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News | 12.15.2023

The Best Of MJBizCon: Brands That Are Changing The Game

Learn more about the movers and shakers of the U.S. cannabis industry.

The U.S. cannabis space is vast. At the heart of it lies MJBizCon. It’s more than your typical conference; it’s an ever-evolving hub for industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators to cross paths and celebrate our community’s progress.

MJBizCon 2023 took place December 3 – 6 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre with over 1400 exhibitors and 100+ speakers, all there to network and learn more about the expansive industry, from new tech trends to regulatory environments. That aside, it also features the newest products and services from the most innovative minds in cannabis.

Herb was lucky enough to attend the event and meet with several brands planning to take 2024 by the horns. These companies are proud to help shape the cannabis industry and push it toward a more welcoming, innovative, and accepted space. Read on to learn more about the best brands at MJBizCon 2023.

TopGreen & XMax

Photo courtesy of XMax® OFFICIAL

TopGreen and XMax have experienced impressive growth in 2023. The brand proudly introduced their Starry 4 vaporizer, not to mention expanding their product catalog with the Riggo and Tunke wax vaporizers and later the Oont and V3 Nano dry herb products.

“We’ve consistently ventured into new territories, aiming to meet consumer needs and address user pain points,” explains Destiny Xiang, Sales manager at TopGreen.

The brand remains committed to creating affordable, high-quality products not just for consumers in the U.S. but also for Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, and Africa. They do so by optimizing manufacturing and strategic sourcing, aiming to raise the bar in the 510 battery realm with innovative designs and cutting-edge technology.

“MJBizCon stands out as a major player in the international arena,” says Destiny, anticipating TopGreen and XMax’s future success with the 2024 launch of a new 510 battery line, an upgraded V3 Pro, and a high-end compatible product.

At its core, TopGreen and XMax revolve around you. Consumer feedback is the foundation of any new product launch, designed to acknowledge and remove pain points while infusing convenience into every session.

For more information about TopGreen and XMax, visit their website at topgreen-tech.com.

Stache

Photo courtesy of Stache (IG)

You might know Stache for its quality glass or the famed Grynder line, coming in 3-piece, 4-piece, and 5-piece options. While these grinders boast a unique look and feel compared to your typical herb grinders, there’s more than meets the eye.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Rod from Stache at MJBizCon, who enlightened us on how common grinders destroy the integrity of our favorite strains. “If I have fire weed going in the grinder, it should be fire weed going out of the grinder,” he explains.

“[Everyone’s] so concerned about the carbon. What about the metal flakes or plastic flakes that we’re putting into [flower], along with the carbon that we’re burning with it?” Rod asks, emphasizing that friction is the biggest threat. 

Stache’s marijuana testing facility in Vegas gathered the top 10 grinders nationwide and measured how the potency of different strains decreased upon grinding. Shockingly, a 29.8% THC strain decreased to 24%, with an additional 25% decrease in terpenes.

When putting their grinders to the test, “Ours would lose maybe a point or two. Something that caused very little damage. Our bumps are like a divorced couple; they don’t come in contact. They co-parent the weed,” Rod highlights.

Stache is currently working on a complete non-stick silicone grinder for a maximum frictionless grind, where “you can literally pick it up, and all the trichomes are still there. Nothing in no way, shape, or form is it getting stuck. And that’s what we want to replace the plastic grinder for.”

For more information about Stache, visit their website at stacheproducts.com.

HauteBox By Charlotte Welch

Photo courtesy of HauteBox By Charlotte Welch

Here’s one way to popularize your product: get it featured on TV. That’s the reality for HauteBox by stylist Charlotte Welch. You might’ve seen the famed HauteBox in the Sex And The City spinoff, as it’s one of the cast and crew’s favorite products, not to mention cameos in runways throughout the fashion community.

With the HauteBox, it’s all about staying discreet yet stylish. The brand explains, “If you pull out some cigarette pack or a dube tube, you look like a kid in high school. So [the HauteBox] is more professional.”

Designed to change the perception of cannabis in society, HauteBox lets you take pride in your consumption and do it in style. They also have the HautePocket joint case to ensure your joints are always ready for the ride. Available in metallic, gold, and silver to suit your jewelry and outfit for the evening, the HauteBox line from Charlotte Welch is satisfying consumers with its smell-proof, durable features and appeal to professionals of any industry.

And with the exposure and potential collaborations brought on by MJBizCon, Charlotte Welch’s foray into the cannaverse is far from over. Stay on the lookout for more collaborations, products, and trendy accessories that take each session to new peaks.

