CBD is infused in everything from sparkling water to vape pens and bug spray. As interest grows and dollars flow into the market—which is projected to have reached $591 million in 2018 and skyrocket with legalization—the question on everyone’s lips is: What’s the next big thing?
Cannabis market research firm Brightfield Group, which has focused a great deal of research on the U.S. CBD market, has seen various indicators among manufacturers, consumers and retailers that the following products will be the hottest CBD trends in 2019.
Drinks are a hot product in general, with soda alternatives like LaCroix, Bubly sparkling water and a number of infused beverages (Bai Antioxidant Infusions, KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drink, etc.) swooping in to gain market share from declining sugary soda sales.
CBD-infused beverages are a natural fit to compete in the popular beverage market. Not only is CBD widely recognized for its wellness benefits such as anxiety reduction, sleep aid and pain management—CBD beverages can also take the form of water, sparkling water, tea, coffee, energy shots, beer, wine and more. In turn, this multiplies the number of dosage options and available target markets. A number of hemp-CBD product manufacturers are headed in this direction, aiming to compete with, or be acquired by, large corporations who have their eyes on the CBD space and who are ready to pounce come commercial hemp legalization.
For these reasons, drinks are expected to be a huge CBD growth area, projected to jump from a $12 million market in 2018 to a $200 million-plus market in 2019 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 242 percent through 2022.
Only a handful of pet CBD-focused brands (e.g., Pet Releaf) have gained traction in the market thus far, along with some larger CBD brands with existing pet lines in their portfolios (e.g., Charlotte’s Web Holdings). But CBD pet products are beginning to pique the interest of an increasing number of pet owners around the country who have seen or heard about its positive effects on furry family members. A number of additional major CBD manufacturers are beginning to take notice and develop their own lines of pet products, such as Mary’s Nutritionals (Whole Pet) and Isodiol (PawCeuticals). Direct sellers (aka affiliate programs) have also seen great growth in pet product sales.
The pet CBD market has an expected 2018 to 2022 CAGR of 195 percent, outpacing the general CBD market’s CAGR of 147 percent for the same period.
Another area where consumers and manufacturers are focusing more attention is topicals—especially when it comes to specialized formulas such as those tailored to the beauty, skincare or sports medicine industries. Given topicals’ rapid-release formulas and reported efficacy against inflammation, pain and various skin conditions, and their ability to be formulated into an endless number of varieties and products for various consumer segments, these products have excellent long-term sales potential.
Beauty and skincare topicals are expected to have a whopping five-year CAGR of 214 percent.
Jamie Schau attained a B.A. in international studies and an M.A. in international development from the University of California, San Diego. Since early 2015, she has been a market analyst with Brightfield Group, where she performs quantitative and qualitative analyses of various aspects of the U.S. marijuana markets.
Our cultivation team at Cresco Labs becomes excited as harvest draws near, like children counting the final days until Christmas. It takes months of hard work to prune and train plants before they are ready to be chopped and processed for flower or concentrates.
Depending on the strain, it’s time to harvest when the pistils have turned amber, and the trichomes are no longer translucent. Observe this color change with a microscope or hand lens. Timing is vital, but with knowledge of a strains’ characteristics and ample practice, gauging the proper time to harvest will lower the chances of cannabinoid degradation.
The number of days in flower will vary by strain. Typically, indica plants will be ready for harvest in approximately 50 days to 60 days. Sativa plants can stay in bloom longer, usually between 60 days and 70 days. Harvesting plants too early or too late can affect potency and yields, lessening the flower’s quality.
Here are a few pointers for the processing, drying and curing stages to help you achieve connoisseur-grade cannabis every crop cycle.
TIP 1: Processing for drying begins by removing the large fan leaves from the stem. Removing fan leaves can be completed manually with a gloved hand or scissors, and doing so will create better airflow around the flower. Leaving fan leaves attached can prevent buds from drying correctly, which is a recipe for mold.
TIP 2: Remove any trellis stuck in the plants before taking the plants to the drying room, so trellis remnants do not accidentally enter the final product.
TIP 3: Ensure each plant has an identifier that states the strain name to prevent it from being grouped with the other strains in the room.
TIP 4: Keep the dry room well-ventilated with proper and gentle air flow. Achieve this with floor- or wall-mounted fans and by having adequate ventilation set up before harvest.
TIP 5: The room will also need to be temperature- and humidity-controlled using humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Geography and outside climate will play a role in what equipment is required to manage humidity.
