Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2020 100 ambitious than our current scale,” said MasonWalker, CEO and co-owner of East Fork Cultivars. Walker anticipated East Fork bringing in $3.6 million in top-line revenue in 2020. The company also expected to enter its first private-placement memorandum this year for a $2 million debt offering that will help grow the staff from 24 year-round employees to a team of 30 or 35. National Presence During the past five years, East Fork has entered more than a dozen partnerships with manufacturers that used products from the farm, including oil derived from the company’s cannabis flower as well as a special concentrate targeting beverage companies. Portland, Oregon-based chocolatier Grön, for example, has included ingredients derived from East Fork’s CBD-rich cannabis for its chocolate bars. Another Portland company, Laurie + MaryJane, has featured products from East Fork in its baked dessert bites and granola. “We have about 10 different ingredient SKUs that we create with contract manufacturing partners,”Walker said. “We take our hemp and cannabis (marijuana) flower, and we sell it to some extraction companies in that form, but mostly we hire contract manufacturers, extractors, formulators to make custom-ingredient products to our standards.” A primary ingredient for the company is a “water-suspendable concentrate” that is marketed to beverage makers. East Fork is working with a handful of beverage makers to help them develop drinks that contain CBD. The company is an approved vendor for California kombucha maker GT’s Living Foods, Walker said. In the past, East Fork has partnered with Oregon beverage companies such as Rogue Ales on a CBD-infused seltzer and Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a cold brew line. “A lot of the brands we have worked with are cannabis- native companies like us. And, increasingly, we’re working with product makers that have been in the more mainstream space that are adding a line that includes hemp as an ingredient,” A New Direction East Fork Cultivars has a robust advocacy arm pushing for the normalization and decriminalization of marijuana. Company co-founder Nathan Howard worked in progressive politics in Oregon, formerly serving as chief of staff for state Sen. Mark Hass, who also is finance director for the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund. Howard’s reputation, knowledge and connections helped win East Fork opportunities to speak with state and national regulators about cannabis reform, CEO Mason Walker said. Anna Symonds heads up another of the company’s key advocacy strategies; in 2017, East Fork hired her as director of education. In addition to playing professional rugby, Symonds worked as a consultant to help launch a cannabis startup in Portland. “She’s mostly on the national speaking circuit, but she also works on developing educational content based on the latest scientific research around cannabis and the way it interacts with people’s bodies,” Walker said. CBD is practically inescapable now, but just a few years ago, East Fork found many of its potential customers had a fairly minimal understanding of CBD and how the cannabinoid works. In her role, Symonds trains retailers, manufacturers and other players in the space about cannabis science. “We recognized that in order for us to just be in business as a farm so focused on CBD—but also in order for us to achieve our mission, which was to increase the access to this compound—we had to take it upon ourselves to really raise the level of sophistication and understanding around cannabis science,” Walker said. East Fork also is contributing to cannabis science by treating its farm as “a living laboratory for sustainable agriculture.” For instance, the company is participating in a University of California, Berkeley, grad student’s four-year wildlife study of cannabis farms, which involves placing cameras throughout its cultivation site. The study, led by Phoebe Parker-Shames, aims to measure what, if any, impacts East Fork’s farm has on wildlife populations, migratory patterns and behavior. “We do a lot of grant-funded studies and studies in partnership with research universities around different alternative approaches to farming,” Walker said. – Adrian D. Garcia East Fork Cultivars staffers prepare fresh cannabis for drying. Photo by Olivia Ashton BusinessStrategies | Cultivation