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Weed Money: Capitalism and Cannabis

Weed Money: Capitalism and Cannabis

Cannabis grew to the behemoth it is today only by the pursuits of those willing to risk their lives.

This makes it no surprise that as the industry grows and more regulation and legislation is introduced, a lot of older cannabis industry and community members aren’t too happy. But there’s a harsh reality that we all need to face if this industry is going to grow into a federally regulated industry.

America is capitalist. It’s a free market.

Follow the weed money

The cannabis industry was partially built on advocacy, but also greed and capitalistic intent. If growers in California didn’t push themselves to grow more and more, bigger and better cannabis every year to make more money and beat the competition, we wouldn’t have the massive variety of strains and cultivars.

And you can bet your ass that some people have gotten rich as hell off cannabis, with more and more rich getting involved like celebrities, bringing more money and investment into the industry.

When the medical industry first began in Colorado, it was a small community with mom and pop dispensaries. But as recreational came into the state, so did bigger investments, resulting in dispensary chains that knocked plenty of small dispensaries out of business. It’s clear why small business doesn’t like big business, and the cannabis industry was built on small businesses, husband and wife operations, small groups of friends building something together.

But that is all changing, and it’s changing fast.

Capitalism comes for cannabis

States like Colorado and California have had several years to develop their medical and recreational cannabis industries. This means that both states are also filled with highly experienced cannabis industry entrepreneurs, ready to expand.

When a state like Oklahoma legalizes medical cannabis in 2018 with legislation that actively encourages out of state entrepreneurs to get involved, people are going to hop on the opportunity. And in Oklahoma, they definitely did.

Growers, processors, dispensary owners all flocked to Oklahoma to rent their home for 30 days in order to gain residency thanks to Oklahoma’s welcoming cannabis regulations. After they got residency, it was easy to apply and get started in the medical cannabis industry in the state. After August 2019, if you want to move to Oklahoma and start a business, you must live there for two full years before you can get residency now. In other words, if you didn’t get in before August, you’ll be two years behind.

This made a lot of industry entrepreneurs happy, but pissed off a lot of Oklahoma locals hoping to have their own local industry that now have to share it with Californians, Coloradans, Oregonians and others that left their saturated markets to start fresh in Oklahoma.

It’s a double edged sword

Capitalism has always been a double edged sword in America, which is probably why there’s so much debate around whether or not we need a new system. It promotes innovation and progress at the cost of leaving behind those that can’t compete.

Those that were once competitors that had to shut down or move shop because someone bigger or better came in, that sucks. But welcome to America. That’s capitalism, and that is what happens when capitalism and cannabis intersect.

The reality is that with a nation-wide legal cannabis industry that we want to someday achieve (even though there are plenty who don’t want that), big business is going to inevitably get involved, and small businesses will be pushed out if they can’t evolve, adapt and compete. Get an insider’s perspective on capitalism in cannabis from two long time cannabis advocates and growers, Chip Baker and Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators on The Real Dirt Podcast!

Grower to Grower with Little Hill Cultivators

Grower to Grower with Little Hill Cultivators

The Real Dirt is known for interviewing some pretty great cannabis growers. But this episode isn’t really an interview.

Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators has been an almost regular guest on The Real Dirt, and one of our most reliable sources of insight into the current California cannabis industry. As a long time medical cultivator, Jeff transitioned into the recreational industry as well after legalization in California.

With any new legal cannabis industry there is bound to be some red tape, but California just about takes the cake, and wraps it up in red tape. Comparatively, Oklahoma has just about none.

Barriers to entry for cannabis growers

We can all agree that there needs to be some barriers to entry for cannabis growers in a legal industry. But each state varies on how many barriers they set up.

Oklahoma legalized medical cannabis in 2018, with sales taking off without a hitch in 2019, faster and with more growth than any other state. This is because they had almost no barriers to entry, and even made it easier for out of state cannabis growers to come in and get started.

Up until the end of August 2019, any potential cannabis entrepreneur could move to Oklahoma, live there for 30 days, get residency and pursue state licensing. Now (post August) anybody trying to enter the Oklahoma medical cannabis industry from out of state must live in-state for two years before getting residency.

California on the other hand restricted anybody from getting a recreational cannabis license that didn’t already have a medical cannabis license and operation. On top of that, the application fees were insanely high, with additional charges for obtaining the license after approval.

Talking grower to grower

Talking about growing cannabis with somebody who just started or even has been doing it for a few years is nothing like two veteran Northern California cannabis growers getting together. There’s no beating around the bush, just Chip and Jeff talking about each others’ grows, what they each do differently and why.

We all know some growers that think they got the best set up, grow the best ganja and won’t hear a word that says otherwise. It takes years of learning, seeing other grows and assessing your own problems that you can really sit down and talk, grower to grower.

And this episode is just part one.

Stay tuned for part two

In part two of Grower on Grower with Little Hill Cultivators, Chip and Jeff continue their conversation about California’s strict regulations, Oklahoma’s growing industry, drip irrigation, industry predictions and more.