TIP 6: The plants can then be placed on hooks and hung from chain links or wires that are attached securely to the walls.
TIP 7: Keep the plants at 50-percent to 55-percent humidity with temperatures around 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the first seven days. You can lower the humidity to between 43 percent and 48 percent after seven days at the same temperature. When a plant’s stem is no longer rubbery and doesn’t completely break when bent, the plant is dry. Depending on the strain, drying can take anywhere from seven days to 14 days before plants are ready for curing.
Curing begins after the flowers are dry enough to be cut from the stem, also known as “deboning.”
TIP 8: While cutting off the flowers, leave a small portion of the stem attached to the bud, so it doesn't fall apart.
TIP 9: Then the flower should be placed into an airtight container, preferably glass. Ideally, a good cure will take two weeks to three weeks, but curing longer maximizes terpene profiles.
TIP 10: The containers are “burped” several times a day (by removing the lid to the container for a short period of time) during the first week to release extra moisture that has escaped from the buds. Burping will only need to be performed a few times weekly once the flower has cured for seven days to 10 days.
After curing, the cannabis is ready for trimming and packaging.
So much time is spent on training and flowering plants that the post-harvest drying and curing process is often overlooked. Slighting the curing process is a mistake, as drying and curing are arguably the most critical steps of the post-harvest process. With proper humidity, temperature and patience, high-quality cannabis is obtainable every crop rotation.
Jessica Ryan is a cultivation manager at Cresco Labs’ facility in Joliet, Ill.
Sometimes in life, it is the little things that make the biggest difference, the simple things that provide the most satisfaction. Just ask Alex Cooley.
Cooley is the co-founder of the cannabis cultivation company Solstice in Seattle, Wash. In 2014, Solstice finished construction of a state-of-the-art, indoor production facility, complete with new LED technology, a hydrocarbon extraction lab and remote access to grow room controls. It was a technophile’s dream. But Cooley’s favorite part? “I really love that we have parking now. And I love our new conference table.”
This is Cooley’s practical nature on display. Solstice may be a three-time DOPE Magazine Washington Grower of the Year award-winner, but Cooley isn’t resting on his laurels. If he sees something that needs doing, he does it. For example, when zoning restrictions prevented Solstice from making Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood its home in 2011, Cooley worked with Seattle lawmakers to rezone the district to allow for cannabis businesses instead of looking to a new city.
In this interview, Cooley, along with Solstice Director of Operations Max Salinger, explain how to fight zoning restrictions, why Solstice is working with the state to create an organic cannabis certification and how the company’s internal product rating program works.
Scott Guthrie: Alex, in 2011 you worked with the City of Seattle to create new zoning for cannabis businesses. What advice would you give to other businesses looking to rezone their communities?
Alex Cooley: You can go help create the legislation, code and ordinances in a place that doesn’t want you, but it’s not sustainable. Eventually the pendulum will swing back. So, the biggest tip is working with people who want to work with you. We made our home in Seattle, particularly SoDo, where we worked on the zoning for the last six years. I think I’ve helped to write almost a dozen ordinances in Seattle. We are grateful to the city of Seattle for being a partner. It makes it much more sustainable to have that support.
In addition, it’s good to be on the right side of things. We’re in SoDo because it’s the right fit. It’s an industrial district. It’s where our type of businesses occur, where odor occurs, where trucks are moving around. It is important to do it where it makes sense.
This is a bit of the problem with our current system of government. The fact is, if you do the work for them, you get a lot of what you want. I had little to no understanding of zoning, and I’ve worked hard to become educated about that. Then I worked hard to write ordinances for them, and we got what we wanted. That’s how we ended up building the first-ever fully permitted cultivation facility in the state of Washington—we became educated, we worked with people who wanted us and we did the work for them.
Guthrie: In 2014 Solstice built a new, state-of-the-art facility. What are your favorite parts about the facility?
Max Salinger: There are two parts to this. The first being cool, new technology. In that sense, one of my absolute favorites would be the LED technology that we’ve been testing. We do all our vegetative production under LEDs. The speed at which LED technology has been advancing, and the way that we’re able to manipulate not only spectrum, but photoperiod and intensity at different levels is exciting for me.
