A conversation with Wendy Bronfein as Curio Wellness grows in Missouri

Curio Wellness, a Maryland-based cannabis company, that has built its reputation on serving the medical and therapeutic needs of cannabis consumers has brought its unique approach and certified quality to the Missouri marijuana market.

From the construction of the 100,000-square-foot facility, to assembling a team of like-minded cannabis professionals, Curio has hit the ground running in the Show-Me State.

Wendy Bronfein, Co-Founder, Chief Brand Officer, and Director of Public Policy at Curio of Curio Wellness, recently spoke to Greenway about entering one of the fastest growing markets in cannabis.

We at Curio decided to expand to Missouri due to the similarity of the market in comparison to Maryland,” she explained. “Both are newly legalized and flourishing adult-use markets with similar demographics and consumption patterns. After becoming a market leader in Maryland, we saw an opportunity to further promote our mission of wellness bringing science-backed products that provide targeted relief to consumers, products such as this that have yet to be seen in the Missouri market. We believe that cannabis can improve quality of life and seek to share that belief with consumers across Missouri.” 

Curio’s decision to open its facility in Maryland Heights was not just strategic but also symbolic. Bronfein noted, “Opening our facility in Maryland Heights is almost serendipitous, as the name of the town comes from settlers who originated from Maryland. We look forward to becoming part of the St. Louis community, by creating local jobs in Maryland Heights and offering educational experiences through our products to consumers throughout the state.”

That facility is a testament to Curio’s commitment to quality and innovation. Bronfein provided an overview of the facility: “Our entire facility is 130,000 square feet, with 25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art cGMP-certified manufacturing and one of the first of its kind in Missouri.” That distinction is important to Bronfein and her team. At its core, Curio is a brand focused on wellness and treating marijuana with respect as a medically beneficial plant. Creating a facility and environment that necessitates a respect for care and quality is a tenet of the process.

 

Wendy Bronfein | Curio Wellness

“The difference between Curio products and existing products in the market is that our products are created with a science-backed approach. Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is a unique and central element of the Curio product development strategy,” Bronfein explained. “This team of researchers and clinicians help guide Curio’s innovations in scientifically developed products derived from cannabis. Our SAB Members have published over 1,250 papers, hold over 150 patents, and have developed over 80 commercially available drugs.”

Our Good Night tablets, for example, are formulated using patented proprietary pulse-release technology that is unique, delivering a dose of CBN and THC upon first ingesting and then another dose three hours three hours later, to enhance the ability to fall and stay asleep,” she continued. “Our Terpene Infused Chews are also a patent-pending innovation. We all know that terpenes can deliver specific flavors and effects, but in most edible production processes, those effects are lost. At Curio, we created a process that allows us to retain terpenes throughout the production process with potency results shown on lab results and the label. This means that specific effects like clear-headed energy, balanced mind/body, and relaxation are predictable and repeatable with each and every chew. If you’re looking for a chew to get you through the day, or something to help you wind down when the day is over, there is a Terpene Infused Chew option for you.”

“We pride ourselves on having unique, high-quality products that offer repeatable and predictable effects, that’s what sets us apart from the rest.” 

The Maryland Heights facility began production and distribution in early 2024, initially rolling out Curio Chews products through the spring to a warm reception and adding new products and lines week over week creating more competition as the brand builds its presence in retail spaces across the state.

To date, Curio has successfully launched its edible chews, its topical line MOVE and the Good Night, Good Day, and GI Comfort tablet lines.

“As we launch, products in the Curio portfolio include our award-winning chews, vapes, Good Night Line, Good Day Line, GI, and Terpene Infused Chews. We also are the exclusive producers of Kaviar (infused pre-rolls), Flower by Edie Parker, and Fuzed and are equally excited to bring these beloved brands to Missouri.”

A brand built on the idea of forward-thinking and progressive solutions to practical problems makes Curio and its partner brands even more competitive in the Missouri market by creating broad appeal.

“Our target consumers are patients and adults 21+, from busy moms to baby boomers to wellness enthusiasts to new cannabis consumers, we offer something for everyone. Our symptom-based lines are here to meet the needs of consumers who may be struggling to find remedies for daily ailments or those who are looking to expand their overall wellness routine through cannabis.” 

Cultivation operations are set to commence in the second half of the year at Curio’s Maryland Heights facility.

“The facility will serve as a hub of production for our award-winning products, and plays a significant role in our commitment to providing accessibility to premium therapeutic cannabis solutions to consumers and patients in Missouri.”

