Dear Alaska's Cannabis Industry,
You are amazing and I freaking love you!
You’ve come a long way in these past few years. Five birthdays ago retailers were hand writing on boards what was in their stock while new cultivators and labs were figuring out operations. Today, anyone 21 and over can use their phone to see what cannabis products are available nearby. Alaska has undoubtedly made strides in building an industry we can be proud of thanks to you.
As consumers, we do not always witness the effort placed behind the scenes. From cultivations, extractions, and infusions to finding retailers, managing orders, and statewide transportation. We really enjoy the fruits of your extreme labor and after having personally reviewed over 225 Alaskan grown strains, I want to say Thank You!!! I wish I could express my gratitude beyond words and videos showcasing your products. I want to let you all in on something that can make your lives a little easier when it comes to finding a wholesale cannabis market.
I recently came across a new Alaskan owned cannabis business called America's Marijuana Farmers Market, or A-MFM for short. Started by Gary Burton, he has created a website to make the wholesale process easier for the cannabis industry and at an affordable price.
Yes, you can use LeafLink and they are a great established service. But you will be spending way more money per month than you need to. A-MFM offers similar services at a fraction of the price! $50 per month rather than $300!!! Plus, retailers join for free!
Besides saving money for your business, it is an easier way to order wholesale cannabis products. Instead of calling and searching around the state, retailers can request orders from vendors using the online service. Vendors have a lot of discretion to whom they sell and every account on their site is an active licensed cannabis business in good standing.
Alaskans support Alaska right? A-MFM is Alaska owned and plans to remain in our state. They plan to use their profits to go back into our community by supporting cannabis education, nonprofits, and the growth of our state. As an Alaskan, I rather the money our cannabis industry spends go towards improving our state and not to a few Silicon Valley millionaires.
I must warn you to not expect hundreds to thousands of retailers and vendors on the A-MFM website just yet. It recently went live this summer. What will make it work are more cannabis businesses signing up. Especially Alaskan owned ones! With the support of this state's cannabis industry, A-MFM will become a leading contender in the online wholesale cannabis market.
Now at this point I’m guessing you might have a few questions of your own about A-MFM and the owners. I have video interviewed Gary Burton on my Toke Talk Alaska show so you can see for yourself what his business is all about and to get a sense of the kind of person he is. Here are a few questions I asked and some of the highlighted responses:
What is A-MFM?
“It’s a wholesale sourcing platform for businesses. It’s where the growers sell a product to the manufacturers and dispensaries. That is how the dispensaries get it to the customers. So we made that process easier for them”
The product you cover is just cannabis?
“Currently we are only working with cannabis. But, in the next couple of weeks we will have CBD and we will also be bringing in everything else that is cannabis: pipes, rolling papers, trays, nutrients, lighting, pots, hydroponic tools. All of that is the cannabis industry, but we forget that a lot of times and only think about the THC, the fun part! When you go to the liquor store you think about the bottle and the process that went into it. It’s the same with cannabis. We like to consume it, but don’t think about the stuff that goes into making it. Well we (A-MFM) didn’t.”
Why did you create A-MFM?
“I worked at a dispensary, started off as a budtender to learn the business, when COVID happened! I had worked in a completely different field that was not cannabis related and my store got shut down because we were not an essential business, I needed some livelihood. I worked for the dispensary and made my way up to management. While talking to the owners, I started finding out the day to day stresses of running a dispensary. There are almost 250 cultivations in Alaska. Could you imagine checking 250 emails? Because they will send you one, at least every week to let you know about their products. So when you are going to order, this email is 2 days old, is it still available? I saw that in the dispensary and thought, there has to be an easier way. So I went and build one.”
With Major competitors like LeafLink, what benefits are there to using A-MFM instead?
“My thought process is that Alaskans understand Alaskans and if you’re not from up here you don’t know how we do it...We aim to give you the things you actually need and not charge you for the things you don’t. We offer Wall Street functionality with mainstreet pricing. We give you all the stuff that everybody else is trying to give you, except we come in at a minimum of an 82% discount. $49.99 is what our price point is per month per vendor. Free for the retailers… Our next cheapest competitor is $300.”
How long have you been up and running?
“Our launch date was officially June 29th. The platform started development last October.”
As an Alaska owned business that offers services to other states, will you keep your business here?
“Absolutely! I’m here for a reason, I like Alaska. I cut wood for winter, I’m an outdoors guy, it’s the kind of stuff that I like to do. Yes, I will still be up here, the business will still be up here.”
If you succeed in becoming a major company, what will your business do then?
“I guess the goal is always to succeed and become a major company. But the true goal is to increase awareness while we become larger and investing back into the communities. The community gives to us, they follow us, they do the things they do, and they make us successful. We are only here because of them. We work hard, sure, but it doesn’t matter if you're not accepted. So we are appreciative of being accepted and we want to give that back… There are plenty of community related things I would love to sponsor for kids, to promote Earth Day, and community togetherness.”
So what you’re talking about is dropping money on nonprofits, community events, and similar other things?
“Including marijuana research and cannabinoid research. How it can help us and taking that to the next step. All of this, I want to turn around and give back. My goal has never been to be famous or rich. I try to prove that with the $49.99 pricing… The goal is to try and take a lot of the profits to help small businesses with grants. Even do sponsorships on the platform to help get business established.”
What can the retailer expect from the site?
“A longer cart save… We are going to bring in all those wholesalers mentioned earlier, so you can buy things like printer paper, ink for the printer, tubes the weed is in, etc. We want it all in one spot.”
What can vendors expect from your site?
“We reduced our price point, we do not require contracts. It is all about success for our vendors. We give them the ability to promote themselves on our platform, such as ad space or feature things. It is built in so they can track their orders. They can see what their best selling item is, who their best customer is. Whenever federal legalization goes, we are set up to tell you which state buys the most of your product. Some of the other things we have done is go through and give you more than one way to sell your item. I took the idea of regular retail buying, buying the item right then and there, and combined it with an auction system. So retailers put an offer (bid) in and then the vendor can choose to do two things: let it run for the time of the auction or they can immediately accept the bid. They also have the ability to block retailers. So in the case of Alaska, if you do not want to deal with a certain location that might be accessible by flight only. Maybe you're small and do not have a way to get the product out to those hard to reach locations.”
It was fun interviewing Gary and hopefully I asked all the appropriate questions you might have. If you have other questions, feel free to contact him! He is a really awesome person and very easy to speak with.
Know, that I love Alaska and you, our cannabis industry, very much. I want to watch you succeed into something glorious that builds our great state. We have so many family owned operations and dispensaries leading the way, it’s time their efforts and wallets are eased. Try out A-MFM and help it grow to serve you best.
If anything in our industry comes along that would benefit you, I will always let you know!