Consumers Embracing Smaller Boutique Cannabis Brands

Marijuana legalization state-by-state across the U.S. is causing more small mom-and-pop dispensaries to make their debut. Now that cannabis seed consumers are being given more brands to choose from, data from Symple Seeds shows that they are moving away from larger brands and embracing boutique American brands. 

Symple Seeds is a cannabis technology company merging decades of e-commerce experience with global supply chain management to produce seamless integrations for the only true “seed-to-sale” experience in the U.S.

Jessica Hanson, CEO of Symple Seeds, notes three main reasons for this shift in consumer interest:

  1. Consumers finally have a choice. For years, the U.S. was so incredibly “anti-drug” that they made it super difficult, sketchy, and illegal to be able to get ahold of seeds here. The European brands saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation, since the laws in their countries were super lax about growing and selling seeds, and also because no U.S. entity was going to hunt down and try to prosecute a foreign company. They basically got to own the U.S. market without impunity because our government spent all their time going after the small American producers and not the giant EU companies flooding the market with their generic seeds.
  2. Consumers are tired of the white-label genetics from the EU. Traditionally, the 5 or 6 “big brands” that everyone knows from the EU have used a small batch of Spanish growers to produce their generic seeds. Nothing has changed with their genetics in 25 years. They’re not inventive and they’re relying on reputations and name recognition from back in the day. American growers and genetics houses are coming out with insane strains these days, with beautiful cannabinoid profiles that look and smell amazing. They’re dominating the growers’ cups and really making a name for themselves.
  3. Consumers are trying to “stick it to the man.” The industry that was built on the back of historically underprivileged communities has been taken over and bought by the same men who funded the politicians that sought to jail the growers. The people and the culture around cannabis have gone through a lot of persecution, and that group is hitting back at having laid all the groundwork for 40 years for letting big European companies come in and form conglomerates with U.S. bankers to reap all the rewards.

Cannabis Seed Sales in the U.S.

Many states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana also allow consumers to grow up to a certain amount of their own cannabis plants within their home. While they may not exactly want to immediately run and get a dispensary license to resell the weed, many prefer their own homegrown cannabis. 

Cannabis seed sales act no different than a finished product sale. In the U.S., cannabis seeds cannot cross state lines because marijuana products are still illegal under federal law. Though rare, transporting the products across state lines could result in federal criminal charges. This is true even if you are purchasing cannabis seeds in a state that authorizes it, like California, and entering a state that also authorizes it, like Colorado. The same is true for buying cannabis seeds in another country.

What Smaller Cannabis Brands Have to Offer

“They’re nimble. Most of the large European brands plan out their crops one or two years in advance, and in coordination with other big brands, so they can farm out their production at the cheapest rate possible. This makes their profits soar, but their ability to move with the times very difficult. Smaller American brands have the luxury of being here, with their finger on the pulse of the market, attending all the shows and cups, and know what kind of strains their consumers want next,” Hanson said. 

Simple Seeds also notes some other reasons why American genetics are becoming more popular than European genetics:

  • Unique terpene profiles and flavors: American genetics offer unique terpene profiles and flavors that appeal to a broad audience.
  • High potency and THC levels: Many American strains have higher THC levels and potency than their European counterparts.
  • Innovative breeding techniques: American seed banks have been at the forefront of developing innovative breeding techniques, resulting in the creation of new and exciting strains.
  • Marketing and branding: American seed banks have been incredibly successful in building strong brands and resonating with consumers through their marketing efforts.
  • Legality and accessibility: The legal and regulatory landscape for cannabis in the U.S. has become increasingly favorable, resulting in a boom in the industry.

“Many consumers are also aware of the efforts by big corporations to own the cannabis market, and they want to avoid supporting these corporations,” Hanson said. “By supporting smaller, American brands, consumers can help to ensure that the cannabis industry remains independent and diverse.”