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How to Ruin Your Weed with a Paper Bag

How to Ruin Your Weed with a Paper Bag

oregon cannabis, colorado cannabis and oklahoma cannabis

People have some whacky ways for curing cannabis, but a paper bag ain’t the way to do it!

When it comes to cannabis, there’s a lot that Chip Baker and Justin Jones can agree on. But when it comes to curing your cannabis in a brown paper bag, the two are at odds.

To Chip, it’s a figment of the past that’s best left there, and age old drying technique before the days of plastic bags and bins. For Justin, it’s a quick and easy way to finish out the drying process that works for him.

The paper bag dry method

Before the days of turkey bags and metal storage bins it was common for growers to dry their flower in brown paper bags. They keep light out and they’re discreet, but that’s about it. The problem with paper bags is that they absorb moisture.

If your flower is sitting in a paper bag, over time the bag will suck the moisture out of your plants. Left too long, your flowers will dry out too much and the bag can instill a strange flavor. But Justin has a technique that he insists works just fine.

Justin puts his flower in a brown paper bag that is extremely dry, so there is no moisture already present. Then with a dehumidifier or fan nearby he can keep the paper bag dry as it absorbs moisture from the plant. After 12 hours doing this process, Justin insists that his flower comes out perfectly dry.

Those days are gone

In Chip’s mind the days of needing to use a brown paper bag are gone. With the advent of Turkey Bags, plastic bins with liners and plain old traditional hang-drying in commercial facilities, not only have brown paper bags become unnecessary, they have become irrelevant.

Legalization has given cultivators access to better technology for harvesting, drying and curing their cannabis to the point where using brown paper bags or cardboard boxes is a figment of the past.

This week’s episode

This week on The Real Dirt, Justin Jones returns to talk about why he likes the paper bag method, how the cannabis industry has evolved and matured in Oregon, how it compares to Colorado and Oklahoma and more!

Roll up a nice hemp/cannabis blend and puff away while you enjoy another great episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker!

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Transcript

 

Chip: Once again, you have reached The Real Dirt podcast. Thank you for joining me today. On today’s real dirt, I once again have my good buddy Justin Jones. We just got so much stuff to talk about. And honestly, conversations with Justin was really how I developed the idea of The Real Dirt podcast, because I have such interesting conversations with my friends within the industry. Now I wanted to share those with you, and today we have Justin on the line again. Justin, are you there?

 

Justin: Hey how you doing, Chip?

 

Chip: Oh man, doing good, bro. Feeling good. What’s going on over there on the West Coast?

 

Justin: I’m just transferring some sherbadough here from a ziplock bag into a brown paper grocery bag. And I just want to know, how many guys out there and gals how many people, cannabis growers, know anything about the old brown paper grocery bag?

 

Chip: Oh, I’m moaning, dude. I am moaning over here. I can’t believe you’re telling me you’re putting your fine buds into a paper bag. Oh my god.

 

Justin: Man.

 

Chip: What, why are you ruining your weed? Why are you doing this?

 

Justin: No, man. No, no, no, this is a good thing. This is what you want, it’s good for it.

 

Chip: It’s good for your weed to taste like cardboard?

 

Justin: I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s what it does.

 

Chip: Man, you put your wet weed in a – or dry weed – in a brown paper bag, and it sucks up all of that moisture that’s inside that paper bag before it releases any outs.

 

Justin: But you got to have a dry paper bag. You can’t start with a moist bag, bud.

 

Chip: Oh okay, so you’re telling me it’s all in technique?

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: Well, let me hear it. Let me hear your technique on how you don’t ruin your weed by putting it into a paper bag.

 

Justin: Well, I don’t put it in there for that long. And you got to know whether you’re rolling the top down all the way, or if you’re just kind of crumpling it up a little bit at the top, or whether you’re leaving it just open.

 

Chip: Okay. Alright, alright. You’re gonna have to start at the beginning. Start at the beginning. Tell me what you’re doing again.

 

Justin: It’s something that the old school probably guys that are older than us smoked, it’s a way that you can – 

 

Chip: Before they had plastic bags, all they had  – 

 

Justin: Before all those plastic bags, you had paper bags, because you could use the paper bag to just kind of shift that lot in a slow way when you’re at the end of your dry and cure, and you’ve done your hang. And now you’re doing your seal and burp, and you just got to get that last little, make it perfect. You could use the brown paper bag, you know? And you got to look at other industries too. I mean, the people store seeds in paper bags, people store other thing, because it does have a little bit of a –

 

Chip: Breeze.

 

Justin: If you have any takes, breeding with the moisture. And so you know yeah, you don’t want to push your, a wet cell paper bag moisture into your bud, but I would say it’s a way to kind of temper it, right at the end a little bit. If you need to, you don’t always need to.

 

Chip: Man, I have seen so many people ruin weed by putting it in a cardboard box or in a paper bag.

 

Justin: Well, why do they put it in there for?

 

Chip: The same, they’re trying to do the same thing you’re doing. Hey, they got their weed almost dry, and they cut them down and put them in a paper bag to like, finish them out, right? Or cure them in a box. And I believe a lot of this came from early 2000s Cannabis Cup, where that’s what Arion of Greenhouse said that they did, is they cured their weed for months in a cardboard box, right?

 

Justin: Would you think there’s actually a certain taste or flavor that gets put in there?

 

Chip: Absolutely. Oh absolutely. It is – alright, so here’s the thing. And you kind of said it earlier about you have to have a dry paper bag, right? Well, it is a little more than that. If you have a dry paper bag, if you’re in Colorado, if you’re in California, if you’re in the desert –

 

Justin: Oh yeah, wait a minute, hold on. 

 

Chip: You’ve got a dry paper bag.

 

Justin: I got a dry paper bag in a small closet that’s got a dehume pounding on the other side of the closet too. So –

 

Chip: You got a dry paper bag?

 

Justin: Or I’ll blow a fan, right? If you point a fan right at the side of the paper bag, what you’re trying to do is get some movement, but not too much. And get a little bit of that wet in there, but not too much.

 

Chip: You’re trying to control the dry, so that it doesn’t dry so fast, because you don’t need, you don’t have the best drying room.

 

Justin: Right.

 

Chip: That’s where the paper bag really started as and became, is if you didn’t have enough or the best dry room, you’d hang your plants. And so they, because they won’t at some point in many – unless you have a proper dry room, they’ll never dry. 

 

Justin: Right.

 

Chip: Right? On the coast of California, Oregon, Washington throughout the southeast, you can hang weed up in your house, and it will never dry in your closet. 

 

Justin: Here in Oregon, I struggle with that. And you know, coming from Colorado where you have a hard time not over drying, here you just I mean, most of the time here, your relative humidity is 50 to 60%, which is kind of where you want your stored, finished dry material to kind of, I don’t know.

 

Chip: End up.

 

Justin: Right. Right, right yeah. And so it just is like, you’re fighting the moisture, the over moisture and those sort of things all the time on the west coast, for sure. Especially coming into this time of the year here, where it’s gonna rain three or four days a week, and you’re just always gonna have that moisture in the air.

 

Chip: So yeah, I mean home growers and commercial growers would take their buds down, put them in paper bags, and it would allow them to control the dry rate. They’d increase the heat, or the moisture would be sucked out of the paper bag until they, it would help them dry.

 

Justin: It’s easier, it makes, it gives them a wider landing pad on not fucking it up, right? And so instead of being like, “Oh, if I miss the wind,” if you’re not doing that, you may be, you missed your perfect window by a couple of hours. Maybe this gives you a day of a window to get back to it, to get it fueled up.

 

Chip: So here’s the folly, is because you’re in these wet areas, those cardboard bags and the cardboard boxes, they’re sucking out moisture.

 

Justin: Oh yeah, you can feel it.

 

Chip: Right, yeah, they suck up moisture. So one, you got to get those dry, you have to get all the moisture out of them to dry. So you have to put, get a dehumidifier or heater, right? That’s going to dry out these boxes and get all that moisture out of there, right? Because if they leave the moisture in there, and then put your weed in there, as your weed dries, it’ll suck the moisture out of the bag. 

 

Justin: You’re going the wrong direction, you have to have – yeah. The box of the bag’s got to be drier than your cannabis and you can only leave it in there for a certain amount of time. And you should, if it’s doing its job, the bag or the box should be super brittle dry. And then you put your material in there, and let’s say after 12 hours, you come back. You should be able to feel the difference in the paper, and then get it out of there. 

 

Chip: So you’re not going in the wrong direction. 

 

Justin: It’s the technique. 

 

Chip: Now your bud’s gonna suck it back up. I’ve used the paper bags like, so, so many times. I’ve had, years and years ago.

 

Justin: Well, it’s about, it’s all about reusing, you know? We try to recycle and recycling is good. But reusing is even better than recycling. And at the end of the day, I think cannabis guys are great at reusing those thin metal hangers from the dry cleaner? The dry cleaner hangers, you know? Those are real popular for hanging new branches, right? And so, there’s a way to, ‘cause those hangers suck. You get them from the dry cleaner, and then you don’t really use them to hang your shirts back up later, right? So they get kind of built up, so those are good. And then the brown paper bags, got to have them.

 

Chip: I’m definitely not a brown paper bags fan. I do, however, like to take the brown paper bag, fold the top over one time, maybe one inch or two inch fold and then insert a turkey bag. And then hold the turkey bag up, right? And as you’re going through your cannabis you can just put it right inside to a standing up bag, you know?

 

Justin: I like that.

 

Chip: Yeah, totally.

 

Justin: So, it’s a stand, it’s a turkey bag stand.

 

Chip: It’s a turkey bag stand.

 

Justin: Turkey or goose bags?

 

Chip: All depends on what you’re doing, man. Here in Oklahoma, we sell cannabis out by the gram. Meaning, that we sell it to an extractor by the volume. So we’ll have a volume and it’ll be like, 4,382 grams, right? That’s not quite 10 pounds, but we just, we’ll bag them up in a goose bag like that. 

 

Justin: In those large goose bags. Yeah.

 

Chip: And just get as much as we can, specifically with trim. When we do that with trim, right? And we try to get at least a thousand grams in one container. But it’s going to the extractor, they don’t care. They check it into their system by the gram as well.

 

Justin: You’re not trying to sell some of the, a perfect one pound?

 

Chip: I’m absolutely not. And, we try to go in 500 and 1,000 increments, just to make all the math easy.

 

Justin: Less brain damage.

 

Chip: Yeah, exactly, less brain damage. And I would use a larger container and I’ve been told, and I am we’re going to start the stock these bin containers, the bin bags. So they have a large turkey bag style that goes into the thirty gallon Rubbermaid bin now.

 

Justin: Nice.

 

Chip: Right? Yeah, totally. So I think we’re going to push towards that, and try to even get more cannabis in, right? Into one bag. Because man, it’s one bag, one label. Here in Oklahoma, 10 pounds is a batch. We’re not –

 

Justin: You guys got rules in Oklahoma now for that stuff? 

 

Chip: Yeah dude, there’s all kinds of rules here. Yeah, Oklahoma is really – 

 

Justin: Yeah, we knew it was coming. It was wild west there at the beginning.

 

Chip: Oh, at the very beginning, it was like, you can show up and in 30 days be doing whatever the fuck you want. And that changed, that changed to you can just show up in 30 days, apply for whatever you want. And then that changed to you can show up in 30 days, apply for whatever you want, and then depending on your local municipality, it might take one day to four months for you to get into any type of business, or get in to have a building plan passed or anything like that. And now, we’ve just –

 

Justin: Now you’ve got residency, two years?

 

Chip: Two years residency here. If you’re interested in coming to Oklahoma, you can only be an investor for 25% now. If outside residents of the state of Oklahoma, they have a 25% stake max for two years. And then, there’s a lawsuit I hear that they’re trying to lift that. Who knows if that’s going to maintain other states it has maintained?

 

Justin: We have a chain in Colorado, we spent years fixing those laws. Because they were very restrictive, and once all the money inside of Colorado ran out as far as investment money and that sort of thing, then you had to be like, “I gotta go outside of the state.” So I first started that you could get a, you could get an out, you could get a loan. And the loan could be guaranteed, like a convertible into ownership is that. So you get a loan from a guy from another state that says that could turn into ownership if that person moved to Colorado, lived there for two years, became a resident, then they could like, convert. So that you could do a loan that was convertible, if these other things happened. And then after that – 

 

Chip: That’s a convertible loan.

 

Justin: Right. And then after that, it became you could just have out of state ownership. And then now it’s, in Colorado, the public, pub coast are circling and making moves, because now you can have 49% ownership can be a publicly traded company. So, it was always that they wanted to be able to just go, background check, deep, deep dive on every single owner. So having a publicly traded company that could have thousands or tens of thousands of stockholders, right? Didn’t work. So now, so they fixed a lot of that. And so now, you’re seeng companies in Colorado start to go public, or go that direction. So Colorado’s now available for the multistate operator, the MSO. But we were really talking about Oklahoma moving forward and the regulations, and so you guys are now using the Franwell Metrc tracking system?

 

Chip: That is not in place yet, but it will be.

 

Justin: They’d said they’re going, so they’ve contracted.

 

Chip: Mhm, they’ve contracted. They say it’s going to be six months before they get it in place, who knows? 

 

Justin: Sure.

 

Chip: Right?

 

Justin: Yeah, well, that’s good. And what I like about that, and be it what it is, Metrc really is tracking probably 90% of the legal cannabis, and as we move forward towards a national legalization effort, having one company that’s kind of got most of that in line, it should be good down the road. That we hopefully in the next decade start to integrate the entire country into –

 

Chip: Yeah, well Metrc’s – 

 

Justin: Legalize cannabis.

 

Chip: Metrc definitely steps it up. It’s costly to scale Metrc, it’s difficult to scale it. So maybe some of the people who were, got tons and tons of square feet, and lots of plant numbers, they may change their operations.

 

Justin: There’s new companies coming in that are going to make it, they’re going to take and give you a user interface for your company that really works for you. And then behind the scenes, it plugs everything in the Metrc the way it’s supposed to. And so, Metrc is very clumsy, and it’s very designed towards the applications that the states want to use it for, for tracking the inventory, for tracking taxes, and these sorts of things. And yeah, there’s things that they thought were, would be great for the license ease on the user end, but they’re still real clumsy, and that hasn’t been their focus. So there’s some definitely some other companies that can overlay, and they’re trying. Nobody’s really knocked it out of the park yet, but I think that’s coming. 

 

Chip: It is coming. And it is easier, you can print your own tags now. The technology’s changing. It also makes monitoring, enforcement and regulation, the local government here easier, right? And it will drive more of that, because now they can go into a field that is all RFID, they can immediately get all the data of all the plants in it, you know? They can immediately like, follow that all the way from seed to sale in your operation that will make people tighten up their operations, their business models, account for everything. I mean, I tell you, I hope they haven’t made all the rules, because I hope they don’t make us weigh that shit, wet, dry, stem weight, bud weight. I hope we could skip all that. I know you got, I know Colorado has, I mean it is, that’s not just a Colorado thing.

 

Justin: No, it really, tracking the waste, tracking all that plant material is kind of the foundations of the early legalization, and it really hasn’t changed. And it’s really if you look at other industries, people are doing that on multiple levels. So, you just, when you’re trimming a plant down, just stick it all in this bin, the leaves go in that bin, the bud goes that way, weight it wet, we weigh it, we weigh it wet before we weigh it dry after you get all those markers all the way through.

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean, in all of my business, we monitor all of our waste, right? Our waste stream really does say a bunch about what you’re doing in business. And for instance, at Growers Coco, my soil manufacturing plant, we monitor all of the coco dust that’s wasted, we calculate all of the inputs into what all the outputs are, we’re always looking at our trash stream, our plastic, our wood stream going outside the business. Because the fact of the matter is, if you have a lot of bags that are torn in production, that shows up in your trash. And that means that there’s something wrong with your machine, or my employees, or the material where the bags are getting ripped and used inappropriately, right? Are not used inappropriately, thrown away. And each one of those bags cost us 40 cents, or something like that.

 

Justin: Well, it adds up. Yeah.

 

Chip: Oh, it adds up, man. And then you, also on the waste stream, you get to calculate how many pallets of material that you’ve gone through. So it is important in that business, that manufacturing business to track it for sure.

 

Justin: Well, that’s really what we’re doing with cannabis now that you can see the flow. It’s all manufacturing, you know? It’s agriculturally based, growing, processing, packaging, manufacturing, all the way down to get those consumer items.

 

Chip: Now, at some point though, it’s over regulated, right? It’s something I mean, from in my view, cannabis is harmless, right? Until you turn it into an extract. And at that point, it becomes like, I’ll call it dangerous, right? Because if anyone consumed or a child consumed a chunk of extract, a gram of extract, they would be fucked up, right? And they’re not going to die, but it would definitely be a, considered a poisoning, an overdose, right? They’re not going to die, but like, you know –

 

Justin: Yeah, you don’t want to do that to your kids.

 

Chip: You don’t want to do that to your kid, or to yourself, or to anybody. And like that’s to me where it becomes dangerous, and it should be regulated in some way.

 

Justin: Well, that’s why the regulations, well and that’s why you’ll see 10 milligram doses of edibles and not a hundred milligrams. 

 

Chip: Yeah, I don’t believe here in Oklahoma there’s a limit, currently.

 

Justin: There will be, there will. It’s five here in Oregon, 10 to 5 milligrams a serving, 50 in a bottle or a pack max. In Colorado, it’s 10 per serving, 100 in a pack, you know? One item is 100 milligrams, 10 pieces of whatever edible, or however that looks. Your Dixie Elixirs you talked about in one of our previous chats, they’ll have measuring guides on the model, or even sometimes they’ll come with a little cap, like your [inaudible 21:01] bottle has your little one ounce measure cap. Yeah, that’s how [inaudible 21:05]. So the tracking’s overly done, but that’s because we’re still operating under these, the guys that the feds aren’t going to do anything to you, if you’re operating legally in your state. And so I think that the tracking system is there, because it’s been there since day one of Colorado rack, the tracking systems are what’s helping protect the industry from the feds saying, “Hey, we’re going to take these guys out.” So, as legalization happens nationally, maybe some of these, some of these things will become less burdensome. That’s not happening anytime in the future. So you just have to get used to it, you just have to spend the money on that end of the business, and compliance, and inventory tracking and do it right. 

 

Chip: Yeah, man. And it is exciting to see it blossom here in Oklahoma, it’s a great place to be. The people are just incredibly nice for sure. It’s inexpensive to relatively speaking, to California or to Colorado, to set up an operation. But the real reason we’re here is the opportunity to help other cannabis farmers to cultivate OKC. And through our research at our cannabis farm, really figure out how cannabis grows best in Oklahoma, indoor or outdoor, greenhouse, the best type of products to use, how the season works, like, it’s really just this huge R&D effort on our part.

 

Justin: That’s what sets you guys aside from some of the other companies out there that are selling nutrients, or equipment, or dirt, or whatever, is that you guys are actually practicing, and have been the whole time. You’re in it, you’re in the same side of things so –

 

Chip: We want to get better, we want to help other people do it better. We want to overgrow the current stigma of cannabis, and that’s what we’re doing at Cultivate OKC, Bakers Medical, Growers Coco, at our farm here in Oklahoma. I mean, man, this place has been, this was a really great spot. I mean, Oregon was in a similar manner years ago, and Oregon had a boom and bust. I mean – 

 

Justin: It’s all balanced out here now.

 

Chip: Oklahoma is going to do a similar thing. Hey, give me the timeline, because Oklahoma will boom and bust due to the open regulations. And then the regulations and just the market environment, it’ll make it change. 

 

Justin: Yes, eventually. 

 

Chip: Right, eventually.

 

Justin: And how fast it happens. Here in Oregon, they’ve had to remove us to marijuana [inaudible 23:56] –

 

Chip: Was it medical and then rec? How did it fold out there?

