Mammoth Distribution in a Niche Market

Photo of Heavy Hitters Disposable Vape Pen
Heavy Hitters 300mg Disposable Vape Pen (photo: Heavy Hitters)

Mammoth Distribution is California’s largest cannabis distributor. The company supplies cannabis products and retail support to about 80% of the state’s licensed dispensaries and delivery services (as of October 2018). 

Mammoth carries vape cartridges, all-in-one disposable vape pens, vape batteries, and branded gear, because it sees the popular form of cannabis consumption as having the greatest potential for attracting the most users. 

California Vapin’

Mammoth Distribution is the exclusive distributor of Heavy Hitters, California’s 2nd most popular vape brand. Heavy Hitters produces high quality, potent, vape cartridges and pods in a wide variety of popular strains. The company also supplies Heavy Hitters’ 2.2-gram cartridges, half-gram PAX pods, THC/CBD cartridges, disposable vapes, batteries, accessories, and gear.

Mammoth markets these and other premium, branded vape products to provide a “major entry point into the recreational market for new consumers.” By promoting the discrete, aromatic, flavorful, potent, and safe aspects of vaping to today’s more identity-conscious, health-driven, device-savvy shoppers, the company reaches a broad swath of both committed and would-be cannabis consumers.

Nik Patel’s Vision

Mammoth Distribution Chief Operating Officer, Nik Patel, came to the company after successfully founding an adult beverage and bar-related company. He embraces cannabis as a promising business opportunity because he relates intellectually to its multi-faceted impact on the public sphere, where politics, economics, socialization, and acculturation all impact, and are impacted.

Patel appreciates the immediacy and imperative of cannabis’s wide reach and embraces his current role applying knowledge and experience to corral the dynamic cannabis market and repeat the success he found in his last venture.

Forging Brand Partnerships

Mammoth Distribution aims to “forge brand partnerships that cannabis users and retailers will covet.” In addition to Heavy Hitters, Mammoth distributes vape products from exclusive partners Bae, Rad, Farm, Give, Ash & Ember, Malibu, and Surplus Cartridge Co.

The brands and their products are thoughtfully designed each with a specific niche in mind. Everything from strain selection to batch size, packaging, advertising copy, and more, is crafted to differentiate one brand from another to appeal to California’s unique demographic groups. 

Chief Marketing Officer Hannah Davis affirms that the company “seek[s] out those brands that are created for the unique needs and occasions of today’s California cannabis consumer.”

The Heavy Hitters brand, for example, is intended for seasoned enthusiasts with strain familiarity and robust tolerance, as the name suggests, while the company’s pink, accessorized, disposable Bae vapes are designed for and marketed to discerning, fun-loving women. 

Lifestyle Branding

Lifestyle branding is central to Mammoth’s business plan and guides its careful, well-curated approach to expanding its customer base by attracting non-traditional cannabis consumers. Hannah Davis, explains, “There’s a newer breed of cannabis user who wants their [sic] experience to be more than just a high; they are looking for brands that fit their specific lifestyle.”

Mammoth’s Lifestyle Brands

Mammoth’s distribution roster showcases a diverse sampling of lifestyle brands and products. Its partner Ash & Ember is a meditation-minded brand producing vape cartridges that reach out to more spiritual and mystical cannabis users, while partner brand Rad’s “Roq of the 80’s” / new wave themed vape cartridges feature 6 different, cleverly named strains to target Generation X’ers like me.

Mammoth Distribution RAD brand vapes cartridges and strains
Rad markets its vape cartridges to Gen X’ers who grew up in the 1980s (photo: Rad)

Farm is Mammoth’s boutique extractor brand crafting single-source, small batch live resin sauces tailor made for vaping connoisseurs and sophisticates of any (legal) age. Farm’s website doesn’t list specific strains, focusing instead on its post-harvest, fresh-frozen, “plant-to-pod approach” designed to “ensure maximum retention of the plant’s valuable terpene and cannabinoid profiles,” providing its discriminating users with “pure, clean cannabis flavor.”

Mammoth’s Give brand sells only 3 cartridges – Act (sativa / Super Lemon Haze), Reflect (hybrid / Gorilla Glue), and Share (indica / OG Kush) – but from the proceeds makes quarterly donations to charities that support military veterans.

