Hey folks. This question has been plaguing me for over a year since I popped my first batch of seeds. Some dispensaries house nearly 100 strains for their customers to choose from while others focus on a few true sativa, indica and hybrid classics and call it a day. To be honest, aside from the novelty of being a genetic ‘library’ I think that offering a narrower selection is a more appropriate and dare I say responsible business model for most dispensaries.
Let’s keep in mind that will a slew of states going legal for adult use recreational use there will be a lot more novice users to the cannabis marketplace in the coming months/years. I can put myself in their shoes and imagine being completely overwhelmed by the massive selection of options. Then again… lets not be too hasty here, civilians do just fine stepping into a liquor store with their hundreds of beer and alcohol choices. How about I tackle this from another angle; workload!
Where I run my company (Montana State) we must grow and produce 100% of our products. Any and all strains I want to carry I must cultivate in-house and if I want to continually offer those to my patients and customers I have to make room for a mother plant and keep her healthy to pull clones from when my supply runs low. Housing over 20 mothers takes a LOT of room. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First, let’s talk about a good strategy for most dispensaries to follow.
YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE A PREFERENCE AND ARE GOING TO WANT A VARIETY
For most cannabis users, this wont be their first time around the block. They’ve had a few years to develop a preference towards Indica or Sativa leaning strains. Sativa for your energetic, daytime experience seekers and Indica for your couch lock, night timers. As a business, you’ll get younger patrons who can conceivably be chasing the hottest hash-tagged strain on instagram (looking at you Runtz, Cookies, Grape Gasoline) as well as older clientele who might have a soft spot for that old skool fire such as: OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Purple Haze and finally, you’ll get some people who will make a selection off familiar sounding strains like Tangerine Dream, Panama Red, Maui Wowie. If you’re not going to carry a hundred strains, how can you list a respectable top shelf lineup?
We’ve got to have a little something for everyone. Classics, Gassy, Fruity, Exotic, Name Recognition, New New and a mix of THC and CBD percentages. If we can get a smorgasbord of the above, you should be in a pretty decent spot for when customers Google 'Dispensary Near Me'.
AN OFFERING OF BOTH PURE (or almost) SATIVAS AND INDICAS
Make sure you’ve got 2–3 of the well know Sativa go to strains (Pick one gassy and one fruit flavor at least and maybe go high/low THC):
Next, get 1–2 heavy Sativa leaners. It’d be a good idea to see what’s hitting on aggregated platforms like Leafly in your area or you can simply go with your gut but fan favorites are a good idea such as:
Heavy Indicas (2–3)
MODERN STRAINS AND A GOOD HYBRID MIX (3–4 STRAINS with at least 1 high CBD)
EXOTICS AND NEW NEW (2–3 strains)
Here’s where the sky’s the limit with so many breeders doing amazing things and putting a trillion variations on things. Your customers likely won’t know the difference unless their savvy but that doesn’t mean you wont have fun housing them and why not offer something unique that no other store has. By the time you’ve read this, these strains will be old news but I think the following are some of the best of the absolute best out right now. From California to Colorado these exotic strains are p-p-p-poppin off. You won’t even get a consistent THC % average because people are pushing all of these into the 30’s (us included).
The list goes on and on.
So did I put my money where my mouth is? I opened my dispensary with 10 fruit heavy strains from Barney’s Farm and then quickly ramped up to 15 and currently offer (and plan to stay) at or around 20 with 5 being swapped out regularly based on the flavor of the month. Here’s where we landed and a bit about what made us choose each strain.
TheDoctor 💊☕️🍫 — No Pain (17% THC)— A chocolate smelling little bushy Indica, The Doctor is a mild hitter with well documented medicinal benefits for our patients.
OrangeSherbet ☄️🍊 — Taste (24% THC) — So much citrus it makes your nose burn. Serious, this is an oily plant with sky high terps.
BlueGelato 🍵 — Functionally Psychedelic (21% THC) — A Girl Scout Cookies cross, we chose for the lineage and unique flavor profile.
CriticalCheese 🧀 🧄 — Euphoria (19% THC) — Gotta have a cheese strain and Critical doesn’t disappoint with its mild but truly euphoric effects. What a good time!
Gorilla Zkittlez 🦍 🍋 — Ponder, then Sleep (27% THC) — Gorilla Z has no color but it smells like lemon and is a newer strain we sell a lot of.
RedDiesel ⛽️ 💥 — Physical Energy (27% THC) — Dark purple hints in the mature buds and an amazing fruity nose. Customer favorite.
PhantomOG 👻 🧁 — Be Happy (22% THC) — High energy hybrid.
TangerineDream 🍊🍭 — Connoisseur’s Choice (19% THC) — Name recognition for the looky lous who appreciate a nearly classic strain.
Red Dragon 🔥 🍧 — Giggle and Talk (24% THC) — A good purple colored strain to spice up the jar appeal. Big red fruit nose.
BlueDream 🗿💎 — Be Creative (24% THC) — America’s most popular strain. We wanted to offer something familiar that you’ve likely tasted before or could be sure of a well rounded experience.
Critical Mass CBD ✨ — (9% THC 14% CBD) — Our sole CBD strain it’s a very nice smoke with amazing fruity/candy flavor and a 1:1 ration for novice users.
Cookies Kush 🍪 — (27% THC) — Heavy Heavy Hitter. Did we say Heavy?!!? It’s also a GSC cross and did we mention those are in right now?
Gigabud 🌲🗽 — (27% THC) — Gigabud smells like a pickle. We wouldn’t pick it from a lineup but it’s the smoothest smoke we have. Don’t know why, don’t care. Our customers love it.
LA Kush Cake 🎂 🧃🥛🍯 — (24% THC) — Made world famous by the Jungle Boys, we wanted to offer something unique but highly sought after to our district. Turns out everybody feels that way and lots of dispensaries now carry it. It’s still a bomb kiefy plant that smells like fruity pebbles.
Sundae Float 🥤😋 🍩🔝🍾 — (32% THC) — From Cannarado this was our sleeper hit of the year and our most in demand product. With rubber / gas notes but an incredible smoke and effect, we’ve had more people tell us this is in their top 10 strains of all time than we can count. Seriously, this is the gamble you hope for when sourcing exotics.. you might just get the next best thing.
Velvet Red BX1 — (untested) — Red buds? Say no more.
African Uzi — (untested) — A local creation sourced exclusively to Montana Canna
Red Bullz — (untested) — Brand new release from Compound Genetics and Cannarado, this is a Grape Gasoline and White Runtz cross. #flavorchasin :)
Unnamed Montana Genetic — (untested) — Here’s where our experimentation comes into play. Offer something truly unique and special to your store.
Purple Punch — (untested) — Do-Si-Do and Grape Pie cross.