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A Journal of Cannabis and Culture

How Virtue Became One of Nevada’s Top Cannabis Brands

How Virtue Became One of Nevada’s Top Cannabis Brands

BY MARIE LODI

The fascinating journey for Nevada-based cannabis brand Virtue began way back in 2012. Pegasus Nevada, Virtue’s parent company, got early word that the state was planning to make changes to its medical marijuana program. After conferring with colleagues in Phoenix, the group opened its first businesses in Arizona in 2013, which, as Virtue co-founder Ranson Shepherd explains, allowed them to test-drive before going to market in Nevada. “This allowed our team to learn all phases firsthand in a regulated medical market to validate and confirm our methods along with troubleshooting early wrinkles within the system,” Shepherd says. “We chose this path because California at the time was still considered the Wild Wild West within the industry, and our team didn't want that stigma to follow our plans.”

Virtue’s inaugural harvest came to fruition in January 2017, allowing Shepherd and co-founder Chad Wallace to start selling that March. In the mere eight weeks following its launch, Virtue debuted at over 40 locations with minimal marketing. Now, it’s one of the top cannabis cultivators in the state, boasting high-quality flower and products such as rosin, pre-rolls, and tins. In 2018, Virtue made headlines when they teamed up with cannabis cigar company, Leira, to produce a luxury “cannagar” made with 24 grams of Virtue’s Pure Haze strain, wrapped in hemp flower, and coated with 24-karat gold leaf. The tricked out cigar sold for a cool $11,000.

Want to know more about this premium Nevada cannabis brand? Read our Interview With Ranson Shepherd from Virtue

What’s unique about Virtue’s approach to, and relationship with, cannabis?
We all have our motivations to enter into the industry; we all have family and friends who have been affected by alternative options that maybe could have been saved if this product had been available to them during their times of need. It’s helped one of our partners downsize his use of traditional medical options, which were causing major challenges. Our core beliefs always come back to the ability to service the people of our communities that we look to impact positively. Our team has members that are involved with Louisiana State University AgCenter’s state-approved licenses, [where scientists are] studying the effects of cannabis for research purposes, focusing heavily on tissue culture, pain management and inflammation. But, more importantly, that project gives us access to possibly validating and confirming our methods when it comes to advancing efforts forward for the industry through accredited studies.

How has Virtue evolved since its inception?
We are always pushing forward to evolve, one day and one step at time. The data behind our methods have increased dramatically, which in return has allowed us to make well-informed decisions. The research we’re doing in our facility and at LSU, to the specifics of the different metrics we utilize, has increased. Training for our employees has improved...We are also exploring various environmental control systems which can automate for scaling purposes in our future plans. We have locked up various management service contracts within our state to share our findings with others within the industry. Our slogan for the company is "Dedication to Perfection," which applies to everything we do as a team, along with our individual lives.

What are some of the most popular strains with customers and why?
Diamond Dust is a staple, for sure, because of its sativa-dominant hybrid effects. But also, because of its presentation as a beautifully grown flower product that tastes clean, with smooth relief effects.

Can you tell us the story behind the $11,000 cannagar?
It was a fun market-test type of project with good friends from a different market, who’d had success there prior. They knew our approach to business, which is to always have some form of proof of concept before really starting to scale your concept. So, it took months of planning and positioning, but once [the cannagar] was released this past New Year’s Eve to a warm welcome, the story went viral globally. With Las Vegas being the entertainment capital of the world, it was a fitting type of project to do here. Keep an eye out for more future drops of that type of product and its complementing products to go with it.

(Image: Leafly)

What are some of your personal favorite products from the line?
Our Pre-98 Bubba Skywalker is, without a doubt, a company favorite, despite not being a great-performing yielding type genetic. The look, taste, and relief given from it makes it really hard to beat. Also, our upcoming infused-preroll, set to drop this 4/20, will hit the market hard with a great consistent flower and our fan-favorite dry-sift rosin.

What changes in the cannabis industry do you hope to inspire through your brand?
The change we hope to contribute to is definitely the uniqueness of the people within the industry. Everyone brings some level of expertise, uniqueness, and creativity. We want to always encourage that, along with constantly working toward our goals as a whole.

So, what’s next?
Virtue is always looking at how to refine, refocus, and improve in all phases of our companies and brands we’re associated with. But, more importantly, to continue to positively impact our team members, friends, families, and, of course, the communities we service.

Interested in trying Virtue? Head to your local Las Vegas MedMen cannabis dispensary to learn more.

(Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.)

A Journal of Cannabis and Culture
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