Airfield Supply Company is themed on a literal trip.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the dispensary’s name is both homage to the shop’s geographic proximity to San Jose Airport and a reference to their guiding ethos, which approaches the concept of cannabis consumption much like a wellness adventure. It’s a gambit that’s worked out well: Airfield is presently one of the largest single site retail dispensary operators in California.
Welcoming an average of 1,500 customers per day, it’s Sales and Marketing Director Chris Lane’s job to figure out how to make the most of the steady traffic Airfield currently enjoys.
His latest idea? Take the opportunity to educate customers not only on products, but on related issues that speak to Airfield’s mission. Currently, that’s taking the form of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Airfield, San Francisco cannabis confectioners Kiva, and the nonprofit Keep a Breast.
Available now at San Francisco’s Apothecarium (as well as other select retailers across California), these limited-edition gummies from Kiva and Airfield Supply Co. are infused with live resin, flavored with passionfruit, and designed to help a really great cause.
For Lane, the motivation behind what turned into a massive undertaking was acutely personal.
“I’ve seen how breast cancer becomes a topic of conversation in a family,” Lane says. “Before I even knew her, breast cancer had already impacted my wife’s entire life through her mom, who thankfully, is a survivor. She detected it really early. My wife, who has the BRCA2 gene, is about to go through a proactive double-mastectomy because she essentially has a guarantee that she will get breast cancer if she does not do it. That’s why, as a brand with this megaphone to talk to people, we feel we have to be having these conversations.”
As often as the topic of breast cancer is discussed these days, the statistics Lane now knows by heart are a reminder of how serious and important regular preventative measures, like a simple five-minute breast check once a month, can be.
“Breast cancer is one of the highest causes of cancer in females in the country,” he notes, “and 40% of breast cancer is detected through a lump. One in eight women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s one of the stats that always sticks out in my mind, because it means you likely know someone who will get breast cancer and yet it’s something that is often just confined to an October conversation.”
Eager to buck the trend of only talking about breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Lane and Airfield instead decided to launch their gummies — with all of the proceeds going to the breast cancer prevention non-profit Keep a Breast — at the start of the year in January.
“You can get breast cancer during any month of the year,” Lane says in explaining the rationale, “so If you’re only checking once a year, you’re leaving yourself incredibly vulnerable.”
But before Lane could hold a tube of these gummies in his hand, he had to drive across the whole of California taking meetings with his competitors and selling them on carrying the product on their shelves too.
“As we started to put this together, I literally flew down to San Diego and drove my way back up north meeting with the leaders for all of these other retailers and having discussions about carrying an Airfield Supply Company branded product. And every single person I talked to was just like, ‘yes, we’d love to do it.’”
Beyond the proceeds Airfield’s collaboration with Kiva will bring in, Lane has also made it possible for customers at a range of dispensaries who so desire to add a donation to Keep a Breast to any purchase they’re making.
To Lane, what is already commonplace at supermarkets and drug stores should absolutely be something dispensaries can offer too.
“You go to Safeway and there’s an opportunity. You go to CVS, there’s an opportunity. You don’t always have to take those opportunities, and that’s okay, but just being there in and of itself is an awareness action too.”
In many ways, Lane’s vision is about thinking long-term, not short-term. He wants to make breast cancer awareness an ongoing effort, not a one-month-a-year consideration. He believes that charitable giving should become a staple of the cannabis retail space, not a marquee exception.
And if Airfield Supply Co. needs to lead by example, well he’s perfectly fine with that too.
“We do hope that this does become commonplace,” Lane says, “but we love bearing the burden of being the first to do things, to create a new sense of normal, because it means that the cannabis industry will continue to grow from there. At the end of the day, we’re doing this to improve people’s lives. This is a community coming together, to try to start a conversation and ultimately, to get people to take action that benefits them. I do think there’s something special in that.”