“No matter what our future developments look like, we are proud to have achieved our initial goal of providing medicinal cannabis to veterans,” says Rob Patton, Co-Founder and CMO of Green Meadows.
The company grows its cannabis organically in Massachusetts and will be expanding to Connecticut this year. Yet throughout company developments and industry challenges, they will never forget how they got started.
“It all started with my great-grandfather, the famous General George S. Patton from the Second World War. His decision to buy a plot of land in 1929, calling it Green Meadows, has led us eventually to where we are today: a vertically integrated cannabis company that gives back to an underserved population.”
From organic berries to cannabis
Rob’s great-grandfather bought the land with the idea of retiring there after a long military career. Unfortunately, Patton died at the end of the war and never got a chance to live there. His son, also a general in the military, inherited the land and decided to take up organic farming after his service.
“He did not know anything about farming, but taught himself and started growing crops like blueberries and strawberries. It was the first organic community-supported agriculture farm in Massachusetts in 1981. After our family kept it going for many years, we decided to make a bold change in 2017, and looked into growing cannabis.” From the start, Green Meadows has had the aim of helping people with medical cannabis, with a special commitment to helping veterans through donations and discounts.
“In homage to our heritage, we grow entirely organically,” Rob says. “We adhere to the Korean natural farming methodology, where we use indigenous micro-organisms in the soil to keep the plant healthy and the soil regenerative. Whereas many other growers will use hydroponics or salt-based nutrients, we use raw and organic nutrients, like guano, seaweed, kelp, algae, and earthworm castings. On top of being committed to fully organic practices, we do as much as possible to recreate outdoor conditions in our facility, by using full spectrum LED lights, for example.”
Surviving in a competitive market
When it comes to the competitive Massachusetts market, Rob explains that there are two ways to look at it. “On the one hand, it’s a good situation for the consumers. There is so much variety out there and they can get it at a relatively good price. The business challenge becomes that supply has more than met demand. Cultivation licenses keep getting awarded and new operators keep coming online. Unfortunately, I think that over the course of this year, several companies will go out of business as a result.”
According to Rob, another possible consequence could be that the market situation will impact the product quality. “It could happen that operators will start cutting corners to cut costs, thus getting product to market that is low quality. That would of course be hurtful to the industry as a whole.” With new cultivators and dispensaries starting their businesses in the state every month, Rob says that it is currently an interesting time for the market. “As of yet, there is no word from the state on a license cap or moratorium, so we will have to see what happens.”
In order to survive in the challenging cannabis market, Rob expects that more and more strategic partnerships will happen. “Whether it’s co-branded products, co-selling or co-marketing, or even companies joining forces to survive.”
Rob explains that part of Green Meadows’ success has been their focus on people. “We want our company to be a very warm and welcoming environment, which starts with the team that we employ all the way through to the guests and patients walking through our doors. We believe our approach and sense of trust has helped us navigate some of the murkier waters of the Massachusetts market. Moreover, if your product isn’t high-quality, you’re not going anywhere. So we’ve been fortunate that having very high-quality products has paid off for us.”
In fact, this year Green Meadows will be expanding into Connecticut. “We have been awarded our licenses for cultivation, manufacturing and two dispensaries. We are still in the early stages but we are excited to bring our company to a new state. We are also keeping our eye on other states as well. The cannabis industry has proven that if you’re early in a new market, you tend to do very well. So that’s what we are keeping in mind for the future. Meanwhile, always making sure that we maintain that high standard of quality and continue to take care of the people that we work with. As long as we continue to do that, I’m definitely optimistic about our future,” Rob adds.
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