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How to Build a Grow Supply Empire

How to Build a Grow Supply Empire

When you walk into an industrial sized horticulture supply store that serves as the nexus of so many cannabis grows, it can be a little overwhelming. Seeing all the new cannabis cultivation tools you could ever want in a single place makes you wonder, who could be behind all of this?

Starting a grow supply empire

Steve Gieder, owner of Northcoast Horticultural Supply didn’t always have a successful cannabis grow supply business. Like many success stories in the cannabis industry, Steve came from humble beginnings with passion and a dream. Steve sat down with Chip Baker on an episode of The Real Dirt. They talked about the state of the cannabis industry and how with a little dedication, becoming an industry leader isn’t as out of reach as you might think. Steve has been a big part of the evolution of cannabis cultivation in the legendary Humboldt cultivation scene. Starting out with a trusted partner and a small investment, Steve turned a single cannabis grow supply into a horticultural and consulting empire.

House and Garden Nutrients

Running a grow supply store means understanding the needs of your customers and being able to fulfill them. When Steve got started, he thought he could open shop and stock the shelves with organic nutrients, not realizing that the demand for organic products far outweighed the supply. Opening a store with an emphasis on organic products is hard to do if you can’t find any products to supply it. Seeing a void that needed to be filled, Steve got started with House and Garden Nutrient Company and it became one of the premiere organic nutrient lines.

Steve’s impact on the Humboldt cultivation scene cannot be understated. He was the first supplier to bring digital ballasts to the area. He was also the first to sell compost tea, a cornerstone of organic cultivation, as well as being responsible for supplying pure coco to growers as a new soil-less medium. The practices that Steve introduced to Humboldt more than a decade ago, laid the foundation for much of what we are seeing in grows throughout Colorado and beyond.

Humboldt Green

The culmination of Steve’s passion for his work and his desire to help and guide those just getting started led to the creation of Humboldt Green. Humboldt Green is as they put it, at the epicenter of all things green. Steve and his group of cannabis experts help new entrepreneurs navigate the waters of what is still an up and coming industry. Whether it’s help with cultivation, business development or event management, Humboldt Green has become the first call made by many of those seeking success in the cannabis industry. Listen to The Real Dirt episode with Steve Gieder and hear about what it takes to build an international horticultural supply empire.

How to Become a Head Grower at a Denver Dispensary

How to Become a Head Grower at a Denver Dispensary

Chip Baker had the opportunity to speak with Jeff, the head grower at Denver’s Natural Remedies on The Real Dirt Podcast. Jeff’s story is as encouraging as it is inspiring. The road to becoming a head grower can be wrought with confusion, particularly for those new to the industry.

Getting into a Denver dispensary

So you’ve got your badge, a dream, and you’re ready to begin your adventures in cannabis. With cannabis legalization, particularly in Colorado, there was a wave of immigration of those looking to carve a path for themselves in field that for a century has been taboo. This has made getting your foot in the door particularly difficult. Entering the industry as a grower in a Denver dispensary is a challenging feat unless you have prior growing experience or you know the right people.

Taking a job behind the scenes in harvesting or trimming in a Denver dispensary is a great way to get started. These are really considered the entry level cannabis production jobs. Going from nothing to a trim team will be an exciting and at times overwhelming experience if you’ve never been around that much marijuana before.  Learning the nuances of the harvesting and trimming process are fundamental in understanding the overall system of cannabis production.

The growing/learning curve is real

Moving into a grow position is a pretty eye opening experience. Hours a day spent watering, and even more hours spent cleaning, may take some of the glamour out of it. But rest assured, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Once you spend a few months working through your fist few cycles, you really start to grasp the big picture and how important the fine details and the complexity behind them really are. You start to master balancing your pH, your EC, and really begin to understand the needs of the plant. Allow your cannabis pants to become an extension of yourself.

No matter how much you learn in the grow you need to balance it with book work. There a a number of great books on the science behind cannabis cultivation that will fill some of the gaps that form from a purely hands on education.  As your cannabis education continues, ventures into IPM or Integrated Pest Management will become what seems like a full time job. Controlling pests and eliminating pathogens is a science unto itself, but is a necessary part of working your way toward head grower.

