Ayr Wellness Talks About the Importance of Cultivation and Access at Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Ayr Wellness is a vertically integrated MSO focused on delivering the highest quality cannabis products and customer experience throughout its footprint. Based on the belief that everything starts with the quality of the plant, the company is focused on superior cultivation to further develop its branded cannabis products.

The New Frontier 

At Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference last week, Ayr Wellness COO Jen Drake spoke on a panel with Columbia Care’s CEO Nicholas Vita about the industry's expansion into New Jersey. 

“I have a secret spot in my heart for Jersey,” Drake confessed as the conversation took off with much excitement. 

With only one state-run testing site, many wonder how the industry will use what limited space is available in the small Garden State. Drake emphasized, “I think the current legislature is taking seriously the need to increase supply in the market. There are less than 300,000 square feet for cultivation in this state. We have 10% of that at 30,000, and we’re building out more. To serve the population, we need to expand.” 

At a later presentation, Drake elaborated on the importance of cultivation. “A lot of people are focused on building brands and making pretty boxes, but if Nike were to put terrible shoes in a beautiful box, no one would buy another pair. So for us, cultivation is where it all starts — respect for the plant. You can’t be a passionate budtender if the quality of the products isn’t great.” 

High Standards

For Ayr, it’s not just cultivation of the plants that matter but cultivating a healthy work environment. “You have to 'walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ from the top all the way down. That means diversity and inclusion, that means respect, that means treating your co-workers as family. That’s the key to a healthy, flourishing company,” Drake advised. 

Regarding testing, Drake took the opportunity to express why Ayr feels so confident in its products. “When I think about what’s different in the cannabis industry, there’s more readily available information about the quality of the products. Every badge is tested. The percentage of your harvest that gets tested is much higher than the sampling rate in any other industry, including pharmaceuticals.” 

She added, “Great research combined with test results can advise us to guide people toward helping themselves make more targeted choices with regard to what strains and products work best for them.” 

Achieving Equitable Growth

The panel discussion wrapped up with social justice. Panel moderator and content lead with New Jersey Cannabis Insider Jelani Gibson touched on the concerns of certain advocacy organizations, such as the New Jersey Cannabis Association that intend to challenge cultivation caps. 

Gibson asked panel members their thoughts on this criticism. Drake commented, “When we talk about social equity, so many things come into that. Obviously, access is important but also the ability to participate in the industry and to do so in a profitable way. I think all of these things are incredibly important.” 

One of the ways Ayr commits itself to foster equity is through its Accelerator program. The mentorship program’s motto, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” highlights the importance of leadership in the industry and provides others with the tools to succeed. 

The Harvard Business School Cannabis Club is one of the outlets involved that offers training support for participants. The company currently runs this program in Massachusetts but has intentions of expanding it as Ayr continues to grow into new markets. 

What’s Next

Recently Ayr closed a deal with Liberty Health Services, bringing Ayr to Florida and greatly expanding both its retail and cultivation footprint. With 4 states under its wing, Arizona upcoming, Ohio soon to follow and New Jersey on the horizon, Ayr expects to be up and running in 7 states by midsummer 2021. 

The company has high hopes that this will be the year that it becomes not just Ayr the SPAC and consolidator of assets but Ayr Wellness — a premier cannabis brand and operator. 

Ayr strives to enrich the consumer experience through the wellness and wonder of cannabis. For more info, visit https://www.ayrwellness.com/.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

Posted In: CannabisMarkets

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