Give also provides vets with educational support and safe cannabis access to help mitigate PTSD and reverse the skyrocketing veteran suicide rate. Although Give is marketed to veterans, it provides an opportunity for all consumers to give back to those who’ve already given so much.

Mammoth’s website doesn’t provide any clues about its Malibu or Surplus brands at this time.

There are still more niches to be identified and filled, but it is clear that Mammoth Distribution will continue to partner with brands that fill these niches by amplifying and celebrating various facets of California’s highly diverse population.

Reaching California’s Niches

Mammoth’s press-releases make it clear that the company is always looking for brands that align with different demographics in the hope that in the future dispensaries will carry vape products that cater to every imaginable niche and identity group. “We want to be the experts in retail distribution, delivery, and supply,” says Patel, who remains focused on the California marketplace.

Patel expects to see continuing, organic growth throughout the state and allows that although the company has no current plans to cross state lines, it would entertain the possibility if it happened as a natural outcome of company growth.

But for now the company “sees the vape market as a major catalyst for the growth of California’s recreational market” and wants to focus all its energies there to maximize its current position.

Safety, Quality, and Potency

The company’s commitment to providing consumers with the best possible cannabis products is what unites its approach to marketing so many disparate brands. Mammoth Distribution is laser focused on three essential product characteristics for all of its partners: safety, quality, and potency.

The company’s “Clean Cannabis Guarantee” attests that all of Mammoth’s brands and products are compliant and meet or exceed state regulatory standards

Testing of Mammoth-distributed products is performed by 3rd party labs which screen for cannabinoids, specific residual solvents, processing chemicals, residual pesticides, and microbial impurities. Retailers and distributors can view product test results on Mammoth’s website

The Full Cannabis Experience

While Mammoth Distribution seeks out and markets brands and products catering to diverse lifestyles and identities, it also recognizes that customers also want environments designed from top to bottom to evoke a cannabis “experience”.

These customers want budtenders to impress with knowledge and good customer service, they want to hear groovy music, and they want to feel like they’re being taken care of. 

“We really do think vape is the one thing that will introduce a lot of new users into this cannabis space and learning about it and knowing its effects and how it helps and how it’s a substitute for…alcohol or cigarettes or anything.” – Nik Patel

New Cannabis Ventures, 10/17/18

Dispensary Engagement

Mammoth Distribution keenly recognizes the role it must play in helping its client dispensaries create the kind of environments customers seek.

The company forges enriching relationships with its retailers, providing a variety of services designed to improve the latter’s ability to engage and fulfill customer needs, including:

  • Actively managing and restocking vape inventories at dispensaries and delivery services
  • Promoting dispensaries and associated businesses on social media
  • Producing effective merchandising displays
  • Providing promotional merchandise for stores and their staffs
  • Training budtenders and hosting a “budtender in residence” program
  • Hosting custom PAD events
  • Providing next day delivery for Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and the Inland Empire

By participating closely with its retail clientele, California’s biggest cannabis distributor “is creating an experience that goes beyond simply shipping cannabis back and forth between cultivators and customers.”

Patel believes that “with financial, compliance, marketing, and distribution support, we will assist in taking them to the next level,” enabling storefronts to provide a range of cannabis-specific experiences for their customers.

“What differentiates us…is our team on the ground that is helping these retailers, who are just entering this new market, truly understand what their consumers want, and I think we’re ahead of the curve in the use of data and analytics to help them really optimize their offering and base so that they’re actually making better margins better profits and also more importantly servicing all of the customers that walk in their door.” – Nik Patel

New Cannabis Ventures, 10/17/18

Funding Mammoth

Nik Patel cites Mammoth’s self-funded operation as key to enabling decision-making based on dispensaries’ and customers’ specific wishes, allowing the company to be a “one-stop-shop for all retailers’ vape needs”.

Patel is wary of accepting outside investments that could muddy the waters. The COO did say, however, that he’d entertain an offer if he felt it would help the company reach its goals more expediently.

Always Hiring Exceptional Staff

In an interview with New Cannabis Ventures website, last October, Patel confirmed the company’s staff had grown to 110 knowledgeable and dedicated cannabis professionals. He added that the company is “always hiring and looking for the best and the brightest,” and in the interview extended an invitation all those interested and qualified to visit Mammoth’s website and “apply for the several positions we always have open.”

