Coachella Valley Is Cultivation Central For California Indoor

By Stu Zakim

CALIFORNIA: The Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network (CVCAN) and its second annual cultivation conference this past weekend in Desert Springs CA painted a very positive picture of the state of cannabis cultivation.

CVCAN 4

A series of panel conversations combined with a selection of vendors pointed to Desert Springs and the surrounding area becoming the heartbeat of the indoor grow sector for California.  The attendees were also offered a tour of the grow facility used by CannaDescent, one of the more exciting brands in California, with a look at their grow rooms, dry rooms and the hand roll departments.  As part of that tour the guests were shown a video that detailed CannaDescent’s expansion plans to increase the amount of cannabis they’re producing with added growing space.

“the free ride for cultivators and their power use is over"

“the free ride for cultivators and their power use is over”

One of the hot buttons at the conference was when will California follow Massachusetts with establishing regulations impacting the amount and costs of electricity and water that cultivators will be able to use.   While those costs are high, the Coachella Valley’s weather provides an ideal setting for producers utilizing alternative sources for electricity.  According to Jonathan Cachat, PHd, CTO of SunGrown Zero, a proprietary hybrid-light cultivation facility powered by natural sunlight, “the free ride for cultivators and their power use is over.  We definitely see a trend in the adult use legalized states that are limiting and restricting the levels of electricity for cannabis cultivators and that is one reason the trailer that demonstrates how SunGrown Zero works was such a hit at CVCAN.”

 

attendees were also offered a tour of the grow facility used by CannaDescent, one of the more exciting brands in California

attendees were also offered a tour of the grow facility used by CannaDescent, one of the more exciting brands in California

For all the attendees, the highlight of the event came when Desert Springs Mayor, Scott Matas, praised the influx of tax revenue the cannabis industry is producing for his city and their budget projections for fiscal 2019 including new schools, parks and police officers saying they couldn’t do it without them.  He anticipates the new Coachillin Office Park, which will be entirely devoted to cannabis businesses, will be a major draw for all kinds of development.  If ony that message could get to Washington DC!

 

California — Now The Largest Cannabis Market In The World — Has No Product to Sell

CALIFORNIA: According to a report in the Los Angeles TimesCalifornia is facing a serious shortage of legal cannabis, caused by a number of factors, including the recent fires that devastated the state, and the lack of city licensing approvals.

“Nearly a month after legal sales began for adults in the nation’s most populous state, the longstanding medicinal and illegal marijuana markets are still transitioning to a multibillion-dollar regulated system, estimated to eventually reach $7 billion in value,” the Times reported. “So far, one of the biggest challenges is having enough growers.”

One company,  Micro Lab Farms, is addressing the marketplace need by providing an innovative solution — fully automated indoor growing environments that can be placed virtually anywhere. The turn-key system utilizes specially sealed shipping containers, outfitted with the most advanced technology in the world, which provide greater efficiencies, increased crop yields, and lower costs than other comparable method of cultivation.  Compared to outdoor cultivation, the Micro Lab Farms’ system can produce as many as twice the number of crop cycles per year.

The fully transportable systems from Micro Lab Farms can alleviate these obstacles by allowing businesses to locate their growing facility virtually anywhere. Additionally, the patent-pending system provides the perfect growing environment, so crops can be harvested far quicker than by other conventional means.

Marapharm Is Building A Third Facility In Las Vegas

CANADA: Marapharm Ventures Inc. has announced construction plans for a third building which will be 65,635 square feet on the 7 acre property located in Las Vegas, adjacent to 2 existing cultivation buildings. The ground prep pad is ready to build on, most infrastructure is designed and in place and building plans go for bid in October 2017. Construction will begin soon thereafter. This building is slated to be the first 3 story cannabis building in the state of Nevada.

“Current pricing and comparable facilities in Nevada indicate that revenue from the new 3 story building will potentially be $50 million gross and $30 million net, after operating costs, for the first year (source Kurt Keating). We will be at about 20% build out with regard to the square footage of the licenses we have.  Marapharm is the largest marijuana license holder in Nevada.” Linda Sampson, CEO, Marapharm.