Follow us on Instagram (@therealdirtpodcast) and Facebook (@therealdirt) to stay updated on the next episode’s release and get fun cannabis content in the meantime.

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Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

A better question might be, why does it matter?

When harvest time comes around, you need to get rid of the excess leaves and foliage around your flowers to make them look better. In reality, this isn’t something you really need to do, but a lot of people prefer more manicured flowers.

There are two options when it comes to trimming; wet and dry. Different growers have their preferences for both, but when it comes to which is really better, there’s always debate.

It’s up to you to decide when to trim, but here’s the pros and cons to each to make your decision a little easier.

Wet Trim

Wet trimming can be a more streamlined process for growers trying to dry their harvest faster. Wet trimming is possible when you trim your flowers right after harvest.

The plants are still full of moisture, which makes the leaves the freshest. With the leaves sticking out like they would on a live plant, they are much easier to cut without risking cutting the flower by mistake.

After these leaves are removed, the flowers will dry more quickly since the leaves won’t be there to add extra mass and shield the flowers as they dry. Proponents of the wet trim prefer this method because it’s faster, and some would argue more efficient for drying large quantities of flower.

Dry Trim

The dry trim is considered to be more difficult, but also more rewarding. Opposed to wet trimming, dry trimming happens after the flower have already had time to dry, leaves in tact.

Dry trimmers prefer this method because they claim it allows the flowers to cure more slowly, contained by the shriveled leaves that dry up and cover the flower. By almost sealing the flower, it helps maintain terpene profiles and prevents plant resins from drying out too fast.

But this is also what makes a dry trim more difficult. With the flower dried up and stuck to the flowers, the trimmer needs to be extra careful to only trim the leaves they want without cutting out pieces of the actual flower.

Some growers who prefer to trim dry will leave smaller leaves on the flower for a more natural look, and also argue that doing so helps preserve terpenes.

Is One Way Better?

No matter who you ask, some growers will prefer wet trimming, and some will prefer dry trimming. While newer growers tend to lean toward wet trimming for its accessibility, more advanced growers might prefer dry trimming for it’s near-artisanal practice.

But as with everything when it comes to growing, harvesting and trimming, it’s all preference. If you’re committed to the dry trim but it’s your first time, don’t stress. And likewise if you’ve been dry trimming for years and want to give a wet trim a go, do it.

To get the real dirt on wet vs dry trimming cannabis, listen to this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast featuring Cullen Raichart, founder and CEO of GreenBroz Inc, the leading dry machine trimmer company in the country.

The Future of Cannabis Trimmers with Cullen Raichart

The Future of Cannabis Trimmers with Cullen Raichart

The industry is expanding, and so is your grow. Sometimes you can’t hand trim it all.

It’s sort of a badge of honor to be worn in the cannabis community when you only trim your cannabis by hand. It shows you care enough about how your buds turn out that you are willing to take the extra time to go through each bud by hand to ensure quality.

Of course you can trim poorly and still get bud that doesn’t look great, but in most cases hand trimming produces the best looking final product.

But with more and more commercial grow operations popping up across the country, there is a growing need for commercial harvest solutions. And when a dozen sets of hands for trimming starts to add up, a machine cannabis trimmer becomes more enticing.

Machine Cannabis Trimmers 

A big reason people tend to avoid machine cannabis trimmers is because they are just that, a machine. How can a machine have the same soft, gentle touch of human hands? How can they ensure the buds aren’t getting sliced to pieces from the metal blades in the trimmer?

Science.

The fact is, machine trimmers have come a long way since their inception, and you can now get a machine trimmed bud that looks just like a hand trimmed bud without damaging it or knocking off trichomes. And speaking of the inception of machine trimmers, Cullen Raichart is responsible for just that.

Cullen founded GreenBroz Inc, the first company to produce dry flower machine trimmers for the commercial cannabis market. What is so unique about GreenBroz is how they have designed their trimmers to be so gentle that they literally put their money where their mouth is to prove it.

Compared to other trimmers that tumble the buds around and beat them up to get the leaves off, GreenBroz’s design gently circulates the buds as they are lightly brushed to remove the dried crisp leaves from the service without harming the rest of the bud.

The Future of Automated Harvest Solutions

This week’s episode of The Real Dirt is a deep dive into the story of GreenBroz and Cullen, and where the future of harvest solutions is headed. As the industry continues to grow and expand, so does the acreage that cannabis takes up. More plants means more hands, or in some cases, just one machine cannabis trimmer.

Automation is a natural result of capitalism, and ignoring it won’t make it go away, as much as we would love to keep hand trimming forever. But that doesn’t mean a machine trimmer can’t be an extremely cost effective and impactful in your grow. It’s just your decision to make.

Roll some fo your freshly trimmed buds up and listen to this week’s episode of The Real Dirt right here (top of page) or on your favorite platform.

