“Let us be blunt: TSA officers DO NOT search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. Our screening procedures are focused on security and detecting potential threats.”
^ The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a statement on its Instagram account reaffirming its policy regarding cannabis possession on flights: It doesn’t allow it, but it’s not the administration’s priority to search for cannabis products. Source: TSA/Instagram
“We might in fact have false positives or maybe even false negatives. It’s just not accurate.”
^ As Vermont lawmakers continue to debate whether to legalize the production and sale of adult-use cannabis, impaired driving has become a hot-button issue. Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, the chair of the Vermont House Judiciary Committee, raised concerns about the accuracy of the available roadside technology for testing cannabis impairment during one of her committee’s hearings. Source: New England Cable News
“We also feel we have been deceived. As a result, no matter what we do as an organization going forward, Open Cannabis Project will never escape this deception.”
^ Former Open Cannabis Project Executive Director Beth Schechter announced on May 6 that the nonprofit organization would be shutting down by the end of the month. This announcement follows vast breeder and grower outcry over Phylos Bioscience announcing its own breeding program, contradicting what the company has, for years, told cannabis breeders and growers who shared their genetics with the ag-tech company. Source: Statement from Beth Schechter/Medium
In this issue, you’ll find Cannabis Business Times’ fourth annual “State of the Industry Report: Examining the Cannabis Cultivation Market.” (Thanks to Nexus Greenhouse Systems for supporting this third-party research for four years running, so that we can share it with you.) We are thrilled to now have years of data to analyze and compare to reveal trends and other important insights into this ever-growing industry.
As we reviewed the data and prepped the rest of this issue for press, It struck me that another less-quantifiable trend is happening in the industry. Commonly held practices and perceptions in cannabis cultivation are being questioned—and either are being proven or disproven.
Until recently, cannabis’s illegality prevented experienced researchers and horticulture experts, with vast scientific knowledge of all plant varieties, from researching cannabis. With legalization comes the benefit of contributions from these experts to add to the centuries of insights that have emerged from cannabis cultivation experts, who were forced to share their expertise largely by word of mouth and, more recently, in online forums.
With legalization, more information is being revealed, causing debates over previously held beliefs and practices surrounding cannabis cultivation.
Let’s start with “flushing,” a common cultivation process. More than three years ago, in CBT’s April 2016 issue, then-columnists Kurt and Kerry Badertscher wrote: “To us, the concept that flushing somehow changes the chemistry in plant tissue that has been laid down for weeks requires a scientific explanation because that concept seems akin to claiming that the car engine is cleaner after washing the car’s hood. Nutrients are locked in the plant, and an external flush cannot undo the complex biology that locked them in.”
In this issue, not only is flushing explored—and whether it is achieving what you think it is—but so is another commonly held belief about white ash being a sign of superior quality or “clean” cannabis. Dr. Markus Roggen and Dr. Allison Justice (who both have extensive experience in cannabis cultivation, curing, processing and more), deconstruct both concepts. The results will likely surprise you.
We are dedicated to continuing to question these commonly held, but scientifically unproven practices and beliefs in our coverage to help you navigate a once hidden industry’s emergence and progression.
It is a formidable as well as extremely exciting time as we begin to bridge the gap between cannabis cultivation practices and horticulture science. And it will be even more exciting to see how this bridge might impact your crop quality, characteristics, yield, and your bottom lines.
Flowering time: 58-63 days
Ideal light-intensity setting: This really depends on the operation or grower. … Generally, she isn’t a big fan of over-lighting.
Ideal cultivation environment temperature: She likes it around 74 degrees to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideal cultivation environment relative humidity: 45 percent
Water needs: HEAVY! [She] likes to drink!
Nutrient needs: Less is more! She is easier to handle [if you need to increase your nutrients] rather than going down. Most overfeed her, and she doesn’t like that.
Terpene profile: Highest in: caryophyllene, myrcene. Moderate levels of: humulene, limonene and pinene. Total terpene content: 14.3 mg/gram of mass.
Susceptibility to any diseases/conditions: This is all about your environment. From the certified partners GG Strains has, not one has had any disease that would stem from the DNA of this plant.
Josey Whales, Lone Watty and Cat Franklin are principals at GG Strains, a Nevada-based cannabis genetics and seed company.
