420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Cultivator Kevin Jodrey, Wonderland Nursery

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Trailblazers In Cannabis
Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create this series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions. This week’s featured trailblazer is Kevin Jodrey, the creator of Port Royal, owner of Wonderland Nursery, and co-founder of The Ganjier. He’s been a cannabis cultivator for decades, running his own operations and offering consulting services to the broader community.

Tell us about your company.

Based in Humboldt County, CA., the company is comprised of a nursery operation, a retail storefront, a mixed light greenhouse operation, a full sun farm, a distribution facility, an extraction facility, a terpene distillation and biomass drying facility, and labor, compliance and financial management services. With the exception of the full sun farm and the terpene distillation facility, all the other permitted operations are all located at the One Log House property in Cooks Valley, right on Highway 101. The One Log House is an historic Humboldt location, and one of the world’s best-known redwood attractions, complete with a coffee shop and gift shop.

Wonderland Nursery is what I’m mostly known for, and I couldn’t be happier that we were able to bring the business forward from the Prop 215 era to the new Prop 64 compliant model. We have a tissue culture facility that we partnered with, so we can produce true-to-type pathogen-free clones for the regulated industry, and also for growers who would like to cultivate the legal six-plant limit set under prop 64. We do contract work for larger clients who provide the plants they want us to propagate, and I still hunt for plants that the market wants, to provide to those in need and to stay current with those markets.

The new storefront turned out beautiful. We hired a design team from Los Angeles to help us create a modern feel without removing the roots of where we are located — in the heart of the redwoods. One of our partners is a master craftsman/mason, and he oversaw the building of the project so that it came out as desired. The feedback has been excellent, and we will celebrate our first year at this location in March. We focus on carrying products from craft batch farmers located in the Emerald Triangle. I’ve been involved with dispensary operations for about 11 years now, and I’ve always strived to support and highlight the incredible small batch producers from the region. I’m grateful to still have the ability to do so, and intend to for as long as I’m in the business.

wonderland nursery humboldtThe new mixed light operation features greenhouses sourced from Forever Flowering and lit by Fluence LED lights. We can use the range to produce flower for research and development, and for seed production. Having the mixed light operation on site makes testing what cultivars we produce and release to the public so much more exact, and let’s us create the map of how to grow the plant. and what difficulties one may find while growing it to make it a simpler process for the farmer at the farm sites. We’ve been friends with the team from Forever Flowering for a long time. They were our primary sponsor for the Golden Tarp Awards ‘light dep’ competition that I put on every Fall in Humboldt County,  and I’m very happy that I can use them as my greenhouse provider/greenhouse consultants. The same appreciation applies to Fluence Bioengineering as well. We use their fixtures on our plants in the nursery, and really look forward to seeing the greenhouse lit with these excellent LED lamps.

The full sun farm is my family farm, and being able to finally get the County and State licenses is a joy words can’t adequately express. I’ve worked on that project for over six years to get the environmental components up to code, and I’m looking forward to Spring planting this year more than maybe ever. The entire goal of the farm was to be able to maintain ownership of the property and to be able to pass it along to my future generations. Using cannabis cultivation to preserve the land and maintain the animal habitats that have existed on that mountain for millennia has been the goal, and with the new permits I believe in some small way we can achieve that.

The extraction facility, terpene distillation facility, and distribution facility are being built as I write this. Having the ability to remove desirable terpenes and infuse them back into distillate cartridges — to make a true cannabis derived cartridge — is critical for the craft market. To me craft means attention to detail of what makes up your cartridge. A premium extraction facility, coupled with a dedicated terpene stripping operation, allows the smaller farmer to be able to create cartridges that give the satisfaction to the end user. The more options a smaller farmer has to reach his market audience, the better.

In the same vein,  we created a distribution service that can follow the chain of custody so that the quality control stays high throughout. If we begin with the genetics that are in demand, and make it easy to maintain the quality throughout the rest of the downstream steps after cultivation, the end user or the buyer will have a greater level of satisfaction. I believe that efficient production practices coupled with a desire to deliver unwavering quality is where the craft brands must position themselves, and we want to be a part of that process.