Marapharm engaged Kurt Keating to do the evaluation of this project. Kurt won 2 High Times Cannabis Cups in 2014 while cultivating medical cannabis and he has been consulting, evaluating and growing cannabis for several years. The market price for this type of marijuana at present is approximately $2300 wholesale per pound in Nevada. The evaluation for the three floors is 22,600 pounds per year.

FutureLand Signs Deal To Purchase 49% of Active Cannabis Grow License in Oregon

OREGON: FutureLand Corp, a leading provider of strategic real estate investment, grow facilities and material solutions to the global cannabis industry, announced today that its subsidiary, FutureLand Oregon LLC, has agreed to purchase 49% ownership in Groovy Groves, LLC, an Oregon recreational cannabis license holder.

Cameron Cox, CEO of FutureLand Corp., said, “This has always made a lot sense to me as we have another site only about 10 miles away with the same partners. So, I’m very happy about this deal. Currently the company has 70+- lbs. curing on the site and ready to be sold from the previous crop worth somewhere between $120,000-$140,000. Getting this license is very strong for FUTL because it finally allows us to begin booking revenue, and I know the shareholders have been waiting for this for a long time. It also puts us in a fairly unique position where, if I’m not mistaken, we may well be the first public company to have a license in the recreational grow market in the entire United States of America. So, this is big news!”

The license is currently a Tier II grow license which allows 40,000 sq. ft. of outdoor grow. This means that we can have 40,000 sq. ft. of flowering plants at any one time. Which also means the company can be vegging and cloning separate from that designated flowering space which gives us a fantastic opportunity to cycle a large amount of marijuana throughout the year. FutureLand will pay $100,000 dollars in stock (10,000,000 shares), based upon the closing price of the company’s common stock on Nov. 14th, 2016, to John C. Miller for his 49% of the Groovy Groves, LLC license.

The company will begin the process of transferring the license immediately which could take a few weeks to accomplish as background checks via fingerprints and the like need to be taken and approved. Once this is completed, the shares will be issued to Mr. Miller and the company will make plans to sell the product to local dispensaries as well as getting various parts of its team up to speed on the seed to sale tracking classes available in Medford, Oregon. In the future, we may modify the license to be either a hybrid of greenhouse and outdoor or simply construct a 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse for the flowering product. In the end this will likely lift revenues as there won’t be seasonal limitations on growing. Right now we are expecting 2017 revenues on this site to be in the neighborhood of $3,000,000-$4,000,000.

Hemp, Inc. Announces Plans To Cultivate 50 Acres Of Industrial Hemp In Spring 2017

NORTH CAROLINA: Hemp, Inc. executives report that its wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing in Spring Hope, North Carolina is set to grow 50 acres of industrial hemp next door to their NC processing plant in the Spring of 2017.

According to a company news release, the Spring planting of industrial hemp hinges on the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission (NCIHC) establishing the rules and regulations for the state’s agriculture program to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. While the Commission has not yet announced a date of when the rules and regulations will be established or released, farmers across the state are hopeful it will be in time to plant hemp during the Spring next year. With more families “going green,” farmers see more lucrative opportunity in the environmentally sustainable hemp crop than with any other crop.

Hemp Inc CEO Bruce Perlowin said, “Not only are we excited at the possibility to grow our own 50 acres of hemp in the Spring, we are also partnering with land owners and farmers across North Carolina to grow hemp, such as the 1,500 acres we announced in a previous press release, while we complete the final stage of bringing our multi-purpose industrial hemp facility in North Carolina online. We’ve planted Kenaf successfully. Now we are ready for hemp.”

To see the video of America’s largest hemp processing facility (70,000 square feet under roof, on 9 acres) and 60-foot silo installation, click here.

While the company is looking forward to growing hemp on its 50 acres, Perlowin said the company will continue to plant Kenaf in 2017 if the Commission has not set official procedures in place by the Spring. “This year, we are growing 420 acres of Kenaf in several counties in North Carolina… providing revenues to several farmers throughout the state,” said Perlowin.

Two Rivers Water and Farming Company Subsidiary Receives Court Order for Eviction of Suncanna

COLORADO: GrowCo, a majority owned subsidiary of Two Rivers Water and Farming Company, has announced that on July 22, 2016 it received a court ordered Writ of Restitution from the Pueblo County, Colorado District Court.

