It has been a year since Missouri voters took to the ballot box to approve recreational marijuana, and demand for high-quality cannabis products has only proven to exceed expectations thus far. According to Michael Wilson, whose Kansas City operation, Franklin’s, has grown into a best-selling Show-Me State Brand, “The past year has been a wild ride as anyone can suspect from an early emerging market like cannabis.”

Despite starting just last year with only two products available at a handful of dispensaries, Franklin’s has quickly become the largest blunt manufacturer in the state, with products distributed to over 130 trusted locations. According to Wilson, Franklin’s has produced over 500,000 pre-rolls and blunts this year.

Wilson said, “We put a great deal of craftsmanship into making the perfect blunt, so we’re very excited to see how well the demand for blunts has soared over the past year.” Wilson continued, “Blunts are something we believe to be deeply ingrained in Missouri cannabis culture and it’s our intent to continue serving the customers of Missouri the products they desire the most. From a business perspective, it’s a great niche to be in.”

Franklin’s, which also partners with Guy’s brand and Kansas City entrepreneur Andrew Miller, has manufactured over 30,000 bottles of James Lemonade and Guy’s Root Beer.

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Wilson encourages Missouri consumers to be knowledgeable about the products they purchase and consume and where they get them, emphasizing that setting a high standard for quality has been vital for Franklin’s. “If consumers understood just how much fungus and bacteria is in the average’ street weed,’ it might change some perspectives.” He added, “If the average consumer had a chance to see how heavy metals and non-food grade ingredients are used in illicit market vapes, it might also change some perspectives.”

According to Wilson, “At the end of the day, the consumers of cannabis in Missouri need to ask themselves: would I rather go to my local liquor store and buy my favorite spirit? Or would I rather buy my liquor from a moonshiner who only accepts cash and wants to meet up for delivery in a grocery store parking lot?” Wilson expanded his point, highlighting, “It’s time to support local. Local growers. Local cultivators. Local dispensaries. Local brands.”

Wilson also noted that Franklin’s is a fully independent entity, which can make navigating the complexities of the stringently regulated cannabis industry more tiring. “For example, in most industries, if a business wants to launch a product, they can simply launch it. However, in the Missouri cannabis industry, before a licensee can launch a product, they must submit all the product information, designs, formulations, etc., to the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) for ‘pre-approval.'” He added, “This pre-approval process with the DCR is designed to take 60 days but can take longer for a whole host of reasons.”

Because of the rigorous guidelines and delays in launching cannabis products, Franklin’s must make new and innovative approaches to meet customer demands. Wilson said, “While it’s definitely a challenge to navigate these demands, we welcome the DCR’s regulation in the market as we believe it keeps things both fair and competitive.”

Franklin’s leader also underscored the importance of fair practices on the team level to set a concrete foundation before scaling. At this time, Franklin’s is proud to boast 66% female representation in management as they spotlight fair and equitable wages across the board. Additionally, the company invests heavily in entrepreneurial training programs for all employees, aspiring to balance professional growth and preparedness for larger success at Franklin’s.

Wilson states, “The competitive landscape in Missouri cannabis is pretty asymmetrical. Competing against large corporations with investments in the tens of millions requires consistent and rapid entrepreneurial thinking.” He concludes, “To compete, everyone within the company culture must think entrepreneurially and adapt and learn new skills and tools that can assist them in advancing their career and business interests. The adaptableness of an entrepreneurial mind is highly valued at Franklin’s.”