Cloud Cover Cannabis emphasizes craft, quality, and consistency with entry to Missouri marijuana market
Just ahead of the launch of adult use, Cloud Cover Cannabis debuts in Missouri.
Cloud Cover has become an award-winning brand in cannabis in multiple states – Oregon, Michigan, and Massachusetts – in recent years. This week, the brand launched in Missouri, exclusively at High Profile Cannabis Shop locations.
Greenway spoke with Vishal Rungta, Co-Founder and President of C3 Industries, about bringing one of the Midwest’s best brands to the Show-Me State.
C3, the parent company of Cloud Cover, has built a vertically integrated cannabis enterprise, full of unique brands and products in Missouri with High Profile Cannabis Shop as its retail arm, Galactic Meds (soon to launch rebranded as Galactic) as a consumer-focused product at an everyday price-point comprised of concentrates, carts, and pre-rolls, KIVA as one of the marquis brands in the edibles space, and Platinum Vape as a highly reviewed distillate vape with cannabis-derived terpenes.
Greenway sat down with Vishal to better understand what makes Cloud Cover unique to the Missouri market.
How does Cloud Cover fit into the overall C3 portfolio, and what does the new brand bring to the table?
“Cloud Cover is our premium, limited quantity, full spectrum brand,” Rungta explained. “The brand brings a honed focus on quality over quantity.”
The Missouri cultivation facility is the company’s 4th, and the lessons learned from building and operationalizing previous facilities directly impacted the decisions made for the buildout of Cloud Cover in Missouri.
Operating out of a 40,000 sq ft facility with 10,000 sq feet of flowering canopy, the company’s focus is on the end product – targeting a highly discerning cannabis consumer.
“All of our flower is grown in a state-of-the-art indoor facility. Our facilities are ground up, brand new construction,” Rungta told Greenway. “The facilities are meticulously designed with an emphasis on biosecurity, operational flow, and cleanliness.”
“There are no corners cut, this is designed to be a pharmaceutical-grade facility to safeguard the plant atmosphere.”
The brand lives by the motto, “For the Love of Flower,” and that attitude is behind every decision made at Cloud Cover.
For Rungta and the team at Cloud Cover, the most important part of what comes out of the facility is what goes into it.
A large part of those input decisions is what genetics to bring in and what cultivars to bring to market, but equally important are the decisions about design and process made to cultivate the right setting.
In the company’s fourth iteration of a facility buildout, the approach is designed to create synchronicity and consistency from one facility to the next. Rungta says that the company tends to take a “much more systematic approach than some competitors.”
That approach means identical facilities in different markets, creating an atmosphere and culture that is dialed in. But another essential component to consistency and quality is the human component, and that aspect isn’t overlooked by the team at Cloud Cover.
“There’s a human touch involved, these plants are living beings,” Rungta said. It’s that human element that the company focuses heavily on and has engrained into its culture.
While the facilities are nothing short of state-of-the-art, there remains a focus on the intuition and knowledge of the staff. While many facilities focus on automation, Cloud Cover focuses on people.
“We very much believe in the value of the experience of good cultivators. We use technology and automation where it makes sense, but our SOPs and people create a truly consistent product, and that approach is somewhat unique to the industry.”
The backbone of Cloud Cover’s cultivation operations is Joel Ruggiero. Each of the Cloud Cover facilities has been personally overseen by Ruggiero, who serves as Chief Horticulture Officer.
As Co-Founder and Chief Horticulture Officer of C3 Industries, Ruggiero is an industry-recognized cannabis cultivation master and oversees C3 Industries’ award-winning team of cultivation experts and multiple state-of-the-art cultivation and manufacturing facilities.
To ensure the quality, consistency, and efficiency that Rungta speaks so often of, Cloud Cover’s Missouri facilities deployed “legacy, experienced cultivators and lab experts” from within the C3 family to oversee all aspects of its operation.
Andrew (AJ) Bodkin serves as the Launch Director for the Missouri facilities. Bodkin began his career with C3 as a cultivation tech in Oregon. Bodkin became a key leader for the company, moving up the ranks to become Cultivation Manager and, eventually, the Director of Operations of the Oregon Facility.
Since then, Bodkin has overseen the construction and launch of the Massachusetts and Missouri facilities. Bodkin brings a wealth of leadership and operations experience to the newest facility, C3 said. In addition to deploying Bodkin, C3 also relocated vital team members and leaders from other facilities and geographies to help support Missouri’s growth.