But some of my favorite equipment that we use is standard agricultural equipment that isn’t necessarily applied specifically to cannabis. For one, our nutrient injection systems. We are currently using a hydroponic system that has the capacity to run acres of greenhouse, but we scaled it down to where we can do individual zoning irrigation within our indoor grow and make larger batches of fertilizer that we can customize for individual strains. Seeing a lot of the technology that I’m familiar with from my background in the tomato industry and lettuce industry being applied to cannabis is awesome.
Cooley: I love all the cool stuff that we have, but to Max’s point, some of the luster fades because it’s not new and incredibly inventive. We make distillate and do fractionalized distillation. That’s super cool, but that wears off quickly once you realize, “Oh, that’s technology from the 1890s, and it’s not really new and novel.”
Salinger: We also have a lot of remote-access stuff. My fiancée gets sick of it. I can’t tell you the times I’ll be lying in bed, scrolling through all the grow room environmental control data. It’s not new technology, but it’s fun and very useful.
Guthrie: Solstice has been asked to join the Organic Certification Board, which will help the Washington State Department of Agriculture create an organic certification program for cannabis. Why is it important to have this program and what needs to happen for it be successful?
Salinger: In normalizing cannabis, we have to start treating it like an agricultural crop. That’s what it is. We are farmers. We’re trying to make this a crop. Our goal is to make this a crop that is a standard, not something that is treated differently solely because it’s cannabis.
When you look at organic certification, it’s one of the No. 1 ways—whether it’s a small farmer or a farmer looking to diversify—to differentiate their products and create an identity around the type of farming that they do. One of the things that was important when we were talking about the barriers and the legislation revolving around this type of program was: How do we align the organic cannabis certifications to the food industry certifications in a way that epitomizes the term “organic”? That is, reduced pesticide usage, reducing environmental impact and a generally safer product. Being able to get that certification is a huge step in cannabis. It’s what needs to happen for cannabis to be taken seriously.
Guthrie: Every batch goes through your internal rating program and receives a score. How was this program designed, and what types of scores are you giving out?
Salinger: The IR [internal rating] program is a dynamic rating scale that’s based on visual, olfactory and aesthetic appeal of each batch. We have a team that will rotate through every single strain of cannabis that is going to market. We’re grading every single product and using that to help us determine the appropriate brand to place it in, and to catalog how this plant performed in this environment, how this plant performed under certain conditions. It shapes a lot of what we grow.
The team is between 10 and 15 people. Everyone will look at the product under a microscope. They give the products fairly subjective scores based on questions such as: How does this look to you? How is this trimmed? Are you seeing anything in here that you like? What’s the color appeal? We combine that with the state-mandated testing, as well as some secondary testing that we’ll do for terpene profile, potency and moisture content. That gives us a numerical score of zero to 100.
We have a scoring standard for four particular brands we supply. Swamp Boys and Solstice are the top tiers. Nothing below that is going to get into those brands. ... If the material doesn’t reach our lowest scoring threshold, it is turned into extract or wholesaled.
Guthrie: Solstice works with some externally sourced genetics. How do you determine what external genetics make it into your facility and how do you find them?
Cooley: We’ve always run an R&D program where we’re essentially looking for a varietal of cannabis that doesn’t cover things that we currently offer. We’re trying to identify what’s popular and what we don’t have. That’s why we partnered with Swamp Boys for “Nookies”: a Nigerian and Animal Cookies cross. We didn’t have a landrace sativa—let alone an African landrace sativa—that had been crossed with an incredibly popular strain. We started working on it in 2015 and completed it in 2018. So, we overlay those Venn diagrams of what we’re missing, and then we move forward.
I’d always spent a lot of time collecting varietals and seed collecting. I scoured the earth to get original Durban Poison seeds that are non-feminized. We’ve got three different Skunk No. 1’s. We put money into tissue culture and pollen saving. So, we’ve got a pretty extensive library that we can use to create what’s popular.
Salinger: That’s the fun part from my standpoint. Alex put in all this work at the beginning, and it got our stock established early. Now, it’s really experimentation into: What is going to produce well, what is going to perform well in our unique environment and what is that end score going to be?
Guthrie: You have a hydrocarbon extraction lab. What was the most challenging part of designing the lab?
Salinger: We are within Seattle city limits, so there were a lot of regulations set by the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), our governing body. We went through multiple inspections with the fire marshal, and we tried to model our extraction lab off standards set by Washington State University for this type of extraction.
The biggest thing was finding the right people who knew the particulars about cannabis extraction, but at the same time were able to investigate and learn about city constraints when it comes to using this type of facility—everything from alarms that are testing the air volatiles to the crazy evacuation systems that rip all the air out of the extraction area with the flip of switch.
