When Randy Johnson and I co-founded Fluence Bioengineering, numerous people asked me why we wanted to start an LED lighting company to serve the horticulture industry.
My response to them was, and continues to be, the commercial horticulture industry is on the same trajectory we saw play out in Silicon Valley. From the smartphones in our pockets to the smart appliances in our homes, technology is radically changing the world around us. Similarly, the commercial cannabis industry is experiencing a seismic change, which is being driven by the compound semiconductor and its application in LED lighting. The opportunity to use our collective experience to help farmers produce more nutritious crops and more efficacious medicine was too powerful to ignore.
The core mission at Fluence Bioengineering is to help growers achieve their cultivation and business growth objectives while simultaneously reducing the associated input costs and resources. This equips our customers with the power to price their products strategically in an industry that is starting to experience price compression in various markets.
To ensure our customers are successful in this dynamic market, we are continuously gaining valuable insights from our industry partners, and we repeatedly ask, “How can we improve?” At any given time, we are working with multiple partners and research institutions around the world to explore novel ways we can use lighting systems to produce quantifiable and repeatable results. Specifically, we run controlled environment experiments to understand how photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), spectral composition and photoperiodic light treatments can increase yield and alter cannabinoid profiles and terpene expression.
My desire to start a business that fundamentally reshapes the commercial agriculture industry has been fueled by my desire to be a leader in the cannabis industry. We are not interested in marketing untested LED products to drive near-term sales growth; instead, we want to drive the innovation that will position the cannabis industry as a technology leader in the global agriculture market.
With an unwavering commitment to the commercial cannabis industry, we are pleased to be the exclusive sponsor of Cannabis Business Times’ research for the second annual “State of the Lighting Market” report. We support CBT’s efforts to share scientific knowledge and industry trends, as we believe the data in this report will give cultivators impactful insights into the future of profitable cannabis farms. We look forward to embarking on this exciting journey together.
Co-Founder & CEO
Hezekiah D. Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association (CGA), in an email update about the impacts of the wildfires in the state. As of the Oct. 13 email, Allen noted that he had “confirmed reports of 23 farms damaged—21 of those lost entirely.” The CGA had raised $17,343 in the days prior and is welcoming donations: bit.ly/donate_CA_Growers.
Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley on how tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales in Canada should be distributed between the federal government and the provinces, noting that the tax income would not cover the entire cost of launching and running the system. Source: CBC.ca
19-year-old Northern Michigan University sophomore Alex Roth, who is part of the university’s newest medicinal plant chemistry program that hopes to graduate individuals ready to make a big impact in the cannabis industry. Source: Detroit Free-Press
Maine attorney Amy Tchao on an amendment to Maine’s proposed adult-use cannabis bill that would require towns to opt-in, not out, of the recreational use program. Source: Portland Press-Herald
Courtesy of California Growers Association; © wildpixel| istockphoto.com; © Lightvision | Dreamstime.com
Douglas Brown is a longtime journalist who runs Contact High Communications, a public relations firm in Boulder, Colo. Among other things, Brown works closely with BDS Analytics, using the company's GreenEdge market research tool to tell data-rich stories about the blossoming commercial cannabis marketplace.
Jillian Kramer is a New York City-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the online or print versions of Glamour, Food & Wine, SELF, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
Alastair Monk (a native Brit) moved to Canada in 1999. Since then he's been active in the technology sector, servicing clients on both sides of the border. He cut his business development teeth after creating and managing the department responsible for company growth while at eFundraising.com (an Inc. Top 10 fastest-growing company). Monk co-founded Motorleaf in 2015, and has been invited to speak at industry events on the topic of AgTech from St. Louis to Toronto to Tokyo.
Tim Cullen is CEO and co-owner of Colorado Harvest Company, a vertically integrated company that grows and sells its own premium, naturally grown cannabis; operates three retail cannabis shops; and is a partner in the cannabis oil production company, Organa Labs and in the national personal vaporizer brand, O.penVAPE.
Kerrie and Kurt Badertscher are co-owners of Otoké Horticulture, LLC and authors of “Cannabis for Capitalists.” They have worked with large-scale cannabis producers for more than six years. Kerrie has been involved with plants her entire lifetime and earned certification as a Professional Horticulturist by the 100-year-old American Society for Horticulture Sciences. Kurt brings his 34 years of corporate experience and operations management skills to bear on the business challenges of cannabis cultivation.
Jonathan Katz, owner of JSK Communications, is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry. He was editor for Industry Week magazine for seven years, and former associate editor for Lawn & Landscape magazine. Prior to starting JSK Communications, Katz served as a client services manager for Content4Demand, a content marketing agency.