By September 6, 2016 at 12:00 P.M. MDT, Suncanna must vacate the marijuana-focused greenhouse owned by GCP1. If, by this time, Suncanna has not vacated the GCP1 greenhouse, the court has ordered the Pueblo County Sheriff in conjunction with the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division to remove Suncanna from the GCP 1 greenhouse.

About GrowCo

GrowCo was formed for the purpose of constructing state-of-the-art computer-controlled greenhouses for licensed marijuana growers. GrowCo is not a licensed marijuana grower or retailer. GrowCo does not “touch the plant” and only provides growing infrastructure for licensed marijuana tenants.

About Two Rivers

Two Rivers assembles its water assets by acquiring irrigated farmland with senior water rights. Two Rivers current farm operations convert feed crop farmland into fruit and vegetable crop production in Pueblo County Colorado. In December 2012, Colorado legalized the personal use and cultivation of marijuana. As a result, Two Rivers is providing greenhouses and processing facilities for licensed marijuana growers in Colorado on land with water rights not used for fruit and vegetable crop production.

Putting Pests in Their Place

By Dr. Richard Freeman, aka Dr. Rick 

By now everybody knows that pests and pesticides are a big problem in the Cannabis industry.  With a grow house full of nitrogen-rich, moist pot plants, the little critters are going to come, by hook or by crook.  And, what’s a farmer to do? The answer depends upon the farmer and the alternatives that are available.

Fortunately, alternative farming systems do exist.  One of these systems is ecological agriculture, a synthesis of practical farming and scientific research that applies ecological patterns to agriculture, eliminating the expensive and harmful chemical addictions that commonly degrade modern farming.

Professor Miguel Altieri, UC Berkeley, represents what ecological agriculture is all about. On one hand, Dr. Altieri and his colleagues have created a lucid, science-based methodology for designing farms based on ecological patterns.  On the other, he has helped apply these methodologies to a range of endeavors, from assisting the global campesino movement in its effort to thrive in a tough environment to helping California grape growers avoid pesticide use.

A prolific researcher and writer, Altieri has written hundreds of books and articles on ecological agriculture, the methodology he’s helped create.  Eco ag is an ingenious approach to harnessing the full complexity of ecology with easy-to-implement practices.  The general goals are simple: build biodiversity and build soil organic matter.  The pay-offs are soil fertility, a natural pest management system, and in general, resilient and sustainable farms.

To build organic matter into the soil, the farmer can choose any combination of beneficial practices.  Adding carbon sources like compost and biochar, avoiding pesticide damage, and carefully choosing diverse plant species known to stimulate soil life are common Eco Ag tactics.

Planting diverse species also supports the goal of boosting biodiversity, and in addition to soil fertility, one of biodiversity’s perks is pest management.  A variety of plants confuses and distracts pests by exuding and emitting a diverse range of volatile plant oils that attract or repel them.  Many of these plants support pest predators, parasitoids and parasites by providing shelter, moisture, and food (nectar, pollen and pests).  The most commonly used tactic for building biodiversity is planting polyculture buffers, corridors, strips and blocks.  Buffers can offer crops protection from wind-borne and migrating pests, while corridors can lead beneficial critters to the target crop or to strips and/or blocks within the crop field.  In these systems, pest species take a small and balanced proportional position among a complex, diverse and abundant ecology, and they play their proper role as food for our hungry beneficials.  Eco Agriculture put pests in their place.

These simple practices are applicable to a wide range of farming scenarios, as Dr. Altieri has demonstrated.  Through his work with Food First! and other organizations, he has helped the global campesino movement adopt and promote ecological agriculture in several developing countries; through the Campesino-to-Campesino project, thousands of farmers are benefitting from and promoting ecological agriculture while forming networks for education and idea-exchange, plant genetics exchange and marketing.  Through his work on California vineyards, Dr. Altieri has helped grape growers replace pesticide use and conserve water with ecological practices in a big-money industry.  These growers are recovering from serious losses and systematic problems caused by conventional practices, while vastly improving the quality of their produce.