Listen to The Real Dirt podcast episode with Jeff from Natural Remedies

Head growers are the black belts of the cannabis world. It’s a long hard journey, but with learning cannabis, its the journey that matters, not the destination. Once you get there you won’t even care, because the knowledge that you will have accumulated is far more important than the title. To hear how Jeff from Natural Remedies achieved his cannabis goals and reached the position of head grower, check out his interview with Chip Baker on The Real Dirt podcast.

Top Ten Secrets to Growing Quality and Quantity Cannabis

Top Ten Secrets to Growing Quality and Quantity Cannabis

Chip Baker is one of the nation’s premier cannabis technology and application experts. Over the past 30 years, he has watched his friends and colleagues succeed, fail and struggle to grow quality cannabis. After all of his experience, he firmly believes these are the top ten lessons to live by if you want to grow the best weed.

1. Focus on the plant, not the profit

Anyone can grow weed. After all, it is a weed. However, not everyone is growing great weed. Growers are frequently in the business for the money. If that’s the case, then congrats, you’re a great capitalist. Unfortunately, if the paper green is your main motive, then the quality of your crop will suffer. If you are focused on growing premium ganja, then this is what you must know.

2. Check your ego

Ego is the number one killer of potentially good weed.  To have truly fine cannabis you must check your ego.  Checking your ego as a grower, is an introspective process that starts with having an open mind. You might think you know a lot about growing cannabis, but I encourage you to pretend like you are a first-timer with every crop you yield. Observe how this crop is different from the last and apply a scientific method of constantly acquiring new knowledge, and continue correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

3. Evaluate your technique

There is an excessive amount of “broscience” in the cannabis cultivation industry. Just because your buddy told you of a “magic” formula or technique for growing, doesn’t mean it’s the best method for you. In fact, it might not even be accurate at all. Evaluate what techniques have worked for you and forget the other bullshit.

4. Consider quality

Even the shittiest weed will get you high. But this is not a good baseline. Remember that the highest quality flower will garner the highest prices in the market. Every flower has the potential to be great, but it will also most likely be flawed in some way. Identify the quality flaw in your flower and consider how you can correct it in the next crop.

5. Weigh your feedback carefully

Everyone wants to be friends with the guy that grows weed (and who gives it out for free). Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it is quality (like the flu). Most of your friends will praise your ganja (most likely because of it is free), however, some friends will give you less positive feedback. I would strongly encourage you to take note and deeply consider the constructive criticisms more than basking in the praise. The positive feedback will only serve your ego, the negative will help you improve your craft.

6. Create a healthy perspective

Perspective is everything. If you’re growing weed in a place where the bar is low, then mediocrity will do just fine. If you’re growing weed in a place like Humboldt, CA, where only the dankest ganja sells, then you’re going to have to step your game up a lot. If you want to grow the absolute cream of the crop ganja, then you must admit that someone is doing it better than you. Find that someone and humbly ask them about their methods and practices. You might also consider grading your weed. Have a little integrity and separate your nuggets into batches based on their quality. The best growers and sellers know that every nugget should look very similar. Separate the little nuggets from the big nuggets and the medium sized nuggets. They both have different values and should be categorized as such.

7. Don’t worry about genetics

There is a lot of dumb chatter about genetics and breeding when it comes to cannabis. There is super techy weed that is based on origins, race, exoticism, etc. But these are not the things that make weed dank. In fact, don’t get caught up in this bullshit. Genetics and cross breeding frequently get fucked up by even the most established and well known breeders. If you are focused only on creating your own strain, then your entire cultivation practice is most likely ego-driven (see number 1). If you are focused on growing the absolute best weed, then your cultivation is heart-driven. The latter of these drives is the one that will be the most sustainable and the most profitable.

8. Stop trimming your weed

The number two killer of potentially dank weed? Green trimming or fresh trimming. You have to stop green trimming your weed. Green trimming is less expensive than dry trimming, however, the terpene complex is preserved through the slower drying technique  So, tell your trimmers to chill the fuck out. Trim it dry, don’t trim it wet (green).

9. Flush your crop

One of the most common mistakes growers make is not flushing their crop. Always flush. If you are growing properly, then you will be able to flush at 2 to 3 weeks in the cycle and it will not negatively affect your yield. However, it will totally improve the quality of your cannabis. You’ll know this because the ash will be white and the herb will have a nice, smooth taste.

10. Stop spraying your flower

If you have a proper integrated pest management program and proper nutrition plan, then you shouldn’t need to spray your flowers. There is a time and place for everything, especially when it comes to your cannabis plant cycle. Spraying compost tea on your buds when they are heavy in the flower stage is just as bad as spraying a heavy fungicide on your weed in its flower stage.

