In 2018, Ray Schiavone was in a hotel elevator in Las Vegas when he bumped into Berner, a Bay Area rapper and entrepreneur active in the cannabis market.
Schiavone, co-owner and CEO of Tahoe Hydroponics, a Carson City-based cannabis cultivator, did not let the opportunity pass him by.
“I invited him to my suite, showed him some flower. He said he had heard about us and was a big fan,” Schiavone recalled in a phone interview with the NNBW.
Two years later, in 2020, that chance encounter cultivated a co-branded packaging partnership between Tahoe Hydro and Berner’s marijuana company, Cookies.
Schiavone said the coronavirus pandemic was “the catalyst” for Tahoe Hydro to finally fire up a partnership with Berner and bring Cookies into the Nevada market.
“When COVID hit, we were looking for alternative offerings,” Schiavone said. “And Cookies was getting a lot of traction — they had a lot of new innovative strains. And I think Nevada was really looking for something new and different. Rather than kind of tiptoe into it, we just dove right in and started selling a ton of Cookies right out of the gate.”
Specifically, the new partnership is producing live resin sauce carts, live resin sugar, live resin badder, and flower strains.
“We’re constantly innovating and having new flower all the time,” said Schiavone, who along with Tahoe Hydro co-owner Mark Bruno have racked up numerous cannabis awards since launching in 2016.
And right now for marijuana consumers, there’s no mistaking that flower is king, Schiavone said.
According to marijuana data platform Headset, Nevada’s flower sales in July 2019 made up roughly 48% of the market. By July 2020, flower sales in the state accounted for nearly 60% of the market.
It’s a trend Schiavone saw coming when COVID rolled in.
“Because they shut down things like concerts and public venues, people aren’t vaping