Manufacturing Success: Q&A with John Teague of cannabis.inc
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 retail marijuana sales at dispensaries. 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 John Teague, Operations Manager at cannabis.inc, who shares insights into his journey in the cannabis industry, the challenges and triumphs of his role, and his vision for the future of cannabis.
Teague was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but has been a Missourian for his entire life. It was Kansas City that raised him. At Center High School, he was known for his athletic prowess and his love for music. This blend of sports and soundtracks defined his early years. After high school, Teague attended college in Fayette, playing football for Central Methodist university, before moving on to Full Sail to embrace his inner creative – pursuing a degree in audio engineering.
Teague’s professional path was anything but linear. From managing a Game Stop to leading a Taco Bell, he learned the ropes of retail and customer service. His stint as a Pharmacy Tech introduced him to the complexities of healthcare, while his time in commercial furniture installation added a physical and creative element to his work life. These diverse experiences were the prelude to his eventual destination: cannabis.inc. Now Teague leads operations for one of the state’s most celebrated independent marijuana manufacturers.
How did you find your way to working with cannabis?
I have had a relationship with cannabis for quite a while. Growing up I was very active, in high school I played sports year-round, Football in the fall, Wrestling in the winter and Track and Field in the spring. That with the combination of college football led me to seek a better way to recover and rejuvenate after I was done competing. After college was when I really dove into research about the plant and the medical benefits.
What does marijuana mean to you?
Cannabis symbolizes freedom to me. To this day, depending on what state you live in you can be a law-abiding citizen or a criminal for having an eighth of “marijuana”. I want to be apart of the revolution against the prohibition of cannabis.
What products or brands does cannabis.inc produce?
Cannabis.INC produces live hash rosin products. LiRO is our premier live hash rosin brand, producing live rosin concentrates and live rosin vape cartridges.
Our line of infused cooking ingredients under the brand “Ingredient” is infused with our full spectrum rosin (not distillate) and available as regular and extra strength Ghee (clarified butter), Cooking Oil, and Rosin Tinctures.
Lastly, we produce our infused granola known as “GREENOLA BITES” which is also infused with full spectrum rosin (not distillate) while being gluten free, nut free, and using no refined sugars (available in original, apple cinnamon, and more)
Tell me about the process, or processes, used to create cannabis.inc products.
Creating live hash rosin starts with taking fresh frozen cannabis washing it in ice water to agitate and knock off trichome heads. Those trichomes are then collected, freeze dried, then pressed between two hot plates. Once collected the rosin is stored and cured for a number of days before being put into its final form (concentrate, cart, infusion, etc).
What is the biggest obstacle you face in a manufacturing facility like this?
Dealing with a new industry there are always growing pains, one of the biggest obstacle we face is just the unknown factors of the industry. Staying in compliance with the state is everyone’s biggest priority but with constant rule changes it becomes more of a task to stay on top of everything.
What has the legalization of recreational adult use sales meant for cannabis.inc?
Adult use has changed a lot, mostly the demand for products has skyrocketed. With increased demand hopefully, that comes with an increase in supply. We want people who love our rosin to be able to have access to it. At the same time maintaining the excellence we strive for in every gram we put out.
What are you doing to keep up with increased demand?
We are slowly growing the team. Expanding our team will allow us to produce more products in a more efficient and timely manner. In addition to the team, we have also purchased a few machines to aid us in production.
Can you talk at all about how you’re sourcing biomass or plant material and how that has changed in recent months?
At the beginning of the year, it seemed almost impossible to get fresh frozen for a good price. The demand for flower has seemed to slow up a bit which has made getting fresh frozen a little bit easier.
What lessons have you learned from day 1 to now?
I’ve learned that not everything is going to go to plan, like most things in life the universe seems to have another plan in the works. All you can do is control what you can control and everything else will work itself out.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
My Dad told me as a kid to never let someone tell me I can’t do something. Self-belief is one of the most important traits to have, if you don’t believe in you then no one will.
What makes you passionate about cannabis?
Cannabis can be used in so many ways, from meditations to ceremonial settings to just having a good time with friends. All the ways that one plant can bring all different people together is what really makes me passionate about working in the industry.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to consume cannabis?
Solventless is my favorite way to consume cannabis. Rosin has some of the best flavors and really gives the true essence of the plant. The smell and taste from strain to strain is what keeps me searching for the best of the best.
What makes cannabis.inc products unique in this space?
Providing solventless concentrates in a space where not too many companies have taken the leap just yet allows us to create premium products to set the standard for the future market. It is always quality over quantity, we pride ourselves on producing some of the best rosin in the state.
What is the top-performing product cannabis.inc produces?
Our top performing products are Rainbow Burger Rosin and Rosin Tincture(s) from “ingredient”.
What’s your favorite product and why?
My favorite product has to be the Rainbow Burger rosin. It’s such a great blend of flavors. You get some of the funk of the Triple Burger, the sweetness of the Guava Grape and the orange terps from the Amaze Orange.
Parting wisdom or additional thoughts?
Working in the cannabis industry is everything I thought it would be and then some. If you are looking to get into the industry just know that it is a lot of work and takes some determination to get to where you want to go just like everything else in life. Do some research, look around, and find a company that aligns with your core values, and take a chance!