As the brand, facility, and team grow, leadership aims to ensure a positive impact on the community.

“The facility will be creating 150 jobs in the greater St. Louis area within the first year, including roles in cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and production, quality assurance and testing, compliance, logistics, supply chain, and distribution,” Bronfein said.

“One of our core values at Curio Wellness is to ‘Give Back and Make a Meaningful Impact’. In Maryland, we have sponsored city-wide 5k races and walks, as well as partnered with the Living Classroom Foundation, Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore Leadership School, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and more. We proudly support local institutions and non-profits serving the communities where we work and live, and are looking forward to partnering with organizations and participating in community events that align with our wellness mission and are meaningful to Missourians.” 

While the company is determined to do good in the Show-Me State, Bronfein reiterates the importance of the process and the goal of creating such rigid standards is about quality.

“Not all cannabis is created equal and through our manufacturing processes Curio is raising the standard of relief. As a trusted cannabis provider and the first cGMP-certified operator in Maryland, Curio is bringing our safe, effective, and reliable products to Missouri.”

“cGMP refers to the same quality standard set by the FDA for facilities, technologies, and processes for the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, ensuring that consumer products meet the most stringent guidelines. Everything we do at Curio is precisely driven by creating products that improve quality of life. Consumers and our partners in Missouri should know that when choosing to buy our products or partner with us, they’re choosing a brand that is committed to product quality and safety.” 

Any time a brand or company enters a new market there are inherent obstacles. In the Missouri, even established brands, founded in state are currently transitioning their packaging. Bronfein discussed the idea of bringing the Curio brand to market in Missouri and what it entails.

“Navigating the regulatory landscape in Missouri presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. Bronfein told Greenway, “Packaging and advertising are often two regulatory hurdles bound by stringent guidelines that we have to follow. These can vary from state to state, as well as within states between the medical and recreational markets. Moving into Missouri, packaging has to be overly clean. We cannot use color-coding to note differences in dosage, something our packaging denotes in Maryland so that consumers have more awareness and ease when purchasing. Missouri eliminates descriptive product language on packaging, however has much more lee-way with general advertising than we do in Maryland, where the advertising regulations became much more strict after transitioning to an adult-use market. In order to keep branding consistent across states, we are trying to keep as much of our core packaging in Missouri as possible.”

Aside from rules and regulations, there are other adversities that face even a known brands as it enters a new market.

“I would say the biggest challenge is being the new kid on the block – here we are joining an established market, whereas in Maryland we helped build the industry. That said, Curio is prepared to address this challenge because we have a strong team behind us, a dynamic product portfolio, and a stellar track record in Maryland––we’re going to adapt,” she stated.

“Missouri is a growing market with room for product innovation and heightening the consumer experience. As the adult-use program is just a year in, we know that new brands are coming into the market month after month, but we stand apart with our products and top-of-the-line manufacturing procedures.” 

A growing market and long-term planning highlight the leadership of Curio’s approach to the future of cannabis. As Bronfein gave insight to what lies ahead from her perspective, “Major industry challenges continue to be the fight for financial legitimacy and federal developments from a regulatory standpoint. Lack of access to capital and massive tax rates, namely (Title 26 U.S. Code) 280E, unfairly limit cannabis operators and prevent programs from expanding,” she continued. “We hope to see progress with the potential passing of SAFER Banking and the elimination of 280E. We continue to advocate for state and federal regulatory changes that will allow us to better serve our business partners and consumers.”

“Recently, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the rescheduling of cannabis. While we are happy that rescheduling is being contemplated, as it signifies wider political attention on the industry, it is vital that cannabis is ultimately descheduled, and not rescheduled. Overall, a reschedule will do little to remedy the divisions between state and federal cannabis laws. Reclassifying cannabis to a lower schedule will continue to misrepresent the plant’s safety relative to other controlled substances. Cannabis should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act all together. Descheduling would allow state governments to regulate how they see fit, without violating federal law, and we at Curio are actively working with lobbyists and on related materials towards descheduling.”

In the immediate future, Curio Wellness’ expansion into Missouri marks a significant milestone for the company and the ever-growing Missouri cannabis market. With a state-of-the-art facility, science-backed products, and a commitment to quality and community, Curio Wellness is poised to make a lasting impact in Missouri. As Bronfein aptly summarized, “We believe that cannabis can improve quality of life and seek to share that belief with consumers across Missouri.”

The post Curio Wellness brings health and wellness focus to the forefront of Missouri cannabis appeared first on Greenway Magazine.