It took a lot of research. It wasn’t just, “What’s the best way to extract cannabis material?” but, “How do we do this safely, and how do we do this so when the LCB does start to ask for more constraints around these types of facilities, we don’t have to redesign?”
Guthrie: You produce live resin in limited availability. For such a low-yielding product, how do you justify the work and the expenses it takes to produce?
Cooley: We really like it. That’s where it all starts. Then we find ways to make it profitable. Marketing and branding play into what we can sell it for. We work to get our costs down so that we have a strong margin.
Salinger: With the live resin, it takes a lot of coordination between the garden staff and the extraction staff and making sure that as soon as that harvest is either scheduled or ready, we’re getting the material out and into the freezer as quickly as possible. Like Alex said, it’s a good live resin and it’s something that we all enjoy. The cannabinoid profile is incredibly unique. The terpene profile is incredibly unique. The drying process selectively off-gasses certain terpenes. By extracting the raw flower, we catch those terpenes and preserve them in the live resin. The same goes with cannabinoids, except instead of off-gassing, the cannabinoids convert into different forms (THCA, THC). By freezing the flower at harvest, we are basically taking a snapshot of the flower pre-dry.
Guthrie: Solstice is a three-time Washington Grower of the Year winner. Why is that?
Cooley: It’s our commitment to transparency. It’s our commitment to furthering things. It’s our commitment to making products that we like. It’s our stewardship with the industry and searching out new genetics. It’s working in partnership with other breeders and growers.
Salinger: We’re all here because we all have some sort of affinity to cannabis. For me, it’s making cannabis a generally accepted agronomic crop. For Alex, he’s got a different reason, and for everybody else here, they’ve got a different reason why they want to be here. But collectively, we all have a passion for cannabis and a passion for this industry.
Guthrie: Has Washington’s product oversupply caused Solstice to rethink which strains it grows and when, perhaps forcing you to not grow strains you enjoy?
Salinger: Most of the time, if it’s a strain that we like, it’s going to do well on the market. But we can’t rely on that. In order to make sure that the strain is going to move, I’ll often grow things that I don’t necessarily like.
For example, personally, even the best, most well-manicured, perfectly-grown Durban Poison, I just don’t like it. But I’m not every consumer in the state. So, it’s getting that feedback from sales and understanding what heritage strains, regardless of what brand it goes into or how it’s grown, will have some trajectory, and then making sure that we’re matching those market demands.
Guthrie: You are currently expanding your indoor facility. What will this expansion add to the facility?
Salinger: We’re adding an additional three flowering rooms and some additional vegetative rooms. We are building that all out to continue hitting that premium indoor flower market and really start to look at other types of lighting, other areas where we can create value. We’ve got the space, we’ve got the warehouse already established, we’ve got the staff and we’ve got the people trained.
Cooley: We’re about to finish this second phase. Once that’s up and running, we may explore going to a farm. We do believe, ultimately, high-quality cannabis ends up in a greenhouse. We will eventually build one of those, but it’s not necessary at this point.
Editor’s note: This interview was edited for length, style and clarity.
Scott Guthrie is senior editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary magazines.
[Editor’s note: Read Part I of this series in Cannabis Business Times’ December 2018 issue or online: bit.ly/buckeye-buildout.]
Cannabis cultivators—from home-growers to large-scale producers—may experience exhilaration and worry during their first grow, wondering if they have what it takes to produce a quality plant. For Buckeye Relief, an Ohio-based cannabis cultivation company, its first grow was also a test of its 25,000-square-foot facility’s design and processes.
“This has been one of the most exciting events that I’ve ever been involved with,” says company co-founder and CEO Andy Rayburn of the company’s first crop, which was harvested Dec. 6, 2018.Buckeye’s first harvest “came out pretty much according to plan in terms of the quality of product that we cut down [and] the volume we were able to get out of our first harvest,” Rayburn says, adding that he was impressed with the “really incredible efficiency of the system that my team has in place for harvesting the full room and processing product into our drying room in less than three days.”
Here, Rayburn and members of Buckeye’s cultivation and post-harvest teams bestow insights and lessons learned throughout the company’s first grow cycle.
Propagation (July 30)
After Buckeye completed construction of its Eastlake facility, the state of Ohio granted the company its certificate of operation July 30, 2018. The following day, cultivation team members were sowing seeds.