 

Justin: Right. So medical has been around forever. Obviously, there was a great private market scene going back, 40, 50 years now. But medical converted into recreational and here in Oregon, they actually did away with the medical marijuana system from a commercial standpoint. So when all of the medical marijuana stores were forced to convert to recreational marijuana, and give up their medical marijuana licenses, and just sell recreational marijuana. And so, that’s what you see now. There’s still a few handful of just medical only stores here in Oregon, but it’s only really in areas that are banning the recreational sales. So at the end of the day, if you have a medical card which you can still have your medical card in Oregon, and you can still grow your own, and if you have a medical card, you can grow a few more plants that just with your recreational growing rights. But at the end of the day, you can go to the recreational marijuana store with your medical card, and then you pay no taxes, and you can get a higher amount. So instead of one ounce of flower, you can get four ounces of flower at one trip. And instead of four grams of hash, you can get whatever, whatever it is. So they haven’t totally screwed over the medical side. But at the end of the day, people jumped in and it was wide open. And it was really easy to get a license in [inaudible 25:28]  Oregon, and that would have 2015, going into ’16. And then, that’s when the conversion started happening here with Measure 21 and the, it Measure 21 which was the legalization of recreational here. And then they really were able to find out how much cannabis these guys can grow in Oregon and it became a huge overproduction, especially of outdoor. You could get an outdoor rec grow going for pretty cheap out on a farm down in Southern Oregon, and these guys just grew way too much. And that first year –

 

Chip: Best climate in the world. Best climate in the world.

 

Justin: And I think it was 2000, it was fall of ’16 that was going in as there were still a conversion going on, but it was it was going in and I believe that it was like the best growing year ever. It was in the 80s and dry all the way until Halloween. And so it was just a major harvest. So anyways, a lot of guys were only able to get 100 bucks a pound. That’s kind of what it came to for outdoor, and people just started really not doing well. So I think that people started dropping out and then with the hemp thing, in ’19, a lot of cannabis guys grew hemp, smokable hemp instead of ganja, and that cut it down even more on the licensed growers here in Oregon. And now, it’s bounced back out. And if you’re growing indoor, and you’ve got some really good indoor hydroponics type of bud, you can get up to 2500 a pound now wholesale, selling to the stores. I think it’s more in the 17 to 2, and maybe 22. And then maybe there’s a few of the really good name brand grows up here that are that are really great that are getting more, a little bit more with that 2500 premium.

 

Chip: I mean, two years, it’s been.

 

Justin: It’s just now been turning hemp. I’d say five years, four to four years.

 

Chip: So it took four to five years of like, flooded, like, what was the lowest price that cannabis, that quality cannabis got to? Tell me that.

 

Justin: Five to six hundred.

 

Chip: What about that greenhouse cannabis? That major production, the major –

 

Justin: Less than 100, less than 100. ‘Cause we had to start specking out a tier two outdoor grow in Oregon, which is 40,000 square feet of canopy. So that’s an acre of canopy. And basically, if you looked at what it costs you to grow, and for your licenses, and obviously it’s pretty cheap, because you’re just using the sun, natural stuff there. So you’re not like, paying for electricity like you would an indoor thing. These guys were lucky to get 100 bucks a pound and basically pull off 1000 pounds. So you get 1000 pounds of, you could revenue about 100,000 on an acre. 

 

Chip: Grown it like that, it’s fairly inexpensive putting it into a grow, right?

 

Justin: Yeah but I mean, it’s just $100,000 is not a lot of revenue. And especially –

 

Chip: If for just the costing, agree.

 

Justin: Costing, harvesting, it all has to come down at the same time. So you can’t necessarily just one man that. It just doesn’t work. It didn’t work. Now that’s changed. It came back up. Yeah. Well, and they were just trying to call them those oil fields. And nobody really was buying that material for a smokable sort of thing –

 

Chip: Oh man, all of our R&D, that’s what we’ve done with it for sure, man. It’s like –

 

Justin: It’s just going to the extractors.

 

Chip: It’s going to extractors. “Oh, I don’t like that strain. Oh, that didn’t work out. Oh, that takes too long. Oh, that one’s a little sick. Oh,” you know?

 

Justin: It’s different if you’re a vertically integrated company. And so if you have an indoor and an outdoor grow in Southern Oregon, and you have an extractor, and you have a store or two, then it’s fine. Grow the outdoor, because you’re just going to shove that through your extraction mine, and take it to your store, and you’ll eventually get retail for it, right? So, but there were too many independent growers that weren’t vertical also. So all the guys in Oregon that started out vertical and went with the grow in a store, that sort of thing, they’ve all have done well the entire time.

 

Chip: Yeah, right. Absolutely. Oh, man, you know, it’s business dude. Those same years in the hydro industry were a lean eight years for us. And I would say, it was about three years. ‘Cause it hit, well one, Oregon and California ruled the cannabis industry, regardless if you’re independent in your state, like their numbers and their volume like, really has a lot to do with what’s going on the rest of the country. I so

 

Justin: Oh yeah.

 

Chip: But in Colorado, it kind of hit peak about the same time, right? But it was more affected in some way, and we seem to like, the flood happened there a season before, and slow up a season before it did out there, too. The numbers started coming up a little bit earlier on, it was a solid three years though, in Colorado.

 

Justin: Yeah, for sure. Well, it just took longer. It took longer. Yeah.

 

Chip: Right.

 

Justin: And it’s a different curve but no, it’s definitely – 

 

Chip: [inaudible 31:00].

 

Justin: You brought up the outdoor. You bought an outdoor, we’re talking production, we’re talking where, who produces for what, so what’s up with all these fires, and what’s going on –

 

Chip: Oh man, everybody [inaudible 31:13].

 

Justin: How’s that going to affect the industry?

 

Chip: Dude, I’m telling you all the ganja from, I’m not saying all, but a shitload of the ganja producing region in the country just got burned.

 

Justin: Even if it didn’t actually get burned down, did it – I just read an article about all the grapes in Sonoma and Napa are going to be unusable this year, because they smell like fire. And so they’re, even if the farm didn’t get burnt on, there was so much smoke for such a large amount of time, it’s still happening.

 

Chip: Yeah, fires aren’t new over there. We lived over there for almost 20 years. And yes, some of it is so smoky that it will not sell and then, people have developed an ability to like, get that smoke out in some way, too. I’m not exactly sure how it’s done. But maybe just with the natural aging process, the smoke goes away. I’m not sure if you can extract it with that smoky flavor. I do know that, I mean, I personally know three different people who’ve lost most of their gardens, or all their gardens, right?

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: And it is, as far as my listeners and people that I follow on Facebook and Instagram, multiple farmers have lost their gardens and their infrastructure, and it might not come back next year. 

 

Justin: Right. 

 

Chip: Right. So I mean, this is like, last I checked, I’m not sure if you’re in front of the computer, but this is the August complex, right? It’s what they’re calling it now. And they had several different fires that merged together in August. And it was 100,000 acres, right? Like, that is such a huge area, man. I mean, it spans like, from Santa Rosa all the way up to Hayfork and beyond.

 

Justin: I just was looking at a map yesterday and it’s a huge part of the region there for sure.

 

Chip: It’s a huge part, and that’s not the only fire, that’s just the biggest one. There are other fires throughout California, Southern California. And those coastal regions are where the cannabis is produced, a lot of the hill cannabis, so to speak. Now what this won’t affect are the people that are in, I mean for next year anyway, it won’t affect for all those people in the valleys, and in the “ag land.” A lot of those people were pushed out of the forest area, even though man I mean, fire does not care where you are. And the wind starts to blow, and it moves as fast as the wind blows. And I’ve literally watched it travel what looked like 10 miles to me in the matter of moments.

 

Justin: ‘Cause that’s what we just had in Oregon here. And it did affect a lot of the, a bunch of marijuana guys, and hemp guys.

 

Chip: Southern Oregon’s huge, had a huge fire too.

 

Justin: Huge fire, but the one we had up here by Portland was big too, and it caused some problems. And same sort of thing you’re just saying, we had a big windstorm, which normally doesn’t happen until like November, December once it’s rainy. It happened starting the day after Labor Day, and basically there was already a fire going, and it wasn’t that big and then we got these like, hundred mile an hour winds up in the mountains coming down into the valley. And it moved, the one fire moved 20 miles to 12 hours. 

 

Chip: Wow.

 

Justin: Yeah. So –

 

Chip: Man, that was just big.

 

Justin: I’m concerned about that even just the size of some hemp fields and they look fine, but you just, I didn’t get, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It was so smoky here, and the air quality was like, as bad as it can get, you don’t even want to be outside. So, what did that do to the outdoor cannabis plants, hemp or whatever the, you know. We know them to be a sponge, we know them to be bioremediators of some level. So is the, are those plants going to be infected, or toxic, or have heavy metals, or some other thing from being smoked out for about seven or eight days here in Oregon? So even if you weren’t close to the fire and didn’t get hit that way, you lost sunlight production really because there was this weird sepia filter going on for the last eight days. And all the plants just stopped growing. Yeah, all the plants just sort of stopped growing, everything, like, everything stopped growing. 

 

Chip: [inaudible 36:10] max CO2.

 

Justin: Yeah. So, it’ll be interesting to see what that just did to these plants. And maybe they got cleaned up. Because that went away and the weather’s been good. And they’ve had some good, maybe they were able to well still –

 

Chip: Well if there’s enough time, if there’s enough time before harvest, the plants outgrow it.

 

Justin: Sure.

 

Chip: Right? And, and but if you’re harvesting right at –

 

Justin: It’s different if it got rained out on you. Right. 

 

Chip: If you’re harvesting right at the smoke, right? Like, if the fire is at your house, if you’re under that sepia layer we’re talking about, and it is the harvest season, you’re going to be the most affected, unfortunately. And maybe you’ve got some technique or something that we’d love to hear about here on The Real Dirt, let us know. Man, that’s just is hard. When it’s just smoke, and you’re harvesting your weed.

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: Oh, I’ve been there, man. 

 

Justin: You guys didn’t have any fire problems in Oklahoma right?

 

Chip: Fire season comes like fall and winter for us. That’s the dry season.

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: That’s because – but last year, there was some fires and fires happened here. They put up fire warnings, do not burn warnings. It’s windy, lots of grassland, it’s dry. The trees are small, comparatively. 

 

Justin: Definitely sounds like there’ll be a shortage of, there’s gonna be some sort of shortage for the suppliers. 

 

Chip: It is going to affect the demand. And it was already, demand was already up. So, demand is not going anywhere. It’s going to keep going up, just prediction. And supply, man, we just lost a huge chunk of the supply. And I mean, I’ll tell you, Oklahoma didn’t have the best outdoor growing year this year. If you were trying to pull before October, it was rough. It was humid and rainy throughout the state. Colorado, they had that early freeze this year. 

 

Justin: Oh, yeah. 

 

Chip: So their outdoor, their outdoor, like, it was diminished by that. Sure, some people have survived and a chunk of people lost out over that. On the East Coast, it was also a little bit more humid and wet, more hurricanes came through this year than any year before. So I think the overall outdoor production for 2020 is gonna be low. Combined with COVID, with all the new farms not being able to get the supplies, the materials, the people, the employees out to the garden, this is a really great year to be involved in cannabis. I predict that the price will initially dip as outdoor, what is comes into place, and everybody floods the market. And then between December and January, most of that will have run through the marketplace. And then the price will increase. Currently here in Oklahoma, there’s indoor weed between $3 and $3600. 

 

Justin: Yep. 

 

Chip: Right? Wholesale. This is of a similar nature in California. In Colorado, it’s cheaper, but  2800 bucks, $2600, that’s all going to go up next year, right? The wholesale price of weed is gonna go up. Fortunately for you listeners and consumers out there, generally the end user price doesn’t go up terrible. No, you guys are gonna, you guys are going to continue to pay $10 to $20 a gram, $40 to $60 and eight, right? And that’s been going on since 1996.

 

Justin: Yes, it has. Well, that’s good. Yeah, the consumer price is, well, and they might go up a little bit. Or you might see the higher end cannabis become a little bit more expensive, and maybe the quality of the lower priced stuff is not quite the same, right? You see a little gap, a bigger gap there.

 

Chip: Yeah, absolutely, man. It’s a good year to be in it. I’m glad I am. Things are good. We’ve had a better year than ever at my grow stores and with Growers Coco fiber.  More people than ever are growing cannabis.

 

Justin: When’s Oklahoma going recreational?

 

Chip: Oklahoma.

 

Justin: Yeah, when’s that going out? 

 

Chip: I just said some Chip’s predictions, okay, here’s the other, here’s more of Chip’s predictions. I think sometime next year, it’ll be introduced into legislation. I think it’ll be a legislative movement here. If it’s 2021, and they’re just gonna push it over to recreational 2022. Maybe –

 

Justin: Right. No vote, no public vote?

 

Chip: No. 

 

Justin: Just go to dispute the laws downtown, and get it, and then pass it?

 

Chip: Yeah, I think that’s what gonna happen.

 

Justin: We’re gonna see more of that as the country goes that way, it doesn’t necessarily gonna have to go to a big statewide vote. And in which, if they feel like everybody is good with it, and you trust your local congressperson and representatives to do, then it works.

 

Chip: Yeah, absolutely. Maybe it moves to 2023, if it has to be a voter sponsored initiative here, that might occur. But as far as yeah, recreate or adult use I would prefer to call it, I’m [inaudible 41:46] for 2022. 2022! Yeah, I mean, who knows? Who knows what’s gonna happen with the economy and the recession and, and everything. It’s incredible how like, because we’ve kept all of our spending and whatnot, internal, and everybody’s just like, sitting at home, and buying stuff online, and saving money, and not doing stuff. And it’s, our economy ain’t so bad right now. I mean, the stock market’s holding its own, banking hasn’t crashed, people are still buying houses. I mean, I know there’s a bunch of people out there hurting right now, and I’m sorry to hear it if you are, man. I know it. But like, it’s weird that to me, that just a little bit of stay at home, a little bit of government sponsored cash, has really kept this country floating, man.  I don’t even know what’s going on.

 

Justin: Yeah, well, people definitely are smoking more cannabis. 

 

Chip: Absolutely. ‘Cause unemployed people smoke more weed. That is a 100% a fact. Every time I’ve been unemployed, I’ve smoked more weed. How about you?

 

Justin: Yeah. Oh, for sure. I think that it’s also, if you’re stuck at home, and you’re dealing with this pandemic and everything, it’s a smarter choice. If you’re bored, and you’re not going out. I mean, the thing about alcohol and how social it is, is that maybe you go out two or three times a week, and maybe it’s a happy hour with some work colleagues, or you’re meeting some friends over here, and have a couple beers.

 

Chip: You might say, fuck it. 

 

Justin: Well, people don’t necessarily feel the same about just sitting at home every day chugging three, four beers, bored by yourself. So we’re, because it just the social aspect. So but, sitting at home and packing a bowl, I think it’s more tangible in the situation, in the current situation, right?

 

Chip: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. And Netflix is like, I mean, weed and Netflix has been the number one way people have billed their time this past six months.

 

Justin: That I mean, I gotta admit, I got my kids the Nintendo Switch, and I found some games that I enjoy on there that are kind of fun. I didn’t see myself playing Super Mario Brothers at my age, but hey, it’s something you can catch a buzz, sit there and do that for 20 or 30 minutes. I mean, I don’t, I’m not promoting gaming as a full time job or anything, but you got to find some different home enjoyment. And people have been putting time and effort into their home gardens, and hopefully people have been, grew some extra, grew some cannabis plants at home if it’s legal in your state, just because you spent less time running around town and doing stuff away from the home front this year, and I think next year will be similar so.

 

Chip: Absolutely. I think people are going to stay at home more. I think that people are going to grow their own at home more. I think that throughout the country now, it’s legal to grow your own, and accepted to grow your own even if it might not be legal where you are. That people are going to sit home, man. They’re going to grow some weed, the amount of weed that enters the marketplace isn’t going to be, isn’t going to meet the demand. We’re not gonna have an oversaturation. I could be wrong, but that’s my prediction. There’s gonna be a lot of first time weed growers this year because of this, right? 

 

Justin: Well, it’s been good catching up here.

 

Chip: Yeah man.

 

Justin:   Some different topics, and jumping around a little bit but –

 

Chip: Once again – 

 

Justin: Hopefully, you can turn this into a good a good podcast.

 

Chip: How we’re just throwing it all out there these days, Justin.

 

Justin: I know. Hey, you know –

 

Chip: [inaudible 45:47] The Real Dirt is we just throw it out. 

 

Justin: We need to do an episode, we did it years ago where we were, we just prank called a bunch of people and did like, a 10 minute check-ins.

 

Chip: We should prank, we should do Justin, Chip and Justin prank call. Okay, we’ll schedule that one up next up.

 

Justin: Yeah, let’s do that again. That was fun, just check in with a bunch of people. But otherwise, it’s harvest time here in Oregon. The hemp plants are coming down, we’re here, we’ve had decent weather after all that smoke. But we got a rainy weekend going on now, and then a little bit more dryness coming, and so people are scrambling. I got a call the other day, and somebody needed help harvesting 50 acres of hemp so, it’s going down. And we’ll see, we’ll know here in the next six weeks how it all ends, I suppose.

 

Chip: Well thanks for the call again, Justin. Thanks for joining us on The Real Dirt. 

 

Justin: Always a pleasure. 

 

Chip: And thank you for listening. This has been The Real Dirt podcast with Chip Baker and Justin Jones. If you enjoyed this episode, you can download others at iTunes and Spotify. We’re The Real Dirt podcast. Please, please, please subscribe. Hey man, thanks for joining me. You guys have a great rest of your day. Later.

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The Science of Breeding Triploid Cannabis

The Science of Breeding Triploid Cannabis

the science of cannabis cultivation

Justin Jones has been in the cannabis industry since the very beginning.

He opened the first ever recreational cannabis dispensary in Colorado, Dank Dispensary in Denver. Justin has been a leader in the legal cannabis industry for close to a decade, and now he’s taking over the hemp industry too.

It’s not so simple for most to transition from traditional cannabis cultivation to hemp cultivation. When you know the science of the plant and how to cultivate it to get the results you want, you can create some incredible strains and genetics.

The evolving science of cannabis and hemp cultivation

Justin made his transition from cannabis to hemp when the Farm Bill passed in 2018, making hemp legal at the federal level. This legalization has given farmers and researchers the resources they need to study hemp more thoroughly without government intervention.

Through his research Justin has been able to develop triploid hemp plants, or sterile male plants put simply. Traditionally hemp and cannabis are diploid plants which means that a male can pollinate a female and produce seeds.

But diploid and triploids are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to science of cannabis cultivation.

Plant science, patents and more

In this episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, Justin and Chip get into the real dirt of cannabis science and how changing techniques are producing stronger, better cannabis and hemp strains and what that means for the future of the industry.

Roll it up, spark it up and check out this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast!

Follow Dank Dispensary and High Grade Hemp

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Transcript

Chip: Hey, this is The Real Dirt podcast. I’m here with Justin Jones today, Real Dirt, Sunday morning dirt. How you doing, Justin?

 

Justin: I’m good. I’m good, Chip. Just got the sun peeking out here coming up, gonna have a nice rainy day here in Oregon. It helped tamp out some of these fires that we’ve had, to help wrap up the end of the harvest here, end of the year.

 

Chip: Yeah, man, we’ve hit the dry season down here in Oklahoma. The fall and winter are drier, that’s when we have our fire seasons. It’s almost perfect for harvesting cannabis, because it just starts to get dry around first of October. So if you’re lucky enough to be harvesting in October, November, December, those are really good months for you down here.

 

Justin: We call those fine finishing days.

 

Chip: Fine, there’s fine finishing days. And if you’re finishing in the next 10 days here in Oklahoma, which many people are, wow man, you’re gonna do really well.

 

Justin: That’s good. I just was talking to some friends up in western Colorado and they were finishing everything over there and pulling it down out in the Paonia areas. Good value for grown cannabis there in Colorado, maybe the only real value for growing out there in Colorado.

 

Chip: We’ve had a couple opportunities to move down to Paonia. I wish I could have more time to explore that during our time in Colorado. You know, Paonia was the first like, namebrand weed I would ever, I ever heard of.

 

Justin: They had a purple or something back in the day.

 

Chip: Oh, yeah, yeah. Paonia Purple. Peabuds, peabuds.

 

Justin: That was the pea bud, yeah. And they lost it, nobody’s got it. Some people claim they still, but no one’s seen it for a long time.

 

Chip: Yeah, you know, that’s what happens with a lot of the famous strains. That’s why like, I call bullshit on anybody wanting to harvest I mean, hold on to their strains. Few people have the overall impact to make a strain happen. And the only way that it happens is through volume of buds produced. And few people can drive that demand, you know what I mean?