Presumably, the cannabis distributor’s staff has grown since last October. The recently published 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook estimates a 34% increase in nationwide cannabis employment this year, largely due to the California market.

The company’s Linkedin page currently indicates a staffing range of 51-200 employees, leaving us in the dark about how much Mammoth Distribution has grown so far this year.

“We’re always hiring and looking for the best and the brightest and so if anybody’s ever interested in the cannabis industry please come to our website and apply for the several positions we always have open” – Nik Patel

New Cannabis Ventures, 10/17/18

Focused, Diligent Employees

Patel’s business savvy extends well beyond manufacturing and marketing. He has a very clear understanding of the fundamental need for intelligent, creative, ethical, dedicated, hard-working, employees to achieve corporate success.

Top quality, skillfully branded products are key, but Mammoth’s chief officer understands that business isn’t so much a product as it is a process and states unequivocally that “we…believe in focusing on…one thing and doing it really, really, really, really well.” 

Patel recognizes that “doing” good business is the function of a thoughtfully assembled, well-trained, highly motivated staff and he makes hiring a priority, emphasizing that “we really spend a lot of time hiring people that will bring this industry…into the new era, with professionalism, knowledge, and…character.” 

Professional, Knowledgeable Staff

The company embraces its staff as an essential source of knowledge and information for its retail clientele, their customers, and for the industry at large.

Patel wants Mammoth’s retailers to know that company management “spend[s] a lot of time doing training with our team so that they can diffuse that knowledge and . . . speed up the education process.” He wants dispensaries, consumers, and the cannabis industry as a whole to be educated “since there’s a lack of knowledge in the industry in general for both consumers and even within the industry itself.”

By focusing on knowledge, professionalism, and the quality of customer experiences, Mammoth Distribution is in essence “actively preparing for the unique potential of future American markets.” The company has a vision for itself and the industry as an integrated, intelligent, and informed distribution network providing unique consumer experiences based on a range of lifestyles and identities.

Taxes & The Road Ahead

Patel doesn’t expect the road to maximum statewide success to be smooth and last October acknowledged some of the challenges Mammoth continues to face.

The most jarring and immediate post-legalization pitfall is the price shock consumers are still experiencing in the wake of hefty local and state taxes and regulations, which caused an across-the-board 35% price increase that has yet to meaningfully abate.

The Black Market Elephant

A more impactful, ongoing, elephant in the cannabis industry room frustrating industry profitability and preventing lower prices is the ongoing proliferation of counterfeit products and black market, unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services.

State government fails to address the issue head-on, while overburdened city resources are unable to handle the scope of the problem, preventing companies like Mammoth from experiencing true natural growth and expansion.

Black market products and shops also cause investor uncertainty, keeping much-needed funding from reaching the micro-businesses, manufacturers, and distributors, that need it most. Meanwhile, hapless consumers don’t know whether they’re shopping in aboveboard shops or purchasing safe, authentic products. 

California still has much to do before the cannabis industry reaches its full economic potential in the state.

Trade War Tariffs Hit Home

America’s current, ongoing trade negotiations with China are another factor negatively impacting the California cannabis industry, which depends on the Far East nation’s ascendant economy for cartridges and packaging.

Tariffs in particular are forcing US cannabis companies to look for American alternatives to Chinese packaging materials, which tend to be costlier and less efficiently made. 

Patel says that trade negotiations hit Mammoth Distribution especially hard because orders they had already placed 3 or 4 months prior were targeted on arrival at US ports where they were held until the new tariffs were paid.

Just this week, Mammoth’s COO decried the toll that tariffs are taking on company finances and logistics, explaining that “every single item has a package and has hardware, so you’re talking about a 25% increase on cost of goods sold on the components that provide the least amount of value to the consumer.”

The silver lining amidst the financial and logistical hardships currently caused by tariffs may be the long term possibility of a fairer US-China trade relationship with less patent and copyright infringement, which would strengthen all American businesses and benefit consumers, too.

Quality Brands & Products

“Heavy Hitters is all about listening to customers and finding innovative ways to deliver better products for better experiences” – Hannah Davis

MarketWatch, 11/27/18

Mammoth Distribution views success in terms of quality products and brands that are safe and well-made, that capture different lifestyles and identity niches, that provide consumer satisfaction, and ultimately inspire repeat business. Its exclusive brand partnerships enable the company to expand in size and scope and achieve in strides both large and small the kind of success it envisions. 

