Oklahoma’s new cannabis market includes a fascinating behind-the-scenes group known as Processors. Processors manage the laboratory science of machinery processing cannabis into derivatives. More commonly known as extraction, there are several methods which produce many unusual forms of medication available to patients. You might be familiar with alternative products such as vapes, crumble, shatter, edibles, tinctures, wax, and oil. The edibles market alone includes basic chewable gummies and spans to iced coffee.
While looking for my first Processor to interview in Oklahoma, I came upon a local company with experience. How can this be? Experience in a new market? With State Question 788 passing only a few months prior, I never expected to find an experienced Processor to interview in Oklahoma. Not so! This company is the well-planned offspring of Flagship Vapor Co. located in Oklahoma City. They have a presence in the nicotine vapor market with sales nationwide. In short, they had a big head start and didn’t waste a minute launching a new cannabis division called Simple Cure.
Simple Cure has three products in the market as of this writing. The first are two vape cartridges that derive from whole-plant natural methods. Simple Cure starts with supercritical Co2 extraction (terpenes only) and then, taking the extra time and attention of several subcritical fractions produces full spectrum oils. Using an abundance of care, they properly homogenize the exacted terpenes back into the original oil. The natural benefits of cannabis are often lost or cast aside by companies looking for high THC content. Additives for thinning or flow agents won’t find a home here. Purity is paramount at Simple Cure, and these same standards include infusing the company’s delicious edible gummies.
The principals here are Lance Kimball and Michael Taylor. Kimball offered a tour of the company and explained that Flagship Vapor and its nicotine products have dedicated a separate area for the Simple Cure cannabis side. Two companies share space at their facility. The first room is a spotless lab staffed by four technicians in white lab coats. They wave to me behind an off-limits glass door. They are apparently quite happy mixing in what Kimball calls the “Flavor Room”
The next room is the extraction and processing lab. Simple Cure has purchased a high-quality Co2 extraction machine from Eden Labs and it is performing a series of complex fractions of biomass. The technicians here are busy and wearing the same contagious smiles that begin at the reception lobby. One person is doing the decarboxylation and others are busy packaging. This all happens in three small rooms which are conscientiously well-laid-out. Everything in its place and a place for everything. Each staff member is cross-trained to operate the Eden unit. Kimball showcases his library of terpenes and various oils ready for homogenizing. This is a small but efficient lab.
Kimball ushers me outside and I fear my tour is over, however it is up on the hill through a grove of trees that he leads me. He calls the little cabin high on the hill near the treetops his “corporate treehouse.” Unlocking the door and inviting me inside, he reveals a two-room cabin with a long table centered in the room. The main room is the company meeting area and I imagine it is the venue of good times shared with friends. The walls are covered in posters, trophies, awards, family photos and a myriad of good memories. I will go out on a treehouse limb and say this room came first. It is one part boardroom and two parts of childhood fort.
It’s here that he tells me about the new FDA rules regarding nicotine delivery systems and that the extraordinary compliance costs will likely be the end of Flagship Vapors. The mandate includes expensive testing for each product by the year 2022 and he looks pensive while telling of the hardships looming for that company. Kimball makes it clear that he entered these markets to help people, and Flagship may not survive. However, he doesn’t dwell on it and quickly pivots to reveal that he is a girls’ softball coach and grew up just down the street. He is passionately devoted to his wife Jennifer and she too works on both sides of the business alongside him and partner Taylor.
The next room is suddenly busy with equipment and people pouring in. Kimball tells me “Michael is on his way to finish the interview with me,” and Taylor arrives while he guides a film crew setting up in the adjoining room.
Michael Taylor sits down and I am instantly at ease. I’ve never met Taylor, however, I’m fighting the urge to over-smile. Kimball had informed me earlier that Taylor was once a professional clown. I don’t know if this is the truth or if I’m enabling a prank. Taylor reveals it is true and the smile gets out. This large-stature, a joy-exuding person is an accomplished hip-hop artist, marketing guru, graphic design and social media professional. His website and blog were what urged me to select Simple Cure for my first Processor interview for Ounce Magazine.
He described the advertising, the excellent photographs, the blog he curates, his zero butthead policy for social media, and all the things that give Simple Cure a clean and informative presence. One feature that impressed me is their warranty and replacement offer with each product.
Taylor’s passion for the cannabis business is aligned with his partner’s. They simply want to help patients find a cure, hence the name. This team isn’t pining away for the future of recreational cannabis. The company is soundly based on passionate patient care that medical cannabis deserves.
Simple Cure invites group tours as part of their transparency policies. This open-door policy alone speaks to the integrity of the people behind Simple Cure. This likely won’t be my daughter’s next school field trip, however, it was just the informative adventure I needed in my day.
About The Author
Scott Ehrlich is the founder and managing member of Symmetry Medical. Providing professional services to the cannabis industry with focus on Laboratory design and installation. Symmetry also provides point of sale installation and on-boarding to dispensaries. Marketing services to all mediums including print, television, billboard and social presence. Mr. Ehrlich is a Chef with an extensive culinary background that targets the edible markets.
I understand the costs for safety regulations are probably too high, but just at California when they first started their testing up for the influx of recreational users. Trace amounts of lead in the frame and heating element is no bueno for the human endocannabinoid system. I’d gladly pay more for a provable vape cartridge system as I have enough health problems than I care for.