Antonia Evans, Assistant Cultivation Manager, and Jameson Fredrick, Cultivation Supervisor, were brought in from the company’s Oregon facility; Brooke Massicotti, Compliance Supervisor was brought in from C3’s Massachusetts facility; and Jacques McClendon, Lab Manager, was called in from the company’s Michigan facility.
Ruggiero employs a disciplined approach focused on personalized care and attention for each plant throughout the entire cultivation process; bringing in staff who are trained and understand Ruggiero’s approach is essential to creating the premier quality and consistency the company hangs its hat on.
“For the Love of Flower” is more than a statement piece, according to Rungta
“We are snobbish about our flower,” he explained. “We are targeting high-end, experienced consumers, and we want them to have the same experience we’ve had for the last 20 years.”
“It’s all about the environment for the plants,” Rungta said. The brand grows at an intentionally smaller scale, not to compete with the largest producers in the market but to craft the best product available.
Cloud Cover will launch with W**kie Girl ’91 and Sherb Cake in bulk flower along with Apple Tartz 1g pre-rolls as well as 11 other varieties in all. Additional information on the strains and the brand can be found on the brand’s website, www.cloudcovercannabis.com.
- W**kie Girl ’91 is a cross of Wookies 91 x Valley Girl, bred by Tierra Rojo. This Indica’s flavor profile is floral and sour with gassy undertones and hints of raspberry with a smooth high great for relaxing.
- Sherb Cake is a cross of Sunset Sherbert x Wedding Cake, bred by Seed Junky Genetics. This hybrid Indica has a gassy creamy aroma with a berry flavor profile and provides an ultra-relaxing high.
- Apple Tartz is a cross of Runtz x Apple Fritter, bred by Clear Water Genetics. This hybrid variety offers rich sour and tart apple tastes, with a medium-smooth high that will leave you relaxed, happy, and uplifted.
Cloud Cover has built much of its reputation on curating exclusive and sought-after genetics, so much so that the company has converted its existing Portland, Oregon, cultivation facility to be utilized exclusively for Research and Development.
That allows the company the freedom to ask, “What happens if?” according to Rungta.
“In addition to operational improvements, we are constantly breeding, crossing, and pheno hunting.”
The company is dedicated to seeking out and working with well-known seed and genetics companies to help in the ongoing process of creating new genetics while also offering staples that Cloud Cover is known for producing consistently. For C3, it’s essential that the brand offer its own staples while also following the trends in the market.
When it came time to decide on the genetics and cultivars to roll out in Missouri the common theme of quality and consistency was at the forefront.
“We are familiar with these cultivars,” Rungta said. “The decisions were about ensuring our staples were available, like White 99 – a big Sativa, and offering boutique, quality offerings like W**kie Girl ‘91, which is my personal favorite.”
“Next it was, ‘let’s make sure there are things folks know but are new to the market,” he said. That idea fueled the decision to bring in cuts like the original Sour Tangie, directly cultivated from the original Crockett Farms lineage.
That passion for quality and craftsmanship extends beyond just flower products. Cloud Cover will also offer full-spectrum concentrates and full-spectrum vape carts.
“It all starts with the best flower,” Rungta told us. “Full spectrum is directly representative of the flower.” With Cloud Cover serving as the company’s flagship line, it’s important that everything created under the banner lives up to expectations. “Cloud Cover is premier, there’s no third-party biomass, it’s all in house – start to finish,” Rungta explained.
Cloud Cover is exclusive to High Profile Cannabis Shops at launch, debuting earlier this week on January 26.
For now, the rest of the state will have to wait a few more weeks. Even then, Cloud Cover will be available in limited quantities and only at select dispensary partners throughout the state, according to Rungta. The limited availability is partly due to the limited production and meticulous care taken in the Cloud Cover growing process, but it’s also a conscious decision on the part of the brand.
Launching first in High Profile locations, the budtenders have been able to experience Cloud Cover, tour the facilities, and are knowledgeable about both the brand’s story and philosophy.
The brand hopes to offer the same experience for retail partners to ensure that consumers and patients receive the best possible experience when purchasing Cloud Cover products for the first time.
Cloud Cover flower is available now at High Profile and will be available at select retailers in early February. Full spectrum carts and concentrates will be available beginning in late February and early March.