Rare west coast genetics and partnerships with Kiva Confections and Josh D may have originated in California but make no mistake: Akron’s Klutch Cannabis is a 100 percent Ohio-owned and operated cannabis company. Polling as a patient favorite in 2021, Klutch produces a wide variety of flower, edibles, vape cartridges, luster pods, live hash rosin, and live BHO concentrates for Ohio medical marijuana patients.

How Klutch Became Klutch

In 2019, when the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) began, AT-CPC of Ohio received one of 16 Level 1 cultivator licenses to grow medical marijuana. AT-CPC originally partnered with and organized as a subsidiary of Calyx Peak Companies, which operates cannabis companies in California and Nevada. AT-CPC of Ohio announced in July 2020 that it had separated from Calyx Peak. They rebranded as a new, Ohio-owned company under the name Klutch Cannabis.

Klutch’s new brand aimed to reflect a “patient-focused commitment to quality, hard work, and honor”, with honor represented in Klutch’s shining crown logo. Founder and CEO Adam Thomarios said in 2020:  “The change is extremely positive for our employees and the patients we serve. We’re excited for what the future holds. Our entire team works tirelessly to bring patients some of the best medicine available on the market. We take pride in that commitment every day, always.” 

Cultivation

Klutch’s early cultivation methods were influenced by its relationship with Calyx Peak, its early cultivars, and its award-winning Josh D line, the breeder’s sought-after genetics known worldwide. The namesake, pioneer of Los Angeles’ OG Kush movement, Josh Del Rosso, gained notoriety for his award-winning cannabis which used OG Kush genetics and hydroponic horticulture techniques. 

While Klutch has retained the Josh D line, the company now produces a wide array of rare, coveted, and award-winning phenotypes, including multiple Emerald Cup winners and proprietary house strains that cannot be found anywhere else, using proprietary cultivation techniques that are all its own. When it comes to selecting strains, Klutch stands out from other cultivators with genetics. 

Selecting Strains

Mike Lentz, Director of Cultivation at Klutch, started with the company on day one. Lentz’s talents and expertise were forged in Denver, Colorado, where he started his cultivation career over a decade prior. In 2017, his daughter was born, and he and his wife made the decision to raise her around family in his wife’s home state of Ohio. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Lentz elaborated about how cultivars are selected for Klutch’s lineup, stating “I do not think potency really dictates quality. Instead, it is just one contributing factor. My goal is to push potency but, at the same time, express the full terpene potential of the plant. Every patient is different based on their medicinal needs. Some may prefer a more myrcene-dominant terpene profile, which translates into more relaxation and pain relief. Others may prefer more of a limonene or pinene-dominant terpene profile, which can help with mood elevation and may provide an uplifting boost of energy. Expressing specific terpenes while providing the best medicinal effects is how quality should be defined in cannabis.” 

Pete Nischt, VP of Compliance and Communications for Klutch, agrees. “We are constantly evaluating this stuff. We’re re-evaluating strains that have been in the facility for a couple of years. We’re still looking at them, tweaking parameters, and challenging ourselves to see if they still make sense in the lineup. Is the strain delivering the kind of entourage effect and medicinal properties that we want to be delivering for patients? Is there something better?”

Commercial cultivators face numerous challenges beyond selecting cultivars that they think patients may enjoy. “You’re catering to large plant zones, so the biology and plant properties need to be somewhat similar,” says Lentz. “With genetics coming from so many different lineages around the world, understanding how they’ll interact and how to group them according to different climate, irrigation, fertilizer, and light intensity requirements can be a challenge. When selecting cultivars, you can pinpoint some early cues that you want to look for when it comes to the growing standard. Mapping and tracking historical data help drive future decisions for the garden.”

Quality Control

Klutch is focused on bringing the patients of Ohio consistently high-quality medicine. The company has a state-of-the-art facility housing a controls system that allows its cultivation team to monitor, control, and assess the whole facility in real-time. Lentz says, “Having superior controls and equipment that we can count on helps us push the needle, and our commitment to quality doesn’t stop after harvest. Our drying and curing process is critical to preserving the quality of our cannabis.” Every batch of flower gets specific attention and has a list of standards that it must pass to get placed on the shelf.

Last fall, Klutch completed a multimillion-dollar addition to its existing cultivation facility. The two-story build added additional square feet of state-of-the-art cultivation space, reflecting Klutch’s post-Calyx independence and attention to detail. The expanded operations required adding a number of new employees, now exceeding 140 people and counting.

Popular Strains

OG Kush Story: Now called OG Kush Story, Klutch cultivates the original OG Kush strain that is widely credited with jump-starting the commercial cannabis movement in California. OG Kush Story’s fingerprints are now found in an innumerable number of popular strains. Featuring Josh D’s original genetics, it is considered one of the most unique cannabis varietals to come on the scene in the past two decades. This cross of Hindu Kush and Emerald Triangle is known for distinctive hard buds and a gassy aroma. The phenotype placed 2nd in the 2018 Emerald Cup Mixed Lighting category.

Orange 43:  An indica-dominant hybrid with a powerful citrus nose that delivers a calm body and an active mind, Orange 43 has consistently been one of the best-selling strains in Ohio. The product is marketed as a sativa due to its stimulating effects.

Lemon Slushee: This one is an ultra-flavorful cross of Grape Pie and Lemon G. A strain with mysterious origins and unknown genetics. Lemon G first appeared on the market as a clone-only strain from Ohio. Says Lentz, “So Lemon Slushee has Ohio’s famous Lemon G from an original genetic floating around the underground that kind of surfaced into the commercial side of things.” Lentz also notes Lemon Slushee possesses a highly sought-after terpene profile, a candy sweet, lemon citrus flavor tinged with a diesel aftertaste. It is also unique as a myrcene-heavy sativa. Some sources speculate that Lemon G may actually be a particularly lemony phenotype of the federal government-created strain G13.

