How Southern Crop Earned its
Success in the Deep South

Founder and CEO of Southern Crop, Randy J. Mire, became a pharmacist because he was passionate about healing his community, and when he learned about the healing potential of cannabis, he knew what he had to do.

Randy drew on his expertise to found Louisiana’s first licensed medical marijuana pharmacy, becoming the first person to dispense medical marijuana in the South in 2019. As Randy himself says, “I take great pride in helping patients find relief with this natural, holistic treatment.”

But rather than stop at dispensing cannabis medicine, Randy wanted to take things further and provide his community with greater access. So, when he founded Southern Crop, he did so with the goal of growing high-quality medicine for all patients in need, regardless of their financial standing.

A Challenging Marketplace

As Jeff Spinder, Southern Crop’s Director of Processing, explains, the Mississippi cannabis market is one of the most challenging in the nation to operate in.

“Mississippi is a poor state,” Jeff said. “So patients aren’t looking for glitzy and fancy packaging. They are right to the core, and they want medicine. They don’t care if it’s in a tin or has a colorful brand. There is a purity to it.” As it’s much more controlled than other small medical markets, producers are highly restricted on where and how they can market to customers, which means they’re less able to influence them with advertising. 

Marketing aside, to succeed, Southern Crop needed to present a truly high-quality product that is affordable but still stands out in an increasingly competitive market.

Our patients aren’t looking for glitzy and fancy packaging–they want medicine. 

- Jeff Spinder, Director of Manufacturing and Processing

Making Quality Cost-Effective

According to Alec Pagliaro, Southern Crop’s Chief Revenue Officer, the team knew they wanted to go to market with pre-rolls in addition to flower. With a much higher percentage of tobacco smokers than most states, plus the legacy consumers that are used to rolling their own, the form factor of Blackbird-produced joints was comfortable and familiar. “The fact that we could emulate that approach and shape gave us an immediate advantage,” says Pagliaro, “customers can recognize it and relate to it immediately.”

But to fulfill their mission of making cannabis wellness truly accessible for everyone, the pre-rolls couldn’t only be better than the competition. They needed to be cheaper, too.

The Blackbird delivered. Because of its unique design, the cost of goods is dramatically lower than that of other machines, costing half (or even less) than our competitors’ pre-rolls. This lowered cost per joint means the Southern Crop team could produce high-quality joints but still pass savings along to the patients. They had the technology, their mission, and their passion. But that didn’t mean the path forward would be easy.

We may have ruffled feathers coming in at such a low price, but we’re in it for the customers.

- Alec Pagliaro, Chief Revenue Officer

Learning on the Job

The Southern Crop team had a problem: no one on the production team had any experience with cannabis on a commercial scale when they began producing pre-rolls a year ago.

Jeff told us, “They had no previous exposure to making pre-rolls at all or operating any kind of automation equipment.”

They never really considered any other pre-roll machine, knowing the Blackbird was the right solution as soon as they discovered it. When it arrived, we sent one of our in-house experts out for a whole week of on-site setup and training. This is typically the right approach for most new Blackbird operators… but most new operators aren’t starting from zero.

“We were really beginning from the ground up with a steep learning curve,” Jeff explained. “They didn’t know what a bobbin was.” For the first few months, the team really struggled to get their footing, but the customer success crew at RollPros wasn’t going to let them down. We sent out another tech team for additional training and to help get them over the hump.

From there, our close collaboration continued. “We set up weekly meetings to make sure they continued to progress towards their goal,” said Alec A., one of our customer support experts at RollPros, “and the extra help and oversight really accelerated their progress.”

Before long, they had perfected the craft of making pre-rolls their community of medical cannabis patients loved.

The Magnolia Cup: A Crowning Victory

Just one year after their team struggled to identify a bobbin, Jeff and his team entered the Magnolia Cannabis Cup. The Cup is as democratic as Southern Crop’s mission, with medical cannabis patients from across the state voting on their favorite entrants. There are no celebrity judges or outside influences, so a win would be the ultimate affirmation of their goal to bring cannabis to the people.

Since the Magnolia Cup was the first contest Southern Crop had entered, they were nervous but excited. “We had resounding feedback for our pre-rolls right from the get-go,” said Pagliaro. “Got great feedback on how they burn, taste, and have the right airflow. We only use full bud, absolutely no trim. So, we knew we were good… we knew we had a shot at the top three. We were trying to be modest, not expecting to win.”

But what happened next was as rewarding as it was surprising. Alec, Jeff, and their team were bestowed the ultimate victory: Best in Class in Pre-Rolls. All the hard work they had put in, all those hours of hands-on technical training, had paid off in the eyes of the people they had set out to serve from day one. “It’s humbling, and we’re so grateful to receive the top spot at the cup,” said Jeff.

The win underlined the successes that Southern Crop has experienced in Mississippi’s demanding pre-roll marketplace. Pre-rolls now account for around 20% of their overall sales, and the brand is currently in the process of forging new partnerships and expanding its offerings even further.

“Working with our partners at RollPros to be able to output such a top-quality product at such an affordable price really is our ethos,” Jeff told us, “and it’s just onward and upward from here. I’m so proud of our team!”

From founding a brand inspired by the community to recognition from their patients that their products make a real difference in their health and well-being, Southern Crop has gone a long way in a year. This win affirms their mission of bringing cannabis wellness to the people with high-quality, affordable pre-rolls for all. And, as they said themselves, “We’re just getting started!”

Ready to talk about how the Blackbird can transform your business?