You’ve read about the what, the why, the when, and the where, but I haven’t filled you in on the who. For months I have been writing about and posting about the Fat Nugs Under Big Skies, the Montana Cannabis Tour but without mentioning the sponsors that have jumped on board to support the costs associated with this statewide tour of Big Sky Country. Below you’ll hear directly from the 14 businesses making it possible for me to spend 15 days under those beautiful skies.
Q&A With the Fat Nugs Under Big Skies, The Montana Cannabis Tour, Sponsors
Meet the sponsors and hear from a few of them below in this 3 question interview, which gives readers a little back story and a glance inside each business.
- Sinful Beverages
- Fidelity Diagnostics
- Urban Farmer
- Tasty Waves
- Clear Cannabis Inc.
- Secure Canna
- 710 Montana
- Beargrass Naturals
- Stokes Dispensary
- Twisted Biscuit
When did your doors open for business?
Sinful Beverages: “We got our start in the Montana Medical market in 2021 with a customer base of ~26 dispensaries.”
Secured Canna: “We launched in November 2022.”
Fidelity Diagnostics: “We established Fidelity Diagnostics in October of 2016. We began testing products in June of 2017.”
Beargrass Naturals: “We launched on December 22nd, 2021.”
710 Montana: “The owner, Stephanie Martino, has serviced Gallatin County as a medical provider since 2008. 710 Montana gained its name in 2015 as the company expanded.”
Bloom: “Our 1st Dispensary in East Helena opened in the Spring of 2015.”
Clear Cannabis Inc.: “Clear Cannabis, Inc. is one of the original cannabis brands founded in 2013 by a team of scientists who introduced molecular distillation to the legal cannabis market.”
Frosteez: “We launched in March of 2020.”
Elevated: “Elevated, as we know it today, opened their first dispensary in February 2017 to Montana medical marijuana patients.”
Twisted Biscuit: “Twisted Biscuit caramels, brownies, and cookies were sold in Elevated retail stores over the summer of 2017.”
Stokes Cannabis LLC: “Stokes Cannabis LLC proudly opened its doors in Missoula in 2017 and is going stronger than ever in the thriving recreational market.”
How was the business named; what’s the story?
Sinful Beverages: “Sinful’s name comes from a variety of discussions about going against the grain and wave. It ties into the work the founders have done for decades. We decided instead of trying to hide what people feel about a subject, let’s bring it to the forefront and embrace the label.”
Fidelity Diagnostics: “Andre and Melissa were brainstorming names for the company and wanted to portray trust in the company and in the test results being reported. Ultimately we came up with Fidelity Diagnostics. The name was then shortened to ‘FiDi’ by our customers after a few months. We love the abbreviation of FiDi and are proud of the trusted partnerships we have built with our customers over the years.”
Beargrass Naturals: “It’s a play on words and locally relevant. We wanted to incorporate a Montana nature theme.”
710 Montana: “It all started at the trimming table….as most important things do! Ha ha….
710 is obviously OIL upside down and backward. We LOVE Concentrates!!!! What better way to celebrate them than to name ourselves after the Concentrate Stoner Day of the year? Dual reason for naming it, the owner’s son was born on 7/10/13. It’s always a huge celebration on 7/10 Day!”
Bloom: “Karl Hartmann (Owner/Operator) was traveling around the High-Line in Northern Montana and recalled a dream he had after they had been brainstorming different brand names. They had been trying to find something memorable, recognizable, and unforgettable. The end result being Bloom.”
Clear Cannabis Inc.: “The Clear™ brand was named during a time when most concentrates were dark or brown. The founders wanted to provide a cleaner, more consistent experience, introducing distillation and pure refined cannabinoids. The Clear was born.”
Frosteez: “Montaña is no coincidence. We live in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and between Billings and Missoula lies some of the most beautiful terrain on earth. Our logo consists of snow-capped mountains, something irresistible to most of our population: there isn’t much you turn away from here… just things you start climbing. We are working hard every day to make cannabis more legal, more accessible, and more normal. Cannabis can be central to a healthy, active lifestyle, and we aim to provide a brand and shopping experience that all ages and demographics can find a comfortable relation to.”
Elevated: “Matt Martin came up with the name as a way to embody the values that the company was founded on while incorporating our Montana roots with the effects that cannabis users wish to achieve. The tagline of “A better way” was intended to further communicate to patients that often cannabis is a way to get back to your true, Elevated self by providing relief from pain and other symptoms without the negative side effects that so many pharmaceuticals were causing them.”
Twisted Biscuit: “Twisted Biscuit started with humble beginnings. As most people started, baking with mom and grandma, making humble but delicious cookies, brownies, and biscuits, is a cherished memory we will never forget. Keeping those root skills and core memories, we are taking family cherished recipes and updating them, flipping them on their side, and making edibles that would make grandma proud. We are taking her biscuits and twisting them to make something even better. With that, Twisted Biscuit was born.”