Carmen Fultz, the assistant cultivation director who joined Buckeye Relief only four weeks before the company was certified to cultivate, recalls palpable energy during those first few days. “It was all hands on deck,” she says. “The coolest thing about it was seeing people from the front office coming back and helping us in cultivation.”
Buckeye planted roughly 5,000 seeds, leaving more than enough to have a large first harvest and properly pheno-hunt after males are culled and unhealthy-looking plants are removed, Rayburn says.Each seed also underwent a bleach wash before being placed in propagation trays to ensure that no pathogens entered the cultivation areas. Once in the propagation trays, seedlings sat beneath LEDs before being transferred to the cultivation room.
Vegetation (August 20)
On Aug. 20, after propagating for three weeks, the team transferred the seedlings to rockwool cubes and placed them on movable racks in Buckeye’s cultivation room to vegetate. That’s when the real work began.
The team’s biggest challenge was, and remains, finding the “Goldilocks zone” of cultivation, “that perfect area that we want to be idling in and then perpetually getting better from there,” Fultz says. As an indoor facility, Buckeye has many variables to control, which makes finding that perfect idling zone even tougher.
For example, Buckeye found a 4-degrees- Celsius difference between ambient room temperature (26oC) and leaf surface temperature (22oC). “We were actually panicking about that in the beginning,” says Jeremy Shechter, Buckeye Relief’s cultivation technology director.
The cultivation team consulted with outside experts and considered every possible solution, including “jacking up the room temperature really high,” Shechter says. Eventually, the problem was identified: an air movement issue.
“When we have really dense canopies like we do here, we really just have to up our air movement game,” Shechter says. (Warm air rises toward the ceiling and amasses there; cool air hangs closer to the floor.) As a short-term fix, the company is employing barrel fans to increase air circulation while it searches for a permanent solution that includes mixing air vertically.
As Shechter worked to improve air circulation, Fultz and her team sorted through the plants to remove males, which comprised roughly half of Buckeye’s initial 5,000-plant crop. That first crop’s size was reduced by another 25-percent when Fultz’s team removed hermaphroditic plants.
On Sept. 11, Fultz and her team began preparing the crop to transition into flowering by taking two clone samples from every plant in the room “to be assured that we have the genetics that we want and to make sure that we had enough plants for our first round of clones,” she says.
Flowering (September 12)
After the team took the clone samples, those 1,300 plants transitioned into flowering Sept. 12, three and a half weeks after leaving propagation. However, because Buckeye started from seed, Fultz’s team found a few hermaphroditic plants well into weeks six and seven of the plants’ life cycle.
Most cultivation businesses destroy those plants, but Bryan Procuk, Buckeye’s post cultivation director, saw in them an opportunity for his trimmers to gain experience before 1,800 pounds (wet weight) of cannabis came to them in December.
At that time, Procuk only had one employee: his METRC operator, Ben Begley. Procuk was teaching Begley how to process the harvest in the tracking system. “We were three rounds into getting 30 to 40 [hermaphroditic] plants at a time that [were] about six weeks into flower and I was like, ‘Why am I just hypothetically telling you this? Why don’t we trim it down and do it?’” As Procuk’s post-harvest team grew to 24 members over the following weeks, Fultz’s team was culling hermaphrodites nearly daily, giving team members time to hone their skills ahead of the actual harvest.
The remaining female plants spent 12 weeks beneath Fluence Bioengineering LED lights. The fixtures are adjustable up to 1,000 µmol PPFD, but Shechter doesn’t anticipate having to turn those lights on full-blast.
“Our first harvest was pretty much above what we expected, and I never went above … 600 or 700 micromoles during the whole time,” Shechter says, adding that most cultivators are probably in the same situation. “That might go up a little bit as we start dialing in our irrigation, altering our VPD [vapor pressure deficit] and fertigation slightly to maximize the amount of water with lower EC [electrical conductivity] and maximize that nutrient uptake, but I don’t see us going much higher than that.”
The financial benefit of not setting lights at 100-percent cannot be understated. Shechter says the company’s electric bill will be roughly one-third of what was budgeted thanks to the dimming controls.
Buckeye’s energy savings will most likely be diverted to emergency repairs for damages sustained during its first grow cycle. One day during Week 3 of flower, Shechter noticed a water bubble on the ceiling: The rooftop HVAC unit sitting above the occupied flower room was leaking. The resulting pool of water completely ruined the drywall, Shechter says.
