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Selling Craft Cannabis: Conveying Quality to Consumers

by William Zorn |

With the emergence of new trends such as the Craft Cannabis world, there is increasing buzz surrounding micro-cultivators and small-scale LP’s. Due to the nature of these operations and in competition with economies of scale, there is naturally an elevated cost associated with these beautiful buds that will sometimes throw off consumers, such as why is one eighth twice the price of the other? Understanding and being able to convey the quality of Craft Cannabis to a consumer can be difficult without the proper knowledge, however we intend to set you up for success and turn those sometimes awkward customer conversations into informed and educated experiences. 

What makes Craft?

Before diving into the quality behind Craft, let’s take a minute to understand what qualifies cannabis for the craft category. According to current industry standards, craft cannabis needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. The cannabis is hand-trimmed
  2. The flower is cured using a hang-dry method
  3. The product is hand-packaged

Not only this, but OCS has determined that on-top of these practices any Craft cannabis must be grown in a facility that produces less than 10,000 kg of dried cannabis (or equivalent) a year.

10,00KG: Scarce Supply

Every store has experienced this; getting excited over a new offering that has limited supply, rolling the dice on an order, and then coming up dry. That’s at least the experience many Ontario budtenders report, however inconsistent stock is an issue that doesn’t pause at provincial borders due to the various restrictions behind sourcing product.

With the 10,000 KG production limit, that means this bud (or product) is in short-supply. For reference, Canopy in 2019 was quoted as producing over 500,000 KG by utilizing over 5.6 million square-feet.

On top of all of the amazing production steps taken by L.P.'s, knowledgeable cannasseurs keep their eyes peeled on L.P./Supplier’s pages for the newest drops. Reddit users have even set-up automated bots to alert the community the moment of a new listing/relisting of an elusive favourite. If your store is lucky enough to snag a box, not only will you delight your regulars, but you’ll draw in some new friends.


When consumers hear that many companies are shying away from the newest methodology in favor of hand-done practices, they’re often shocked. However, due to the delicate nature of cannabis, nothing is better than a set of adaptive hands. While machine trimming has been shown to remove an estimated 10% of trichome heads (a.k.a the good stuff), a delicate set of hands will leave the delicate resin glands intact. Hang-Drying may take longer than irradiation and/or rack & tray drying, however it allows a methodical cure that doesn’t rush the end product. For packaging, everyone who works cannabis retail has had a customer who’s upset about shake or small buds; Craft allows the promise that someone inspected every bud to make sure it was worthy of your time and money.

Unique Genetics

The Craft producers have been drawing in eyes and selling out first-drops thanks in part to one element; the rare genetics and phenotypes. Cannabis users have been seeking out the best buds for literally hundreds of years; and now we have it at the local dispensary.

Health Canada’s process for introducing new genetics is an arduous process, especially for anyone who wants to introduce the market to a legacy favourite. Craft producers have not only put in this hard work, but then sorted through rooms filled to the brim with plants to select a handful that best demonstrate what makes that cultivar/cut unique; this is known as Pheno-Hunting. Through this process, bags are filled with flowers that’ll make mouths water. 

When shopping for alcohol, none of us would consider the most cost effective per alcohol volume as a quality experience to unwind, and cannabis is no different. Many consumers seek out cannabinoid volume per dollar not because that is truly the experience they want, but because they haven’t been educated. Legacy consumers used to shop with their noses and eyes, and regulations on packaging stand in the way of offering this experience; it makes sense that they transition to the next thing they can see - numbers! Through investing the time in developing your budtending team to not only be able to explain the quality of craft, but to be informed enough to seek it out, translates directly into the experience and into the drivers.

The Budtenders Association is working hard to provide top-tier education through our comprehensive courses & events such as Facility Tours & product Tastings. If you’d like your team to know the ins-&-outs of not only Craft flower, but also extracts, accessories, history, and cannabis science, please contact BTA so we can give your team every tool to succeed.

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