For more information about HauteBox by Charlotte Welch, visit their website at charlottewelch.co.

Klutch Cannabis

Photo courtesy of Klutch Cannabis

While the team at Klutch is eagerly awaiting recreational legalization in Ohio, there’s a greater mission at stake: to provide medical patients with the medicine they need most. At MJBizCon 2023, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Klutch team about their operations and future vision.

“We always pride ourselves on keeping the product consistent,” explains the brand, “We always want to keep the highest grade options for our patients.” Everything from Klutch’s marketing to their actual product offers a sense of familiarity, meaning consumers and patients know exactly what to expect with every purchase.

If you’ve purchased from Klutch before, you’d know that the brand’s price points tend to be higher than the competition’s. Know this: Klutch doesn’t set the price points; “It’s just all of the regulations and testing and all that kind of stuff behind it that makes those price points higher,” they explain.

When it comes to a patient’s medicine, Klutch knows quality is the deal breaker. And with all the testing and processes that go on behind the scenes, trust that you’ll get just that. The team also expressed that MJBizCon is an excellent opportunity to form relationships and understand other brands to potentially launch collaborations in the near future.

But, until recreational legalization unfolds, Klutch says, “We have medical patients that need us right now. And at the end of the day, how do we get our information to people who physically need us in a medical sense?”

For more information about Klutch, visit their website at klutchcannabis.com.

GRAV

Photo courtesy of GRAV®️

Perhaps one of the more eye-opening conversations we had at MJBizCon was with GRAV, the makers of fan-favorite, industry-celebrated, hand-blown glass.

The team at GRAV is always on the lookout for the next big thing in glass, and they’ve found that collaborations and concept designs are taking off. GRAV stays firm on its mission to bring any concept to life, whether with a brand in cannabis or not.

Their proprietary wide base is celebrated for its unique design and stability, but would it surprise you that it’s hand-blown in China? GRAV’s team reminds us that “51% of all of the glass in the world comes from China; [it] actually has the best glass blowers.” Their pieces are still hand-blown, not machine-blown, and that’s how the company is able to offer such high-quality borosilicate glass pieces at affordable prices.

In terms of future visions, GRAV is looking forward to redefining dabbing by redesigning their most popular profiles to make them function with concentrates. They’ll continue pumping out quality glass for stoners everywhere in need of a piece they can be proud of.

For more information about GRAV, visit their website at grav.com.

Crested River & Minnesota Cannabis Growers Cooperative

Photo courtesy of Crested River

Minnesota’s cannabis laws have been anything but linear. Here to talk about it with Herb at MJBizCon is owner and operator of Crested River, Shawn Weber, who was also at the conference to raise awareness for the Minnesota Cannabis Growers Cooperative & Industry Council (MCGCIC).

For Shawn and the MCGCIC, “Craft comes first, locals come first.” He explains how a new association in Minnesota is rallying out-of-state operators to essentially colonize Minnesota’s cannabis space. “Well, I’m sorry, that just motivates me to draw a bigger line in the sand,” Shawn expressed.

He adds, “They don’t care about people. They don’t care about product efficacy or [culture],” and that won’t fly with consumers. That’s why local representation is the foundation of what MCGCIC strives for. On the other end of things, Shawn was also scoping some manufacturing equipment for Crested River, set on its mission of implementing and refining sustainable farming and manufacturing practices.

If he made one thing clear, let the plant lead. Allow consumers to dictate what’s next, and never sacrifice the local community’s hard work and dedication for corporate cannabis.

For more information about Crested River, visit their website at criver.cc. Learn more about the Minnesota Cannabis Growers Cooperative & Industry Council at mncannabis.coop.

Santa Cruz Shredder

Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Shredder

Few brands never release a dud. While most companies typically scale back and remove a product from their catalog when it’s not performing well, that’s something Santa Cruz Shredder (SCS) has proudly avoided.

“When we release products, we don’t manufacture a small amount. We manufacture extremely large amounts because we have confidence before launching that it’s going to do well. So fortuitously, like everything we’ve launched, we’ve never had a dud,” explains Matt, owner of Santa Cruz Shredder.

But what sets Santa Cruz Shredder apart from the competition? Pure, unrivaled innovation. The brand was the first to launch a tooth design on an aluminum grinder, which, before that, mostly had diamond-shaped teeth for rough, chunky blends.