We created farm labor, financial services, and compliance assistance packages as well. These issues are ones that many, if not most, farmers have never had to deal with to the extent that they do now. Competent honest assistance is what was needed, and what we have tried to provide.  So far, the feedback has been great. Being local, it is easier to understand the needs of the local farmers and operators so that we can provide what they really need and allow them to do what they really want.

Wonderland NurseryWhy did you choose the cannabis industry?

I have to go back 40 years to answer that one. I chose to be involved with cannabis because the people I saw partaking and selling the product had  — with the exception of being arrested –  a great life. It made me curious, and after smoking my first joint in 1978 I understood why. Cannabis is the greatest social bridge I’ve ever found. It allows people from dissimilar backgrounds to find the common ground needed to make real human connection. Using Cannabis has the ability to reduce petty competition and hostility. It allows for more elegant acceptance of other behaviors and differences. It’s what has sustained my desire to remain in the industry for the past 40 years. I love cannabis and am grateful I made the decision so many years ago to stay true to what I believed in and being able to share in that love with others is just incredible to me.

What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

Our firm addresses the integration that’s needed to be efficient. Supply chain management — being able to keep the quality up across the entire production process — is critical for success in today’s competitive markets. Career cannabis operators who assist other cannabis operators know better about where the loss of quality can occur, when compared to operators who simply have a license. By being directly involved in so many aspects of the industry, we have a broader understanding, which we can use to direct operators how to best achieve their objectives. From what plants to grow to how to grow them; from harvesting to sale and where one should focus their energies; from compliance to payroll so infractions don’t make it impossible for the small farmer to succeed — these things are what we think about, and assist farmers with. That is our mission.

I’m not sure if anyone in the state is offering so many services wrapped into such a tight bundle right now. There are many groups who do the different aspects, but I’m not aware of any that handle so many different phases with experience in all of them.

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What has been the reactions to your product/services/technology?

Fantastic! We are so happy with how the operation has been received. The storefront is doing great and people love the design. The local farmers we deal with love having a storefront right on Highway 101 with 40,000 cars a day passing by. The ability to showcase your products to a diverse group helps to get the knowledge of your products out there. The nursery is producing stock and we have a delivery truck that delivers across the region. The financial, labor, and compliance services are in demand. The extraction and terpene facilities should be operational by the first of June, in time for the region’s first harvest. Mixed light operation will be ready to go by Spring, in time for first planting. My full sun farm has thankfully always done well, and I can’t wait to get what we produce into the storefront. Humboldt is large, geographical speaking, but not in population. I think our smaller population creates a more intimate relationship between the cannabis participants in our area,  and we all seem to want to see each other succeed. The saying “a rising tide lifts all ships” gets used a lot, but here in Humboldt I believe it really holds true.

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Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

The dispensary will be in operation for a year come March. Wonderland Nursery was begun six years ago on February 14, and I couldn’t be any happier that it is still here and expanded. After almost two decades of unregulated nursery operations, I began nursery operations in medical cannabis almost 11 years ago by creating the very first vertical nursery model in the United States. A patient could enter the store and purchase flower from the plants they could see growing in the indoor grow operation, and then purchase the exact clone used in that production. We still follow that model. By constantly exploring what the market desires, and by either breeding or sourcing the plants in demand, we can keep the farmers marketable. There is nothing better in business than being able to stay current by serving people what they need and want.  The years slowly go by and each year passed adds another layer to your acumen and interests. In another 20 years, I’d love to be asked this question again as I hope I can say we are still growing, still serving, still enjoying being part of our cannabis community.

Where can readers learn more?

You can follow us a few different ways to see what we have cooking and what’s in the works. The main site is oneloghouse.com. The nursery is wonderlandnursery.com and @wonderlandnursery on Instagram. A great way to see what’s happening at the nursery is also through @wonderlandoos on Instagram. He and I have been working together for over 20 years. You can follow me directly at kevinjodrey.com and on Instagram @kevinjodrey

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