
Over the past 12 years, I have been refining my laboratory techniques in various settings, from cancer research in academia to commercial craft cannabis in Colorado and now here in
Missouri. In the lab there’s always a way to elevate your product. We apply modern science with traditional hash making techniques to make a variety of top-shelf products and push the
boundaries of extracts. Vivid, our flagship brand, is focused on connoisseur products – including live resin, 6* solventless live rosin, cured concentrates and live resin-infused gummies.
The feedback loop we’ve established with our patients makes it easy to make adjustments and continue innovating on their behalf.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in a manufacturing facility like this?
I have a very high standard for input material, so over the past year it has been challenging to find biomass that is consistent with our standards. Finding the fire is the hardest part of the
process. Once it’s in the lab our team has the knowledge and expertise to produce the product in its best form.
What lessons have you learned from day one until now?
We realized very early on that some patients may be intimidated by concentrates. We like to think about concentrates like roasts of coffee. Flavor, texture, and effect are all matters of
personal preference, similar to a blonde vs a dark roast. We’ve learned to stay on top and ahead of the market by constantly innovating, working on partnerships and having a quality
environment for cultivating ideas.
What makes you passionate about cannabis?
Cannabis means the world to me. It slows everything down so that I can focus on one thought at a time. My dad is in pain every day due to a car accident when he was younger. Since then, he
hadn’t been able to get a good night’s rest until a Colorado trip led him to try edibles and changed his life. The medical applications of cannabis are very real and have also become
integral to my daily life.
What makes Vivid products unique to this space?
Our products resonate deeply with people because we make products we want for ourselves. Rose Quartz pink diamonds, Lemon Haze live resin gummies, 1:1 CBG:THC Missouri’s Own
gummies and 6* live rosin are just a few examples. Our leadership team is in constant communication with ideas for new products, and ideas for lots of our products come in sessions
outside of work. Constant communication within our company helps us glean insights directly from patients and budtenders. We pride ourselves on having a short feedback loop from
patients to the budtenders to the lab.
What’s your favorite product and why?
I love all my “babies” so I try everything we make, but I have a soft spot for quality concentrates. I prefer to have a large selection of different types of concentrates to consume on any given
Best advice ever given?
As Juicy J once said, “Smoke that weed!”
What’s the Top Performing Product at Vivid?
Our concentrates collectively have helped us push the boundaries in our industry, and we recently became Missouri’s best-selling concentrate brand according to BDSA’s retail sales
In your opinion, what is the best way to consume cannabis?
I’m a dab guy, preferably nice and cool on a quartz nail.