Thinking Big to Save Small Farmers
A Q&A with Rose Los Angeles
The Broccoli Report
Friday, October 14, 2022
Time to read: 8 minutes, 6 seconds. Contains 1623 words.
How one brand is taking action to ensure small cannabis farms survive.
Earlier this year, I learned Rose, the California edibles company, was up to something cool. I mean, we know Rose is cool—they do creative THC and CBD collaborations on their rosin-infused Delights with iconic chefs and cake artists (even Broccoli’s mushroom magazine), get press in Vanity Fair, and are huge proponents of growing your own. But this time, I mean “cool” as in novel, much-needed, paradigm-shifting action.
The Rose Partner Flower Program is the first I’ve heard of a hype brand rolling up its sleeves and doing something about the drastic state of things in California’s adult-use market.
If you haven’t caught any headlines yet—mom-and-pop cultivators are on the brink. It’s bad. Wholesale prices have plunged, there’s a mind-boggling oversupply of cannabis, and little operators are being forced to compete with multimillion-dollar Big Dogs and illegal cultivators. Things are particularly challenging for sungrown farmers, who have a harder time getting shelf space in an industry where “indoor” is colloquially considered superior.
This concerned Nathan Cozzolino, Rose’s co-founder, because he used to be one of those small growers—and he still is, depending on the year and his bandwidth. He also cares about their wellbeing because many are suppliers for Rose edibles, providing sungrown raw material—preferred by Cozzolino for its higher oil yield—needed for their Delights. So the Rose team figured out a way to create their own innovative white-labeling program to benefit growers instead of using them as just another step in a profit-focused supply chain. (For anyone who needs a biz speak decoder—”white-labeling” is what it is called when one company purchases something from another and then presents it under its own brand name. It’s a super common practice and makes it tricky for consumers to know exactly where a product originates.)
The program launched just over a year ago, and in today’s newsletter, Cozzolino breaks down exactly how it works—including a payment breakdown for a recent contract—as well as the finer points of how we got here and why ensuring the survival of smaller scale growers is in the best interests of anyone who loves cannabis and still believes in it as a tool to disrupt pharmaceutical domination.
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