Close this search box.

Video: How Crispy Commission Dominates The Mass Melt Market

In the first month of this year, Massachusetts recreational cannabis stores sold more than $5 million worth of concentrates. According to Headset data, that’s an 8.2% increase over the previous year. There are a handful of brands responsible for that leap, each with their own tricks of the trade. And among the heaviest hitters is Crispy Commission, a flagship brand of the Salisbury-based Root & Bloom which exploded on the Bay State dab scene in 2023 with a deep menu of delectable dabs. 

We recently visited their North Shore lab to see what it takes to break out from the pack in a crowded marketplace. Crispy Commission products are often seen on shelves that don’t house many other melts—especially in urban stores, where flower tends to steal the show. The week that we checked them out last month, the company put nearly 6,000 grams into the world. And even at that scale, many of their cured batches are limited to between 600 and 800 grams—once you see it, you’re unlikely to see it again.

We spoke with crispy commissioners Corey Smigelski, Root & Bloom’s director of business development, and Director of Extraction & Product Manufacturing Justin Hunt, to ask how they kicked down the door and helped change consumption culture in Mass over the past year. Their comments have been edited for clarity and parsed below.

On leaning into the relatively small concentrate market … 

CS: Most of the key members from our team came from Colorado. They came from a market where dabs are king … Rewind the clock six years and compare this to flower. Six years ago, you went to the dispensary, and flower was very expensive, the quality was generally not great … so you were overpaying for marginal quality. And with concentrates, we are very much in the same boat. We had an undersupplied market, so the consumers of Massachusetts were conditioned to a low quality concentrate at a very high price, which keeps the legacy market alive and well.

If you’re somebody who is not a concentrate consumer, the likelihood of going out and spending $60 or $70 on a half a gram of something that wasn’t going to be very good—we saw that as an opportunity. And we said if we could get to the market … we can produce a much higher quality concentrate than most of what is on the market at a lower price. Frankly, the rest is history after that.

On timing and their secret sauce … 

JH: It all really starts with the biomass—it controls the parameters … and has a lot to do with the outcome of the oil. The biomass is sometimes whole nug, whole plant, but oftentimes it’s smalls or it’s trim. Typically, because it’s gone through a cure and dry process, it’s not as terpene rich as its fresh-frozen counterparts. Segue over to live extraction, and it’s a fresh-frozen extraction process, which means plants from time of harvest are typically frozen and stored very quickly—we try to do it in under five minutes, and I think it’s under three minutes in most cases. When you are going to freeze that plant in place and lock the terpene content in, that really helps on the back end.

On clarifying categories … 

JH: When you look at a cured concentrate versus a live concentrate, often there’s going to be a slightly different color quality, and slightly different terp content just because of the style of biomass that went in. … We do have three subcategories—budder, crumble, and sugar. Those are typically described on how they physically look: budder looks a lot like butter, or maybe a peanut butter. It’s got a smooth consistency; it shouldn’t have that much granularity to it. Crumble is exactly that; it should be dryer, it should crumble on contact. And then sugar is where that granularity comes into play … so you might see some chunky sugars.

When you get to live [extractions], I like badder as my terminology. It’s the same thing as budder, but different in the biomass and in the process. Live sauce has really big chunky sugars and diamonds, or it can be very fine and granular.

On some of their biggest challenges … 

CS: I think the most difficult part of our achievement is the consistency of quality. It’s one thing to do it once, twice, three times, but it’s another thing to do it time and time again for more than a year. … This is really difficult in Massachusetts. It’s one thing to produce this live butter, sauce, and sugar, but it’s another thing to do that and pass your residual solvent testing. We are 12 parts per million [Colorado, by comparison, only requires most residual solvents to test at under 1,000 parts per million]. It is not easy to pass residual solvent [testing], maintain flavor, and not have a burnt end product.

On weights that work …

CS: We got rid of the half grams almost immediately because the economies of scale are there for 1g and we can give people a little more. We entered the market shortly thereafter with a 1g product that competed in price with most half-gram BHO concentrates. That was the moment that things really hit. … Savvy dab consumers, a while ago, learned how to look at that per gram price, and that 3.5 [gram value product, often called a “baller jar”] rocked the price point, and all of a sudden people were getting good quality and the volume. That was a nearly instant success for us.

JH: People were taking a road trip all the way into Maine to stock up to come back [to Massachusetts], so the baller jar kind of satisfied a need. My first competitor honestly wasn’t to go after the people in Mass, I wanted to go after where people were actually spending their money—especially on the North Shore side, a lot of people were just cutting right through New Hampshire to go to Maine.

On affordability … 

CS: Store operators were saying, It’s 2% of my business, why would I carry concentrates? And in the beginning, it took a lot of push. … But that snowballedvery quickly. It was that self-fulfilling prophecy of, Oh, concentrates are not a big part of my business, and then you would look and they would have half grams for 50 bucks.

We said, Let’s try something new here. We have really found, and why we think we’re number one, is that we hit the intersection of quality and price. There are a lot of people that produce beautiful extracts in this state, but if we produce beautiful extracts that are too expensive for our customers to afford, then they’re not going to dab them. It’s simple.