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The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

If you’ve watched the news over the past month, you probably think vaping can now kill you.

In today’s sensationalist news cycle, it has become the standard to over-exaggerate. Whether it’s about politics or a major health crisis, the media will always drive a narrative that gets people more worried, and gets them more views.

So it’s no surprise that when people started getting sick from vape pens the media would jump all over it.

The Vape Pen Controversy

It all started in September. A news story broke about someone getting some type of lung-related illness from a vape pen. At first, that was all. But then the story broke. The vape pen they were using had THC in it.

Cue the media leaping into hysteria, claiming that THC vape pens are making people sick. And if you watched the news around this time, there was a clear implication that it wasn’t something else in the pens causing harm, it was the THC. But that didn’t stop other outlets from claiming it wasn’t just THC vape pens to blame, but all vape pens.

Law commercials advocating law suits against Juul started to appear, and talks of a federal vaping ban ensued. Suffice to say, the media — and in turn the country — lost their collective shit.

The Truth

Of course all of the drama and freak out over vape pen related illnesses was based on half truths. Yes, people were in fact getting sick, and even dying, from THC vape pens. But there’s one thing that every single news story in the mainstream media failed to mention. Legality.

Out of over 400 cases of reported lung-related illnesses caused by vape pens, about 99% of them were caused by illicit vape pens. In other words, people purchased vape pen cartridges on the illicit market, and got sick. Why? Because of cutting agents.

Specifically, cartridge producers on the illicit market used vitamin E as a cutting agent. That doesn’t sound like a big deal right? We need vitamin E to stay healthy, you can eat it, you can put it in ointments, so why not a vape?

Well, it turns out that when you vaporize vitamin E, it converts to vitamin E acetate, a solid, viscous state. So these unknowing consumers would hit their pen, the vitamin E would convert to vitamin E acetate, and the residue would attach to the inside of their lungs. That causes some serious respiratory issues, and in a few cases, death.

Harmful Misinformation

There are already plenty of conspiracy theorists out there claiming big tobacco is the culprit for the major media focus on THC vape pens causing the problem. This would be an attempt to take down the vape pen industry that is the largest competitor to cigarettes. Others thought it was lobbying groups pushing to reverse the efforts of cannabis legalization.

But in all of the confusion, half-assed reporting and straight up false information, the people who really get hurt are the consumers. Not just those that are actually getting hurt by illicit vape pens because they don’t have access to safe, legal cannabis. But also your everyday cannabis consumer, and your medical user especially.

There are patients who don’t like to smoke, and choose to vape their medicine. With the rising concern surrounding vape pens, some dispensaries (and even entire states) have taken vape pens off of their shelves to make sure they are safe. Which is all well and good until the people who really need them can’t access them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Organic Inputs

Frequently Asked Questions about Organic Inputs

Not all organic inputs are created equally, and not all organic inputs are sourced sustainably.

When it comes to cultivating organic cannabis, there is no shortage of products you can use and methods to try out. That doesn’t make it any easier to decide which products to use.

At The Real Dirt and Cultivate, we aren’t the type to judge regardless of what you choose, even if it isn’t organic. But should you choose to grow organic, here’s some common questions about organic inputs and our best answers.

Can I clean my compost tea containers with bleach?

A lot of compost tea containers are made from various plastics. If you clean them with bleach, over time it will break down the interior walls of the containers, breaking down the plastics. You can use bleach to clean but you need to immediately spray down and scrub the containers with water to remove any remnants of plastic particles or bleach that could get into your next tea.

It may not be the most efficient, but the best way to preserve you compost tea containers and keep them clean is to just user water and non-abrasive sponge. With a high pressure washer you can do just as good a job as bleach without eating away at the inner walls or having chemical residue left over.

Are perlite and vermiculite organic inputs?

Yes, but not in the same way as other organic inputs like bat guano, gypsum, lime, etc.. Perlite and vermiculite both act as additives to soil, whereas the former inputs are fertilizing components. Additionally, perlite and vermiculite have almost no nutritional value on their own, and mainly help aerate soil.

However these are also mined inputs which means they’re pulled up from the land with excavators and broken down into the little chunks you get in a bag of vermiculite or perlite.

What are the best organic inputs to use?

People will argue for their favorite products all day long, but the best organic inputs are those that are renewable and sustainable. A renewable organic input is any that is produced either as a byproduct or waste product of animal and other industries.

Some of the best renewable inputs to use include Feather Meal, Alfalfa, Chicken litter, Neem Meal, Composted Chicken “shit”, Crab Meal, Kelp, Bone Meal, Fish Emulsion, Fish Bone Meal, Fish Hydroslate, Earth Worm Castings, and Soy Protein Isolate, just to name a few.

Coco coir is also a great renewable organic input that is a byproduct of the coconut and textile industries in Asia.

Chip answered more questions about organic inputs during his seminar at Cannacon in Oklahoma City in September. To hear the full talk for free, click here and listen to The Real Dirt Podcast.

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