Sherbhead: Bred by Cannarado Genetics, Sherbhead is a cross between the award-winning Loompas Headband and Sherbet. Sherbhead is packed with potency and flavor. The large, dense, trichome-covered buds are comparable to Klutch’s Ice Cream Cake. However, Sherbhead offers a uniquely powerful fruity sweet aroma and flavor with gassy undertones. When asked about his favorite strain, Lentz pointed to Sherbhead as his go-to. Lentz states, “Sherbhead is a Growers choice. It checks all the boxes, from inception to the end-user, whether it’s in a concentrate or flower form. It is an amazingly unique cultivar.” 

MAC 1:  A hybrid that crosses Alien Cookies x Colombian x Starfighter. It’s known as one of the best-balanced and most photograph-worthy strains available, with effects and a flavor profile that are difficult to replicate. While other cuts of MAC exist, Klutch’s is noteworthy as being hand selected by the strain’s breeder, Capulator, who reportedly only gifts the strain to those who are worthy of growing it.

Packaging

Packaging has evolved along with the rest of Klutch’s operation. They responded to patients who didn’t like the bags they used to package flower in 2019 by switching to glass jars, which are theoretically more recyclable/reusable. Furthermore, the glass jars helped reduce breakage of the flower during handling. Later on, they also added seals to the jars to preserve moisture and flavor.

Vaporization Products & Concentrates

Klutch produces luster pods, vape cartridges, live hash rosin, and live BHO concentrates. The company recently made a splash when it kicked off a new line of live resin luster pods and vape cartridges, starting with its ever-popular Orange 43 and moving on to other patient favorites, like Big Head, and strain mashups, like an Apricot Gelato x Jealousy cross. They were the first to add live resin, a concentrate made from extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from fresh frozen flower, to luster pods, a delivery system that is preferred around the state for its heavy-hitting portability. “We have an amazing team of extraction artists who have put in a ton of work revamping our vape and concentrate lines with a special eye on capturing the essence of our garden in each product,” says Nischt. An announcement about the new live resin launch stated that these were Klutch’s “richest, most mouthwatering and terpene-forward product to date.” Patients seem to agree.

Kiva Confections

In 2020, Klutch also secured an Ohio-exclusive partnership with California-based Kiva Confections. This gave Klutch the right to produce the premier line of award-winning and artisan-inspired edibles for Ohio. Kiva’s choclates are infused with Klutch’s cold-water hash. 

Kiva’s products include: 

Camino Gummies: All-natural, fruit-flavored gummies that utilize terpenes and cannabinoids to deliver one of the most tailored edible experiences on the market. Klutch and Kiva also just announced that Camino would be available in high-dose varieties, along with Kiva’s traditional 5 mg gummies. 

Kiva Bars: A blend of cold-water hash, premium ingredients and sustainably-sourced cacao married with rich, decadent flavors.

Terra Bites: An innovative cold-water hash-infused chocolate confection.

Petra Mints: Microdosed mints subtly dosed for an optimal edibles experience.

As part of the announcement of the now-popular partnership, Kiva Confections Co-Founder and CEO, Scott Palmer stated that “Klutch Cannabis is one of the largest independent vertical operators in the state with a strong portfolio and excellent retail relationships. We couldn’t have chosen a better partner for Ohio, which is home to 9 million adults who are just beginning to discover the benefits of cannabis. We are very excited to enter into this emerging medical market with such a strong partner, and provide Ohio’s cannabis consumers with Kiva’s delicious, trustworthy, and award-winning edibles.”

Looking Toward the Future 

Cultivators have little control when it comes to the price that the dispensary puts on products. Nischt noted that a particular (unnamed) dispensary priced Klutch’s products beyond where they were comfortable, so they stopped supplying to that dispensary. To better control pricing and how their products were sold was among the chief reasons Klutch made plans to have their own dispensaries, which they intend to call “The Citizen”. 

Klutch holds cultivation and processing licenses but missed out on a dispensary license during the original application process in 2018. In 2021, the OMMP announced 73 more dispensary licenses would be awarded via a lottery. Ohio has a five-dispensary cap per licensee. In order to better their chances in the drawing, Klutch began working on the project months ahead of the application period and entered 73 applications (at $5,000/each for a total of $365,000). The drawing was held by the Ohio Lottery in January, and results show Klutch looks favorable to earn several dispensary licenses. Results will be announced later this Spring.  

Click to listen to the replay of our recent MedicateOH Cannabis Chat program on the Clubhouse app. Klutch’s Pete Nischt talked to us about Klutch’s operations and future plans.

Customer Service and Community Outreach

Klutch’s commitment to patients means a commitment to customer service as well. They were among the first cultivators to put their customer service email address right on the packaging. (feedback@klutchcannabis.com) Says Nischt, “Email us and we’ll take care of it. We’ve actually beefed up our customer service team recently. So, we’re trying to be more attentive.” 

Another area where Klutch has shone is in its commitment to community outreach. You’ll find Klutch Cannabis and Kiva Confections representatives in dispensaries on various days answering questions for patients all over the state. They also frequently sponsor non-profit initiatives by Ohio cannabis non-profits WomenCann and MedicateOH. 

To ask specific questions you may have about Klutch Cannabis, email them at feedback@klutchcannabis.com

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Author

  • Medicate OH's Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.