Santa Cruz Shredder also launched an eco-friendly hemp grinder, another industry first, not to mention the first hemp rolling tray with a trough on the end. Even with the many innovative products launched by other brands, it’s not a stretch to say that SCS likely did it first.

But what’s to come in the future? While Matt was rightfully hesitant to name-drop new products, he did emphasize keeping an eye out, as new products will meet the market in Q1, Q2, and Q3. The team remains laser-focused on internal operations without paying any mind to what the competition is doing.

“We feel like they’re following our lead, so we just keep moving forward, set the trends, and let all the other people try to catch up,” says Matt.

For more information about Santa Cruz Shredder, visit their website at santacruzshredder.com.

The Artist Tree

Photo courtesy of Kip Morrison & Associates

Here’s a question for Cali-based consumers: what’s your go-to dispensary? Let me rephrase that. Which dispensary never fails to impress you? Chances are, it’s The Artist Tree. 

With 7 locations throughout California and a smoking lounge in West Hollywood, The Artist Tree is undeniably a quintessential part of the California cannabis experience. 

At MJBizCon, we spoke with Carolyn from the company, who enlightened us on how price-driven consumers are, and it’s becoming one of the only differentiating factors between choosing one brand over the next. And that means The Artist Tree understands the importance of differentiating between the sea of competing dispensaries.

Carolyn explains, “We want to provide our customers with top products, great selection, but also really great discounts too. So that’s something that comes down to the brands. They have to be willing to do some of these deep discounts. And every single day of the week, we have brands on sale for 50 and 30% off.”

But the biggest differentiator? Interactive shopping. You’ll never walk into The Artist Tree to see all the products stuffed behind the counter on shelves. Instead, it’s all on the floor, and you’re invited to pick it up, check it out, and even smell it to gauge if it’s the right fit. That’s something every consumer should be entitled to do, and The Artist Tree makes it happen.

For more information about The Artist Tree, visit their website at theartisttree.com.

Abstrax

Photo Courtesy Of Abstrax (IG)

Looking for an extensive line of quality terpenes? At Abstrax, they’re all about unlocking the mysteries of cannabis. They do so by sourcing the odd, unconventional, and most unique strains in terms of flavor and aroma. 

From there, chemists will reverse-engineer every strain right down to its flavor to create products that truly reflect the essence of the original strain. Fascinating, isn’t it? We had the chance to chat with the Abstrax team at MJBizCon. Turns out, the process is much more complex than that. 

Abstrax is ahead of its time – “We conducted a massive, massive research study to look into these exotic flavors and aromas in cannabis,” explains the brand. They noticed that in a wide range of strains, the dominant terpenes remained the same. 

“There’s mystery compounds here. Something is cracked in our understanding. Long story short…we found 66 new things never before seen in cannabis that are the true source of what makes cannabis smell so unique.” Impressively, Abstrax remains the only company with these findings to date. 

“The response [has been] overwhelmingly positive because I’m sure you’ve cracked open a bottle of terpenes, and you’re like, yeah, it smells good, but it doesn’t smell like weed. That’s because it doesn’t have those compounds to it. And only Abstrax has that.” 

But what are these mystery compounds? Abstrax coined them as Flavorants. And yes, these compounds might even play into the entourage effect. But it’s just one of the 500 compounds Abstrax has discovered in cannabis, and their industry-changing findings are far from over.

For more information about Abstrax, visit their website at abstraxtech.com.

Rokin

Photo courtesy of Rokin (IG)

There’s no denying that Rokin is the tried and true option in the cannabis vaping sector. The brand is going into its eighth year of operations, “We still have the same setup of staff and people working with us from day one. We’ve stayed together because we believe in the nucleus of what we’ve been trying to produce the whole time,” explains Tyler from Rokin. 

At the core of the company is you, the consumer. During our chat at MJBizCon, Tyler went into detail about how their business model follows those similar to Hyundai – they’re not gouging consumers but offering fair price points with maximum value. And it’s taking off. 

Rokin is currently the second option in search engine rankings for 510 thread batteries, and for a good reason – pure organic growth. While Rokin’s website offers direct purchasing, they also wholesale to various headshops nationwide. 

“So it’s interesting how it starts at the B2B level, but as soon as those guys get it to the headshops, people go in the headshop and present it to their friends. Now it’s a C2C, honestly,” explains Tyler. And that’s the dream for every brand, isn’t it? Nothing beats the power of word of mouth, and Rokin knows that firsthand.

For more information about Rokin, visit their website at rokinvapes.com.

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