 

Justin: I totally do. And you know, as far as that goes, Matt Deckel, good friend of ours told me about this a while back. Years ago, we started doing that. And so you know, our favorite strains, we don’t just keep them and try to hoard them. We kind of to pair them, let other people enjoy them, and then also backup your cuts. So if you get a bad bug infestation, and you got to [inaudible 2:33] some stuff, or somebody kills your plants, or you know, there’s lots of things can happen. And this way you can start over, and go get your, go get your favorite strains back in your library. So got to back that up.

 

Chip: Of course, you got to hold on to them. I guess my real, my question is or point is, do you have a strain that’s been a popular, long standing strain in your shop?

 

Justin: For sure. We definitely do.

 

Chip: What is it? What is it?

 

Justin: I would say we’ve got a Chemdog, we had a Chem before that we’ve had for 10 years. It always sells, everybody loves it. We’ve got one of the old school, old school Sour Diesel strains –

 

Chip: Is that the original, because –

 

Justin: Yeah, the original for sure.

 

Chip: Here’s my point, is you’ve got Chemdog and Sour D. And people come there and buy it at Dayton, Colorado. Do you think they would be as possible if there weren’t millions of other pounds of Chemdog and Sour D being grown in the past 20 years?

 

Justin: I think that that’s, plays a major role. And I think that strains because where we’ve come from and where we still are in most places, but where we’re coming from and moving towards with legalization, people at least now know that they’re getting something that’s repeatable. And so you know, back in the day it gets, and that’s where Chemdog came from, right? Somebody bought an ounce of weed at a Grateful Dead concert. There was 10 seeds in the bag. It was the best pot they ever smoked, they had the seeds, they started planting them, right? And so, they don’t really know what that cannabis was. You have no idea you know, you’d sell whatever they said on the street when you bought it and –

 

Chip: It was kind [inaudible 4:16] back then. Back then it was –

 

Justin: KD, yeah. It was just KD, it was just nine Mexican bud. And you know, at the end of the day, now we have, can enjoy the fact that you can say this is Chemdog Four. And then, you can grow it. You can grow it the same way every time and put it out there. And so people that like it that can go and buy it, and get the same thing. And if they’re, you know I, it was really dawned on me about 10 years ago when I started my medical marijuana company in Denver. I had a patient with Crohn’s, really bad Crohn’s. And he told me one time, “The worst thing about Crohn’s  is that I’ll find some cannabis that works and it literally will cure my Crohn’s, but I have no idea what it is. I bought it on the street. I don’t know what strain it is.” They could, it could be the name they said or not. And he said, “It’s almost worse for me to find the bag that like, cures my Crohn’s, because I know I’m going to run out and I can’t go get the same stuff again.” For us back then, the Durbin poison that we grew, and we still grow, it was a cure for him. And all of a sudden this guy’s like, “Well, I can get the same thing every month, cures my Crohn’s, and  now I’m not so stressed out about finding the right medical cannabis.”

 

Chip: Man, and Chemdog’s not the easiest one to grow either. To make it consistent and look great, it’s not easy.

 

Justin: Not necessarily. I think it’s easier than some of the other gassy strains that we’ve seen come out of the skunk lines. But where did the Skunk No. 1 go? That’s what I want to know.

 

Chip: Oh man, you know, you can still get it. I mean, I bought some seeds several years ago from Sensi Seeds, it’s still, you can get it. It’s still there. I mean, the European Skunk one is.

 

Justin: Well, the real answer to that question is that it’s everywhere, because it was used in pretty much all the background breeding going on for the last 30 years. So, if you look at the data on strains, pretty much everything that’s got any gas to it’s coming out of Skunk somewhere.

 

Chip:  Yeah, you know, I’ve grown these perfect Diesel buds in the past and I’ve also grown a fair amount of Skunk 1 and Super Skunk. And the Diesel really does have a Super Skunk look, that’s for sure.

 

Justin:  We’re in the world of hybrids now, you know? So, it’s, you never know.

 

Chip:  Well, they’re all hybrids, man. You know, it’s a big conversation we’ve been having about indica, and sativa, and hybrids and we just call it all hybrids now. We’re never going to convince people that cannabis sativa is just hemp and that cannabis with THC in it is indica. Oh, I shouldn’t say never. It’s going to take a few years before people like, start talking, stop talking about cannabis in terms of indica and sativa.

 

Justin:  Well, and as we get some more science involved, I think that’ll help, where the hemp industry is seeing some help from real science, or university science. I just tested a bunch of new hybrids that we’re working on in the hemp side of things. You know, I’m able to take those cannabis samples right over to Oregon State University, drop the leaf samples off, get the test that I need to get done. And you know, that was not available before, you know, a year and a half ago, and really a year ago. And so, it’s still mostly unavailable to marijuana growers, but it’s coming, you know? And as we move along with legalization, I think that we’ll be able to get the science and the real agricultural science guys, those that’ll become something we can use in the cannabis and the marijuana side of cannabis as we are now starting to in the hemp. But that also says, “Hey, what’s going to happen to these marijuana genetics over the next few years if that kind of science becomes more available? And what are we going to see, are the strains going to get better?” Right now there’s a bunch of hemp breeding going on where you’re taking and making triploid hemp plants, and the vigor and the production on these plants is 20 to 40% more than their same diploid siblings. And so what’s that mean, when you kind of start changing the science on the breeding? And using modern techniques, and really not even the modern techniques, just using the traditional plant breeding techniques?

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean –

 

Justin:  To get better plants?

 

Chip:  Diploid, it’s been around for a minute. I mean, people have talked about this for a bit, diploid, triploid. Why don’t you explain that? You’ve been doing a little bit of this with hemp?

 

Justin:  Right, right. 

 

Chip:  I’ve heard, it’s read about the amount of time. David Clark’s book, Marijuana Botany, I think. It was written in the 70s. So it’s not new science.

 

Justin:  No, no, this is not new. And you know, this is not also not necessarily considered GMO either. And that’s another conversation that now we’ve had to have in the hemp industry. Is your hybrid GMO? And is the techniques that we use to feminize seeds in the hemp industry a GMO process or not? And so that’s, and there’s another whole, a whole section of talking.

 

Chip:  Do you have, is there a thirty second disclaimer you have for GMO?

 

Justin: Well, I mean, GMO doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. And you know, there’s obviously people or companies that have used GMO in what I’d like to say a Dr. Evil and I’ll put my pinky in the corner by mouth. You know, if you use GMO to spray poison on plants that won’t kill them and it’ll kill the weeds, then you know, that’s maybe kind of Dr. Evil-ish. But GMO, the GMO process has also done some amazing things for us like anybody that you know that’s a type two diabetic that’s got an insulin dependent thing going on, GMO’s the reason those guys can live a fairly normal life. That’s where they’ve found those, that medicine. So anyways, back to the cannabis side of things on the hemp, you know, what we’re seeing is, you know, lots of different breeding techniques. And so all of a sudden, we can get a triploid and what are the triploids? So your standard cannabis plant is diploid, diploid, diploid, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, I’m a stoner. So you have a diploid patch. What you do to make a triploid, which the reason we’re trying to make triploids is because they are a sterile plant that will not get the seed, so they are not able to be impregnated by pollen and create a seed. And on the same side of things, you’re also hoping that the pollen that would be produced from those plants might not work to inspect another plant to create – 

 

Chip:  Sterile, sterile male?

 

Justin:  Yes. And so, and even if you get a, even if you get a hermaphrodite –

 

Chip:  They do this with other crops, right? Like,

 

Justin:  Well, this is revolutionary for hops. One of the big reasons that the beer industry has gotten just insane in the last 30 years, just because they came up with the seed was hops. I think it was in the Willamette hops from here in Oregon, where the, it was the first variety of seedless. And what that allowed the farmer to do is push the crop out and harvest it when it’s truly ready, and at its full potential. But in hops to do that, you’re risking it going to seed and if your hops go to seed, you get like, a dime on the dollar, okay? So the seedless hops allowed the hops farmer to get bigger production, bigger, you know, more hops per acre and better hops, without accidentally screwing it up and blending. So –

 

Chip: And this started in the 50’s, 60’s, do you know?

 

Justin:  No, I think the first seedless hops that came out of Oregon State and it was, I think it was more like closer to the 80, early 80’s. So the seedless hops was something that came out of Oregon State and Oregon State developed that original Willamette, I believe, the Willamette hops. And they made that available through the public as you know, the fact that Oregon State’s a land grant university. And so that allowed other hops breeders to go and start breeding projects to seedless. Anyways, what you do here with hemp is, we’re going for this triploid so that we don’t have seeds in the crop. And that way, you can grow whatever you want on your plot of land. And I can be right across the street and I can still grow some [inaudible 12:55] essential oil cannabis for CBD or CBG production, these sort of things. And so, you know, as the industry matures, that’s going to become something that we want to see. And even if you’re in the Midwest, where there’s a lot of rogue hemp, and rogue male cannabis plants, you could still grow seedless oil crop, right? Right. But it takes a long time and you know, you can’t skirt the fact that it just takes a certain amount of days to grow plants out, and then cross breed them, and then grow them back out, and test them, and check them, and regrow, test them and test them and you know, all these things. So, I’ve been working on that now. 

 

Chip: And the flowers there is, they do have, or reported to, reportedly to be larger and more vigorous triploid cannabis, right? Correct? 

 

Justin:  Yes, the plants we’re seeing, even if we just look at them from early stage, bigger, it’s just unbelievable. Then I’m hearing 30 to 40% more production, save your buds, less flowers, less leaves, more this, and your ratio of a usable commodity off of a plant versus you know, on a triploid looks like you’re gonna have a lot more sellable weed. 

 

Chip:  Yeah, absolutely.

 

Justin:  And you have no seeds in there, so you know, nobody wants to process seeds, because it does something weird to the oil. And then they have to go through it and remediate that. So basically, you know, as a farmer, you’re trying to produce the best material for the person that wants to buy it. And so, in the past, we’ve kind of been like, “Any material produced is fine, because there’s not enough.” Now, we’re getting to like, “Who’s going to produce the best material? What farmers are going to grow it, and then get it into the right form?” And if you don’t have to deal with seeds, and if you’ve got 30% more flower mass over your stems, all these things are exactly what we need the plants to do. But we’re also going to hopefully start seeing this creep into the marijuana side of things. And as I think as some of the genetics, cannabis genetics hemp guys are looking at, how can we start to look at this over at the marijuana side also? So that when we do get a lab, when we can go get on a flow spectrometer machines and test the ploidy level of a plant, and see if it’s a diploid or a tetraploid, or a triploid. You know, we’re gonna see this enter over into the marijuana thing. And maybe some of these old genetics that start to delve out over time from clonal, from over cloning and just being, you know, in that world, we can revive some of these things. And then, you know, again, you know, is it GMO, isn’t it GMO? I mean, you know, truthfully, if you’re not using marker assisted breeding, you know, I’m looking at it that way, you’re still using it, you’re still using your brain, and your eyes, and your nose to –

 

Chip:  Map. Map. 

 

Justin:  Yeah, to select strains or select –

 

Chip:  And that’s traditional breeding, right?

 

Justin: Right, right.

 

Chip:  Hey, man, this summer, we grew a bunch of autoflowers, you know. This is my first like, big autoflower year. We planted out cumulatively about 20,000 autoflower seeds this year, all different types, all bunch of different vendors. And man, I’ll tell you, we got some product from Mephisto Genetics, Three Bears, OG, and they don’t pay me to say any of this, guys [inaudible 16:28]. But we all, everyone who saw this plant were like, “Wow, that’s like genetically modified weed? Like, what the fuck is that?” Because, you know, one, like in 65 days, it’s done. But there’s literally no leaf on these flowers. It’s the perfect cannabis for extraction. It was all bred with traditional techniques. And I mean, 20 years ago, I saw a big bud that looked very similar, right? These huge buds with just a little bit of leaf on them, you know? And that was bred traditionally, as well. That was straight [inaudible 17:06] seed’s product and now they’re Skunk product. But you don’t have to have genetically modified, or use genetically modified technology to breed superior cannabis. You can use science, our current observations with plants, math, additional techniques, all of these things have worked for hundreds of years.

 

Justin:  And even the work that we’ve been doing in the last year, you can really, you don’t necessarily need the university level agricultural science lab, but it makes things faster and better. And here’s the example. When you’re looking for tetraploids, and you’re doing a pheno hunt, but you’re looking for a tetraploid, not a diploid, you look at the size of the stomata, and the shape of the stomata on the leaf. So if you use a nice microscope, like a $200 microscope these days, and these are all, all these microscopes plugged right into your computer, and you can go in and capture your screenshots and look at things. 

 

Chip: Oh sick, man, we just got one. Like, I was gonna get one for the clone nursery, so anybody can look at any of the clones or any of the weed, make sure there’s no mold or mildew or PM or any bug, or anything. It’s right there on the counter, $200. 

 

Justin:  Great, yeah, look at it. And so what we’re doing, is we’re actually taking and looking at the size, and measuring the size and the shape of the stomata to see, and that can tell us what the ploidy is on it, okay? So when you’re hunting for a tetraploid, you’re looking for a different,  a less round stomata, and also the size of stomata is bigger. And so –

 

Chip:  Like how, that’s two, three times bigger, you know, how much bigger?

 

Justin:  From what we were working on, the microscope that we had was measuring in pixels. And I don’t even know what, we don’t even give a shit what that prize is. Because what we are doing to say, “Okay, this is a, this has this stomata is 70 pixels. This is 80. This one’s 100. This one’s 110, this one’s 60.” And what we’re looking at, first of all, we’re looking at stomatas that don’t have a perfectly round shape, first of all. That’s a first indicator that it could be a tetraploid. The problem is most of it falls in the 70 to 90 zone, okay? And so you know, you start to, so what we would do is we would use the microscope to get a bunch of the work done, and to measure and know. And then we would send all those samples to the lab and find out, yeah, that is not a tetraploid. That is maybe a tetraploid. That is a tetraploid. And then you know, then you get that data back and you start to say, “Okay, I can probably guarantee anything above these 90 pixels is a tetraploid.” But when you’re breeding and you don’t, you know, and you can’t get back the time that it takes. You want to know for sure. So you don’t waste six months on something that turns out, you’re wrong. And so, you get your tetraploid stock and then you start breeding with those plants. And I guess in layman’s terms, they have six sets of DNA. That’s why is it tetraploid, and then a diploid has two. And so, when you hybrid the two, six divided by two becomes three and that’s your triploid. And then those because of the three sets, DNA cannot make babies. Collect the donkey and the horse, make a mule, right? But then a mule can never replicate, the mules are optional.

 

Chip:  Oh, the mule cannabis, Justin Jones, we’re talking about genetics, random other thing, but mostly –

 

Justin:  Yeah, well, I finally got that –

 

Chip:  It’s all about the ganja.

 

Justin:  I finally got that ganja rolled up here for the Sunday morning smokedown but –

 

Chip:  Oh, what are you smoking? What are you smoking on?

 

Justin:  Sherbadough from Archive.

 

Chip:  Sherbadough, that’s Sherbert and Do-Si-Do, right?

 

Justin:  Yeah, you know, the boys are like, “I’d love to hit that, hit everything with the Do-Si-Do.”

 

Chip:  Oh, yeah. I just planted out a huge pheno selection of Archive Do-Si-Do crosses, Fletcher over there’s got always running some R&D. And he had a new Do-Si-Do male or a new Do-Si-Do donor he was using for his feminized line. And these guys, Sherbert Do-Si crossed with Do-Si-Do. Diesel, OG Face Off, T-1000, Tangie, Lemon G, Skittles all crossed  with the, that new Do-Si-Do donor. So we’re excited about it, they look great. 

 

Justin:  That’s good. I’m sitting here, I’ve got, I’m talking about you know, breeding and hybrids. I’ve got a Gorilla Glue 4 here from Archive that I grew. And then I also have a Duct Tape, which is Gorilla Glue 4 divided by the Do-Si-Do. And so to see like just the pure Gorilla Glue 4, and then right next to it, you know, it’s sister, or, you know, half sister, whatever, whatever with the Do-Si-Do. They’re very similar, but yet very different on the terpene profile. That Do-Si-Do gives everything just a little something I don’t know, that’s more magical. It’s different, it’s better.

 

Chip: It’s bigger. It’s bigger, for sure. It is better. And yeah, I’m really excited about it, man. You know, we’ve planted out of 2,500 of those seeds, and I’m going to have an incredible Do-Si-Do out of it all. I’ll be able to pick the Do-Si-Do. And I’m looking for the hybrids too but, man, it’s exciting just to see it all. That’s for sure. Right now I like the Do-Si-Do Face Off and the Do-Si-Do SFP backcrosses the best. If you think about it, those are almost all just like BX backcrosses, because the Face Off is in the Do-Si-Do. And then cross it back to the Face Off and cross it back to the SFP.

 

Justin:  Well I’ll tell you what. The marijuana breeders right now need to get hip, start trying to work on protecting their IP if they have it. Because that’s going to be the next thing once we get some sort of federal legalization, and guys want to become the next Sierra Nevada of marijuana or the next Two Buck Chuck or whatever. People are going to start going to war over their genetics and I’ve even had conversations with some guys in California that already want to start working on a Mendocino hamlet. And you know, Humboldt hamlet –

 

Chip:  Yeah, the Appalachian, the Appalachian is definitely starting to grow in ideology. Yeah, you know, Calculator right now, famous MAC line. He is upset that clone dealers are dealing his MAC 1 strain. He claims just recently on his Instagram channel that he’s going after some major clone producers in California for selling his MAC 1. I don’t believe he really has any legs to stand on currently, because there’s not going to be a court that’s going to enforce it. And you know, also just because like he claims to own a plant, doesn’t mean he owns anything, right?

 

Justin: No and it’s going to come down to the processes too. And so, there’s a popular hemp breeder here in Oregon and they’ve already got that patents filed on a bunch of things. And one of their patent pendings is on crossing autoflower genetics into full term photo plants. And so, if that patent gets issued, anybody into choosing that process will have to pay them some money. Maybe, right? I mean, everything has to be, try to be enforced. But at the end of the day, they’re saying that they own the rights to cross a ruderalis with a, you know, cannabis sativa or whatever, and get that early hybrid.

 

Chip:  Yeah, this is Phylos. Phylos – 

 

Justin:  No, no, it’s not that one. Were filed that is Oregon CBD.

 

Chip:  Oregon CBD. But Phylos, they have a couple similar, similar thing going on, right?

 

Justin:  Phylos has been collecting data on the different strains of cannabis and trying to relate them to each other to say, “Okay, you have a -“

 

Chip:  Oh, okay. So Phylos was not involved with the autoflower?

 

Justin:  Well, where they could become involved in is to who has the real, true, earliest version of a strain? And so there’s a, you know, let’s just say Jack Herer, okay it’s famous person and also a strain.

 

Chip:  Yep.

 

Justin:  If somebody wants to say, look, in order for you to say that that’s Jack Herer, it’s gotta A, be this, 123. This terpene profile stand, it’s got to be grown in Mendo or in this Hamlet, right? So they’ve done that with wine, obviously. If you grow your grapes in Washington, you can’t call it champagne. You gotta call it spark, white, sparkling, because it didn’t come from France. You’re gonna see that play out. Part of what Phylos is trying to do is they try to find those oldest, earliest grandparent genetics, or who’s  got the oldest clone that’s not, you know, whatever. We’ll see. We’ll see how, but there’s already people trying to patent. And I don’t think anybody’s trying to patent Sour Diesel, I think.

 

Chip:  Well, cause if you can patent cannabis sativa strains, you can patent hemp.

 

Justin:  They’re trying to patent the processes to feminize. So if you spray a certain type of silver on your plants, then to get a feminized pollen, and then you’re using that in your breeding, that that would be infringement on their IP. So again –

 

Chip:  Yeah, the plant’s gotta stand up in court and somebody has to enforce them and sure.

 

Justin:  Well sure, but I’m just saying that you know, hemp has become you know, fully legal before marijuana. It’s you’re seeing it already, the –

 

Chip:  Oh, there’s already a patent with hemp. There’s a hemp, or hemp people have already received patents for hemp, right?

