By Vanessa Orr

Brady Cobb knows cannabis and he knows what his customers want. After building and scaling Bluma Wellness and One Plant dispensaries in 2019 and selling it to Cresco Cannabis in 2021, he realized that something was still missing in the market.

“It’s all about honoring the plant,” said the owner of Green Sentry, which recently launched the Sunburn Cannabis brand across Florida.

To Cobb, honoring the plant means creating a premium cannabis brand authentically grounded in Florida’s distinct cannabis culture and selling only the highest quality cannabis flower, concentrates, edibles and related products.

“We’re not just pushing product through; we’re not a minute clinic,” said Cobb. “We brought the right genetics and a good mix of genetics into the market, and we let each plant tell us when to finish cure,” he said. “It’s much more of a craft approach to cannabis than anyone else is taking. One size does not fit all.”

After One Plant was sold to Cresco, Cobb stayed for about three months before deciding to move on.

“There was nothing wrong with doing things their way; it was just not for me,” he said. “It was a really humbling moment when my team wanted to leave with me. We didn’t have anything set up, but we wanted a chance to do things our way—the right way, by honoring the plant.”

Sunburn Cannabis has now taken root, and has been expanding across Florida after Green Sentry bought all 13 of the Florida locations of MedMen, which closed in August 2022.

“One of the things that drew us to MedMen was how well their retail stores were sited and how beautifully built out they were,” Cobb said. Since Nov. 16, 2022, eight of the MedMen locations have opened as Sunburn Cannabis, and two more, in Jacksonville and Key West, will open in March. The next two stores in Deerfield Beach and Miami Beach will open later this year.

“It’s been quite the run,” said Cobb of Sunburn’s amazing growth.

In addition to honoring the plant, Sunburn is also honoring the history of cannabis in Florida—a story that includes Cobb’s late father, Miami smuggler Clyde Walton ‘Bill’ Cobb.

“He moved a lot of weight through Florida from Columbia,” said Cobb. “We’re not some out-of-state MSO (multistate operator) like Jungle Boys or 710 Labs. Our story showcases Florida cannabis culture.”

Though the Florida market has grown quickly over the past few years, Cobb said that he’s not worried about being the new kid on the block. “If I was entering the marketplace selling biomass and distillate, I’d be very concerned; so much of that market share has been pried up that it’s a very competitive area with a lot of people fighting for the same consumer,” he explained.

“We are going after the top end of the market and truly building a brand that is different than what our competitors are doing in terms of retail experience,” he added. “While there are a lot of retail dispensaries in Florida—we recently crossed the 500 mark—the state has 21 million people and the population is still growing. If you have stores in tertiary locations, there might be reason for concern, but that’s why we focused on MedMen’s prime locations. You don’t need 80 stores in B locations; you want 20 to 25 stores in A locations—that’s why we’re going deep and not wide into Florida.”

While the state has not yet passed legislation allowing the use of recreational marijuana, Cobb believes that it’s just a matter of time. “Florida becomes the number one market in the country when that happens—we have 118 million visitors a year over the age of 21, with the bulk coming from states where cannabis is illegal,” he said.

Though Green Sentry has filed an application in Alabama, they plan to remain a Florida-focused management team for the foreseeable future. “We’re looking at potential expansion outside, but we’ll remain uniquely focused on the Southeast,” said Cobb.