By: Stephanie Shehan SoL Cannabis is a vertically integrated, one-of-a-kind facility that includes a hybrid greenhouse, and state of the art commercial kitchen and extraction lab, all of which are directly connected to their 8,000 square foot dispensary. Ed Alexander and his team grow clean medicine and the needs of the medical patients […]
By: Stephanie Shehan
SoL Cannabis is a vertically integrated, one-of-a-kind facility that includes a hybrid greenhouse, and state of the art commercial kitchen and extraction lab, all of which are directly connected to their 8,000 square foot dispensary. Ed Alexander and his team grow clean medicine and the needs of the medical patients that they serve are front and center. I had a chance to speak with Ed about the Nevada cannabis industry, SoL’s commitment to patients and what improvements he would like to see made.
STEPHANIE SHEHAN: Are you a medical patient? Do you use cannabis medically? If so, what for? Any specific products or strains that you prefer?
ED ALEXANDER: I have had my medical card in Nevada since 2001, I believe that all cannabis is medicinal and because of this should be thoughtfully cultivated using organic soil and full spectrum sunlight in the most environmentally sustainable way possible . I use a variety of products to help me in my daily life. Our full spectrum, strain-specific Berry Coconut Gummies are wonderful for sleep and pain management. Our Pineapple Jalapeno sativa gummies are a great way to start your day with a nice burst of energy and clear-headed effect. I enjoy flower in both social and therapeutic applications and find that it helps with anxiety and pain management along with an overall sense of well being. I am a huge fan of topical products. Currently, I use Baskin 10:1 along with Cannabella’s Neuropathy Salve for muscle and joint pain. I am really excited to see the beverage category expand in the future. I think microdosing drinks is a great way to introduce the therapeutic qualities of cannabis.
SS: What brought you to the cannabis industry?
EA: I am a fifth generation Northern Nevadan. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, I was with Western Nevada Supply for over twenty years where I oversaw a large wholesale supply house. I was the 13th legal medical cannabis patient in the state of Nevada. As a patient, prior to becoming a licensed cultivator, I grew my own cannabis for personal use and I was always very concerned with what I was putting in my body.
When the opportunity presented itself, I was appointed as head of the ILAC committee which was the original group that was tasked with creating all the regulations for the medical program. After heading up that committee for about 4 years, we had the opportunity to apply for licensing which included cultivation, production and retail. Having utilized all different facets of cultivation techniques, I was set on growing 100% organic, sunlit cannabis. We lobbied the state to allow for greenhouse cultivation which, at that time, was not allowed. Once we were allowed, we began design and construction in late 2015. And, in 2018 we opened our dispensary, and were actively cultivating our cannabis and producing our edibles. A year later, my son Brandon joined our team and is now our Inventory Control Manager.
SS: How did you choose the strains that you grow?
EA: We grow a good amount of old school, tried and true strains like Grand Daddy Purple, Blue Dream, and Jack Herer. Our demographic at SoL is mostly older cannabis consumers and they gain comfort when they recognize these strains.
SS: Nice! Strain consistency is so important. I also noticed that your concentrates and edibles are strain specific which isn’t too common in the industry…
EA: Yes, everything we do post-cultivation is strain specific. We try to stay as close to the flower as possible. Our cartridges are single pass, CO2, strain specific. All of our edibles and concentrates are also strain specific. As far as oils go, the majority of the industry gravitates towards distillation which is a very vanilla experience when compared to a strain specific experience where a sativa gives you wings and an indica gives you the ball and chain. I believe that as consumers become more educated, they are looking for more strain specific products. Not many consumers would be happy popping a gummy thinking they are going to sleep only to end up cleaning the garage.
SS: Strain specific is definitely the way to go. What about THC levels?
EA: The goal at SoL is to provide the cleanest, most effective medicine to our patients and recreational users. We don’t list THC on our flower menu because I believe it is the wrong way to measure the cannabis you are getting. When people order a nice glass of wine, they don’t typically ask for the alcohol content. I think we have done a major disservice to the end user when we use THC as the guideline for good medicine. SoL has won many industry awards with strains that test no higher than 17% THC.
SS: There is most certainly too much emphasis on THC percentages, especially from those that do not understand the various cannabinoids and terpenes. What improvements would you like to see made in the industry, specifically for medical patients?
EA: In my opinion, Nevada’s medical marijuana program needs significant improvements. I believe that the process and cost associated with obtaining a medical marijuana card could use refinement. Many patients are on a fixed income, and as you know, cannabis isn’t covered by insurance so many are forced to choose between cost and effectiveness. It will be a great day for patients when Nevada finds a way to incorporate cannabis into insurance coverage. I also believe the medical community needs to embrace cannabis as an effective option. Medical card holders in the state also need to support dispensaries, I hear a lot of grumbling about the absence of high quality, 500mg products in Nevada but what people fail to realize is that with a relatively short best by date which is typically 6 months or less and large batch sizes required to offset the cost of production and laboratory testing, it’s hard for many cannabis companies to justify production of medical products when they are seldom purchased. Overall, I do believe Nevada has a great program and with the continued support of the community, legislators and the Cannabis Compliance Board we will continue to strive to bring safe, clean, cost effective options to the medical and adult use community.
SS: It is obvious to me that you and your team are in the industry for all the right reasons. How are medical cannabis patients uniquely accommodated at SoL?
ES: At SoL, we spend countless hours providing one-on-one and group discussions about the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and how to incorporate its use into a healthy active lifestyle. SoL has a very robust medical program that includes our RSO program where those using cannabis to fight cancer or other life threatening diseases are able to access the medicine at our cost. And, we recently introduced our point donation program allowing guests to donate their loyalty points into a bank that are made available to seniors, veterans, medical patients, and caregivers who may need a little help from time to time with the cost of their medicine.
SS: These types of programs are needed, especially for our most vulnerable medical patients. I know up until recently, SoL products were found primarily at your dispensary. Can readers now find products throughout Nevada?
EA: Yes, we are now wholesaling products throughout Nevada so readers will be able to find SoL products in both Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada dispensaries.
SS: How can readers follow what you are doing at SoL?
EA: Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about cannabis, and as always, remember to use cannabis in a responsible way. We remain Grounded in Gratitude for the Support of our Community. More information can be found on our website solisbetter.com and you can follow us on Instagram @solisbetter and on Facebook @soLisbetter Reno. If you are in the Reno area, come visit us at 275 Old U.S. 395.