How to Navigate Cannabis Law and Compliance: Vicente Sederberg LLC

How to Navigate Cannabis Law and Compliance: Vicente Sederberg LLC

It is hard not to be surprised at how fast marijuana legalization and the positive shift in attitudes towards cannabis consumption have spread. In nearly half the country, cannabis consumers no longer have to fear imprisonment just because they are walking down the street with a couple joints in their pocket.

Cannabis law consultation services born out of necessity

Times have changed, and as the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the need for cannabis related legal services, only now the focus is on keeping businesses compliant, not keeping them out of jail. The legal cannabis landscape is ever-shifting, which may leave cannabusiness owners holding the bag, so to speak. Sudden changes in compliance and regulation can be overlooked or misinterpreted if reading legal jargon isn’t your thing. This is where the need for legal consultation in the cannabis industry arises. You can guarantee that the current compliance landscape is wrought with pitfalls. You can also guarantee that if you are engaged in a business that deals with a federally illegal substance, you are going to need a lawyer who understands how to navigate through the complexities of the system. This has created an overwhelming demand for qualified legal professionals who not only understand the cannabis industry, but are on top of the ever-shifting stream of regulation.

Vicente Sederberg, The Marijuana Law Firm

One Denver based cannabis law firm specializing in cannabis services has already doubled in size and is looking to expand into California’s newly legalized market. Vicente Sederberg LLC, dubbed The Marijuana Law-Firm by Rolling Stone, has expanded into the former offices of the Marijuana Enforcement Division on Sherman Street. The cannabis law firm’s expansion, however, won’t stop there. Sederberg is opening a satellite office in Los Angeles. California’s medical marijuana market rakes in more money than Colorado’s entire medical and recreational sales combined. With California recreational cannabis now legal, firms like Sederberg’s may find greater demand for their services outside of Colorado.

According to Brian Vicente of Vicente Sederberg, there are only around 40-50 attorneys in the US who specialize in cannabis with a few hundred that mix cannabis with more mainstream companies. “For years this was viewed as a real taboo area for lawyers to go into. But in the last year or so, the public has realized that marijuana reform is going to spread and spread, and as a result, attorneys are taking a closer look at this, “ Vicente stated to Marijuana Business Magazine. “There’s just going to be more work for attorneys in this space over time. I think we’ll see higher-caliber lawyers getting into this.”

The future needs of cannabis legal services

Cannabis businesses don’t only need lawyers to help them jump through regulatory hoops. As innovation continues, there is a distinct need for lawyers to assist with trademarking, patents and intellectual property. Now that companies have begun to patent cannabis plants and formulas to make them, there will be a virtually unlimited demand for lawyers on both sides of that fight. Another area that will show a spike in demand is that of mergers. As the industry grows, corporate buyouts and mergers will become common place as the industry consolidates. This opens up an entirely new field in the world of cannabis business law.

If you want to get insider industry information about cannabis law, compliance and Section 280E, then you need to listen to The Real Dirt podcast episode with Christian Sederberg of Vicente Sederberg, LLC.

Why Cannabis Seed Genetics and Breeding Matter

Why Cannabis Seed Genetics and Breeding Matter

The secret to growing high quality cannabis is that there is no secret. Mastering the basics like room control and proper nutrition are a good place to start. There are a great many techniques and tricks growers use to maximize yields, however, if you start with bad genetics, there isn’t a whole lot you can do.

Cannabis seed genetics are the foundation

Finding the best possible cannabis seed genetics for your garden is the first step any grower should take. Genetics carry the foundation of life for everything living on the planet. Cannabis is no different. Every time you talk about Blue Dream, or OG Kush, or any strain, what you are really talking about is the genetic makeup of the plant. If you didn’t notice, new strains are popping up all the time, thanks to the few dedicated cannabis breeders out there. You can’t expect to get a quality product if you start with bad genetics. It’s just that simple.

The multitudes of variety that we currently encounter when we walk into the dispensary haven’t always existed. There was a time when cannabis was indigenous to varying regions of the world. The wild strains that populated the countryside have become known as landrace strains. They are the fundamental strains from which all of our modern favorites have sprung. When you hear about Afghan Sativa, or Hawaiian Indica, those are landrace strains that grew and adapted to the local climate. For generations, landrace strains were interbred, resulting in stable genetics. These now stable landrace genetics would go on to populate the world with more strains than anyone can keep up with.