 

Justin:  I believe so. I would say probably yes, but –

 

Chip:  Charles Webb. Those guys, they got a patent. They were the first people to get a patent.

 

Justin:  Probably.

 

Chip:  Yeah, totally. I’m sure others have by now. It’s a little weird thing to do, but yeah, go file for a patent if you think you got special shit. Then go sue everybody who uses your special shit without your permission. I guess that would do it, right? Mostly, I don’t really have special shit, though. It’s just normal weed that’s hype.

 

Justin:  Well, it comes down to this. The best advice I could give any of these breeders and I’m not a breeder, we’re messing around with some stuff for fun. And maybe it turns out to be something, you know – 

 

Chip:  We’re messing around with stuff for fun. How many seeds you got in your seed vault right now? Can you count?

 

Justin:  I don’t know. A couple hundred, 300. You know, at the end of the day though, what I you know, the people that have been breeding in the marijuana side of things, you know, whether you’re the guys that wear the funny sunglasses and the fake mustaches at the Emerald cup, or not, because you’re trying to not necessarily be above you know, or be out in the public eye. You’ve gotta start getting into the science and you gotta team up with somebody with some sort of trust. Well, if you don’t go the bioscience routes, you’ll wake up and realize that the guys that did go that route, and jump you, and go five years ahead of you in a short amount of time. You can be scared of that, and I’ve seen them be scared of going that direction because of you know, just that Dr. Evil science side of things. But boy, a lot of knowledge out there that’s never been applied to cannabis from you know, from our modern world of agriculture. So yeah, find some science buddies if you’re out there breeding and, you know, try to figure out how to do all these things. Because even just getting your genetics into a tissue culture lab, you know, and having them clean them up and do all these things, that can take like up to a year.

 

Chip:  Yeah, no shit. Right.

 

Justin:  And so you can’t you know, if you wait too long, and then say, “Hey, we really do need to take this clone that we’ve been using forever and get it cleaned.” It takes a while. So in California, I think there’s a lot of bioscience companies and people are starting to jump in on the marijuana side of things. But until it’s federally legal, you really won’t get the doors opened all the way. But those who have already started something will be ahead.

 

Chip:  Well, it’s been another fine episode with Justin Jones. Thanks for joining us, Justin.

 

Justin:  Yeah, thank you, Chip. Great talking to you. We got off on some tangents there with the genetics and other things, but that was fun. And we’ll circle back and produce more sense of that some other day.

 

Chip:  Yeah, absolutely. If you’re like this episode, or interested in others, please download it at the iTunes. We are The Real Dirt podcast. Also look us up on Spotify, and you can check us out therealdirt.com Hey, remember, if you’re ever looking for soil or soilless growing mediums, check out growerscoco.com, ask for them in your local store. And if you’re cruising online one day interested in buying some hydroponic or indoor supplies, look at cultivatecolorado.com. This has been The Real Dirt. Love y’all.

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The Devastation of the California Forest Fires on Cannabis Farms

The Devastation of the California Forest Fires on Cannabis Farms

california forest fires and cannabis farms

There’s a saying that cannabis farmers have to protect their crop from three things; pests, people and police. But California farmers can add fires to that list too.

Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators has been a featured guest on The Real Dirt Podcast more than once, and he’s a personal friend to Chip. We’ve talked with Jeff about his grow practices, growing organic, California craft cannabis…but now we’re talking about a different topic.

Little Hill Cultivators in located right in the valley of the Emerald Triangle in northwestern California, and it’s also right in the center of the raging California forest fires that have been destroying the state for the last few months. Now, the fire is making its way to Jeff’s doorstep.

With minimal support from local firefighters due to their secluded location, Jeff and his team have been on their own to deal with the biggest fires in California’s history as they burn through thousands of acres and put thousands of cannabis farms at risk.

In this exclusive, last-minute episode of The Real Dirt, Chip and Jeff talk about what’s happening in California right now, why it could be happening, what Little Hill is doing to fight and what the future could hold for Jeff and his farm.

Please follow and support Jeff and Little Hill Cultivators

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The Real Dirt on Permaculture and Cannabis Tourism

The Real Dirt on Permaculture and Cannabis Tourism

permaculture and regenerative cannabis cultivation
Notice: This episode was recorded before the forest fires in California began.

Restorative agriculture is no joke.

As cannabis cultivators, we are all stewards of the environment. Our actions can directly impact our local ecosystems, and as cannabis cultivation spreads across the nation, that impact can grow rapidly.

Restorative agriculture, or permaculture, is the act of farming while trying to prevent as many environmentally harmful practices as possible. Water usage, nutrients, soil beds, and farm design are just some of the aspects that go into restorative cannabis cultivation, and Sol Spirit Farm is doing it all.

Judi Nelson and Walter Wood are the owners of Sol Spirit Farm, a licensed 10k square foot regenerative cannabis farm in Trinity County, CA and Sol Spirit Retreats, a cannabis tourism-focused, farm stay hospitality business. Walter has been cultivating cannabis since 1996, and his passion for improving the environmental footprint of his cannabis cultivation is what drives every cultivation decision.

Judi and Walter started Sol Spirit Retreats in 2019 after meeting a lot of people, even people working in the cannabis industry, who had never seen a cannabis plant growing in the ground under the full sunshine. They wanted to share the experience of being in the Emerald Triangle on a cannabis farm, and show off how regenerative farming, permaculture principles, and appropriate technology can enhance the cannabis we bring to market, while improving the health of our land.

In this episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, Judi and Walter take Chip through their grow processes and how they maintain their restorative cannabis cultivation practices. They also dive in to the new world of cannabis tourism and the many challenges, especially the legal hurdles, that the two had to overcome just to operate.

While still small and driven mostly by word-of-mouth, Sol Spirit Retreats has drawn in a lot of people trying to experience the northern California life. Judi hopes that one day it will be just like a winery and orchard, where visitors won’t just be able to tour, but also taste the cannabis on the farm!

Check out this episode on our new YouTube channel or go to your favorite podcast platform to listen on the go! TRANSCRIPT BELOW

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Sol Spirit Farms

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Transcript

 

Chip: Oh, here we are, The Real Dirt. Today at The Real Dirt, I have some peoples from one of my favorite place in the world, Trinity County, California. Man, Trinity and Humboldt, and along the border there, is one of the most beautiful and rugged places in the world. And I have Judi Nelson and Walter Wood of Sol Spirit Farms and Retreats. Say hey, Judi and Walter.

 

Walter: Hello!

 

Judi: Hey, Chip!

 

Chip: Oh, man, I just love that whole area you guys are in, outside Willow Creek all the way to Hayford. I’ve got some really great friends over there. Little Hill Farms is over there, and man, you guys are just in paradise.

 

Walter: Definitely, definitely. We love it. We have been out there for about 20 years now and I don’t know, we hardly leave. It’s home. It’s a magic place.

 

Chip: So are you guys on the mountain, or the river?

 

Walter : We’re about 300 feet up from the river floor. So we’re just out of the river fog, but at the same time, we’re not up on the hilltop. So it’s a nice kind of in-between. We’re in the valley, but we get about 12 hours of sun so it just works out perfect.

 

Chip: Oh man, it sounds beautiful. Yeah, that river fog can plague you. I lived over in, off the Vandusen for a number of years. Man, the fog just creep right in on you.

 

Walter: I had no idea how bad it was until one day, we just took a little drone up and it was like, 10 o’clock in the morning. We’d been in the sun for hours and the whole valley was fogged in just below our shelf.

 

Chip: Oh yeah, there’s places like that all over. You know I lived in, up in Kneeland right outside Arcata for a number of years. And we’re at the 3500 block, which is 3.5 miles up that hill. And if you went just a half a mile further, you’re gonna have enough fog. Almost every single day like, hours before you know, we got out of the fog.

 

Walter: Luckily, we were living in the area for a few years before we bought the property, and we had a pretty good idea what the [2:18 inaudible] were. Permaculture course really helped nail in what exactly makes a good piece of property for homesteading, and growing some fine medicines.

 

Chip: Well, man, you guys are in the homesteading capital of the world, that’s for sure. And you mentioned permaculture, and you know, we talked about regenerative farming earlier. You guys have a unique cannabis business. You know, many people just have a, they cultivate, or extract, or are packaging something, but you have this cultivation that you integrate with a farm stay. Tell me how that works.

 

Judi: Well, so we have been inviting guests up to the farm. The [2:59 inaudible] as legalization of recreational hemp in California, we started going to a bunch of different trade shows. And it was kind of amazing to meet people who are in the cannabis industry who have never seen a cannabis plant growing in the ground. And it really surprised me, because obviously, we’ve been sort of up in our little bubble here for the past 20 years, and I just didn’t realize it. And so, we just really wanted to be able to bring people like that up, and be like, “Hey, check this out. This is this way that this can be done that’s not taking a lot of resources.” We’re actually trying to make our piece of property and the land that we’re working with in a better state than when we found it. And in order to do that, we have some bell tents, which are these beautiful canvas tents. And people come up, and they generally spend two nights in the tents. And we raise pigs and chickens on the farm, as well as vegetables and fruit, and so we’re able to do farm-to-table meals. And then Walter takes them on a really nice farm tour, and shows them all the different techniques that we’re using. And we usually take them rafting on the Trinity or on the South Fork, depending on what time of year it is. And it’s just been really great, because I think to people who are suffering nature deficit, nature connection deficit, it’s a really rejuvenating experience I think for people.  Especially if they’re coming from a city, to come up and just chill out, smoke some good medicine, and connect with nature. And it’s been really rewarding for us too, and hopefully for them.

 

Chip: That sounds so fun. But you guys don’t have a normal cultivation or I shouldn’t say a normal, but it should be normal. But you guys use permaculture and regenerative farming techniques.  Many people have heard organic or maybe living soil, and those are kind of part of regenerative farming and permaculture a bit. And I know it’s a huge question to ask, but man, can you like, tell me how it applies to cannabis?

 

Walter: Well, we’re working on a whole bunch of different angles and we did this, we have transitioned substantially in the last few years. We were doing the full season plants up until almost legalization, and then we switched over to the light dep, and so we’re getting all that worked out. And so we’ve now got about six and a half thousand square feet of, we got living soil beds which for us that means we don’t till them, we don’t broadfork them or anything. We did originally broadfork them to just loosen them up a little bit, but not to actually turn the soil. There is a living clover cover crop growing year-round, it’s a little bit died back right now, because they were associated out by the ladies on the first round. We just replaced the spot where the plant itself was potted in, or the pot went in into the ground. And so the rest of it’s all connected, all natural, all living. Tilling really disrupts the biology of the soil and releases a lot of CO2 into the air. With this, the clover cover crop, we didn’t have to import any nitrogen this year. All’s we’ve been feeding has been compost fees, most of that’s made with onsite compost, we’ve been doing various KNF type things, which we are importing some sugar to make our nutrients. So that’s just about it. It’s all natural farming, just trying to to make as many nutrients as we can at home to import as little as possible, and just build that soil. 

 

Chip: When you say beds, describe what your beds look like.

 

Walter: Well, so I mean we are on a little bit of a slope. It’s pretty mellow, but it does slope so we went across that hillside.  And when we broadforked it and all that out, we leveled out a six foot bed going across the hillside, it’s tied right into the soil. There’s no cage around it or anything like that, it’s just directly in the earth. And then, we’re going to be putting up some wood edges on the downhill side to just help retain that edge. It’s grown right in the earth. It’s super important to me. We don’t have to feed as much, and the plants have access to what they want. They can make choices, and they’re not stuck in a little tiny soil spot, they have access to the whole area.

 

Chip: What did you have to do to your soil to prep it? What did you add to it at the beginning, and what are kind of the things that you add to it now?

 

Walter: Well, so this year, like I said, we actually, we did not add anything besides wood cover crop (7:50). And then we also did bring in forest duff from the hillside above of the patch. And so we brought in a couple inches of the leaf litter and stuff that’s just starting to break down a little bit, so that brought in our indigenous microorganisms or IMOs, as they’re known sometimes. So we covered the beds with a six inch layer of that which completely covered that clover for a little bit, then that cover crop burst right back through that, and basically just incorporated all of that leaf matter right away. And so previously, when we first did prep those beds, we did bring in some manure. I think that was about it. I’m so scared to bring in even from outside anything because our tests, our flower’s tested to the parts per billion on these pesticides, and what if I’m bringing in some straw or something, and if it were to have something? So we avoid bringing in anything. We like to keep everything from on-site, that way we know it’s clean.

 

Chip: These aren’t like, beds that normal people think of that have wooden sides, their area is that you’ve built in the soil, grown in and added your own ingredients, local ingredients.

 

Walter: Exactly, exactly.

Chip: When you talk to people about cannabis techniques and grow techniques, a bed means so much different, so many different things. You know, in the indoor world, it can mean something, it’s totally different than the outdoor world.

 

Walter: We are directly in the ground for sure.

 

Chip: You’re directly in the ground and you say you do light dep, is it under plastic? Or is it under natural sunlight during the day?

 

Walter: So yeah, we do not have the clear covers on the greenhouses, so they are open to the natural sunlight. It makes it simpler. We don’t need as many fans, things like that, because it is open. And then yeah, we roll down some tarps over it at night, give us the 12 hour cycle.

 

Chip: Oh yeah, absolutely, man. I’m just envisioning your garden here as we’re talking about it. I mean, I’ve been in quite a few Humboldt and Trinity Gardens on the hillside. I feel like I know, I feel like I’ve been to your place before.

 

Walter: One thing that’s a little unusual is each bed is on its own, a foot higher than the next, because it’s sloping down the hillside. So then the bottom of the greenhouse has just some leg extensions to level it out. And so once again, just trying to simplify, keep things as minimal, and environmentally friendly as possible.

 

Chip: That’s the name of the game. And you know, the interesting thing about everything we’re talking about, is there’s no cost in doing this. Like you virtually have, I mean, you have very low input costs. 

 

Walter: Yeah, comparing it to an indoor scene it is very drastically reduced. I would do only two runs a year. So we have very little lighting, very little inputs, and that way, the light dep is significantly more labor I find than the full season was. And you know, just pruning up all these plants and anything when you multiply it by 1800 or 2400 pound a run, all of a sudden like, just a few [11:13 inaudible] here and there adds up.

 

Judi: There is an increased labor cost, you know, you’re just trading going out into the forest and having to collect these inputs. That’s a labor cost, right? So you’re trading maybe some increased labor cost on going out and sourcing the nutrients ourselves compared to like, just going to the store and buying something that somebody else made in a bottle. So it’s a little bit of a trade-off. It’s not like there’s no cost associated. There’s no material cost, but there is a labor cost for sure.

 

Chip: Wait, wait a second. I thought that’s where the farm stay came in. Don’t you have the guests doing that for you?

 

Judi: I gotta make that work out, right? That’s the next step.

 

Chip: Sounds like you guys got a great trim camp. You really need to be hustling guests here in October, huh?

 

Judi: Right. Yes, come pay to trim our weed. That sounds like a great plan. I gotta get to work on that.

 

Chip: You would be the first person to try to implement that one.

 

Judi: I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Walter: We’ll outdo what everyone else has [12:16 inaudible].

 

Chip: You know, not too many places have cannatourism, and that’s what we’re talking about here. And this is so akin to, I mean, wine tourism or fishing tourism. Like, this is like, a brand new thing. And how has it been perceived?

 

Judi: Well, you know, it’s been a little bit of a challenge just working out all the legalities of doing it, obviously because cannabis is so highly regulated. That’s, I would say been the most challenging part, is just trying figure out and make sure I’m not breaking any rules. And one thing that I mean, the people who have found it and have come out,  we sort of kept it a little just word of mouth so far, but the people that have come out have all had a great experience. And I think that, especially in Trinity County, and in Humboldt, like, it’s a huge thing if we can make it so that it’s easy for farms to do this, and to show it. There’s a huge demand for people who want to come and have this experience. It’s like, legendary, this area. There’s lots of people that want to come have the experience. So it’s been really well-received by the people who have come so far. We’re just trying to make it better all the time. And someday too, what we hope is like, just like wine, it would be amazing if we can get to the point with the state laws and the local laws that I could actually allow people to purchase cannabis at the farm when they come, you know, be able to buy our flower on our farm. So far that’s not allowed, but I really do hope that one of these days soon, the various involved agencies do allow us to do that, just like you can at a winery. And do tastings, and do that whole thing, because that would be amazing.

 

Chip: Absolutely man. They’ll treat us like adults one day.

 

Judi: Someday.

 

Walter: Maybe, I sure hope so. We know it’s come a long way.

 

Chip: It’s amazing, you know, Humboldt and Trinity County has such long-standing history, but there’s just always been this fight against cannabis there, and it just still remains. It’s one of the most difficult places to get licensing to this day. They’re really missing out on so much great culture. And this huge brain trust is there of people like yourselves, and living environment, sacrificing to grow cannabis, and cannabis growing them in return. It’s just an untapped resource, and they just haven’t used it well enough, that’s for sure.

 

Judi: Especially in Trinity where, you know, there was logging and mining, and that’s kind of what everything was built upon. But that’s been gone for decades now. And there’s not a lot else going on in Trinity. And I do think it’s changing. You know, we were able just recently, the Trinity County Agriculture Alliance, of which we are members, which is a group of licensed cultivators in Trinity. And we actually proposed our own cannabis commercial, cannabis tax measure, like, to tax ourselves. Because up to that point, Trinity didn’t have one and, you know, we all want to see our community services happen. And, we were able in five days to collect 10% of the registered voter signatures in the county to get our measure on the ballot.  And you know, who would have thought that that would ever happen in Trinity County? But it just did, so it’s coming around, it’s happening. You know, we’re getting more organized, and as people can kind of come out of the closet a little bit, I think that’s only just gonna increase.

 

Chip: Yeah, ’cause people are still scared to talk about cannabis there, even legal cannabis owners. They’re scared to talk about cannabis. They’re scared to bring it up to their neighbors. It’s still taboo in so many communities, in so many places.

 

Judi: Yeah, it’s true. I think that for me, that’s been one of the best parts about recreational happening in California. It’s just like, “Okay, you know what? We’re here. We’ve been here the whole time, but now we’re letting you know.”

 

Chip: So tell me about this tax initiative.

 

Judi: Well, so there was a tax measure proposed on the March election by a group of people who really actually just wanted to put all of – my perception – was that their tax basically was just to put everybody out of business. And so this, the Trinity County Agricultural Alliance came up with one that is much more small farm friendly, because in Trinity County, almost everybody has 10,000 square feet or less because of the way that the ordinance was written. There’s only a few people who have more than 10,000 square feet. And so basically, the TCAA came up with this proposal where it’s all based on sales, right? So for instance, in Humboldt County, you have this square footage tax where you’re charged per square foot, kind of regardless on whether you grow anything or make any money or not, which personally, I don’t think is the best way to do it.

 

Chip: Oh, it sucks.

 

Judi: I think that like these other industries, you should be taxed once you make money, right? And so luckily, we kind of had time to look at all these other counties and be like, “Okay, what’s good, what’s not good?” And so this tax, it’s like, for your first hundred pounds, you’re taxed at this rate. And I can’t quote you the exact numbers, but you’re taxed at a lower rate. So if you’re a very small producer, those first hundred pounds you grow is taxed at a low rate. And then it goes up, like okay, and then the next 200, I think, and it goes up from there until like, over I think a thousand pounds, you’re paying, I believe it’s $15 a pound in cultivation tax to the county, basically. And, you know, there’s some other things in there about different businesses, there is no retail in Trinity County yet at this point. And so they’re not, you know, they’re missing that, again, they’re not collecting any tax revenue because they’re not allowing anybody to sell retail, which hopefully, again, they’re gonna get that together. But this initiative mostly is for taxation on cultivators, because I think that’s appropriate as long as you wait to tax them. Wait until I’ve made some money, I’m very happy to contribute to the county coffers to do roadwork and, public safety, and things like that, and schools. And so, we just wanted to show as an industry like , “Look, here we are, we want to contribute, but don’t try to put us out of business.” Because that’s not going to be good for the county long-term.

 

Chip: Yeah, there’s so much green greed, it comes from every place. The counties get it for sure, and the state governments get it for sure. Well man, I salute you guys, for working so hard to put it together. Trinity was considered one of the harder places when it all started, I think Humboldt’s shown that it’s the hardest place right now. I mean, Mendocino might not be so easy either, but it hasn’t been any easier anywhere in the Triangle.

