The Extraction Issue
Extracts are quietly taking over the cannabis industry. While flower remains the top-selling product category at retail, products made from extracts — including edibles, vapes, concentrates and topicals — now account for almost 60% of legal cannabis sales in the United States. It’s a sector of the market that is only getting bigger, particularly as the scientific understanding of cannabis and extraction grows.
From the various methods of extraction and refinement to the latest innovations in products, Marijuana Venture takes an in-depth look at the market trends, best practices, equipment manufacturers, leading minds and scientific process of extraction.
Coast Cannabis Co.
After years of delays and hurdles — including a temporary ban on vape products in 2019 and the recent shutdown of the adult-use market due to the coronavirus — Massachusetts is finally seeing its recreational cannabis industry come to life, setting the rest of 2020 up as an important time for the young industry’s growth and development.
Brands like Coast Cannabis Co. now have the opportunity to compete in a market that had previously been dominated mostly by large, corporate enterprises and multi-state operators. Coast is a subsidiary of T. Bear Inc., a family-owned company that was founded in 2017 by Angela Brown and Brian Cusick.
“We truly believe if you have the passion for cannabis first and foremost, and you put in the hard work and dedication, there’s a huge upside and there’s the potential for a lot of success,” says Brown, the company’s CEO.
“It’s still not an industry that’s out of sight or out of reach for startups, for those people that are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard,” adds Cusick, Brown’s husband and chief operating officer.
Claim to Fame: T. Bear Inc., the parent company of Coast, was the first standalone processor licensed in Massachusetts. While many of the commonwealth’s early entrants have both cultivation and retail licenses, T. Bear is solely focused on extraction and manufacturing.
“We really broke the mold when we came out,” Cusick says, “which is exciting and nerve wracking, but it’s paying off.”
“You could say we were the small fish in the big pond, chasing something that hadn’t been done yet in Massachusetts,” Brown says.
Methodology: T. Bear Inc. uses a CUP-15 ethanol extractor from Delta Separations. The company went with ethanol, in part, because speed to market was an important consideration. Cusick also says distillate is an ideal “building block” for edibles, because it’s mostly flavorless and odorless, so ethanol made sense for extraction, allowing the organic, all-natural ingredients to be the focal point of the Coast edibles.
Philosophy: “We took cannabis out of (the equation) for a second,” Brown says. “We focused on our packaging and our story. When I walk into the store, what do I want? We feel that because we’re setting ourselves apart with our focus on the brand, the experience and the overall consumer first and foremost, we took that and worked backwards to create these high-quality products.”