After just four years in the medical cannabis industry, Minerva Canna Group, Inc. has distinguished itself as the largest and leading dispensary in NM focused on patient care and convenience. Erik Briones, the founder and CEO, of Minerva Canna Group, Inc. developed a clean, modern dispensary, and a new concept he calls a “cannabis mall”.
With an impressive 16 years of experience in the retail market, Erik owned and operated Purple Sage Garden Centers. With vast experience in retail development and skills producing commercial greenhouse crops, and his business savvy operations in agricultural based business, provided the advantage in the newly emerging cannabis industry in NM.
Prior to Purple Sage, he owned and operated a landscaping company with over 100 employees for 16 years. His continued focus to create outstanding customer service and attention to detail, provides him with the tools needed to create a unique environment for this newly emerging industry. This patient focused dispensary and extra ordinary retail will have no troubles in the competitive market of medical cannabis.
Erik was born in Corpus Christi, TX at the age of 6 his family moved to Santa Fe where his mother’s family resided His mother’s side of the family, is distinguished as one of the 10 original founding families of Santa Fe, NM.
Outgrowing the original 850 square foot dispensary, Erik acquired the adjacent 3,150 square foot building, and re-designed it into a cannabis mall. In 2015, Minerva opened a second location in Los Lunas, providing medicine to the Valencia county region of New Mexico.
Patients can purchase their cannabis medicine at either location available in the cannabis mall concept. Patients may also select from a vast assortment of fresh edibles available daily from the Canna Café Bakery, developed by Minerva in 2013. Across the hall in the Minerva Life store patients can choose from 100’s of glass pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers, storage containers, e-pens, Minerva gear, and hemp clothing. Down the hall in the Minerva Grow shop, patients can purchase soils, leading brand fertilizers, grow room equipment, organic insecticides, virtually everything a personal grower needs to cultivate their crop. This one stop location provides patients the opportunity to acquire anything needed cannabis related.
The next phase left to develop is the Minerva Wellness center where patients can receive a message or acupuncture treatment and his company will subsidize the cost by 50%.
Erik is creative and appreciates the quality of good design and artistic impression. His visions stem from growing up in Santa Fe, NM where he is always creating or viewing art. Studying landscape architecture at Oregon State University, helped him immensely as he sought the assistance and guidance from Megan Stone of High Road Design Studio. Once he started the redesign of his new dispensary he had one goal in mind: “to create an exceptionally positive cannabis experience for patients”: and now patients truly believe that he’s exceeded his goal.
The atmosphere walking in was extraordinary; I was greeted with multiple smiling Bud tenders and from the beautifully polished wood floors, to the wood grain ceilings and custom glass casings, this is one of the more upscale collectives we have visited to date. I can clearly see why they have achieved multiple awards, such as the Best Medical Dispensary 2015 SW Canna Awards. Minerva Canna Group, Inc. has also been covered in several other national and international print publications.
All medicine from Minerva is 100% organic, grown indoors under ideal conditions, and contains no pesticides or growth hormones. Minerva believes to achieve the best medical experience, the medicine must be in its purist form. From seed to sale the most innovative packaging is created to ensure that the patient gets their product, as fresh from the growing facility as possible.
We sat down with Erik Briones, Owner of Minerva Canna Group, which he established in 2010, but make no mistake, Erik has 32 years+ experience in business and agriculture.
While attending high school, he started his landscaping company, working tirelessly to provide the proper funds for his education at New Mexico State University and Oregon State University. It was at these universities where he attained his degrees in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Horticulture is a branch of Agriculture that consists of technology, science, and the art of growing plants from seed; such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicinal plants.
For a brief period after college, Erik taught vocational horticulture at Cibola High School. He enjoyed his time there, but it was clear that his heart was elsewhere. He eventually sold the landscape business, and opened two very sophisticated plant nurseries, one in Albuquerque, and one in Rio Rancho, which he ran for 13 years. Erik has been a guest speaker at numerous Cannabis expos in Nevada and across the country. This is where his experience comes into effect, as he creates some of the best and purest medicine, patients can find.
When we first took our tour around the facility, the first department we enter is the Grow Shop where Minerva’s staff lends their expertise to the patients of our state. This is where state of the art lighting systems, nutrients, grow tents, organic fertilizers, harvesting racks and many other growing aids and trinkets are available for purchase for a better growing experience.
This is also the only professional place in the state, where you can openly discuss growing Cannabis. There are also talks of the knowledge of Horticulture, so the patients can eliminate the negative procedures, costing time and money.
The collective to this date has given away over 63,000 grams with this program, keeping their customers returning and very happy.
The next department would consist of the Wellness Center, where patients can receive assistance with chronic pain through message therapy. Body adjustments with the resident nurse/pain therapist Lynda Holliday are available by appointment on Tuesday’s and Saturday’s.
Next on our journey is the Lifestyle Shop, where an assortment of pure hemp clothing and the latest technology in vaporizers. Minerva has just released a new signature vaporizer for concentrate and pre-filled Co2 cartridges. The Lifestyle Shop has some of the best glass in the industry with rigs from RooR glass, water pipes and dab spoons from Grav Labs, and a personal favorite Raw Papers.
Last but not least, we enter the Cannabis Collective, this is where patients submit their credentials at the front desk, and a Budtender escorts them through the glass doors. Flat screen monitors greet you, you can view strains when you enter. The product is displayed by custom glass homes.
Budtenders will ask questions like; “What are your ailments?” and “What kind of pain do you have?” You’re then presented with little glass enclosures containing flowers of numerous strains, slots are cut in the glass, so you can inhale the aroma; they also contain a magnifying glass to enhance the visual appeal.
Beautiful flower strains such as the Sour Banana Sherbet (a cross between Sour Diesel and Banana Sherbet), Blue Dream (a Sativa Dominant strain) and a New Mexico favorite, Kryptonite (an Indica dominant strain, which is a cross between The Purps and Killer Queen), are just a few of the many top-notch medicinal strains Minerva has to offer.
Along the way we came across their Rosin, which is their solvent less concentrate, and their Hash Pucks, which is 2 grams of compressed hash with the Minerva logo stamped on it, quite impressive. The last case around the collective is the edibles, freshly made out of the “Canna Café;” which produces gourmet baked goods, candies, carrot cakes, cookies, lemon bars, truffles, lemonade and tea Beverages, and even medicated Salsa.
Minerva has gone as far as doing what they call the Loyalty Rewards Program Frequent loyal patients are rewarded with a Pre Roll free of charge. The collective to this date has given away over 63,000 grams with this program, keeping their customers returning and very happy.
Coming to the end of the journey Erik is questioned about expansion plans, he enlighten us with plans for a third dispensary, he wants to expand the grow facility, that would include green houses with the environment in mind, in an attempt to better serve the patients and always put them first. We would like to thank Erik and everyone at Minerva Canna Group, for their kindness and hospitality, and we hope to see them continue to thrive in this ever-growing industry in the future.
Be Well To Each Other
Writing by Joseph Jaramillo