 

Walter: I think the triangle has some like, 60 or 80% of the permit since, it’s a large number.

 

Chip: More like 15, 16,000 people in Humboldt with commercial grows, you know, before all this has happened. And to say that you have like, and to say that you have 500 people or 600 people with licensing? Man, I just don’t think that’s a good enough attempt to get people out of the private market industry, and get them into tax. Because literally for Humboldt, it’s billions of dollars. They would convert all of that private grow – sorry guys, you should probably pay some taxes, all of my private grow friends that are out there just growing in the hills. I love you guys, you should pay more taxes. If they would incorporate all those guys into it, it would like really, really change. I mean, my local school, Trinidad Union School District, man they’re failing, they don’t have any money, right? Like, COVID’s hit them so hard like, there’s like, just so much stuff, and through Humboldt and Trinity County an educational loan that needs to be worked on. And you know if they played their cards right, like, cannabis could totally bring the whole Emerald Triangle out of all of their problems, right? It could help with the fire suppression issues. It could help with all the drug problems, it can help with all the homelessness, it can help with all of the educational stuff. I mean, it’s just such a wasted resource. It’s just kind of frustrating when we see as there.

 

Judi: Yeah, I think some of that is not necessarily seeing the legal market in California. And it is a challenge right now to, when you compare just all the hoops you have to jump through, all the money you have to pay. And yet, I personally think, because the state especially is taxing the end product so hard, they just have this huge black market that’s still going, and it’s hard to not look at that and be like, “Wow, that was so much easier back in the day.” But again, now it’s all changing and it’s the time to like, get together and move forward into the light.

 

Chip: No, it’s the responsible thing to do. And I mean, I don’t know about Trinity County, but Humboldt County per capita always had more people contributing to fundraising than anyplace else, you know? And that was because all the cash dollars from the fishing, the logging and the cannabis. And now the fishing and the logging, it’s like next to nothing compared to what it used to be, and it’s just cannabis. If they could just, open up their arms, just embrace it.

 

Walter: Relax a bit.

 

Chip: Yeah, relax, relax a bit. I know you have such a special place and inviting people out there. Tell me about some of the people that have come in and visited you.

 

Judi: So last year, we mostly focused on some different folks who either own, or manage, or the buyers for various retail shops in California. Again, because there’s no better way for someone to learn where this particular brand, our Sol Spirit brand of flower comes from. And, the lot of them had never been to the Emerald Triangle. So last year, it was a lot of retailers. And most of them were so stressed out when they arrived, because they’re jumping through their own set of hoops. And that job, I can’t even imagine trying to pull that off. And so, it was just super relaxing and rejuvenating for them. And most of them, you could just like, see their faces change by the third day where they were just like, “Oh, okay, we’ve let go of the stress. We’re here. ” And also getting to see the way that we farm, I think really opened their eyes to like, it’s not all the same. So like, indoor has its thing and then people with like, really large grows who are maybe putting out more mid-quality stuff, but in volume, that’s a whole different thing. And then our particular craft, regenerative way of doing it, it’s like, you’re actually talking kind of about different products, right? And so I think it was great for them to be able to see, like, “Oh, yeah, the next time somebody comes in and tries to sell me a regenerative craft cannabis, I’m not going to compare it to this $8 eighth in a mylar bag that came from a 12-acre scene in Salinas,” or something, you know. So that I think is like, an education piece that’s super important to us. And so there’s that, and like, that really, I think, changed a lot of their perspectives. And then this year, we’ve had more just regular folks. It’s been interesting with COVID to kind of work that all out, and so we had a bit of a slow start just making sure that we could keep everybody safe. And now I feel like we’ve got that down. And it’s been, I feel like even more rewarding, because we’ve had several people from the Bay Area come up, and some of them have been stuck in their apartment for months. So to be able to come out and of course, the beautiful cannabis medicine also helps with their mindset. And we had a couple of people come out where they sort of like, changed their whole life trajectory over the weekend, because they were able to just kind of step out of their normal life and gain some perspective on what they were doing which of course the cannabis is also really helpful for.

 

Walter: Yeah. The hills of Humboldt County and Trinity County have a way of doing that.

 

Judi: It’s been really great. We’ve had all kinds of different people, yes. Yeah. You know, you get used to where you live, and you kind of stop seeing it, I think sometimes. And being able to have all these different people come and see it from their perspective and out of their eyes, it really refreshes our love of the place as well.

 

Chip: Oh man, you know that’s the thing that people don’t understand or know about that area, Northern California is it has the least light pollution I’m pretty sure of any place else in the US. Right, maybe even the continental US. I mean, it is you get to see this guy.

 

Judi: Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.

 

Chip: It’s been great chatting with you guys. If people want to come to Sol Spirit Retreats, how do they get in touch with you guys? Can they follow you on Instagram? Or how does it work?

 

Judi: Well, they can follow us on Instagram. We have two different Instagrams, so one for the farm and one for the farm stay. And they’re, Sol Spirit Farm, s-o – like the sun, Sol Spirit Farm and Sol Spirit Retreats. And then our websites are the same, solspiritfarm.com and solspiritretreats.com.

 

Chip: Yeah, well, hey, thanks for joining me and man, smell some of that good Trinity County here for me. God, I wish I was there right now with you.

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The Secrets of the Country’s Largest Cannabis Operations with Nick Morin

The Secrets of the Country’s Largest Cannabis Operations with Nick Morin

commercial cannabis grow

Remember that show Cribs?

You know, that show where we got to take tours through the mansions of the rich and famous and feel bad about ourselves. While it’s been a long time since we watched Master P show off his gold ceiling, there’s a new, better, completely unrelated Cribs that is all about cannabis.

CannaCribs was started by Nick Morin through his company the Grower’s Network to show us all what it’s really like inside some of the largest and technologically advanced cannabis cultivation operations across the country. But it isn’t all green ganja and piles of cash in these operations.

What you don’t see on CannaCribs is the behind the scenes details that Nick gets from the head growers and owners of these operations. From the shady investment dealings that growers fall into like overfunding and inexperienced fund managers to the stressful work that goes into maintaining a large scale cannabis operation, Chip and Nick dive into it all in this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast.

More about Nick

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Transcript:

Chip: Once again you have reached “The Real Dirt.” And on today’s dirt, it’s a very special episode. Today, I’ve got Nick Morin from Canna Cribs. Now, if you haven’t seen Canna Cribs, you’ve got to check it out, great YouTube channel. It’s absolutely one of my favorites, it’s one of the best production in our whole industry. And if you haven’t seen Canna Cribs yet, you’re missing out. Thank you so much Nick for joining me.

Nick: Chip, thanks for having me. I really appreciate your time.

Chip: Nick called me up a couple, a month or two ago, and said he was going to start a podcast. And we’ve exchanged a bunch of information and talked back and forth and you know, I’m really excited to hear about your podcast. You’ve just launched a new podcast and you know, we just immediately got along on the phone. ‘Cause like, we do the same thing. You know in some manner, is we get to go talk to ganja people all over the country and world and find out, you know, what they’re all about. And get to go into gardens that we may, people just dream about. What’s it like having this dream job, Nick?

Nick: I just would say I’m extremely grateful to be working with my team, you know, my bestfriends and going out and filming these stories, telling these stories now on the podcast. It’s a dream job and it’s something that you know, as a little kid I never would have imagined I’d be here today, but it’s pretty special at this point in time in this industry, as we’re evolving rapidly.

Chip: I know we have a lot talk about. But like, let’s talk about Canna Cribs. How did it start, when did it start, like tell me about it.

Nick: I’ll take you to the exact point in time. CannaCon Seattle, I was talking with my friends that own uh, Glass House Farms in uh, Carpinteria, California. You know, it was dinner, it’s after the trade show. As many people do after a trade show, you go out for dinner and drinks and we’re just brainstorming. And when you get those energies, you know, across the table going and some good ideas, Canna Cribs was born. You know, I wanted to create a Youtube series. And I was really inspired by Marijuana Mania by Berner, and Strain Hunters and their team, and I wanted to come up with uh, kind of my own version of garden tours. I think Growing Exposed was coming up around the same time as well. So you know, I was chatting with, you know, Graham and their whole team over there. And we came up that – it sounds like you got the intro going, so yeah, that’s, that’s it right there, man. So we flew out there shortly after, actually flew to Tucson and picked this up which was a surreal experience in itself right there. I put together my team from University of Arizona, you know, some friends from college, some friends that I’ve worked with, and then some acquaintances kind of one degree away in Tucson. And we flew out there, filmed our pilot and as they say, the rest is history.

Chip: I’ve actually got it on right now, “Glass House Greenhouse Commercial Cannabis Growing Operation in California,” Canna Cribs. I really love this episode, I love everything about it. Like it’s so like, highly produced. I’m a TV junkie, I love format. And like, just the way that you guys have produced this whole series, it like, mimics you know, several other of my favorite type of genres. The like, you know, fix and flip style genre, where they’re either it’s an old junk car they find, the barn find, and turn it into —

Nick: Right.

Chip: You know, something. Something great. Or like, you know, a house, where like they buy it, and they like, fix it and flip it. You’ve got a lot of the like, elements in the editing with that. It really like, draws people in. Man, I also love all of the, the product placement that occurs in this episode and other episodes. It shows the products that people are using, but it’s not like an over the top infomercial advertisement. ‘Cause we all know it’s like, advertising helps pay for it all. It’s very discreetly done, it’s done well.

Nick: Yeah. You’re exactly right. The product placement and advertising, it allows for us to go out there and film. And you know, a lot of people don’t know this, but it’s not like we’re charging farms tens and thousands or you know, a hundred thousand dollars to go out to film. It’s actually no cost, vast majority of the time. So the farm doesn’t pay anything, and we of course have to pay our crew and get out there. And you know, you know this very well, Chip. Youtube gives us zero dollars in advertising. I can’t even spend money on Youtube to promote our show so, it creates an environment where you have to be very scrappy. You have to be wise and extend your dollars through organic content. And the thought leadership behind the brands, the products, the services that these growers are using, it’s a pretty straightforward model where these are the products that their success is built on. Those companies you know like, let’s say soil companies. You know, your background and growing media, and every episode there’s a different growing media. And these growers rely on that product for their success so it’s a really natural fit where we get to educate fans all around the world. We get to help promote the grower through the episode. And then the vendor has an opportunity to promote their products naturally, because we don’t place products that aren’t naturally used at the farm.

Chip: And you can tell the authenticity of it due to that. What was your background in cannabis previous to this?

Nick: So I just say, a lover of the plant. I’m relatively —

Chip: You’re an enthusiast. You’re a cannabis enthusiast. Excellent.

Nick: That’s exactly right. So I started consuming young and you know, I have two older brothers and that probably helped a little bit. Yeah, I actually started Growers Network and Canna Cribs shortly after, during my senior year in college. So, this is my first foray into the, into any professional industry, really. I started a couple communities while I was at the University of Arizona. So I guess I do have a background in kind of grassroots community building from the ground up. And then you know, I have a passion for both cannabis and also technology, and the marriage of the two of those things, as well as marketing and community building, it’s kind of where I live today. And what I’m super passionate about you know, when it comes to sharing very special stories that will impact the history and our future, everyone in this industry with the rest of the world. And just kind of showing and proving that there is a way to have you know, legal, compliant, and really good cannabis at the end of the day that saves lives and builds businesses.

Chip: You came to this as just an enthusiast. You had a surface knowledge of how cannabis operated, how it grew, the production of it all. Did you have some misconceptions that were immediately proven inaccurate when you started doing Canna Cribs?

Nick: I would say that like, everyone on our crew including myself, we didn’t really know, we didn’t really know what went into a commercial sized grow operation. You know, we might have had friends growing here and there, more you know, underground and maybe at the hobbyist or kind of that caregiver scale. But, to walk into a commercial grow operation and see that scale, it was incredible. So I’d say, maybe less misconceptions but more just, you know, kind of what’s behind the curtain. Having the opportunity to share that with the world is really special.

Chip: You talked about the stories, you’ve mentioned that a couple of times. Do you have a favorite cannabis story, or favorite episode that you made?

Nick: Oh my gosh, that’s a tough one. Choosing between your babies —

Chip: Oh I just keep pressing the memo, hey I just started man, I just started.

Nick: I love it. I love it. Yeah, no, I love the question, Chip. So I’d say you know, one of the stories that I probably enjoyed the most telling and also was the most moved by, was Scott Reach of Rare Dankness. He’s gone through a lot of personal turmoil and you can listen to his story with his health, and how cannabis really healed him and gave him an opportunity to you know, run a business and support his family. So, a lot of that comes up in you know, throughout the episode and you know, it’s not every single episode that that story is going to be exactly the same. You know, each episode kind of has a unique, I guess unique story to tell. But with Scott and Rare Dankness, before we went out there you know, we did some research. We always like to do some pre-production research to come up with some story points and kind of build out what the episode’s going to look like before we set foot on set to film. You know, his personal fight with cancer and how cannabis really helped him personally with his fight with cancer, but also his background with breeding and as a geneticist. And through his other companies, he’s building, in my words, he’s building a cannabis empire. It doesn’t stop with just House of Dankness, it doesn’t stop with just Rare Dankness, he has a seed company around the world, he has a new nutrient line. So, one thing that I really resonate with and connect with is the entrepreneurial spirit of these cannabis grow operation owners. And there’s a lot of different types of commercial grow operations, but that episode with Scott, it really shined through, all the different things he had going on, and I loved it.

Chip: He’s really built an incredible room. If anybody’s out there who wants to see great, great, great cultivation grow room, look up that episode. Which episode is it? I’m looking for it now.

Nick: Episode six, it was right after Honeydew Farms in Humboldt.

Chip: Episode six, man, totally. Episode six, Honeydew Farm. The first Canna Cribs was the Honeydew Farms one.

Nick: Oh really?

Chip: And I’ve spent most of my life in Humboldt. I moved there ’97, and still have a property, and farm, and business there today. I heard that there was some, you know, because it’s a small community, so I’d heard that there was some like, thing being filmed, Honeydew Farms. And it was out, so yeah I went and checked it out. That was my first exposure to you. And then of course, I watched all the rest of the episodes.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah, it’s bingeful content. You know, it takes you about a weekend to watch all the Canna Cribs and Deep Roots, and we have a couple you know, new projects on the horizon. But, you know, if you ask me the favorite episode to film as far as where I was, it’s hands down, Alex Moore’s Honeydew Farms in Humboldt. It was my first time travelling there. And I mean, honestly Chip, I felt like the time froze. You know, our cellphones weren’t working. You know, we just had our cameras and we were kind of like, paused in this beautiful forest and his property is pretty amazing as well, you know, on a river basin. It was, it was magical. And we stayed in Arcadia?

Chip: Arcata.

Nick: Arcata, Arcata. So we stayed in Arcata and you know – or no sorry, I apologize. We stayed in Eureka.

Chip: Eureka.

Nick: Yeah, we drove up about an hour and a half up the hill and then an hour and a half back down to our hotel each day. So, we had to wake up super early and we went to bed pretty late each night, because we were battling sunlight. You know, most the farm’s outdoors so we had to film very efficiently with the daylight there. So, part of that was probably some lack of sleep that added to the effect. But, it was amazing. We went out to the waterside as well at the end of the episode. We went to the Redwoods. Everywhere we go, Chip, we try to characterize the region. We try to give the audience a glimpse into what it’s really like. Not just in the farm, but the surrounding area. Because we have around 150 countries around the world watching our Youtube channel, right? So, if someone’s in let’s say, Russia, and they’ve never been to Humboldt, I kind of put it on our shoulders like as a responsibility, to tell them what it’s really like, and to show them that glimpse of the world. And Humboldt is such a beautiful place, and I, I’m actually going to be, right after this interview, I’m actually interviewing two brothers that cofounded Lit House Farms in Humboldt, Big Al and Chris. And then last week, I interviewed Nat at Humboldt Seed Company for the Canna Cribs podcast. So, I love Humboldt —

Chip: Yeah, I know Nat. I’m actually like, growing his seeds right now, Auto OGs.

Nick: Oh nice. Okay.

Chip: Totally, totally. Yeah we got like ten thousand Auto OGs we’ve planted in the past like, two weeks.

Nick: Wow.

Chip: They’ll come out some time in October.

Nick: Well, I’m always finding a reason you know, trying to find a reason to go back so if you still have property, if you have friends up in Humboldt, I’d love to film them some time.

Chip: Ah man. I love it out there. We’ve got so much stuff going on up there, you know. It’s an incredible, geographical environment, you know. It’s a really rough political environment, you know. There’s just a lot of people that do not support legal cannabis and try to stand in your way at every point. It’s really unfortunate because there’s so many small farmers over there that can really bring and grow the best cannabis in the world. They’ve got like, the experience and the time, and the understanding, and the desire, and the heart to do it. But you know the, so many you know, at so many levels, the county and the bureaucracy, and the county is against what they’re doing. How many people in the county, they totally accept it. Right, many of the board of supervisors totally accept it. But, it’s just a fight you know, for anybody trying to get a legal cannabis operation there. And absolutely anybody who has gone through the worst to get one because, it’s not at all, easy there. It’s not at all easy there. So yeah, let’s hope that the industry survives. But yeah, I’ve got tons of connections up there. I’d totally hook you up with anybody you want to, if you can’t figure out who to talk to. You know, I started a potting soil company up there years ago, Royal Gold Soils. I sold soil to everybody up there for years. And currently, my new soil company, Grower Soil, I’m not in California yet. I’m mostly just focusing on you know, the midwest and the east coast. Yeah, I’ve got tons of connections all over man. If you ever want to go see anybody, just ask. I might know them.

Nick: Thank you. And that’s what I love about this industry when I first started out you know, I was working with my bestfriend and roommate at the time, and current business partner, Nate Lipton of Growers House. And he had a spreadsheet of growers, right, that are commercial growers that buy from Growers House. And I was originally, and I still run Growers Network today, all the work you know, a lot of the conversations around Canna Cribs up to this point. But the first company, and it is the production company of Canna Cribs, it’s called Growers Network. And it’s an online forum. We have about 11,000 members all over the world. And just people where they can go, and connect, and learn from each other. And I was just originally handed a spreadsheet of the top contacts from Growers House, and I just interviewed for ten months. You know, I picked up the phone, and the Lean Canvas methodology in the startup world, it’s called Customer Segment Testing.

Chip: Sure.

Nick: So, I just picked up the phone and called the you know, a hundred growers and listened to their paying points and you know, how they learned how to grow cannabis, where they were at in their career you know, super seasoned or new, what hurdles they were jumping over to become a legal professional grow operation. And at no point did I say, “Oh, join Growers Network,” or, “Oh,” like, Canna Cribs didn’t start at that point. So in the very beginning, my first ten months in this industry was just network building and acceptance amongst growers that were complete strangers. And what you just shared with me right now has been my experience up to this point, just generosity and open arms and

welcoming into the industry. So thank you, and thank everyone out there that helps to you know, nurture this industry.

Chip: You know, it’s interesting you say that. ‘Cause there’s really two sides to the cannabis coin. And well, you know, it depends on which coin you’re talking about. But the knowledge coin that we’re talking about, there’s two sides of it. There are the guarded people that won’t let you in, and are closed off, they don’t really want to talk about it so much. A lot of it’s leftover from prohibitionary you know, thinking. Some of it is you know, the propriety knowledge, they think what they have is like, the best. There’s often ego associated with all of that, but that’s one portion of the community. And then the whole other portion of the community, like 75% open. Talks about it, invites you over, wants to know what you’re doing, ‘cause they want to know if they’re doing it right or wrong, right? Are absolutely like, enthusiastic about what they’re growing and want to make it better. So it’s real interesting, it’s not an even coin flip that most people in the cannabis industry that I come across, and I’m a, you know, both us are kind of a unique pawn in the pyramid, but you know, but they openly want to tell us what we’re doing. And tell other people, and talk to other people openly.

Nick: Yeah.

Chip: It’s just a great place to learn, that’s for sure.

