The Innovations of Solar Power in Cannabis Cultivation with Brendan Delaney
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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
- Proposition 215
- 25b Pesticide Regulations
- All Gas OG
- Compound Genetics
- Node Labs
- Green Broz
- Argus Controls
Connect with Chip Baker
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?
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?
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.
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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