Zanna and the Importance of Social Equity in Cannabis
“We’re not just going to just grow weed, slap as many names as possible on it at different prices points, and see what works,” Scott Lambert, COO of Zanna, tells me in our conversation about their brand and the future possibilities. Throughout my conversation with COO Scott and VP of Operations Qudsia Sadiq, the brand’s emphasis on two key concepts keeps coming up: the community and quality. Zanna has been growing for almost four years, and with their activation at the Green Street Festival later this week in mind, the cultivator is poised to launch a lot of major projects throughout 2022.
“‘Zanna’ means ‘God’s gift’ in Hebrew," Qudsia explains to me, before adding that “cannabis being a plant, it really is a gift.” And in many ways, the brand’s ethos is about treating the plant as the gift it is, emphasizing giving back to the community and maintaining the quality necessary to allow the flower to live up to its name.
“The idea was to create a brand with the best quality flower at a price where most consumers can afford it,” Scott explains to me, a concept that comes up persistently in our conversation. Perturbed by the lack of access to affordable high-quality weed in California, the team behind Zanna has committed to creating premium flower for all of their brands at an inclusive price point.
“Our focus is to bring the best damn cannabis we can at the most affordable prices, so everybody who wants to participate can participate and enjoy premium quality flower without having to get a loan every time they want to go to the cannabis store,” Scott jokes to me, but the message is serious. Scott came in last year, and as someone working in cannabis for 20 years, he’s been able to provide a lot of keen insight into the community to help the grow the operation.
One of Scott and the rest of the leadership team’s key goals for the future of the brand is to uplift and highlight social equity partners in the community—in the form of brands, employees and more. “Our goal is to be entrenched in supporting the true cannabis culture that I come from,” Scott explains, adding: “We want to be in a position to help other people—especially those in the social equity program—to achieve their dreams.”
Their master grower Richard Kirchnavy is an exceptionally talented cultivator who was previously incarcerated, and Zanna supports numerous initiatives intended to give back to those wrongly prosecuted by the longtime criminalization of cannabis.
The Brands and the Future
Right now, Zanna’s extracts partner is a brand called Soil Grown. They also work with a brand called El Torro Verde on an Executive Cannagar, which is essentially a blunt wrapped in a Zanna-grown cannabis leaf. They both have exceptionally positive things to say about the head of that operation, Burney Irvin: “He lives and breathes and believes his product. And rolls just like that.”
Anyone can use a recipe, but when you do it with love—the one ingredient that Burney has—you’ll taste it.
- Scott Lambert
They’re also in the process of working on Whoopi Goldberg’s forthcoming brand, which is called “Emma and Clyde.” They expect the brand to launch in June or July; stay tuned for more.
And finally, both are excited about the prospect of eventually creating a Zanna brand itself. With plans to create a Zanna space in their Green Street location (and activations at this weekend's Green Street Festival), which will act as an “out of this world experience,” they’re curating strains specifically for the main brand. The ethos of both the immersive space and the forthcoming products ties together a lot of loose ends: "for consumers to find the explorer in them."
Zanna is primarily distributed in California for now, with plans to expand in the near future. You can find the list of locations where products are sold on Weedmaps.
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