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John Mueller, Greenlight:

“In a new market, it is important to get your products to the patients as quickly as possible”

Over 150,000 square feet of cultivation and manufacturing, 23 dispensaries open, and many more locations under development. There is no doubt that Greenlight is expanding rapidly. “We are focusing on being a multi-state operator in the Midwest and Southeast, providing patients with high-quality cannabis in an efficient manner. When it comes to our cultivation and manufacturing, we use the immediate feedback we get from our dispensaries to adjust our products,” says John Mueller, CEO of Greenlight.

John Mueller

So far, Greenlight has expanded their operations into five states. “We have 15 dispensaries open in Missouri, 3 in Arkansas, and 5 in West Virginia. Still, there are many more on the way.” Mueller explains that speed is essential when entering a new market. “Greenlight obtained the second license in Missouri, and we focused on getting up and running as quickly as possible. As a cannabis company, you want to quickly get your products to the patients and build brand loyalty.”

Greenlight’s 96,000 square feet cultivation and manufacturing facility is located in Kansas City, Missouri, in an old Pepsi bottling plant. “We are proud that we are able to provide more jobs in our cannabis facility than there used to be.” When Greenlight started their production, the facility had large 25,000 square feet rooms with HPS lighting. “We recently completed a renovation where we made the rooms much smaller, now 10,000 square feet, and transitioned to LED lighting. We wanted to be able to better control the environment, reduce the risk of cross-contamination, and get more cycles out of our production.”

Just ten miles away, there is another 52,000 square feet production facility, and there is more production on the way, as an 18,000 square feet operation is about to open in South Dakota. In total, we will have around 170,000 square feet of production to feed our stores.”

From a cultivation standpoint, Mueller explains that they focus on being very economical. “For example, we decide to spend significantly more money on post-harvest. You can win or lose in the drying room when it comes to the quality and cannabinoid levels that the consumer ends up with. Therefore, we believe in investing in the processing aspect of the business. To compensate, we are being cost-efficient in our cultivation process.”

The fact that Greenlight is vertically integrated is a major benefit when it comes to steering the direction of their products. “We are able to get immediate feedback from our dispensaries. According to what the patients' preferences are, we are able to adjust what we do.” This is not only the case for their products but also for their services, Mueller explains. “We have noticed that efficiency is key for patients, with 45% of our pickups being done through our drive-through. With cannabis price points dropping, competition is a challenge in the industry. However, when patients experience efficiency and excellent customer service, they will want to come back to you next time.”

A cannabis farmer’s market
Greenlight’s founders have also created the first legal ‘Marijuana Farmer’s Market’ in the United States, which brings a unique experience where patients and consumers are directly connected with growers and producers. Mueller mentions the importance of such a development in the cannabis industry. “In cannabis, there is no real brand loyalty yet, as people are still trying everything. At the Farmer’s Market, it is a completely different experience for consumers who normally go to the dispensary. The consumer is now able to directly communicate with the grower instead of buying based on the information the budtender provides. Their buying experience is enhanced by hearing about the grower’s production technologies and strains, for example. At the same time, the grower directly hears from the consumer, providing them with beneficial feedback and information.”

Overall, Greenlight is focused on winning licenses and efficiently opening more locations. “When some of the states we are in will legalize adult-use cannabis, that will likely double the amount of traffic in our dispensaries. Therefore, we continue to expand, adapt to the market, and are gearing up to be ready for future developments in the industry,” Mueller adds.

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