Canndescent’s rise to mainstream prominence in the cannabis industry has been exceptionally rapid. After starting the business in 2015 — somewhat late in the game for medical producers in California — CEO Adrian Sedlin says that his company has still succeeded in earning, to date, about $12 million dollars in funding from investors confident in what Canndescent has to offer.
The premium lifestyle cannabis company’s meteoric ascension to the top was perhaps solidified in August with an appearance on CNBC’s investment show “The Profit,” where TV host Marcus Lemonis grilled Sedlin on exactly how their product had earned a place on the top shelf.
When Sedlin says, “Call us the Courvoisier of cannabis, the Hermes of cannabis,” Lemonis interrupts, “But that’s just packaging.”
Sure, Canndescent has exceptional branding. Their cannabis comes in a sleek clementine-orange box filled with a unique inspirational quote, organic hemp wick and jumbo rolling papers. Their Instagram account features glamorous models living jet-setting lives with hand-rolled joints perched on their perfect lips. But most importantly, Sedlin says, everything about the brand is focused on creating a relationship between the consumer and the cannabis.
“We deeply respect our growing brethren out there, but we don’t believe that the grower is king,” says Sedlin. “We believe the consumer is king. At the end of the day, our business is to design solutions that work for consumers.”
One of the biggest problems facing consumers in the recreational cannabis market, Sedlin says, is a dearth of “shopability” and an excess of “confusion and intimidation.”
With most brands, consumers must have a high level of information in order to figure out what strain is right for their needs based upon a traditional strain name — names which Sedlin points out are occasionally misogynistic and grotesque or infringe upon copyrights. Plus, consumers can’t trust that all flower under the same strain name is actually the same, given that all growers have different strategies and conditions for cultivation.
So Canndescent eschewed tradition and decided to name their strains to answer the simple question: How do you want to feel? Instead of a menu that reads like a list of funky band names, Canndescent’s menu reads like a perfume sampler, with strain names like “Create No. 301,” “Cruise No. 201” and “Charge No. 508.”
“The point of the packaging is to explain by proxy to the consumer how much effort we put into our product,” says Sedlin. “Just imagine what we do for the cannabis if we do this for the packaging.”
This is the message Sedlin essentially serves Lemonis on “The Profit.” He explains that Canndescent is more than just good marketing — it has the cannabis quality to back up the price point they’re asking customers to pay. Canndescent’s cannabis, Sedlin says, lacks any chemical residue, is always cured properly for the perfect smoke, and has survived quality control checks that ensure that only the best cannabis reaches the consumer.
Canndescent grows their cannabis in “micro-grows” — small rooms segmented off within a large space — in order to focus on providing quality cannabis that is consistent and reliable for the consumer. In 11,000 square feet of warehouse space out in Desert Hot Springs, California, each micro-grow is tailored to be the best environment for specific strains at each stage of development, under the guidance of Sedlin’s brother-in-law Randall Patten, who has been cultivating marijuana since the 1990s.
Throughout the growing process, Canndescent uses purified water and organic pest management to make sure the plants are happy and healthy. After harvest, the cannabis is cured for over 30 days, and then trimmed while checked for consistency and quality of smell, snap and shimmer. Finally, it’s placed in a child-locked glass jar along with a humidity pack and delivered to one of Canndescent’s partner dispensaries.
In their future, Canndescent is looking forward to expanding their grow space in Southern California — and they already have the permits to run over 130,000 square feet of warehouse space, which will become operational in stages, as California creeps towards the Jan. 1, 2018 date for legal sales of adult use cannabis.
It’s hard to think of anything more demonstrative of where California’s luxury cannabis market is heading than Canndescent. The cannabis brand is “a movement more than a company,” Sedlin says, and he’s backed up with assets to make this movement happen: $12 million in funding (for now), his Harvard MBA education and experience building and selling five companies before, and a massive desert grow operation set in a struggling town now beholden to Canndescent for its economic turnaround effort.
Sedlin summed up Canndescent’s business outlook to Cannabis Now with two similar messages, albeit two messages that vary dramatically in tone: “We’re in the business of serving sausage, not explaining how the sausage factory runs,” Sedlin says, before adding, “We’re focused on pushing ourselves to live in excellence and gratitude. At the end of the day, we want to radiate light out to our customers.”
TELL US, how do you want to feel — calm, cruisin’, creative, connected or charged?