Cannabis breeding and strain preservation

Creating new strains or ironing out specific traits in an existing one is the purpose of cross-breeding. Cross-breeding entails the fertilization of a female by a male of a different strain. Anyone who’s ever accidentally planted a male in a room of females knows what happens next. The female, once fertilized, will produce seeds that are a hybrid of the two strains. Breeding doesn’t only result in new strains. It can be used to eliminate unwanted traits or to enhance desirable traits in a single strain. Sometimes, a breeder will experiment with genetics trying to maximize THC or other cannabinoids only to find that many have failed. Now you know why there’s a Gorilla Glue #4 and not a #1.

Once you have found a strain that you enjoy and want to preserve, keeping those genetics fresh is pretty easy. Ever heard of Pre-98 Bubba Kush? What that means is that the genetics were from a strain bred before 1998. Keeping a genetic alive entails maintaining a Mother plant; a plant kept in a vegetative state that produces many potential flower sites that can be cut and cloned. Clones are an identical copy of a genetic that are cut from the mother plant. Replanting a clone will result in a new full plant containing the same biological makeup as it’s predecessor.

Brothers Grimm Seeds

Nowadays, the assortment of genetics available to the public is astounding. When you take a look back at marijuana throughout the seventies and eighties, it is almost unrecognizable as cannabis as we know it today. The high quality medicine that has become commonplace today is the result of generations and generations of crossbreeding, mixed with a solid 40 years worth of science and research behind it. To learn more about cannabis genetics and breeding, make sure to listen to the The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, episode, “Why Cannabis Seed Genetics and Breeding Matter” featuring Mr. Soul of the Brothers Grimm Seed Company.

CU Boulder Receives Grant To Study The Effects of Dabbing

CU Boulder Receives Grant To Study The Effects of Dabbing

The University of Colorado Boulder has been awarded an $839,500 grant to study the effects of concentrated marijuana extracts. Dabbing is a form of cannabis consumption that has taken off over the last few years, with extract sales more than doubling between 2015 and 2016.

Studying the effects of dabbing

The dabbing study will be conducted by the University’s Institute of Cognitive Science, who have been internationally recognized for their work on issues pertaining to the human mind. It will last for three years and the aim is to determine the effects ingesting concentrated amounts of THC and the impact it has on behavior. According to CU’s lead investigator for the project, Cinnamon Bidwell, “These concentrates are basically extracted cannabis. The THC levels can be as high as 95 percent. In the context of a research study, nobody has assessed how intoxicating these are or studied the effects in public health behaviors such as driving.”

As the University receives some of its funding from federal sources, and cannabis is still federally illegal, the study had to be designed in such a manner that didn’t violate the law. Basically no one involved in the operations from the college will be allowed to handle concentrated marijuana, nor will they be allowed in the same room as the test subject while ingesting. All research conducted by CU will be done immediately following the test subject’s dab, at a comfortable place of his or her choosing, certainly off-campus.

“Dabbers needed”

The researchers at CU have even designed their own mobile marijuana laboratory, which will serve as their research center in the field. They will have no problem recruiting the 135 projected test subjects, who will be asked to hop into the mobile weed lab after consuming a dab. Once inside, they’re in the hands of Dr. Bidwell and her team. “We’ll collect data on a range of potencies that people smoke and see what happens to their physiology and their brain responses under the influence of these products.” Bidwell also voiced her concern in regards to how little is actually known about the concentrates and extracts that are hitting the shelves at dispensaries across Colorado. “If there’s a potency at which it really tips the scale for acute effects, then policy makers can have that information to make decisions.”

Marijuana studies abound

Dr. Bidwell and her team weren’t the only ones to receive funding for marijuana related projects. Public health research grants were awarded to seven different groups in all, covering a range of marijuana related studies. The decision to fund multiple projects connected to the effects on users while driving shows how much importance the state puts on the subject. Law enforcement has moved forward with a marijuana breathalyzer, which is seemingly able to determine presumptive levels of THC in the blood. This has been in development for some time, however, a recent ruling by an Arizona federal court determined that the level of THC in the blood is not the determining factor in the driver’s level of intoxication.

Overall, the amount of conflicting information out there makes studies like Dr. Bidwell’s vital in coming to understand what the truth really is. Fortunately we live in an age where cannabis research and funding of science based marijuana projects is just beginning.

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