Having grown up in the Northeast, my friends and I dreamt of the verdant fields and greenhouses of Northern California and the West Coast dispensaries where you could walk in to find an array of flowers and an assortment of concentrates and infused products—things we could only fantasize about, or try to recreate in our kitchens and garages.
My first Cannabis Cup was an eye-opener into all of the possibilities of what can be infused with cannabis (basically anything!). When New England states, such as Massachusetts and Maine, started medical marijuana programs, the few operating dispensaries were putting out decent product, but it was nothing special compared to my experiences in California and Colorado.
And until recently on the East Coast, you could get better bud through illicit New York City delivery services.
Marijuana In Rhode Island Steps Up Its Game
That all seems to be changing, though, as a recent trip to Summit Medical in Rhode Island has shown me.
Summit’s very professional looking dispensary had a line about 15 people deep when I was there, but the knowledgeable budtenders kept the line moving briskly as patients perused the wares available. The flower smelled and looked delicious, and Summit had some familiar strains on their shelf. It seems that the marijuana in Rhode Island has definitely stepped up its game.
Some of the newer and more popular menu items are CBD products—supplied from a farm bill compliant hemp company—including capsules and vapes. Of course, the ever-popular vape cartridges filled with distillate have been making waves among Summit’s patients.
According to Mike Pendleton, an assistant at Summit, “We see the people [who] only buy edibles and the people [who] only buy flowers, and they seem to rarely cross lines, but everybody loves the vapes.”
He also explained that as a proportion of sales, extracts and infused products are making up a larger and larger percentage—another trend that the East Coast is chasing compared to their western counterparts.
The main factor driving the change from flower to extracts seems to be rooted in the regulations.
Rhode Island is moving away from a caregiver system to a more structured wholesaler/vendor cannabusiness model. This allows better funded and more well-organized companies to offer their services to dispensaries in a more traditional retail model.
Companies like Cannwell and Pure CO2 use their expertise to bring an array of products to Rhode Island marijuana patients.
Marijuana In Rhode Island Is Shattering Expectations
Cannwell brought in Dr. John Pierce of Pure CO2—a Ph.D. chemist, CO2 extraction specialist and natural products veteran—to guide their extraction processes and product development.
Not only has he helped the Rhode Island cannabis extract segment catch up to their West Coast counterparts, he even developed a product that you rarely see in California—amber glass, also known as CO2 shatter.
In Rhode Island, amber glass is currently exclusively available at Summit Medical.
Amber glass has some benefits over traditional butane-produced shatters. Most obvious is the lack of petrochemicals used in the process. Since it is made only with CO2 and no other solvents, consumers do not have to worry about any residuals. Even if there is residual carbon dioxide in the shatter, it is harmless to humans.
Being super stable, the product is also easy to handle with little mess even in warm temperatures. Most important of all, it hits super smooth on a dab rig.
Since there are no harsh solvents involved, if the extraction is done with organic flowers or trim, this process can yield one of the only truly organic shatters available—something not possible with butane!
Not to mention that amber glass can then be processed further with fractional distillation to create an even more pure and potent organic distillate for use in organic vapes and edibles.
Cannwell has deals in Massachusetts and Maine, so hopefully, they will be spreading more of these goodies across New England.
Either way, it is great to see companies such as Cannwell, Summit and Pure CO2 expanding the quality and variety of cannabis products available in the Northeast. Here’s to more innovation and expanding legalization!