Maryland is known for two things: crab cakes and football (at least according to the movie “Wedding Crashers”). But with some training and education, Herman Dunst hopes to add cannabis to that list.
Dunst is co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Trilogy Wellness, a medical cannabis dispensary in Ellicott City, Md. In this Q&A, Dunst talks with Cannabis Dispensary about how the company uses technology to stay on top of regulatory changes, the motivational power of patient feedback, the challenges of operating in the state’s market and more. (Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length, style and clarity.)
Brian MacIver: What was a lesson you learned the hard way?
Herman Dunst: Two lessons that we learned the hard way involved understanding the rules and how to educate a new consumer base. The cannabis business was a new endeavor for the entire team who had a history of working together in other businesses. We all came from different backgrounds in food, corrections and retail industry, but when it comes to a cannabis business—you are involved with many different regulated industries, including food, health, OSHA, law enforcement, retail, manufacturing and more. The number of regulations guiding the cannabis industry is unique and often overwhelming. It’s hard to get up to speed on them all while running all aspects of the business.
BM: How do you address that challenge?
HD: We found PowerDMS, a cloud-based [compliance-management] platform, a resource that had the knowledge and experience we needed to help us through this. We partnered with them to help get us ready for inspection. We are now able to keep up with all the regulatory changes and set up a change control process using the software. All employees have access to PowerDMS and are required to sign off on all SOPs (standard operating procedures) and complete their required training in the system. We have also found a community-based marketing formula that is helping us to work around the advertising restrictions and other limitations.
BM: What has been your biggest recurring challenge?
HD: The same products are not always available from the growers and processors, making it difficult to provide consistency for patients. There are often patients who find a medicine that works for their needs and then our team will be unable to source the product due to a lack of supply. In addition, the cost of cannabis products in Maryland is still very high, which puts pressure on our profitability as we try to offer discounts and incentives to make the products affordable for our patients.
BM: What has been your biggest achievement?
HD: Our biggest achievement has been the building of our team. We made the early decision to implement the highest standards possible for staff education. The staff must be certified by Healer, an independent, physician-developed medical cannabis training program, as well as be trained on all aspects of dispensary management and regulatory compliance. Our commitment to on-going staff training has also contributed to a high retention rate of employees and a satisfying work environment.
BM: How do you choose cultivation partners?
HD: We use supply chain best practices often practiced at much larger companies when choosing cultivation partners for Trilogy Wellness. We visit facilities and develop relationships with the cultivation partners so that we fully understand their capabilities. We review the quality of the product, their standard operating procedures [and] quality control, and only work with partners that will provide the best experience and quality products for our patients.
BM: What worries you the most about the cannabis market?
HD: We are concerned with the lack of education and training that exists at some other dispensaries, as well as the quality of the products that are coming into the market. The lack of training can lead to unfavorable patient experiences, which is why we are committed to training and making Trilogy Wellness a go-to destination for patients from all over Maryland.
BM: What about the cannabis market makes you excited/hopeful?
HD: We are inspired by the patient testimonials we receive, and [we] witness first-hand every day how instrumental the use of medical cannabis can be to improve the quality of life of our patients. In some cases, our patients’ lives have been completely transformed.
BM: What keeps you up at night?
HD: The only thing that keeps me up at night is knowing that there are many more people in our community and across Maryland that could benefit from the many positive impacts of medical cannabis. Because we have built a solid infrastructure and compliance process, I don’t worry much about the regulatory aspect because we made the commitment to excellence from day one.
BM: What helps you sleep at night?
HD: We have a passionate and dedicated staff, and we know from our patients’ stories that we are providing a healing solution to so many medical conditions. It’s important to us to change lives, and everything we do is aligned to supporting the health and wellness in our community.
BM: If you weren’t in cannabis, what would you be doing?
HD: I have a background in supply chain operations, farming and law enforcement. The cannabis business is the perfect business model that allows me to remain involved in all areas of my experience. Perhaps I will retire one day, but for now, this industry is exciting and rewarding.
Brian MacIver is senior editor of Cannabis Dispensary magazine.
Cannabis Business Times’ interactive legislative map is another tool to help cultivators quickly navigate state cannabis laws and find news relevant to their markets. View More