Stokes Cannabis LLC: “Our illustrious leader Andrew Machain woke up one morning and proclaimed to his wife, “ I am going to rename my Cannabis shop Stokes!” And the Journey began.”
Please provide insight into your team(s); a look into the number of employees and types of positions at each company.
Sinful Beverages: “We currently have a full-time staff of 6 and a contracted staff of 9 in Montana with expectations of growing our Montana over the course of 2023 and growing our corporate team as we expand Sinful into other states. 70% of our staff are women. Our Team is very flexible and innovative. Our core areas are manufacturing, fulfillment, product development, and relationship management.”
Secured Canna: “We have four employees. Our team started off as a woman/family-owned and operated company founded by two sisters. SCT has quickly grown within the last year providing us the opportunity to create employment positions across the state. The positions consist of logistical needs such as routing, scheduling, and complex operations.”
Fidelity Diagnostics: “Fidelity employs 35 people; 33 full-time and 2 part-time. We have three different parts of the company. Parts 1 and 2 are the laboratory and logistics side; the team is filled with scientists, chemists, and microbiologists. Our logistics side of the company is composed of our field technicians who travel the state to collect representative samples for compliance testing. The 3rd part of our team is the admin team, which comprises accounting, labeling, HR, compliance, Metrc management, and sales and marketing.”
Beargrass Naturals: “We have two employees. One dispensary with one budtender and myself and a Tier 1 owner operated grow.”
710 Montana: “We have 50 full-time employees. Each of the 4 Cultivation sites varies on gardener amounts. Anywhere from 3 to 6 employees at each location. The commercial kitchen has 3 Employees: The kitchen Manager, Head Cook, and Grandma, the real boss! The Lab has 2 Employees: Head Lab Technician and Lab Assistant. Our 6 Stores operate with 2-3 employees in the store daily. Trim Room operates with roughly three people a day, and packaging and distribution operates with roughly three people daily. As far as management, we have 2x General Managers (one for Cultivation & one for Sales), a Head of HR, a Wholesale Manager, and a Packaging and Distribution manager.”
Bloom: “We have 270 employees. We have about 4 Budtenders at each dispensary (certain locations may have more). There is 1 Store Manager for each dispensary, 3 Assistant Regional Managers, 2 Regional Managers, our General Manager, and our Chief Operating Officer.”
Clear Cannabis Inc.: “We have 30 full-time employees. We are a brand marketing and sales powerhouse, with approximately 50% of the team working out of HQ in Greenwood Village, CO. The other 50% are remote across the following marketplaces: CO, CA, NV, MT, MO, OK, NM, MA, and MI. Our organization is currently broken down as follows; 53% workforce is dedicated to a sales function, 14% to Operations, 10% to Marketing, and 23% to Corporate. Our employee base ages span from the ’20s to the ’60s. Some of our employees have been in the legal cannabis space for the last 15+ years.”
Frosteez: “We have 25 full-time employees. We are lucky to do our retail, manufacturing, cultivation, processing, and packaging under one roof. This means our budtenders, growers, hash makers, and management all see and work with each other every day. Our team consists of many people who are fresh to the industry – Frosteez is their first home. Others have decades of experience – legal and clandestine.”
Elevated: “We have over 130 full-time employees and are expecting to add an additional 20 employees in the next quarter to keep up with growth. Elevated has five specialized departments: Production, Distribution, Bakery, Laboratory, and Retail. All departments work together to cultivate, produce, distribute, and sell quality medicine and products throughout the state of Montana in Elevated dispensaries .”
Twisted Biscuit: “We currently employ 15 full-time bakers, over two shifts, to maximize baking and packaging time. Twisted Biscuit handles everything from start to finish, all in-house. From making, portioning, packaging, and labeling, everything is hand done. Starting with the highest quality distillate, the team makes and produces everything from scratch.”
Stokes Cannabis LLC: “We have nine amazing and passionate cannabis-loving employees that are responsible for our amazing flower, concentrates, and rosin gummies. The Stokes Family consists of Cultivation, Manufacturing, and Distribution all under one vertically integrated roof.”
I start stomping the pavement in Missoula on April 19 to meet the first set of sponsors and to experience the cannabis community at the 420 Block party on 4/20. The full Fat Nugs Under Big Skies tour will be detailed in the June issue of Fat Nugs Magazine, with some sneak peeks along the way via social media. Stay in the know by connecting with us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn: #travelingcannabiswriter and #fatnugsmagazine.
Also, stay tuned for audio coverage about the tour on Your Highness Podcast, “Where in the World is Vee,” a travel segment narrated by Dom Tossie.
Follow Veronica on social media: #travelingcannabiswriter @vee_thetravelingcannawriter
Veronica Castillo is known as the Traveling Cannabis Writer. Her body of work includes educational and informative insights on cannabis and various plant medicines, and she travels the country to provide insight on cannabis friendly travel. She is a collaborator, connector, content creator, and traveler that specialized in bringing to light the hidden gems in the plant space. Follow her journey: #travelingcannabiswriter.