Vineyards depend much on the “terroir” of the grapes they produce – the deep, rich taste bestowed by the very land itself.  This revered relationship between ecology and quality is also common to our old friend Cannabis sativaa crop perfectly suited to ecological agriculture.  As the industry expands with the end of prohibition and as the herb emerges as a fungible commodity, margins are shrinking.  As margins shrink, farm resilience and sustainability are taking on more importance.  Fortunately, as these ecological systems mature and take root, their benefits increase, while conventional inputs (and money) disperse into the barren ecosystems they create.  For those looking to farm Cannabis into the future, Professor Altieri has charted the path.

Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board Issues Marijuana Rules, Announces Retail License Application Schedule

WASHINGTON:

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) today adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the public process of aligning the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market. The Board’s actions are the result of 2015 legislation, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which established a priority system for licensing existing medical marijuana outlets. The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the WSLCB to begin the process of licensing new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana. Existing recreational stores may also apply for an endorsement to sell both.

“If phase one was implementation of the recreational marijuana marketplace then today marks the beginning of phase two — the public process of aligning the medical marijuana system with the existing recreational system,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford.

Priority Criteria
The WSLCB will begin accepting retail license applications on Oct. 12, 2015. Applicants will be processed for licensure prioritized as established in law. There will not be an initial cap on the number of retail licenses that will be approved by the WSLCB. Medical marijuana outlets, also known as dispensaries, must be licensed by July 1, 2016 or face closure by local authorities. In addition, non-retail cooperatives which consist of up to four persons who grow for personal medical use, may register with the WSLCB after July 1, 2016.

  1. First priority will be applicants who applied for a marijuana retail license prior to July 1, 2014, operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license and have a history of paying state taxes.
  2. Second priority will be applicants who operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license, and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  3. Third priority will be applicants who do not meet the requirements for priority one or priority two.

Public Hearings
In November, the public may comment in person on the draft rules at six evening public hearings scheduled throughout the state. Currently scheduled dates and locations include:

  • Nov. 3             Spokane
  • Nov. 4             Ellensburg
  • Nov. 9             Vancouver
  • Nov. 12           Tacoma
  • Nov. 16           Seattle
  • Nov. 19           Everett

Tentative times and locations for the public hearings are available in the Public Hearing Schedule section of the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

Production Restrictions Eased
In a separate action, the WSLCB will today notify existing producers that the restriction of their license to grow at 70 percent of capacity has been lifted. Following WSLCB staff approval, licensed producers may grow to 100 percent of capacity, limited to a single license. Previously, growers were restricted to keep production within the estimated limits of the recreational market to prevent over-production and diversion of product out of state.

Preventing diversion is one of eight enforcement guidelines issued by United States Department of Justice in a memo to states which choose to legalize marijuana. The WSLCB has temporarily lifted the restriction to allow licensed producers to meet the demand expected with the opening of new retail stores. A new cap will be applied at a later date.

Upscale Marijuana Is Moving Online

CALIFORNIA:  The parking lot at Wonderland Nursery is often full of Ford F-150s belonging to area growers, who have come to pick up clones — stem cuttings of cannabis that have been replanted — and glean advice for their crops. The airy, two-story facility sits on the outskirts of Garberville, Calif., a little hub of civilization and commerce amid the far-spread farms shrouded in the hills.

When I visited, a few nursery workers, in the process of making more clones from plant cuttings, passed around a joint in the unassuming manner workers in a different place of business might gather at the watercooler. Owner Kevin Jodrey says they’re actually not supposed to smoke in the shop, but “you know how it goes from time to time.”

If you want to get wonky about cannabis cultivation, Jodrey’s nursery has a vast genetic library, and he has helped people with everything from arthritis to late-stage leukemia find the right strain and cannabinoid ratio to treat themselves.

 

Regulating Water Use By Pot Farms

CALIFORNIA: The California Assembly plans to hold an unprecedented hearing on April 15 to examine a proposal to regulate a controversial, billion-dollar state crop: marijuana.

At first glance, Humboldt County Assemblymember Jim Wood’s proposed regulation bill, the “Marijuana Watershed Protection Act” looks innocuous: It would add a single paragraph to the state’s water code, and one to the health and safety code. But, in truth, AB 243 represents a groundbreaking new vision for the future of California cannabis agriculture — especially when it comes to water use.