Interview with Brandon Pollock (Theory Wellness)
On September 13, 2018, Brandon Pollock of Theory Wellness and Theory Farms, will speak at Kahner Global's Cannabis Private Investment Summit in New York City. This event gathers industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking.
Theory Wellness is a highly rated retail brand in the Massachusetts market and is leveraging that success into a new venture, Theory Farms. Here, Pollock reflects on the lessons to be learned from the western states and the opportunities that exist for east coast markets.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you talk about your journey into this industry and how that shaped what Theory Wellness is today?
I stared working in the cannabis industry about 5 years ago, as a consultant for a company called Harborside Health Center based out of Oakland, CA. At the time, they were the largest dispensary in the country. Working there, I got to see a glimpse into the future of what was headed towards the east coast.
We started Theory Wellness in 2015 as a medical cannabis company, now operating two dispensaries and a cultivation facility. We’re embarking on our newest project called Theory Farms, a cultivation only facility that will help support our existing stores.
You exist in the space as both a dispensary and a grower, what are some of the advantages and challenges of that dual presence in the market?
It’s a really dynamic and quick changing industry and right now we’re proud to operate as a fully vertically integrated company with Theory Wellness. We have cultivation, product manufacturing and the dispensaries so we’re able to control the whole life cycle of the product.
And in an industry that’s largely self-regulated, that represents a real advantage...
Certainly. The biggest issue we’ve seen in Massachusetts is the variability of the quality of the product. Being able to cultivate our own product allows us to offer consistently high quality consumer experience at our retail facilities. There’s a lot of product offered that’s really not the same quality.
Right now Massachusetts has only 2% of the cultivation companies compared to Colorado, even though we’re a larger state. The biggest challenge for any company here that is about to enter the recreational market is not having enough supply. That’s why we’re really excited about our new business where we’re building the facility to supply our own stores as well as other stores in the state.
We’re really limited with the infrastructure we have in place right now. When we talk about California or Colorado going recreational, they already had hundreds of companies in place. In Massachusetts, we have about 30.
Supply is just one of the challenges facing businesses in states that are now coming online. Having seen this play out across the country, what advice would you give to business facing those initial challenges?
I would recommend, first and foremost, start local. The first part of anyone’s plan should be to find your real estate that is compliant with local zoning and finding a town that’s willing to host your business and work with you. From there, they can advocate on your behalf at the state level.
How does that extend to investors?