While Buckeye’s team was able to clean up most of the damage themselves (which included drying and disinfecting around the leak to prevent mold growth), the company had to hire contractors to replace the drywall and the fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) panels. Repairs took one week, delaying Buckeye’s harvest schedule for the year by the same amount of time. “It’s just part of the game,” Shechter says.
Part of the game is also trying to work around issues such as water-logged drywall. While Shechter dealt with the ceiling damage, Matt Kispert, Buckeye’s head of cultivation, spent time scouting plants and pheno-hunting varieties that seemed to be thriving in Buckeye’s environment. He bases his evaluations on four main criteria:
- Physiology: If the plant has a good branch pattern that is easy to work with and manage, as well as a well-formed root system, it has a higher chance of being selected as a viable mother, Kispert says.
- Shape of buds: Beyond aesthetics, Kispert is looking for bud structures and densities that are easy for trimmers to handle and process efficiently. While football-sized buds might look cool, they are more difficult for trimmers to break down and package, and they have a higher risk of botrytis, he adds.
- “Frostiness”: Kispert also looks at resin gland heads and uses those as a gauge for a plant’s potency. More “frost” equals more cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Data: Any plants that meet Kispert’s standards in the above criteria get earmarked for in-house lab testing, where quantitative data is analyzed and factored into the mother selection process.
On Dec. 5, the night before Buckeye’s first harvest and the plants’ last night in the flower room, Rayburn gave the crop a special treatment. He played the Grateful Dead’s legendary 1977 concert at Cornell University’s Barton Hall over the PA system, making sure the plants had a “good last evening,” Rayburn says.
Harvest (December 6)
Buckeye’s first harvest began on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. True to his nature, Rayburn marked the milestone with a team celebration: a good ol’ fashioned breakfast made by Buckeye’s Chief Technical Officer and another staff member who is also a chef.
Three to five cultivation team members (the number fluctuated depending on scheduling needs) spent 110 man-hours over four days tearing down Buckeye’s first crop. The harvest itself was fairly straightforward, albeit grueling, Fultz says. “It was just a matter of getting the work done.”
Thanks to the practice sessions, Procuk’s 24-person post-harvest team was ready for the challenge as fresh-cut plants quickly came in waves.
(Procuk prefers to wet-trim and only dries the actual flower instead of hang-drying branches and trimming later.)
Buckeye’s post-harvest team consisted mostly of interns from the Cleveland School of Cannabis through a partnership the post-harvest director developed.
Procuk, an 11-year veteran of the cannabis industry, had difficulty finding experienced help in Ohio, so when he heard about the local cannabis college, he saw an opportunity to give those students practical experience working in a cultivation business while accessing a workforce with higher cannabis knowledge. “The whole idea is I pay them enough, but not as much as the full-time employees, so it gives them the incentive to move up and not be complacent as just a trimmer,” Procuk says.
Buckeye executives also use the trimming program as extended interviews and offer permanent positions to trimmers they think can be beneficial in other areas of the business. The company reimburses the cost of the state cannabis employee badge (which Ohio only offers if a badge applicant has a job offer) for all of the interns it hires in full-time roles. Students not selected to continue with Buckeye can still leverage the workplace experience when applying for jobs at other facilities in the state.
Thanks to the early test runs with the hermaphroditic plants, Procuk was able to streamline post-harvest workflow to make the process smooth. For example, during the dry runs, Procuk noticed a lot of movement in the trim room as trimmers would drop off empty trays and grab new ones filled with branches that needed trimming.
To reduce foot-traffic and keep the process running smoothly during the real harvest period, Procuk designates one trimmer per shift as a “runner” whose main responsibility is to answer other trimmers’ calls for help. A trimmer yells “runner!” Procuk says, and the designated team member drops what she is doing and gets whatever that trimmer needs, whether it’s clean scissors, new gloves or a new tray of cannabis.
“We had 24 people that got to experience actual harvesting with a small amount of plants at a time and then when it came time on Dec. 6, we just crushed the harvest,” Procuk says. “I’ve actually never seen a crew work as well as those guys who were relatively inexperienced.”
On Dec. 9, 2018, 131 days after Buckeye planted its 5,000 seeds, Buckeye Relief’s first harvest was in the books, and Rayburn is thrilled with his team’s performance. “The way that everybody has been working together is essential to how well this first cycle went, and I expect it to go better and better every cycle,” he says. “The dynamic of watching that come together, to me, was really rewarding.”
Brian Maciver is senior editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary magazines.
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