Nick: Yeah and right now, you know, I like that you said it’s a great place to learn. Right now, trade shows up to this point were kind of like, the in-person exchange of like, information, and knowledge, and contacts and products, and services. And now that they’re all shut down, what I’ve seen is a huge influx of traffic to our Youtube channel. And to our, you know, Growers Network Grower Forum because people can’t meet in person anymore. So I mean obviously, no one planned for this. But for the content creators out there such as yourself and you know, my team, we’re really in a pivotal point right now where, and that’s why I started this podcast is, we need to kind of ramp up, you know. We need to, you know, create more content and share more stories because there’s not a whole lot of in-person outlets right now. We’re kind of leading that charge and I kind of take it upon us to provide, and kind of have that responsibility to provide that knowledge and information exchange.

Chip: You know, cannabis, the way you learn about it and the way people learn about it now is through this open source. It’s through Youtube, it’s through Google, it’s through this open network of people like, bragging, or people just completely enthusiastic about cannabis. You know, it’s so much different than say, let’s take a trade like, photography. Or marketing, right? With marketing, if you’re interested in marketing , you can go online, and you can buy like, you know, two dozen Frank Curran courses, you can buy like, you know any type of how-to Youtube advertisement, or how-to Facebook advertise or how-to content. But the cannabis industry isn’t like that. Can you shed some light on why you think that is?

Nick: Well, I think you said it a little bit earlier Chip. You know, a lot of people, I’ve heard it on your show as well, there’s a lot of growers out there that in their mindset, and in their belief, they’re growing the best way, right? There are so many processes that go into

growing cannabis. I’m not a grower myself, you know, but in filming these large scale grow operations and then telling these stories, I’ve learned a whole lot about you know, growing cannabis organically. Growing cannabis you know, kind of boutique indoor. Growing cannabis outdoors, you know. 36,000 plants at Los Sueños Farms. So, what I have found is it’s extremely fragmenting on how to grow cannabis. There are so many unique ways and the beautiful part to me, is there’s not one right way, you know? Like, you can grow soil, you can grow soilless. You can grow you know, indoor with LEDs, or indoor with HPS. And there’s all these, right path, left path that you can take throughout the entire grow cycle. And I want to educate the world on all those different options. And in each scene in Canna Cribs, if someone’s listening to this and have not seen a Canna Cribs episode, we always start with genetics. We go through propagation, and we follow lifecycle of the plant all the way through kind of seed to sale, if you will. So throughout each scene, you know, I have not filmed an episode that has completely replicated a previous episode. You know, everyone’s doing propagation a little bit differently. You know, they’re doing veg a little bit differently. So to your question, I think it’s fragmented. You know, email marketing is email marketing, right? There’s some tricks to the trade, but it’s an email at the end of the day. But you know, growing a plant, there are so many different unique ways to do that, and furthermore, there’s always new ideas, right? There’s always someone with an innovative idea and when they share, it’s the rising tide for every grower in the world. And then, kind of you know, fuel to the fire here, new products, right? You are a product inventor. You are a product genius and innovator, and when you, Chip, bring a new product to the market, it opens up a Pandora box of all these new types of cultivation methodologies. So, I think it’s fragmented because there are so many different ways to grow the plant.

Chip: Man, you really hit the nail on the head there. There’s absolutely no one way and that’s just the beauty of ganja, of cannabis, THC or hemp, right? It can grow in a million different spots.

Nick: That’s the resiliency to the plant itself, right? I mean, it’s pure for a reason. I love your saying, plants grow us. You know, we don’t grow plants. And I got to pinch myself right now, ’cause it’s so surreal to actually be on your show, talking to you about that. But, I completely agree. This plant’s here for a reason, it’s extremely resilient. And the fact that it can be grown in all these different, you know, unique ways to the region, to the grower, you know, to the product. It’s here for a reason.

Chip: You started Growers Network 2017, 2018, something like that?

Nick: Yeah, so the end of 2016 going into 2017, I’m a senior at University of Arizona, I did about ten months of research, just trying out what business model to start. You know, I had my hypothesis that I wanted to do something in the community space, get my background, and I thought there was a model there to build a new breed of online growing forums, which is Growers Network today. A little bit more of you know, I pay all my respects of course to the forums that got us here today, like the Grass City and Overgrow and all those amazing forums. But I wanted to do it a little bit differently and provide a safe place for the professional growers that were trying to transcend out of let’s say, a house grow into a you know, 300,000 square foot greenhouse. Like, how do you do that, you know? Who do you talk to, you know, where do you go to learn? Those are the kind of questions that

I was trying to ask these growers and that was what Growers Network was born out of, was that research.

Chip: Man, it has changed since 2016. I mean compared to 2020, right now as we record this episode, it’s August 2020 here in Arizona. I’m in Oklahoma, we have seen cannabis become legal all over the country in the past four years. We have seen, like you know, trends in cannabis happen. We’ve seen governments legalize it, we’ve seen Ponzi schemes associated with it. When you started this, at some point you started to get like, a vision of what was happening. Your perceptions of it in 2016, how did they change from your perceptions of it today, knowing all that change has happened?

Nick: Let’s just start with vendors, for example. Equipment suppliers, manufacturers. So in the beginning days, let’s say 2016. You know I went to my first trade show was a maximum yield show with Nate and his father, my mentor, Pauly. And they’re with you know, Growers House, and we went there to talk to vendors and walk the shows in San Francisco. And, it was all new to me. This professional side of the industry that I just didn’t know existed, you know. You know, as a connoisseur, or a consumer, or advocate in high school and college, I just didn’t know that this whole professional industry existed. You know, I was kind of naive to that. So, since then, I have seen a lot of new products hit the market. I’ve seen consolidation of different companies. Like, take Fluence for example, with you know, OSRAM coming in, and take Hawthorne, for example, and Scotts Group coming in and acquiring Davita. And you know, I listened to that episode on your show, and I loved that one, by the way. And I’ve seen that consolidation happen in a short amount of time you know, past five years on the equipment side alone. On the grower side, you know I’m always trying to pick the next market to go out and film. And I definitely will reach out with you about Oklahoma you know, once it’s a little bit safer to start flying. I definitely want to bring the Canna Cribs crew over to Oklahoma and film some farms out there. But what I’ve seen is, you know, a lot of expansion, you know. It expands into a new region, new state, and then, it kind of restricts down. You know, it’s a period of time where it grows, grows, grows, hits that apex and then, consolidation starts to happen. And kind of that market equilibrium starts to happen, right? The supply and demand starts to balance out. So I’ve seen that happen over the past five years which is pretty incredible. I’ve seen you know, Canada come online and some other parts around the world, Colombia for one, that’s really you know, kind of blowing up and they’re part of the world. So, it’s exciting, and at the same time I’m honored to be able to help document that history.

Chip: Who could have predicted cannabis at Canada would have just skyrocketed and plummeted so quickly?

Nick: Right.

Chip: You know, who could have predicted that Oklahoma, once one of the most conservative places about cannabis in the country would become the best and most premier place you know, to cultivate cannabis in the country? Nobody thought that was going to happen.

Nick: Right. So let me —

Chip: It’s incredible where it’s turning.

Nick: Yeah. Let me ask you this, Chip. So what can we learn, as a country, what can we learn from Canada’s missteps so we don’t follow in the same footsteps?

Chip: Well you know I think we’re already doing the exact same thing. We just weren’t able to have publicly traded companies that could directly trade cannabis on the NASDAQ, right? And any like, insulary type businesses that were allowed to be publicly traded, those were all you know, over the counter, OTC trading stocks. So I think that is really what kept the US investment schema from exploding. But essentially, we still have the same exact elements that were going on in Canada, that are going on here, going on here today. Which are just like, some incredibly savvy people that know how to manipulate the market. That know how to manipulate venture capital groups or family offices. And you know, for instance, the typical cannabis “investment.” There’s two types. There’s one, it’s just like, me, you, and my brother all get together and we decide we want to do a cannabis operation so we throw in our money and make it.

Nick: Kind of the friends thing —

Chip: Friends and family thing. The bootstrap. And man, sometimes like, you come up with millions of dollars that way to start your operation, people call you corporate cannabis. But it’s not, it’s just you, me, and your brother putting it together. And then there’s the venture capital model or the investor model, we’ll call it. And it stems on you know, somebody like you who wants to put in a cannabis operation. Or somebody like me, who wants to put in a cannabis operation. And we develop a business plan, we develop a proforma that’s you know, fictional that we decide, “Yeah we think it should be this way. And we’re going to make this much money over this period of time.” We develop an operational cost, and schedule you know, points of time where we make profit, and investors can get paid back. And people can paint incredibly accurate pictures like that, but then they also create these you know, inaccurate portrayal of what’s happened. And that’s what went on in Canada. Right, it was an inaccurate portrayal of how big the market was.

Nick: Right.

Chip: And so many people went into the marketplace and estimated it to be like, ten times bigger than it actually was and just drove that whole investment strategy. Right, so like that happens here in the US, but it usually happens in two different ways. It happens from the person that’s actually trying to like, get financed or get investors. And they over-exaggerate but you know, knowingly over promise, you know, they don’t either know they can do it or they’re being promised by other people who don’t fulfill their promises. Or you know, however that pans out. And so then, it collapses, right? And then the other way it collapses is when a venture capital group comes in and they you know, the way that venture capital groups work or many of them work, is their funds and they’re someone who like, who’s running the fund and they’re getting paid a percent of the fund that’s spent annually. And they’re constantly going out, like, searching for more capital. And they’ll do stuff like this, so like go` to you Nick like, “Hey Nick, are you interested in cannabis?” Just say yes, just, you know, say yes.

Nick: Yes.

Chip: “Okay, yes you’re interested in cannabis! And you’ve got ten million dollars that you want to invest in cannabis this year?” Just say yes.

Nick: Yes.

Chip: “Well, I’m not going to get you to sign any [inaudible] right now. But, we’ve got all these cannabis operations that come to us. We’ve built a hundred million dollar fund, and if you want to contribute to it then you know, then you can contribute to it. Just deal by deal, you know, basis. You interested in that, Nick?”

Nick: Sounds good to me.

Chip: “Sounds great.” Okay so now, they go to the next guy and they say the same thing and they’re like, “Oh hey man, we’ve already got ten million dollars,” right? You know, “don’t be left behind.” And they hustle all of these people for the investment. Which you shouldn’t say hustle, because everybody’s willing to participate, ‘cause you love cannabis, you’ve got a lot of money and you want to invest in it, right? Like, nothing wrong with that at all. But, the person managing the fund is where it comes into play. ‘Cause now, they’re pressured to spend your money, because that’s how they get paid, right? They only get paid from your investment, is if they find an investment for you and you’ll go through ten before you say yes on one.

Nick: They’re pressured to –

Chip: And then they invest your money, yup.

Nick: And that kind of, it hurts the companies that might be overfunded because then that ties to unrealistic expectations that they have to deliver upon. And that could lead to the demise of their company, and also, the fund. But at the end of the day, the managing partner of said funds has already you know, received their —

Chip: They’ve already been paid.

Nick: Yeah.

Chip: They’ve already been paid. And you know –

Nick: Seems like a flawed model.

Chip: It’s a totally flawed model, but the reality is that you’re so rich, Nick, that you’ve got these ten million dollars that you need to like invest annually. So like, it’s you know, the Canna Cribs is a multi-billion dollar operation now, and you have to lose these ten million dollars every year, right? It’s an oversimplification of how it’s going down. But like, you spend the money and then you move on to the next project, right? And you are, you’re DC manager moves on to the next project, ’cause they got another bunch of people like yourself that got ten million dollars that they want to invest, or have an annual amount every year that they need to invest. So they keep up their legion, and man, that just pumps a bunch of like, a bunch of crap out there, you know. Projects that should be a million dollars turn out to be twelve million dollars. Greenhouses that should be three, four million dollars turn out to be ten million dollars. Indoor rooms that are two million are ten million. And they overspent and I know several of these people that have gotten caught up in this, and they’re my friends. And like, they thought they were doing the right thing ’cause it’s, you know what sounds great? It’s when you say something like this, “We’re building the most highly technical, advanced environmental control system in the whole cannabis industry. I’m going to be able to control my environment and the microcosm. I can control every square inch and I’ve got the data that’s going to be able to back it up.” And you know, that sounds great, right? Well, you know, it’s also like, cost you like millions and millions of dollars to do it. And you may end up you know, growing slightly better or more weed over it but the ROI, I’m spending twelve million dollars on a greenhouse that should cost a million dollars. It’s just you know, it’s not there. It’s not going to be there. And that’s how these things collapse. They’re not built on business, they’re built on investment. And now they’ve got all this operational cost, because it takes two people a hundred thousand dollars a year to run the software that gets all this great data, that they have to pay another whole accounting firm to read it, right?

Nick: Right.

Chip: Right, well.

Nick: You have, having gone through all these examples with your friends and people you know, what you know, cautionary advice could you give?

Chip: Man, the big pang is don’t really believe this investment business plan. I’ve got an investor like, you know, I’m an investor. Like, don’t think that the old way of doing it, the way that you probably thought that was the best way, the way that’s mostly used is the best way. And now, things have changed. And I believe that the investors want to be involved in cannabis right now, it is an essential business. And the opportunity, the advantage is on our side. And it is, an investment where it’s a good, reasonable return, you know, based on profit margin and standard accounting practices. Like that’s a, you know, that’s a good investment.

Nick: Right.

Chip: Right? Like some of the investments I hear about, like the return rates are just so high. The expectations are just so high, you know. It’s just, they fall apart, you know? And the best advice is to say, “Look if you’re going to have an investor, they should be an investor and you should think about it like you’re borrowing money.”

Nick: Right.

Chip: And otherwise, you have a partner. And if you’re going to get a partner, you need to bring in someone who has something other than just money. If they’re just a capital partner, and then don’t have operational stake in the business, man, there’s just so many details there over who gets paid, who does away, and there’s operational agreements that can

define all that stuff. But as soon as you have a silent partner that has invested all of the capital, like, things often go south, right? The paperwork’s not done appropriately, the investor becomes like, upset that you know, the cannabis isn’t performing appropriately. And you know, they’re hearing all these other ideas and they see Canna Cribs, and got all these ideas on how they should improve their scene. And it just often falls apart, right? So like, beware of your investor, is absolutely the best, the best advice. And man, form some solid partnerships. If you’re interested in growing world class weed, well you know what you’re going to need, is you need a world class extractor team. Because all of the weed that you grow, you’re not going to be able to produce into world class weed. So, go find an extractor that you can partner with. You know, hey, if you’re an extractor and you want to make world class weed, go find a grower and go partner with those people. And instead of bringing like this outside investment, like so much of it can be done with inside the community, and probably with like people that you know. But you know, it just takes, you got to get rid of the ego and solely think about the business. And think about the business that you can build together, as opposed to this get rich quick scheme that often comes through with this investor type platform. And I hope I’m not insulting any investors out there, and I mean, I’m one myself and I have other friends that are investors and I think they’d understand what I’m saying here, is you have to be savvy. You have to be savvy on the investment, and you have to be savvy on —

Nick: On both sides.

Chip: And hey, let’s take that on the other side. Just last week, a friend of mine called me up and he’s like, “Hey man. I’m thinking about putting money into this cannabis operation.” He threw out some rate of return, it seemed like a normal rate of return, you know, like a little bit better than bank money. But I looked it all up for them, and I look at their PLs, their BLs, I look at at the proforma, I looked at the location, you know. I checked them out with their state, and these guys were totally full of shit. And they just built this proforma to fool the unsavvy investor. And hey man, my friend he’s a savvy investor in the tech industry. But he doesn’t know anything about cannabis, right? And you know, we just went and looked at the guy’s like, proposed cost for growing a certain amount you know, a large amount of weed, and realized like, “Oh, he’s only spending 40,000 dollars a year growing weed. Like there’s no way he can grow 4,000 pounds,” you know. So like, also —

Nick: It goes on both sides, right?

Chip: It goes on both sides. Like —

Nick: It’s a booming industry right now, and I think with any booming industry it attracts so many apples. And some of them will be bad apples, right? So being cautious, savvy, and as you said, building a world-class community and network of people that can, you can rely now. Like, your buddy calling you whether it’s an investor investing into a cannabis grow operation or a grower calling you and saying like, “Hey, like, should I, should I take this money?” Um, I think that’s so vital to have people that you trust, you know, not part of the deal. It does not have [inaudible] that can you know, help mentor you.

Chip: Yeah, that’s true. And you know, I actually started a consulting group this year, kind of based on that exact principle. Is that you know, I have so many resources in the cannabis

industry and can easily like know or figure out a problem, someone’s already had it in just a matter of moments.

Nick: Yeah.

Chip: And, and we developed this, this, it’s called Greener Group, Greener Consulting Group. We developed this consulting group and you know, with the thought of like, “Oh we’re going to be able to like, help growers, retractors or owners like you know, solve some of their cultivation problems.” And for we immediately started getting calls for was from investors, from state and local governments. Because they need this information. From banks, they don’t know how to bank with cannabis people but want to, you know.

Nick: Interesting.

Chip: And you know, I actually have the connections to one of the guys. He works for us in one of our lead consultants at Greener Group and that’s exactly what he does. He helps banks integrate into accepting cannabis clients as clients, cannabis growers as clients. So there’s this interaction that can happen now that hasn’t happened in the past where you can ask experts. Where you can you know, talk to people that actually know the cannabis industry. And not just your great accountant who’s going to be leery, ‘cause he doesn’t know the cannabis industry or thinks it’s just a widget, you know. ‘Cause it’s not. It’s completely not a widget. So yeah, here’s my little rant, man. You got me talking today. It was supposed to be an interview for you, man.

Nick: Haha, well here’s the cool thing. I want to invite you onto the Canna Cribs podcast.

Chip: I want to come dude, yeah absolutely. Let’s schedule it up anytime, man. And absolutely, I’m going to promote your podcast. I’m stoked that we can be working within the same field and not have to feel that there’s a competitive nature going on.

Nick: Yeah. I’ve built Growers Network and Canna Cribs on collaboration over competition, right? When it comes to content, whether it’s you know, the Grow and Expose Youtube channel, or you know, your podcast. You know, fans around the world, they can listen to our podcast back to back. They can watch our Youtube videos back to back. So, it’s all about collaboration. And I want to say thank you again for you know, opening up your show for me today to join and share a little bit about what we’re doing. And being part of that, I believe you said 75% of the industry of being welcoming and accepting of newcomers like myself.

Chip: You’re no newcomer now, man. That’s for sure. Hey, Nick, I really want to thank you for joining me today. I really appreciate talking to you about all the stuff you’ve done and it’s been a great conversation. We’ll have to have you back on again.

Nick: Definitely, yeah. Thank you and for everyone on your team, keep working hard. I know it’s a really funky time right now, and it kind of sucks that we can’t go to trade shows and see each other and break bread over dinner afterwards. But, I’m looking forward to those days again and in the meantime, let’s podcast it up and you know, YouTube it up.

Chip: Sounds good man. And if you listened to this episode, enjoyed it, and would like to hear others, please download The Real Dirt at The Real Dirt podcast on iTunes. And absolutely subscribe, subscribe, that’s the only way we get to grow. You know, if you’re paranoid, or if you just want to listen to it on website, you can do that too. You can go to therealdirt.com and just stream it right there. But, uh, love you guys, thanks for listening, I appreciate each and every one of you. I always appreciate your comments on Facebook and Instagram. I feel like my growing network of friends just manages to expand every day. Just know, I’m a real person and you can always reach me. And this has been, The Real Dirt.

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The Innovations of Solar Power in Cannabis Cultivation with Brendan Delaney

The Innovations of Solar Power in Cannabis Cultivation with Brendan Delaney

massachusetts cannabis laws

Talk about taking sun-grown to the next level.

Brendan Delaney is the cultivation director for Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts. They were the first cultivation facility in the US to use solar power to grow their cannabis.

A singular mission drives the company’s experienced management team, dedicated board, and passionate investors: to provide industry-leading wellness and alternative therapy products with a smaller energy footprint. By owning their micro-grid assets consisting of solar arrays, battery storage, and co-generation units, they will offset at least 60% of our carbon emissions.

In today’s episode, find out how Brendan uses solar power to grow cannabis and sustain quality alternative therapy products while using a self-generation of energy.

“Having a wide variety really drives sales here, and I think having unique strains is really appealing to some people where legal weed is a pretty new thing.” 

