Sanctuary Medicinals is the epitome of a cool cannabis company, where live music and top-notch products harmonize in perfect pitch. Its new “Live! From the Lab” brand has an ethos that shines through in every product, from the “Roadie” vapes to the “One-Hit Wonder” chillums — each allowing the cannabis plant to take center stage and showcase its full potential.
It’s no surprise that Sanctuary Medicinals has rocked its way across the East Coast with operations in Florida, New Hampshire and Massachusetts as well as their first retail license in New Jersey.
Alex Hildreth, the company’s Laboratory Director, shares the story of how the company faced challenges and turned them into golden opportunities.
Challenge #1: Crafting the perfect puff with consistency
In the early days, Sanctuary Medicinals handcrafted their own terpene blends for distillate carts in an effort to create nice flavor profiles, but did not feel comfortable calling them any specific strain, as a true strain profile is too complex to be recreated from isolates.
From the get go, Alex never wanted to cut corners and flat out refused to use cutting agents, having predicted the 2019 vape scare that tarnished the industry’s reputation based on the cutting agents commonly in use.
He also focused on creating the legendary entourage effect by taking a wide cut (i.e., incorporating as many of the plant’s compounds as possible instead of trying to chase a THC%).
“A lot of people complain that distillate carts never get them high. Cause there’s probably just a lot of junk in them, really no entourage effect to speak of in there. We were able to create something different.”
Even with all the right approaches, there are real problems with sourcing cannabis terpenes in-house. To start, terpene availability is dependent on cultivated supply, which can totally vary in volume and diversity with each harvest. Also, because terpene inputs are so scarce, product lines have to compete for them.
Bottom line: For Sanctuary Medicinals, sourcing cannabis terpenes in-house wasn’t reliable and couldn’t be scaled.
Challenge #2: Navigating state expansion
Another significant challenge has been operating across multiple states with different and distinct regulations. What works as a best practice in Massachusetts may not work out in another state, and this applies to everything from product testing and approvals to opening new locations, marketing, brand consistency and beyond.
Take Florida for instance, where strict requirements means that your packaging is always plain and white. If you can’t win with killer branding, the quality of your product and its reputation matters that much more.
With state expansion also comes the need to standardize product inputs. This is especially true for vape carts. Without the right supply chain in place, a vape brand can’t sell CPG style vape products that are packaged the same, taste the same and have the same effect wherever you are.
Even more, mature cannabis markets don’t need any more cultivation or manufacturing facilities, and it takes way too long to win new licenses and build out new operations from scratch. So, a modified, internal asset-light co-packing model is very attractive for opening a new state quickly (in a few months instead of years).
Ditching DIY for a dependable third-party terpene supplier brought skyrocketing growth and a new brand
Alex made the switch to Fresh Never Frozen® cannabis terpenes for his distillate cart line, and the results were clear — consistent high-quality batches in a bounty of flavors.
Along with distillate carts, the brand also birthed what we call the “World Tour Set List” (multiple product lines that use Fresh Never Frozen®) under Sanctuary’s new LIVE! From the Lab brand that focuses around the crossroads between cannabis and live, local music and artists.
• “The Roadie” Distillate Vapes
• “The Opener” and “The Headliner” Infused Prerolls
• “One-Hit Wonder” Chillums (full spectrum extract, pharma-grade isolate, + Fresh Never Frozen® infused into flower)
• “Rocks ‘n Sauce” Diamonds (THC-A diamonds submerged in distillate bath containing Fresh Never Frozen®)
• “Remix” Crumble (Full spectrum extracts + Fresh Never Frozen® varieties matched with purpose)
A cannabis brand born in live music makes perfect sense — it’s how masses of people have found and regularly enjoy their love for cannabis. All of these products are scalable, thanks to standardized ingredients that are easily procured and sent anywhere.
Not only is Sanctuary Medicinals spinning out product hits, they’re also mastering the asset-light business model. Sanctuary Medicinals can now take their show on the road, over and over again through their partnership with Terpene Belt Farms. By outsourcing their cannabis terpenes, they stay lean, mean and nimble with predictable costs, streamlined operations and the agility to move seamlessly across multiple locations.
World Tour Stats
• New brand launched: LIVE! From the Lab
• Number of products launched supported by Fresh Never Frozen®: 6
• Number of of states with Fresh Never Frozen® product lines: 3
Sanctuary Medicinals is one of MA’s first operators and Terpene Belt Farm’s first and longest standing customer. The company is a beacon of brilliance in a rapidly expanding industry, shining bright with their unwavering commitment to quality and integrity. As they steal the show on the cannabis stage, they’re a source of inspiration for up-and-coming brands looking to scale with ease.