Long Term Success

Mammoth’s long term success derives from its ability to appeal to new cannabis users across all California demographics and from its focus on industry-wide cannabis literacy. The team Nik Patel assembled to grow both the company and its partner brands is actively engaged in teaching retailers, budtenders, and consumers about cannabis distillates, strains and their associated aromas, flavors, and effects, about vaping, and about successful business practices. 

From Heavy Hitters to Bae and beyond, Nik Patel and his Mammoth Distribution crew are working hard to bring safe, potent cannabis to Californians of every walk of life, as they partner with brands and retailers to provide consumers with rewarding, meaningful, and enjoyable cannabis experiences.

What Mammoth Distributes

Here are highlights of the products and brands Mammoth supplies:

HEAVY HITTERS

Overview:

  • Most professional looking of the partner web pages
  • Home page calls attention to counterfeits and includes a button to report any counterfeit sales
  • Proprietary Cold Filtering technology purifies oil beyond standard distillation
  • Oil quality is consistent and ultra-potent
  • “True Ceramic” technology
  • None of the harmful wick components of standard cartridges
  • High quality ceramic throughout the heating element
  • Even doses and no harmful byproducts

Cartridges, Pricing, and Strains:

Gram Cartridges:

  • Price range in east SF Valley: $55-$65
  • Cherry Pie (indica)
  • Maui Wowie (sativa)
  • Blueberry (indica)
  • Diablo OG (sativa)
  • Grandaddy Purple (indica)
  • Grape Ape (indica)
  • Malibu OG (indica)
  • Northern Lights (indica)
  • Purple Punch (indica)
  • Blue Dream (sativa)
  • Jack Herer (sativa)
  • Lemonade (indica)
  • Sour Diesel (sativa)
  • Strawberry Cough (sativa)
  • GSC (indica-leaning hybrid)
  • Heavy Hitters OG (indica)
  • Mimosa (sativa)
  • Pineapple Express (sativa)
  • Skywalker OG (indica)
  • Strawnana (indica)
  • Sunset Sherbet (indica)
  • Wedding Cake (indica)
  • *Tangie (balanced hybrid) – not listed on site but appears on dispensary menus

2.2-Gram Cartridges:

  • Price in east SF Valley: $120
  • Diablo OG (sativa)
  • Strawberry Cough (sativa)
  • Pineapple Express (sativa)

Disposable 300mg Cartridges:

  • Price range in east SF Valley: $25-$35
  • Malibu OG (indica)
  • Northern Lights (indica)
  • Purple Punch (indica)
  • Jack Herer (sativa)
  • Strawberry Cough (sativa)
  • GSC (indica-leaning hybrid)
  • Pineapple Express (sativa)
  • AC/DC (sativa) – 1:1 CBD:THC

PAX Era Half-Gram Pods:

  • Price range in east SF Valley: $50-$60
  • Grandaddy Purple (indica)
  • Northern Lights (indica)
  • Pineapple Express (sativa)
  • Jack Herer (sativa)

PAX Era CBD:THC Half-Gram Pods:

  • Price in east SF Valley: $70
  • AC/DC (sativa) – 1:1 CBD:THC

CBD:THC Gram Cartridges:

  • Price range in east SF Valley: $65-$80
  • AC/DC (sativa) – 1:1 CBD:THC
  • Hawaiian Dream (sativa) – 3:1 CBD:THC

Accessories & Gear:

  • Standard Battery Kit – 3.7v, 510 thread, adaptive button ($15-$20)
  • New Heavy Duty Battery – adjustable voltage, 510 thread, an adaptive button for dosing fluidity, protective magnetic travel cap (no price available)
  • Branded Merch: Spring 2019 collection, clothing and accessories, lifestyle brand, t-shirt w/710 on back, branded socks, unisex joggers, 3/4” jersey, snapback cap, hoodie

Community:

  • Heavy Hitters TRIBE:  exclusive offers, special content, access to pre-launch promos

FARM

Overview:

  • Produces full flower live resin blends contained in PAX Era pods
  • Distillate is rich in terpenes and cannabinoids
  • Made in small batches
  • “Single origin” – cannabis grown within a single known geographic region, or seeds from a specific country or region
  • Limited release strains curated based on harvest seasons and availability
  • PAX Era pods feature heat control technology for superior flavor and vapor quality
  • Pods engineered to prevent leaking and clogging
  • Mammoth and PAX in partnership since November 2018
  • Strains not listed on the website

ASH & EMBER

Overview:

  • Designed for inner healing and spiritual empowerment that appeals to yogis, those who meditate, and anyone looking for deep spiritual connection (press release quote)
  • Spiritually empowering cannabis vapes to ignite your stardust energy
  • Each breath gets you closer to divine consciousness

Cartridge strains (no size specified):

  • “Fire Dance” (sativa)
  • “Sacred Sunset” (hybrid)
  • “Purple Moon” (indica)

Other:

BAE

Overview:

  • Designed for women
  • Disposable cartridges
  • Marketed as women’s accessory, all pink
  • The webpage describes “sweet hits” and says to “find your sweet escape”
  • Images of women from diverse backgrounds enjoying being together
  • Images of confections, fashion accessories, friends, leisure, lingerie, candle, bath
  • Sold as a pampering product in which to indulge

Cartridge Strains (no size specified):

  • “Pink Punch” (sativa) – Strawberry Cough x Ghost Train Haze
  • “Cake Batter” (hybrid) – Wedding Cake x Sunset Sherbet
  • “Macaron” (indica) – Pure Kush x Grandaddy Purple

Other:

  • Bae’s “Pink Punch” is cited in Playboy Magazine’s January 2019, article correlating the best strains for maximum enjoyment of different sex positions
Mammoth Distribution Bae vape pink and girly marketing image
Bae’s vapes are set amongst pearls, lace, and pink confections (photo: Bae)

RAD

Overview:

  • Marketed to Gen X’ers who grew up in the new wave 1980s
  • Neon, laser video, video game styled web page
  • “RAD vapes are formulated to help you party like it’s 1985”
  • Old School Hip Hop graffiti font
  • “RAD for Party People” (emphasis on partying)
  • “Great taste, never gnarly – guaranteed”
  • “Find it Dude” 

“We removed all the heinous stuff, so our premium THC distillate gives you like only the best pure kickin’ goodness to start your night and keep it going.  Our totally awesome carts use ceramic coils to bring you a wicked hit every time and enhance the stellar taste of our strains. Bitchin’ dude.”

RAD website advertising copy

Half-gram Cartridge Strains:

For The Party (disco ball & boom box icons):

  • “Neon Dream” (sativa) – Super Silver Haze x Purple Punch
  • “Super Crack” (sativa) – Green Crack x Jack Herer

For After The Party (cassette tape icon):

  • “Hawaiian Punch” (hybrid) – Hawaiian x Purple Punch
  • “Lemon Lazer” (hybrid) – Lemon Skunk x Cheese

For The Chill (new wave sunglasses & video game console icons):

  • “Banana Pancakes” (indica) – OG Kush x Banana
  • Do-Si-Dos (indica) – GSC phenotype x Face Off OG

Gram Cartridges:

  • “Super Crack” (sativa)
  • “Hawaiian Punch” (hybrid)
  • “Banana Pancakes” (indica)

Other:

  • Rad’s “Neon Dream” is cited in Playboy Magazine’s January 2019, article correlating the best strains for maximum enjoyment of different sex positions

GIVE

Overview:

  • Geared towards military veterans who use cannabis
  • Goal to end veteran suicide by easing pain and anguish of PTSD with cannabis
  • Chooses a “charity partner” each fiscal quarter for contribution of a portion of brand revenue
  • Current charity partner is Veterans Cannabis Group
  • Veterans Cannabis Group are veterans advocating for vets who use medical cannbis
  • Provides job opportunities in cannabis industry
  • Provides education and safe access information
  • Patriotic red, white, and blue packaging

Half-gram cartridge strains:

  • “Act” (sativa) – Super Lemon Haze
  • “Reflect” (hybrid) – Gorilla Glue
  • “Share” (indica) – OG Kush
Give’s packaging is patriotically colored with images of love (photo: Give)
Primitive Zippo
Doing high dives into the California cannabis industry, cannabis culture, cannabis-friendly music and anything else cannabis-related residing in the vast expanse of my turgid cranium.

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