– Brendan Delaney

Some Topics We Discussed Include (Timestamp)

2:40 – Be an efficient grower and environmentally conscious

6:32 – Starting cultivating commercially under Prop 215 rules

10:07 – 25b Pesticide Regulations

22:31 – Keeping the Menu Fresh

25:23 – Selecting Phenos

31:42 – Trimming Weeds

38:09 – Different strains for wholesale and retailing cannabis

43:39 – Cannabis in the pandemic crisis

46:06 – Where to find them

56:34 – Grow tips

 

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with  Chip Baker

TRANSCRIPT

Chip Baker: Hey, this is Chip with The Real Dirt podcast, you have reached yet another episode of The Real Dirt. While things have been a little erratic, since we’re an international pandemic, and whether you think it’s a plan demic, or a pandemic or the plague, it’s definitely a reality for people throughout the globe. And I just want to man, give a heartfelt shout out to all of those who are having problems these days due to our international pandemic. The COVID has definitely, man, and it’s changed the world. It’s changed us. It changed how we do business. And you know, it’s kind of changed how I’ve done podcasts. We don’t have podcasts in person anymore. It’s been actually kind of hard to get people to do podcasts. I’ve got an internet connection that’s a little slow. So we’ve been changing our technology constantly trying to get really good, good information with you guys. 

But today I’ve got, man, Brendan Delaney. Brendan, he’s the cultivation director for Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts. And they’re one of the only countries using so I mean only companies using solar power to grow their cannabis. Now, many people like myself do have supplemental solar power. You know what our operation in California, we have 60,000 watts of solar, I believe in it. It supplements, it ties back into the grid, they call it. So we’ve got a bunch of panels sitting on the roof of a barn and it’s generating power every single day. Instead of us actually using that power, we’re generating it back into the grid. 

So we’re responsible for helping people obtain their energy needs through our solar connection. And as soon as we get our license there in Trinidad, California will be growing cannabis by the sun. Ironically, they’re in greenhouses, light depth, greenhouses, but we’re going to be powering them partially through solar power with 180,000 watts over there and 60,000 watts of solar. Wow, it really does feel good to be sustainable. And I really look forward to speaking to Brandon here in a moment. 

Be an Efficient Grower and Environmentally Conscious

You know, it’s all the little things that you get to do in your grow that makes yourself an efficient grower, as well as environmentally conscious, and there are many things that you can do to help yourself, reduce your costs as well as being great stewards of the steward land. Several years ago, one of the manufacturing plants, I decided to take it upon myself to reduce my waste significantly. 

So I called up all of my manufacturers, all of my shippers and I asked them all if there was any way that we could reduce our shipping and packaging and not surprisingly, several of them said, Yeah, that’s great, you know, the packaging costs so much, how can I reduce the packaging and they reduced their packaging cost I kept paying the same price to those guys. I didn’t ask him for a discount. But I tell you where I made my money was on disposable off all that plastic and all that cardboard and all those materials that were coming in. We were going, and we were dumping significantly less into the landfills. And over time that really has paid off and it’s made us feel good, and you know, you can do all kinds of things to help any cannabis operation be sustainable. 

But look at your waste stream, look and see everything that you’re throwing away in the trash, look at all your recyclables, look at your water, and just try to clean all those up just one little piece at a time. You know where we need to be the most responsible business owners in any industry because we are so heavily looked at. And I encourage each and every one of you to do just that. Decide how you can make an impact in the change and really strive to do it as a company, and you’ll see an economic advantage to that. So without me babbling on here, we’re gonna get right into it the next episode of The Real Dirt if you like this episode and other, man, you can download them on iTunes, subscribe, go to Spotify. We’ve even got a YouTube channel now. So love you guys and sit back, roll up with a fat one, and here’s The Real Dirt.

All right, here we are with The Real Dirt on today’s dirt. I have Brendan Delaney of Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts, say hey, Brendan.

Brendan Delaney: Hey guys, how are we doing?

Chip Baker: Oh, man, thanks for joining me today. You guys reached out to us on our channel and expressed interest in talking to us. I’m so glad you did. You know we get many many responses from people over the channel, and I’m always happy to talk to fellow growers. Thanks for calling us, man.

Brendan Delaney: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. 

Chip Baker: So man, we’re kind of actually from the same hood. Huh, Brendan, you’re in Massachusetts now. I’m in Oklahoma now, but you kind of cut your teeth in California.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, that’s correct. Started cultivating commercially actually up in Shasta County in 2010 ended up making my way over to Trinity County. And we’re doing some largest scale permanent farms over there before I took the job here, about a year and a half ago.

Chip Baker: All right, you move over to Trinity Pines.

Brendan Delaney:  I’ve definitely been through the pines, but we [inaudible] Douglas City, and I have a spot in Junction City as well.

Starting Cultivating Commercially Under Prop 215 Rules

Chip Baker: Sure. Yeah. A great little inside joke for us, huh? Oh my God, what a crazy place. Listeners, you can look that all up for yourself. So yeah, check it out on Google or if you think you got to grow. Yeah, took a look at that. Look at that. Right. It’s amazing. So You started in 2010. Right, when it was still on the cusp of 2.0 legal cannabis in California. You started operating under the old medical cannabis rules, right?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, yeah, we were operating under Prop 215 for a couple of years out there and finally made the switch to getting actual permits. But you know, a little dicey there for a little while. But as long as you’re smaller than your neighbor, you’re good, right?

Chip Baker: Yeah. Well, you know, I tell you that was the beauty of the 215 laws. Now, many people for 20 years said, Oh, it’s bad. It’s an awful law but man because it was vague. It really allowed the medical cannabis market to really really grow throughout California. It allowed so many like cities and states and municipalities to copy the law. And also like, you know, people trying to sue over the law realize, Wow, it’s so vague. It’s well written for [crosstalk].

Brendan Delaney: There were a lot of gray areas to say the least. 

Chip Baker: Yeah. For those of you don’t know, in California 1997, medical marijuana was passed with this bill called 215. And that’s what Brendan and I are referring to as 215 rules. And back then, all you kind of had to do was have like, a book of patients. And you’d have like a handful of different recommendations and some letters that said that you were growing on behalf of them. And then there were some great counties where all you do, you just had to have your own prescription, your own recommendation, and you could have unlimited kinds of growth checks or balances.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, and then you just spray-painted green cross on some plywood for the helicopter. 

Chip Baker: Exactly. And Hope for the best. It was definitely free for all. It definitely, man, it kind of tainted a little bit what was to come with legal cannabis and regulated cannabis. Man, what was it? What was the major difference? You saw from going from that environment of 215 to a regulated environment like, I mean, you had a little baby step first you went to Trinity County. And then you went over to Massachusetts, which is more heavily regulated.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I mean, Massachusetts is definitely the most heavily regulated state in the country in terms of cultivating cannabis. Which I think is a good thing. It holds you accountable for doing things in a different way. 

Chip Baker: Absolutely man there needs to be some roles

Brendan Delaney:  It kind of keeps the, the BS artists out of it.

25b Pesticide Regulations

Chip Baker: That is true. But I mean, just the pesticide usage alone has really leveled the playing field and, you know, you could just spray and pray with whatever you wanted and make like the worst grower be successful.

Brendan Delaney: For sure, yeah, they, the 25b Regulations, are pretty intense. And it really anything other than like citric acid is a form of pests is not really allowed here, and the testing process is extremely rigorous here. We’re on the go for sure here. 

Chip Baker: Wow, that makes it complicated.

Brendan Delaney: Oh, yeah, it does.

Chip Baker: Right. So you can’t use any pesticides just know– you can change the pH of the surface of the leaf, basically.

Brendan Delaney: Pretty much Yeah, yep.

Chip Baker: You can wash the plant off. Maybe?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I mean–

Chip Baker: You’re shaking your head. Wait a second. I don’t know if the water is legal or not.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah. Well, it depends on what’s in the water.

Chip Baker: So no, soap?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, no, soap. Yeah. And they’re constantly changing the regulations. But, you know, I guess that is a good thing when, some of the stuff that is used is pretty [crosstalk]

Chip Baker: Oh, absolutely. And it makes you like, you know, have to be really at the top of your game. I mean, I’m really impressed. I mean, here in Oklahoma, that they’ve actually the way the laws are written is nothing is legal. There are no pesticides that can be used. But they have a really low tolerance of pesticide levels here. So the reality is you can use anything as long as you know no one catches you using it on the spot and then it doesn’t test below these really minimum regulations where like in Colorado, they give you a list. They’re always updating your list, Oregon–

Brendan Delaney: They’re actually they’re introducing fifth– I believe in the next three months they’re actually fifteen pesticides or fifteen substances to the banned list here in Mass and from what I understand is other states are going to start to accept the levels that Massachusetts is using which is having for heavy metals, we’re looking at 200 parts per billion. Which is, you know, there’s heavy metals in pretty much every–

Chip Baker: Yeah, absolutely. Wow. So do you think they’re being over-restrictive on some of that?

Brendan Delaney: Yes and no. So the pesticide stuff. I mean, there are some things that I feel that benefit the farmer and should be allowed, and then there’s some that definitely shouldn’t be allowed. Like, there’s some stuff that’s so widely used. And you don’t even really know what it’s doing to you, or what it could do to you. And then, you know, it gets in, it’s in the groundwater and you’re not just affecting your customers, and you’re affecting your neighbors and all that type of stuff.

Chip Baker: Sure. Yeah. We use some strict protocols, and we don’t have to spray pesticides. We are fortunate enough that we can, and we use stuff biological controls [crosstalk] and some other stuff but with the right application rate knowing how to apply at the right time like really being able to grow your culture is beneficial biology, and that’s how we have dealt with it, but man I’ll tell you some people they have problems with that with fungus and mold residue.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, yeah, I am. It really makes you step up your game and really has your standard operating procedures to where you’re running a really clean facility. You know, you have to hold your employees, hold your employees to those standards. So you’re not ending up as sure. A lot of people have their own home grows and may have mold or may have mines and not stuff trash–

Chip Baker: Okay, can right, what’s the– Is there a common pass for Massachusetts? Is there something difficult for people to control? 

Brendan Delaney: Fungus gnats pop up here pretty regularly. I’ve heard of broad mites but I mean the main thing is pm here.

Chip Baker: Yeah, pm everywhere almost. Right? It’s not as rampant in Colorado, but you know, the drier environment there. They were really really for thought sealed brooms, and you know, there’s also a wide list of fungicides.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah. We just use prosthetic tubes to construct citric acid And neuron a pretty strict regimen on that up until like week two a flower, and then we release biologicals for the end of the plant’s life.

Chip Baker: Released biological so benefits the best–

Brendan Delaney: Not for mold but– for anything else that would pop up for mites or anything like that.

Chip Baker: Right. Wow, you guys have a thousand lights. I mean, that’s roughly 25,000 for canopy, huh?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, so this is phase one. We have three grow rooms right now, and a mom room. We have two more grow rooms with about 245 lights in each room, but by the end of the build-out there will be about 5500 grow lights here, 150 in our mom room.

Chip Baker: Oh, wow. That’s massive. So, uh, you guys, you guys use solar supplementation for all of this?

Brendan Delaney: We do we have here, so part of our microgrid is a large solar field.

Chip Baker: So you’re feeding back into the grid, it’s a [inaudible] system? Yeah, that’s exactly what we have in California too. You know the batteries are cool and great and on off-grid they’re awesome, but the batteries in themselves are really toxic too, and you really got to spend a hefty amount of money on the table to be completely solar efficient. Just to be able to enter ties back into this into the grid that really makes it applicable for everybody. Everybody should be doing this.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, we have full solar on our roof here. The rivets are 70,000 square foot buildings and then a few acres Outback solar field, but the rest of our microgrid is made up of natural gas generators.

Chip Baker: All right. On the site?

Brendan Delaney: Yep. We create all our own power here. Ed can speak a little bit more than me. He’s a little bit more well versed in that stuff but– 

Chip Baker: Sure, yeah, we’ve worked with several self-sustainable people with wind generations with solar in Colorado and an Oklahoma. Natural gas is, you know, it’s huge in both of those states, and so many people have unlimited natural gas usages. We’ve put in really huge hundred thousand watt generators. It’s amazing when you get the power for free, the fuel for free, what you can really do with everything else.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, where our units are pumping out. A few megawatts here.

Chip Baker: Oh, wow, man, that’s great. So was this– Do you know if the solar aspect was used in order to get your license? Was that something you guys like really push for at the very beginning?

Brendan Delaney: It’s something that we’re proud of for sure.

Chip Baker: Yeah, I’d be proud of it too, man.

Brendan Delaney: It’s definitely something that sets us aside from the other facilities in the area, for sure.

Chip Baker: So we were just in Massachusetts. Oh, man, it wasn’t 19; it was like the very end 18, December 18. Drove around, checked it out. It was just starting to come online back then. Tell me what the laws are like and what’s going on in Massachusetts. 

Brendan Delaney: Well, let’s see. So we started off actually as a recreational facility. We just got our medical license last week.

Chip Baker: Oh, awesome. Congratulations.

Brendan Delaney: Thanks. Appreciate it.

Chip Baker: Yeah, we’re all medical, even in California where there’s rec. We’ve got a medical license there, and we got medical here in Oklahoma. We just decided to stay on that side for now.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. The rec market here in Mass is pretty, pretty crazy. 

Chip Baker: Oh, yeah. I’ve seen some lines–

Brendan Delaney: There’s definitely days where we got lines for sure. But as far as the laws go for rec is, I would say it’s similar to a liquor store. You show your ID. You got to be 21. And there’s a certain amount of product that each person can buy. That’s pretty much it. The permanent process here in Mass is lengthy to say the least. A lot of–

Chip Baker: Has limited licenses?

Brendan Delaney: There are. We’re not Massachusetts isn’t, hasn’t reached capacity yet.

Chip Baker:  Okay. Right.

Brendan Delaney: It’s a few year process to get your [inaudible] on your site and your facility permitted and licensed to actually go through. 

Chip Baker:  Right. Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of how it is, most of the states other than, you know, the good ones. 

Brendan Delaney: I mean the price per pound here in Massachusetts is by far the highest country wholesale. Oh, yeah. And so it’s–

Chip Baker: Are your wholesale prices or the state average sale prices published. Can you say it?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Wholesale price–

Chip Baker: How much is a pound to wholesale weed?

Brendan Delaney: 4500 bucks

Chip Baker: That’s pretty high. I was going to say 5500 bucks.

Brendan Delaney: I mean some of it gets up there, some of it does get up there there’s not very many people cultivating license large scale facilities in the state. More coming online you know that not not every day but you know every month there’s a new one and there’s definitely some bigger ones being built out. But we’re setting ourselves up to be definitely one of the largest.

Keeping the Menu Fresh

Chip Baker: Well, [inaudible] with going into 5500 lights you’re definitely gonna be one of the largest, one of the largest in the country. So with the, man with going that much weed? How many different strains you guys got? How do you manage all those different strains?

Brendan Delaney: Um, so that’s a, I ended up bringing brands some pretty unique genetics from the west coast out here. Just some stuff that I had been working on in the years passed. I also work with a few different genetics companies, Humboldt Seeds. I work with Symbiotic Genetics and Compound Genetics. Have some good ties there. So anytime there’s some new, new hot stuff coming out, I usually get a pretty good plug from those guys and we’re working on, right now we’ve got about 26 strains here. Not all of them are on the shelves. We haven’t even flowered all of them out yet. But you know, this last harvest, which we finished about a week ago, was 12 strains, all from the west coast.

Chip Baker: Right? Sure. Yeah. Yeah, we’ve got some of the Humboldt Seed genetics and their Auto OG. Got a bunch of that going in? Next month I guess.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, they got some good stuff for sure we just harvested a, we did a bunch of their Asphalt Plant, which is I guess they renamed it as All Gas OG. And then also their truffle tree which both came out really good, super gassy, pretty high on the THC, but some legit stuff.

Chip Baker: So you guys are still looking for stuff you still plant seeds? 

Brendan Delaney: We do. Yeah. Our clone room is where we just, our clone rooms, we’re constantly germinating you know looking for different finos and just to keep our menu fresh. Having a wide variety is something that really drives sales here and I think having unique strains will be appealing to some people where legal weed is a pretty new thing.

Chip Baker: So how do you bring those new strains in on a facility like yours? How do you get R&DM to decide that you want you’ve selected this fino and you want to bring it in, how does it start?

Selecting Phenos

Brendan Delaney: So we germinate seeds, we sex them, we try not to stress them out too much. Once they’re sexed, they get tagged and numbered. And then we’ll flower out. You know, we’ll do maybe two lights. So two to four by four lights is one tray. So we’ll do one tray for each fino, and we’ll take it to flower and see where it ends up. And if it’s something that we like we keep it and keep the mom and then keep those genetics fresh. 

Chip Baker: Do you guys have a separate R&D room or is it just go into your main room? 

Brendan Delaney: Well, right now it’s just going into main rooms, like this. Typically, I wouldn’t do 12 strains in a room but we were really trying to find our stable genetics here. We’ve only, this has only been our second harvest. So we’re still kind of fino hunting to find, find those gems, you know.

Chip Baker: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s, it’s so funny you say you wouldn’t put more than 12 strains in the room there. It’s very West Coast. I only have a handful of strains. In Colorado, everybody’s got 77-80 strains. It’s just so many men it’s just hard. It’s just hard. As a grower, I just would rather have a few.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I actually have some seeds going right now. They’re starting to show their sex from compound compound genetics, what they’re sending out looks pretty amazing. They’re working with some of the larger breeders out there. Now they also know labs, which does tissue culture cloning. So they [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Yeah, I know those guys. Yeah, I’ve been trying to get them on the podcast for a minute. Dan.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, my buddy Tez has been working there for a little while longer. Tissue culture cloning is something that’s pretty new to Mass. We would be one of the first that are doing it on a large scale. 

Chip Baker: Can’t even get some of that stuff. 

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, there’s some products that are used that aren’t allowed in Massachusetts yet. So–

Chip Baker: Right. So that’d be IBA, IAA–

Brendan Delaney: Sure. Yeah. So I mean, hopefully, if we start working with Node labs full time, maybe we’ll be able to educate a State [inaudible] first doing it out here.

Chip Baker: Well, you know, micropropagation has so many, you know, possibilities, you can just do so much with it. That, you know, one of the problems that you always have bringing plants into new environment is how to make it into scale and how to bring it to scale how to like say, Okay, I planted out a tray, you know, which could be 10 or 20 seeds, and you chose one and like, how do you bring that one grade genetic to scale? 

Brendan Delaney: Ah, yeah, I mean, we have a very large farmer here. Our mom room is three tiers, about 150 lights. The footprint of the room is 3000 square feet. So when we go up three, we’re looking at close to the 9000 square foot canopy for the mom room. And I just have multiple moms instead of having a few of each strain we have 30.

Chip Baker: Yeah, totally I will do the same way– [inaudible] hundred moms.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, exactly. We’re always filtering them out every three months to really keep them fresh. That’s pretty much it. I mean, we are– the propagation team is pretty badass. We did 3000 cuts and them, which are routing right now. That will fill up our fourth room.

Chip Baker: You guys use arrow routers or cubes or what do you bring in?

Brendan Delaney: We’re using cubes right now. 

Chip Baker: Which, Rockwool or Oasis? or rock wall? Yeah, rock

Brendan Delaney: Rockwool, two inch cubes–

Chip Baker: The best thing to do man is the best hands down product on the market two inch Rockwool cubes, right? 

Brendan Delaney: Yeah. Easy peasy.

Chip Baker: It is for commercial operations for large scale operations? It’s just really hard to beat how easy and inexpensive it is.

Brendan Delaney: Sure, yeah. I like the two inch cubes. I like a little better they get, but the roots get a little bigger, well, fatter than usual–

Chip Baker: Yes, when we moved to Oklahoma, we set up a clone nursery, and this was just last year, 16 months ago, or something. And, you know, people weren’t used to buying clones. They were used to bond plants and forage pods. So it took us about six or eight months to like, convince people like no, you need two inch I don’t want two inch, I want four inch. No, you don’t want four inch because here’s 50 plants–

Brendan Delaney: Wait, where’s the pot? Yeah,

Chip Baker: Exactly. And I even did that to people. I was like, Oh, well here look. I’m going to give you these two inches for cheaper and I’m going to give you the pots, I’m going to give you the dirt you go home and do it. But you know, they just move so much better. In two inches than four inches you can put 50 cubes in a box and uh, you know, you only get 18 four inch pots in a box and they last longer you can automate the watering, you know, you’re just, there’s just so many great things about two inch Rockwool and clones, that’s for sure.

