Manufacturing Success: Q&A with Kody Procell of Elevate Cannabis
Missouri’s manufactured marijuana space is one of the most competitive in the country, with dozens of licensees and even more brands producing thousands of products filling dispensary shelves. Since the launch of adult use marijuana in February, Missouri has seen more than $1 billion in sales. In Manufacturing Success, a short-form Q&A series, Greenway looks to highlight and introduce the companies and individuals that turn plants into the products helping to propel the success of the cannabis industry.
In this edition of Manufacturing Success, we sit down with Kody Procell, the Formulation Lead at Elevate Cannabis, to learn about his journey in the cannabis industry and his role in shaping some of the most innovative products in Missouri’s cannabis market.
Procell hails from Louisiana, bringing a rich cultural background to his current life in Kansas City, MO. Just two months ago, Procell and wife Macy welcomed their son, Vincent, to the family.
Procell’s career trajectory took him from a Bachelor’s degree in Biology to working as a Forensic Scientist, and ultimately into the cannabis industry. His shift to cannabis was spurred by Missouri’s move to legalize medical marijuana. Joining Elevate Cannabis in its early stages, Procell has been an integral part of the lab team since its inception.
“After Missouri went medical, I knew it would be awesome to work within the industry. It was right place, right time, really–I was wanting to leave my current position and was lucky to meet our Lab Director, Gwen, while Elevate was in its developing stages. I joined early and have been a part of our lab squad since day one,” he explained.
What products or brands does Elevate produce?
Elevate does it all. Being fully vertical (cultivation & manufacturing), allows us to provide a number of different strains for flower and pre-rolls, while the lab side of things produces distillate for cartridges and edibles, as well as other lovely concentrates like badders, sugars, and diamonds.
Tell me about the process, or processes, used to create your products.
Here in the lab our team utilizes two different types of extractors as well as a wiped-film still to produce our products. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort but the love and commitment we have on our team is unmatched and makes the process enjoyable every day.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in a manufacturing facility like this?
The biggest obstacle is staying current with changes from our regulating body. Our team works diligently to adjust to new rules and regulations as the Missouri cannabis industry evolves. It’s extremely important to not only produce the highest quality of product, but to also stay compliant so that we may continue doing this for many years to come.
What has the legalization of recreational adult use sales meant for you and your company?
We hit the ground running when medical first passed, and definitely saw a boom after rec followed. It’s wonderful to see how large the response has been here in Missouri. I think everyone is excited for this market and the growing interest and demand means job longevity for industry workers like myself.
What are you doing to keep up with increased demand?
We have greatly increased the amount of product manufactured, all while maintaining the same top tier quality. More demand means more opportunities for us to make other SKUs. We’ve kept a pretty steady supply of our regular strains and flavors in our product line while introducing new limited-edition options.
Let’s talk about how you’re sourcing biomass or plant material and how that has changed in recent months.
Fortunately, we are able to source from our own in-house grow. Having our grow and lab in the same building is super convenient because it allows us to ensure we are extracting with top-notch product. High-quality flower is crucial for extraction to make high-quality concentrates.
What lessons have you learned from day 1 to now?
The cannabis industry is always changing. There are different demands, trends, and factors that make it the wild ride that it is. I learned to be flexible and adjust as the market develops in Missouri.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
My older sister provided me with many great pieces of advice growing up. She taught me to unapologetically be myself, and to always make sure your friends and family know you love them.
What makes you passionate about cannabis?
My driving force for working in cannabis is my desire to remove stigmas surrounding the plant and educate people on its wonderful medicinal properties. With fentanyl practically everywhere and painkiller overdoses not slowing down, it is more critical than ever to provide those in need with a natural, safe alternative.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to consume cannabis?
The best way to consume cannabis, in my opinion, is a good ole fashioned joint. There are so many methods of consumption these days and cannabis comes in many different forms, but nothing beats the simplicity of a joint. I do love to see the abundance of edibles available for those who are not able to consume through inhalation.
What makes Elevate products unique in this space?
Our products are unique from others in the industry because we are 100% honest about what we’re making and what the consumer gets. We keep everything natural and don’t fluff any numbers or products. If you buy one of our carts you’re getting pure d9THC and naturally derived terpenes– no filler, no mystery. This is why I exclusively smoke Elevate.
What is the top-performing product you produce?
The top-performing product I personally make would be our cartridges. We have a new all-in-one disposable we just released that’s taking the market by storm. Our pre-rolls and concentrates always stay busy as well.
What’s your favorite product and why?
My favorite product is our Lemon G cannaterp cart. I love this strain because it is a 1:1 of THC and CBD that provides an excellent high without being too overwhelming. I always recommend this strain to beginners that are interested in trying cannabis.
Parting wisdom or additional thoughts?