Kenneth Morrow has been writing cannabis-related articles and books for more than 20 years. He owns Trichome Technologies, a cannabis R&D company. He also is an award-winning grower and breeder. He has made contributions to many of today's extraction methodologies and holds multiple patents. He consults on all cannabis-related subjects. Find him on Facebook at: Trichome Technologies or Instagram: TrichomeTechnologies.
Robert Eddy has 25 years’ experience managing state-of-the-art research greenhouses, growth rooms and growth chambers at Purdue University and Dow AgroSciences. He’s specialized in developing plant growth methods that are repeatable, reportable and scalable. His e-pubs on optimizing greenhouse production of corn, rice and Arabidopsis have been downloaded more than 50,000 times around the globe. He is currently a consultant with CEA Consultancy, advising vertical farms, hydroponic growers and cannabis operations.
Anne-Marie Hardie was born into the third-generation wholesale/retail greenhouse operation Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery. After some time working in the family business, she went from growing plants to writing about them. A Toronto-based freelance writer, her work has appeared in Ornamental Breeder, Grower Talks, Greenhouse Management, Tea and Coffee Trade Journal and Green Profit, among others.
Jolene Hansen is a freelance writer based in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. A former horticulture professional, she is a frequent contributor to the Horticulture Group publications owned by Cannabis Business Times’ parent company, GIE Media.
Rino Ferrarese is the COO of Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions, one of four licensed producers in the state. He has experience as a compliance officer working in FDA-regulated industries under the guidelines of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for the production of prescription, Over-The-Counter (OTC) and homeopathic human drug products. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and ISO auditor. Ferrarese also works with Elite Cannabis Enterprises developing and submitting competitive medical marijuana license applications for clients across the United States. Thomas Schultz is president of Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions. He is a Wall Street lawyer and investment banker turned pharmaceutical executive. In 1996, Schultz completed an IPO-oriented merger of the last major producers of witch hazel, the EE Dickinson Company and the TN Dickinson Company. He assumed leadership of Dickinson Brands Inc., the resulting firm, until 2014. By 2003, Schultz had led the buyout of the EE Dickinson interests and managed the acquisition of Humphreys Pharmacal Inc., a company that marketed witch hazel to Central and South American markets.
Californians have often blazed their own trail when it comes to cannabis in the United States. The rest of the country usually ends up following the Golden State’s lead. And now that the cannabis industry finally has robust data revealing the sales trends and quirks of California’s cannabis purchasers, we see the places where those patients mirror cannabis consumers in other states, and where they stake new ground. Just as Californians went their own way 21 years ago when they began permitting cannabis sales in medical shops, they also follow their own collective muse when it comes to purchasing.
New data from cannabis market research group BDS Analytics unveils a number of areas where California’s medical marketplace has evolved in unique ways. One caveat: While the current landscape remains within a medical regulatory framework, the data shows that the state’s cannabis market resembles recreational marketplaces in Colorado, Washington and Oregon much more than medical markets. Let’s consider three ways in which California cannabis consumers, and the marketplace in general, are different from other states.
California’s early and passionate embrace of vapes sets it apart from other states, where interest did not escalate dramatically until recreational sales began.
Concentrate sales in general already capture 25 percent of California’s market; it has taken nearly four years of recreational sales for Colorado’s concentrate market to garner 27 percent of the market. But within the concentrates category, in July of this year, vapes captured nearly 65 percent of concentrate sales in California, on $39.1 million in sales; by comparison, vape sales represent just 37 percent of Colorado’s concentrate sales. In Colorado, the second-largest cannabis marketplace in the country (California is the largest), other concentrates like shatter, wax and live resin perform well, but sputter in California.
California's decades-long reputation as an international cannabis-growing powerhouse suggests prices for flower should be cheap—with so much marijuana floating around, how could it not be? In fact, prices in California for flower are the highest among the states with large and established legal recreational cannabis markets.
During the five months between March and July of this year, the average pre-tax price for a gram of California bud was $9.24. But in Colorado, the average price was $5.48; in Washington (for March through June) it was $5.69; and in Oregon, the price of a gram was $8.68.
Pre-rolled joints capture 5 percent of the California cannabis market, which is roughly in line with Colorado and Oregon. (In Washington, however, pre-rolls represent 11 percent of the market.)
But Californians stand far apart from the other states when it comes to infused pre-rolls that come with an extra THC boost from concentrates like oil, kief, caviar and hash. In California, the pricier infused pre-rolls (averaging $14.08 per joint, compared to $5.12 for joints without concentrates) command 31 percent of the pre-roll market.
Coloradans, on the other hand, only buy enough infused pre-rolls to capture 7 percent of the pre-roll market. In Oregon, infused pre-rolls’ share is 2 percent. Washingtonians are more receptive of infused pre-rolls—they capture 19 percent of the pre-roll market. Still, California’s love for infused pre-rolls far exceeds the ardor shown by Evergreen Staters.
Douglas Brown is the owner of Contact High Communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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