Brendan Delaney: For sure. You know, then, eventually if we are doing tissue culture, it’ll be just to keep our mom fresh.

Chip Baker: So with 1000 lights, how do you guys trim, how do you trim all that weed?

Trimming Weeds

Brendan Delaney: So right now we’re, we’re using Green Bros.

Chip Baker: Oh yeah, great.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, we got a crew that right now they’re de stemming and then they’re just running everything through the Green Broz, and the small stuff goes our labs not set up completely yet but the small littles will go right to the lab to make hash and then into rosin, but yeah the Green Broz Model M is pretty badass, super gentle and user friendly.

Chip Baker: Yeah as simple as can be, take it apart, put it back together like, you know there’s hardly– easy to clean easy to clean like i mean you know, if you if you lose something on it, you can easily replace it and man like those guys just really have built a great great great product and products. They’ve got some great products out there.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, they’re de-stemmers are pretty badass too.

Chip Baker: Alright, I haven’t seen that in action. I’ve seen it, but I haven’t seen it in action.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, it works great. I mean, you can throw a live material through there to make freshly frozen or, you know, you can buck your dry bugs off and throw them right in the Model M. It’s a pretty streamlined easy process and that Model M does about 14 pounds an hour once they’re bought.

Chip Baker: Oh, wow, that’s great.

Brendan Delaney: That’s one person really and then the trim that comes out the other side of the trim in kief is like ready for pre rolls. But it’s pretty much ready for the pre-roll machine.

Chip Baker: So you guys are drying and processing all types of ways, you dry it, you trim it green, you fresh frozen it and you kind of have to do it all on a scale operation, the scale yours.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, we do fresh frozen. We will be doing fresh frozen for the littles. We don’t trim anything green here. I like the dried trim method a little bit more. I think it really is the terpene profile keeps [crosstalk]

Chip Baker: It’s way better to dry weed with leaves on it.

Brendan Delaney: Hell yeah. I feel that. But you know what, that scale it’s tough when you’re drying a few thousand pounds every two weeks. It’s just a 24 seven gig and you know you don’t obviously don’t want to speed the process up too much because then you lose your quality. And you know there’s people that are drying their product in a day with heat dehumidifiers and all that stuff, but you really lose–

Chip Baker: So much, man and you just kill it–

Brendan Delaney: You lose so much. Yeah, exactly. I end up with a bag full of hay.

Chip Baker: Yeah, well, usually it’s me saying that. So Brendan, I’m glad you’re saying it today too. Because if you’re just rushing to market to sell weed quickly to make cash, that’s fine. But don’t claim you got the best weed right?

Brendan Delaney: Hell no, it’s not all about that THC number, you know, we need the whole entourage effect there.

Chip Baker: Yeah, it is. so in Massachusetts, you have to list the terpene as well as THC on the label?

Brendan Delaney: No, we don’t. But Solar Therapeutics will be. We’re doing full boards on all of our flowers. And we’ll definitely be including a full terpene profile. But I think it’s a little bit about educating the customers here. About terpenes the Massachusetts market right now is literally the product, the flower that has the highest THC number, is the flower that sells it doesn’t even matter what it looks like–

Chip Baker: [inaudible] is Colorado too. Oklahoma, is not so much like that yet. It hasn’t really hit like people do so weed, you know, on the wholesale level as like, Oh, it’s 27% Oh, it’s 32% or whatever. But the customer isn’t really buying it that way. It’s still so new and it’s not really enforced so much. The THC percentages, so, you know.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah. I think in Massachusetts as the market matures a little bit like things like terpene profile and bag appeal and flower having a legit nose is gonna be something that more people look for.

Chip Baker: Well, we definitely need more education on all that and you know, that’s one of the reasons that California and the West Coast have such great weed is because there’s so many discriminating customers that call bullshit on poor weed and that I know what it looks like, you know, but mostly–

Brendan Delaney: All right, if you don’t smoke [crosstalk]

Chip Baker: Get out it’s like, if it’s not the best up there then it’s really hard to sell it and the rest of the country is not quite like that. You can still sell almost everything you produce.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I mean, I think that’ll change with a little bit more education but also like, you know, new strains, like large variety, once people start to see some of those really, really exotic strains or gassy strains then–

Chip Baker: That’s what they’ll like. So do you guys, is all wholesale, do you have a dispensary?

Brendan Delaney: Do we have a dispensary on site here. We actually have another one that will be opening next few months. The whole COVID pandemic and kind of put a halt on a lot of stuff out here.

Chip Baker: Everywhere. I can’t find four inch bolts for a month. Ridiculous. I have a project I need like 404 inch bolts and I couldn’t find them for a month.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I moved my cot into my office and I just posted up here for a few months but yeah. Our second location is in the process of we’re in the permanent process. And hopefully be open within the next few months. 

Different Strains for Wholesale and Retailing Cannabis

Chip Baker: So here’s something I’ve been interested in, is you guys are wholesales, you guys got a really big grow, you wholesale and you retail it. What are the different types of preferred weed? What do you guys like to grow? What do people like about wholesale and what are the retail people like?

Brendan Delaney: I mean like I was saying before I think the retail part side of this is all about variety. If we have 10 strains on our menu our sales go up, if we have too big we go down. So keeping the menu fresh is a big thing. You know we have relationships with others. dispensary, other people that cultivate and we have some good working relationships with some of these other people and they’ve helped us out with wholesale so you know, we will help them out in the future when we’re really cranking here. And also, having some of their strains in house here at our dispensaries is a huge plus for marketing and again keeping the menu fresh with what they’re growing they can, you know, keep their menu fresh with what’s coming out of Solar Therapeutics.

In terms of growing it I mean, as long as it’s not finicky and is resistant to mold and throws down. It doesn’t matter to me as long as it finishes in under ten weeks.

Chip Baker: Alright. So the wholesale market, it’s still the variety still, pushes that you can still sell variety. It’s not like you know, it’s either gas or fruit on the West Coast. But–

Brendan Delaney: It’s the same here. 

Chip Baker: It’s the same there. Okay. 

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I mean there’s some strains that I’ve chosen to grow here which will do more like a majority of that with the intention of wholesaling larger amounts but also keeping some in house but wholesaling you know, some big chunks.

Chip Baker: Right. So you don’t have a favorite? Come on, you got a favorite.

Brendan Delaney: I mean, I’m digging the Asphalt plant that we just cut down. We’re also doing this across that I brought out which is Critical Mass and Pink Champagne. A little bit lower on the THC but I definitely got some CBD in it. Some high CBD in it. Which is cool for a, it’s pretty mellow but it’s nice.

Chip Baker: Yeah, we love smoking CBD, but only when they blend it with the THC. 

Brendan Delaney: It’s not worker weed right?

Chip Baker: Man, I smoke a lot of weed. Sometimes maybe I don’t need to be that high, so like you blend a little CBD in it and mix it yeah. I still get the flavor right but it’s still good to smoke a large joint. And the CBD is medicinal. So you get the great medicinal cannabinoid without just you know, getting obliterated.

Brendan Delaney: Right. Yeah, I’m actually a partner in a CBD processing company out of Sacramento called the Blue Bus Collective. We’re doing all different CBD products, as well as processing for some of the farmers out there.

Chip Baker: Yeah, I man, CBD has got a great great place in the cannabis market in some ways it’s really helped out THC. Pardon that bong it was way too big. But yeah I’m definitely I believe in the blending of the cannabinoids, I believe in the full spectrum application of it I believe in all the terpenes, the separation the isolation of individual molecules is too Western for me, man. You know–

Brendan Delaney: I hear you.

Chip Baker: Right, but I mean, I support it wholeheartedly, and we’re involved with hemp seeds and hemp seeds consulting, and you know, I’ve got hemp clothes and hemp stuff throughout our lives, and you know, we love it. But yeah, man, I’m a ganja guy for sure.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, we’ll get your information. We’ll send you out some samples after we’re done here.

Chip Baker: Oh yeah awesome, man. Yeah, I’d love it man. We take anyone listening out there and we take samples of all products, The Real Dirt that can be sent to 666 Buchtel Boulevard, Denver, Colorado 80210. We got a great rolling tray recently.

Brendan Delaney: Nice Nice. Yeah, we’ll send you some swag. 

Chip Baker: Yeah my guy Travis would love to see everything there. Right Travis? He’s nine right now.

Brendan Delaney: Perfect, perfect.

Cannabis in the Pandemic Crisis

Chip Baker: So, man, what do you see for the future here in Massachusetts and in the country? Do you see an increase in cannabis use because of current stay at home guidelines. And how do you think federal legalization might affect you?

Brendan Delaney: I mean, I definitely see an increase in use. And I feel like as legalization moves forward state by state, like the taboo of cannabis kind of being worn off. And it’s also more accessible. Like we have a lot of customers here that are a little bit older. And for them like being able to walk into a recreational dispensary and buy a product without having to worry about maybe where it came from or getting in trouble. I think it’s really open cannabis to a lot of people that may have been on the fence about using it before.

Chip Baker: Yeah, you’re right, man.

Brendan Delaney: As far as federal legalization goes, I’m not, I don’t really know where that’s going. It seems like it will happen soon. But who knows? That’s it. That’s the tough one.

Chip Baker: Yeah, well it’s coming all around in the East Coast now. I mean, you got Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia. I mean, so many states on the East Coast are now like talking about legal cannabis. You know, it’s exciting to see it.

Brendan Delaney: I mean, a bunch of our neighbors are probably hopping on board here in the next couple years. So we’ll see. We’ll see about that.

Chip Baker: Yeah. Well, you guys are pioneers, man. I’ll tell you. I’ll give you a salute for being one of the first there and being on the forefront of sustainable production and self generation of energy. You man, it’s just one of the brightest things you can do. And yet they, man really thank you guys for putting all that together.

Brendan Delaney: Oh, man, I appreciate it.

Chip Baker: Yeah, I’m sure you’re an unsung hero on that, but it’s something you got to want to do. You know, nobody’s forcing you guys to do it.

Brendan Delaney: Put the labor of love.

Where to Find Them

Chip Baker: Labor of love. Oh well hey, I love cannabis and I hope everyone who listens to the show loves this show Brendan thanks for joining me you got any way that our listeners can follow you guys or catch up with you if ever they’re in Massachusetts?

Brendan Delaney: Yeah @SolarThera on Social Media

Chip Baker: Say that again.

Brendan Delaney: It’s just @SolarThera on social media, Instagram, all that type of stuff, and that’s pretty much it.

Chip Baker: Oh well, there is it man. Awesome. Check him out @SolarThera

Brendan Delaney: @SolarThera or solarthera.com

Chip Baker: There we go. Yeah. Check out Brendan and everything cool they’re doing up there in Massachusetts if you’re ever around Somerset stop by their dispensary. And hey, man, buy a joint and give it away to somebody when you show up. Thanks a lot for joining us The Real Dirt. Thanks, Brendan. Hey, appreciate it. Have a good day, man.

Brendan Delaney: Thank you.

Chip Baker: Have you thought about a weed story, Brendan?

Brendan Delaney: I’ve been thinking about it a little bit.

Chip Baker: No Holds Barred. I mean, you know, Hey, let me ask you this question first. This will determine, hey, do I have your permission to reproduce this in any way I see fit?

Brendan Delaney: That might change the story. I mean, I was just thinking about, like, the times when I first started doing this and it really was the Wild West, you know, like, hiding from helicopters. And, you know, this is when camp was still around out there and like getting busted or going to jail. I mean–

Chip Baker: Yeah, run it from the man–

Brendan Delaney: I got the bulletproof vest here. Yeah, it’s from living near the pines.

Chip Baker: Stray bullets

Brendan Delaney: It was a wild time out there and you know, you meet some amazing people, and like, it was great for, to have the, you know, the more conscious grower community out there come together and meet some amazing people out there and, but I just times like driving truck beds full of flower down the highway and hoping you didn’t get caught, but the wildfires too. Last year it was just like I stayed during the evacuation and I couldn’t leave my house for 21 days the firing got right up right up to the next property over and that was the car fire ended up burning like 365,000 acres and it’s just you know, you don’t really sleep much and then you get it get out the other side and everybody’s okay and that’s what it’s all about but–

Chip Baker: Yeah, totally. Alright, so here’s, give me like one of the craziest grower stories you remember like to tell from Trinity and now you got one I’ll give you one of mine too.

Brendan Delaney: I’ll think about that you go first buddy.

Chip Baker: All right. So guys, when I first, when we first got there 1997 we were trimming for some other people and we went to trim with these people and they had these other women there, and they were telling us about Humboldt. They were like, Oh, yeah, man, you gotta be careful who you go to work for because there’s some crazy people up here. And she told this story about how her and another girlfriend went to work on a guy’s trim farm. They went through like seven gates and each gate to take the guy like an hour, you know, to get out and so they get down to the bottom and you know, he’s like, it’s kind of starting to get weird. And he keeps mentioning the gates and I will never get out. Turns out all the gates were unlocked when they went to leaf. And the guy had just been fake locking them and telling them all these crazy stories. So there’s some crazy people out there. That’s a pretty G-rated one. But you know, there’s–

Brendan Delaney: I mean, especially up there, you’ll meet all types. I mean, I had, not to mention any names, land owner that I ended up rebuilding his farm that was being saved and didn’t really know too much about him. When I took the position and it turned out he was batshit crazy. [crosstalk]

Yeah, the batshit craziness is fucking rapid in Trinity. But he used to show up in the middle of the night with an AR and like headlamp on, and he would just be pretty hell-bent on taking half of the product with an [inaudible] in the middle of the night. This was like a pretty common occurrence. So by the end of it, I learned just to kind of be sarcastic when she didn’t really take too well. But I mean just, you know, stuff like that. And we, I mean, we had neighbors that were like definitely on the math taken apart a carburetor, taken apart engines, all hours of the night and like huge Tent City camps up there. And it’s I mean, it’s the Wild West for sure, certain parts of Trinity are still–

Chip Baker: There’s no law enforcement. I mean in Humboldt, they would say stuff like and in Trinity too, Oh after 6pm you got to take care of your own problems. You know–

Brendan Delaney: That’s pretty much what it is. I mean, there’s certain parts especially out you know, near the reservations that they don’t even go.

Chip Baker: Oh, yeah. I mean, in Humboldt they don’t go to the reservations. They don’t go to areas with you know, the organized Eastern European crime gangs. They don’t go with the Mexican crime games like, they’re, they just you know, the previously in the past law enforcement would concentrate on the easy pickings usually like hippies with long hair, you know, smoking out trying to be Rasta.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, I mean, the problem now is their law enforcement’s under they’re not really funded for cannabis. They’re out there outgunned and outmanned up there, you know, they don’t know if they’re walking into like 50 people with automatic weapons or fucking RPGs or whatever, there’s some wild motherfuckers out there.

Chip Baker: Well, hey, I’ll tell you also, that the police are pissed there because they can’t rob us like they used to. And they would go in. Yeah, they would go in, you know how it works. They go in, they would literally rob you of all your pocket, knives and tools and all that stuff. And you might never get charged. You know, they take all your shit dude, and they are pissed that they can’t go Christmas shopping anymore every day. Because that’s how it was like I got a new set of snap arms, I’ll trade you for that motorcycle or whatever.

Brendan Delaney: That’s a nice new dirt bike. It must be stolen. We need to fucking take it into evidence. 

Chip Baker: And most of that stuff never showed up in evidence. They just stayed in their pocket. That’s for sure. Yeah, man, I tell you, I was on the 36 at the gas station. And I’m listening to this guy talk about spinning, putting cash in his lawn. And the guy behind the gas stage is like, Oh, yeah, man, you got the nice lawn. He’s like, Oh, yeah, all the cash I get. That’s all I’m not gonna report it. And I’m like, thinking this guy’s a weed grower. He walks out and the guy’s like, yeah, that’s the fucking local deputy sheriff. Right? bragging about the money he’s stealing from people and how he’s putting it into his lawn?

Brendan Delaney: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I have friends that got rated in the, you know, the question that they’re asked most is like, where’s the stash?

Chip Baker: Where’s the money? Where’s the money? Yep, totally.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, they don’t care about anything else. They’re trying to fucking buy their kids nice Christmas presents with other people’s money. 

Chip Baker: Absolutely. Well, man, unfortunately with legal cannabis, a lot of that stuff is gonna disappear. And the crooked cops come up there just to shake down people and like, you know, the crooked mentality that’s, you know, at the drug enforcement, you know, groups and individual sheriff’s offices and police departments, it’s gonna fade, right?

Brendan Delaney: I mean, it’s a legitimate industry now with legit money in it’s a taxable crop at this point. 

Chip Baker: Well, in California, Northern California is the only place in the country where legal cannabis hasn’t really, really benefited people yet. It’s benefited individuals. But everyplace else, it wasn’t really a cash crop already. And in Northern California, that was already the history; it was already cash crops. And it’s actually pissed a lot of people off because they used to grow weed, eat, quasi illegally in their backyard and rake in like 50,000 hundred thousand dollars a year on the side by not doing much. And now that’s all gone. So they’re pissed and the cops are pissed because they can’t rob you for your pocket change. And then like the prohibition is they’re pissed because they lost and then there’s the non-back yarders who are all good for freedom and everything as long as they don’t have to look at it or smell it. You know?

Brendan Delaney: Exactly. Out of sight, out of mind. 

Grow Tips

Chip Baker: Out of mind. Alright, so you gotta grow tips for me. I need a grow tip.

Brendan Delaney: I got you. The best nutrient for a plant is the Gardener Shadow.

Chip Baker: Okay, I’m not familiar. Tell me about the Gardener Shadow and how it’s the best nutrient for the plant?

Brendan Delaney: It just means the more time you spend in your garden, the better your plants again.

Chip Baker: That’s right. You actually have to hang out with them and touch them.

Brendan Delaney: Oh, yeah. 

Chip Baker: That’s great, man. You know, we’ve been building a ton of stuff here in Oklahoma and with the COVID hit, we really hadn’t had employees so we just been building stuff. So, I like to build everything from scratch. For the past several months, we’ve built a 40,000 square feet worth of hoop house. You know, irrigation, we’ve got a couple acres it’s actually in the ground and fences. And today, I actually got to grow weed.

Brendan Delaney: Nice, man. Congratulations–

Chip Baker: Yeah, plants are in the ground like that stuffs happening but like today actually trellis some weed and it wasn’t just like mechanics. It wasn’t drip irrigation or posture, tarps or shade or irrigation or pump or tractor or whatever it was–

Brendan Delaney: This past week we’ve been we’ve been commissioning Argus fertigation system, so– 

Chip Baker: Oh, nice. Nice. 

Brendan Delaney: So it’s a big one. So we’ve been finishing the build out on the fertigation room and really diving deep into our guests which is a badass company. I can’t say enough good things about Argus Controls and, and their fertigation equipment is definitely upper echelon.

Chip Baker: Totally, Argus, [inaudible] those are, they’re all the leaders right now in cannabis.

Brendan Delaney: Yeah, we’ve vetted out all three but settled on Argus–

Chip Baker: Yeah, that [inaudible] too expensive for me, man.

Brendan Delaney: I guess, I don’t really– we were gonna work with them. But Argus seems a little more user friendly.

Chip Baker: Yeah. I mean, you’re gonna have problems with any of it but the Argus and the Netafim are absolutely the most user friendly.

Brendan Delaney: I mean, the support staff at Argus is fucking unreal. 

Chip Baker: Do you like them better? That’s what it boils down for me to do business with people often as I go, like, this guy’s got me. 

Brendan Delaney: You want to do business with good people that live up to what they’re they’re pitching so– 

Chip Baker: Yeah, it’s important. Well, hey, Brendan, thanks for the gardener shadow. I think that was a great one. I like the slightly different one. Thank you. And hey, man, I’d love to do a part two with your development guy on all the other sustainable stuff you guys are doing. And if COVID ever lets us get a rest. You know, I’m gonna get on the road again. I’d love to come and see you guys.

Brendan Delaney: Oh yeah man. We’d love to have you.

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