Meet Yerba Buena: Stem Holdings’ Latest Acquisition

VIDEO BY HOOD RIVER COLLECTIVE

Profile of Yerba Buena

 As of October 8, 2018, Stem Holdings entered an agreement to acquire Yerba Buena, pending Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) approval. Yerba Buena is an award-winning Oregon cannabis cultivator of organically-grown flower that offers a consistently beautiful, clean, effective, and delicious experience.

In terms of infrastructure, Yerba Buena has a number of assets that are going to boost the Stem Holdings portfolio and team. Located in Hillsboro, Oregon, the 29-acre Yerba Buena cultivation property features state-of-the-art LED lighting and 9,000 square feet of indoor cultivation canopy. At full production, the current cultivation facility can produce 4,000 pounds of clean cannabis annually.

With 20+ employees, 20+ strains on the market, and a variety of pre-rolls products and Yerba “Fuego Packs”, they’ve established a very solid retail footprint in the Oregon market. Yerba Buena has also developed an advanced, in-house genetics program that has generated a cannabis seed stock collection of a few hundred strains.

 Beyond the numbers, Yerba Buena has been cultivating a team and culture that Stem Holdings is excited to continue to grow. In particular, Yerba has placed importance on developing an atmosphere where each individual is comfortable, welcome, and connected. In Yerba Buena’s belief, the way that they treat each other and the way that they treat the plants is what is their “most potent ingredient”.

In line with our other cultivation partners, TJ’s Gardens, Yerba Buena is also working toward clean, sustainable, organic cannabis cultivation practices. Yerba Buena farms is a Clean Green Certified™ and Certified Kind™ cannabis grower dedicated to growing conscientiously and organically. Utilizing a bio-active soil that’s rich in micronutrients, locally produced, and recycled, Yerba is taking steps to remain environmentally conscious at all levels of cultivation and production.

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Interview with Preston Greene, General Manager of Yerba Buena

Plexus Media had the opportunity to talk with Preston Greene, Executive Vice President at Stem Holdings and General Manager of Yerba Buena. Read on to learn more about the Yerba mission, the relationship with Stem Holdings, and more.

How did Yerba Buena get its start in the industry?
Yerba Buena started approximately three and a half years ago in the medical market in Oregon. Within a 6 month period, we grew to be the largest medicinal supplier in the state of Oregon with some 200 patients growing out of our location.
Our initial plan was to switch over to the recreational market and to acquire one of the early licenses. Yerba Buena was one of the first licensed companies for recreational cannabis in the state of Oregon, and since that point we have become one of the top producers in terms of sales. Also, I would say based on the awards we received for genetics, sustainability, and more, Yerba has distinguished itself as one of the top cannabis companies in the state of Oregon in other ways too. So, that was our background and where Yerba Buena started from.

How did the Yerba Buena/Stem Holdings partnership come about?
As we came into Stem Holdings, we were looking for capital to expand our brand outside of the Oregon market, as it is a very saturated market. I call it a “hyper competitive market”. There was extreme price compression in 2017 and that's continued in 2018.

So as a company, we decided that we needed to make a move outside of the state to maintain our brand, maintain profit margins, and to continue to grow the company. We were looking for options to get into the Nevada market, and when we were doing the capital raise, we came across Stem Holdings and their CEO, Adam Berk. At that point the relationship building began between both Stem Holdings and Yerba Buena.

How has the relationship with Stem Holdings strengthened your company?
This has strengthened our company’s mission by giving us a footprint and capital needs to expand into Nevada and beyond. Stem Holdings can also help us in terms of administrative staff such as bookkeeping, accounting, legal services. Beyond the capital and resources, it’s great that Stem Holdings is a like-minded company that cares about their people, cares about the product they put out and wanted to be a key producer of product in the cannabis market. We received multiple offers on Yerba Buena. However, we chose Stem Holdings because it felt like the best connection between people not simply the highest number offer. During our negotiations, Stem Holdings offered us the best platform to grow and for our employees to grow and progress.  

Can you touch on some of the prestigious awards that Yerba Buena has received?

Sure, here are a few awards and accomplishments that we’ve been recognized with:

●      100 Greenest Workplace 2018
●      Dope Cup – Best CBD 2018 (Blue Dragon Desert Frost strain)
●      Kind News - 100 Cannabis Leaders of 2018
●      Cultivation Classic - Best CBD 2018 (Blue Dragon Desert Frost strain
●      Best CBD 2017 (Corozon strain)
●      Best Cannabis Farm - Willamette Week 2018 (2nd year in a row)
●      MG Magazine, Best 10 Cannabis companies to work for in 2018

Can you touch on your mission around organic and sustainable cultivation practices in the cannabis industry?
Absolutely. This is another part of what really helped us feel attached to Stem Holdings. With TJ’s Gardens as another one of their key cultivation partners, Stem Holdings and TJ’s are proving that they’re like-minded with our business practices. Specifically, TJ’s Gardens has a charitable mission for children with epilepsy and also is extremely strong in terms of being an organic producer.

We knew that with the TJ’s Gardens relationship, that Stem Holdings would be willing to allow us to continue to grow Yerba Buena as the company that we are. They would continue to push our focus on sustainability, organics, and people. I would say that Stem Holdings is rare, looking beyond the bottom line in terms of acquisitions and really trying to care about what Yerba Buena’s mission was. Stem Holdings understands that allowing us to continue with our missions would actually result in a better bottom line in the long-term.

What’s next for Stem Holdings and Yerba Buena?
Nevada and Oklahoma are two of the current states where Stem Holdings has licenses. What we hope to do is bring both Yerba Buena and TJ’s Gardens brands to these immature markets.  We believe that our unique cultivation practices and mission behind sustainable cultivation will help us to quickly create a solid foothold in the market. Oregon is a very competitive market but also has the most talented cultivators, and we plan to utilize that talent. 

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