Naturae CEO Nicolas Guarino holds an incredibly advantageous position in one of the largest markets to allow recreational cannabis sales as his company is one of only six businesses in New York that are licensed for all supply chain activities.
“Naturae is licensed for all supply chain activities outside of retail, so our vertically integrated model allows us to control the quality of our products from cultivation to when they’re distributed to stores,” he says. “I’m extremely proud of how quickly we launched and got to market with a quality product.”
Guarino says it took only six weeks from licensing to get his company’s products on shelves. Naturae’s in-house vape cartridge brand, Jaunty, was the No. 1 selling brand in its category in January 2023 and the company on 4/20 debuted its line of gummies and is busy producing more distillate-based and hash-based products projected to hit the market in the near future.
Guarino initially joined the hemp industry in 2017 when New York expanded its program, but his roots in agriculture are much deeper.
“My family has been involved in specialty agriculture for four generations, and I always had a passion for the cannabis industry as a consumer,” he says. “I like to think that starting a hemp and cannabis business has always been something that was instilled in me.”
Guarino says part of Naturae’s success at retail comes from keeping its products at a reasonable price point for consumers, but he wants to keep building on its momentum to become the preeminent cannabis brand in the state.
“Being pioneers and leaders in the adult-use cannabis market in New York is a dream I am proud to say we are making it a reality,” he says.
Why did you join the cannabis industry?
My family has been involved in specialty agriculture for four generations, and I always had a passion for the cannabis industry as a consumer. I like to think that starting a hemp and cannabis business has always been something that was instilled in me. I got involved in cannabis in 2017 when New York expanded its hemp program, which was previously limited to research, to include commercial business and established industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.
What sets Naturae apart from its competition?
Naturae is licensed for all supply chain activities outside of retail, so our vertically integrated model allows us to control the quality of our products from cultivation to when they’re distributed to stores. Our historical focus on extraction has been a big help in allowing us to release high-quality distillate-based products, and move onto the exciting solventless extraction world to maintain a focus on quality. Our house brand Jaunty is New York’s top-selling adult-use cannabis vape brand, and the reason is the quality of our product, which we achieve by using premium C02-extracted cannabis oil, extracted at our state-of-the-art facility in upstate NY. Plus, our products are sold at a reasonable price point. We want people to purchase our high-quality products and have confidence in doing so at a price point they are comfortable with. For example, you can get a full gram of our vape cartridges for $55 while other brands range from $52-$75 per half gram, with full grams at $85, more than 100% above the unlicensed market. We also understand that new product innovation and development is important, so we recently launched our Jaunty THC gummies and will be launching exciting new distillate-based and hash-based products very soon. Our edibles line is now being sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries throughout the state, which showed me that we have the capability to turn on distribution for new products relatively quickly, thanks to our dispensary partners. Residing in New York, going to school here, and now running an independent business in this state that is 100% New York is another thing that sets us apart from top competitors, as many of them are out-of-state players. I want to establish our brand and our company here in this state, which right now is poised to be far and away the largest cannabis market in the country on par or exceeding California.
What do you want to change or add to the cannabis industry?
The most critical thing affecting operators and consumers is the federal tax implications of 280E policy. Everyone, no matter which side of the industry they come from, are severely negatively impacted by this and we need to see some basic action taken so that compliant, legal cannabis businesses can write off taxes like every other compliant, legal business out there. This could be achieved by Federal Legalization, but since that is massively complicated due to the politics involved, I think we’d be better off addressing 280E directly as a stand-alone issue.
What has been your biggest industry milestone thus far?
I’m extremely proud of how quickly we launched and got to market with a quality product – we have released new and successful products to market within very impressive timelines, from licensing to new products in less than 6 weeks. This was our strategy; now we are New York’s top-selling adult-use cannabis vape brand! We are only continuing to grow from here in all extract-based categories and are already seeing success with our new THC gummies. Being pioneers and leaders in the adult-use cannabis market in New York is a dream I am proud to say we are making it a reality.