Growing Porch Pot: A Lesson in Faith

I’m no Bible-thumper. I’ve been in recovery from organized religion since I stormed out of Sunday school at 17, renouncing Catholicism forever. I like to think of myself as an atheist with a tendency for making mistakes. I never really bought in to any of the jibber jabber from the “good book,” and its existence, I think, has probably caused the world more harm than good.

On the other hand—and this is where my faith gets a little convoluted—every time I eat a piece of fruit, I can’t help but think: Is there something to all this God business that I’ve been missing? In my younger years, I vehemently stood against anybody spewing religious gobbledygook. But now, if I’m honest, all it takes is some good pineapple and I start second-guessing my stance as a non-believer. It’s possible, after all, that I’ve been wrong all these years about the magnificence of nature being a coinkydink. Speaking of nature, that’s precisely where weed comes from.

Get a little high and hang out outside for a while and even the most diehard atheist starts to get inquisitive. I’m no exception. The web of the world all seems too perfect to chalk up as a fluke. Earth has all the right elements to sustain life and if its crust, core, temperature and planetary alignment weren’t also spot on, no life would exist. Due to this flawless order, though, plants thrive like no other, producing the oxygen humans need to breathe while we exhale the carbon dioxide they absorb to survive. Photosynthesis is wild! So, are we to believe that all this perfection manifested through a random boom billions of years ago? Sure, scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, have an explanation, but logic doesn’t necessarily discount the possibility of divine intervention.

Now, for those of you who thought you were about to read a cultivation article and not some long-winded rant questioning the existence of a higher power, I assure you, we’re getting there. It’s just that long before we had sophisticated grow techniques, plants still thrived.

On a Quest to Grow Porch Pot

Every year, my partner and I display a variety of plants and flowers on our front porch. It’s a jungle out there. This year, thanks to a spur-of-the-moment trip to Home Depot, we added a jalapeño and tomato plant to the mix. Why not, right? Humanity, in my opinion, would be better off if more of the population grew their own food instead of relying on the monsters of mercantile. So, we tossed a couple of starter plants into some pots, covered them with soil, hit them with the garden hose and have been watching them grow ever since. And grow they have! I was pleasantly surprised to see our porch produce maturing so rapidly. I mean, I’ve only seen fruits and vegetables cultivated in a garden, not in a clay pot, so witnessing these plants coming up so vibrant and producing yields with no more effort than a daily blast from a hose has been exciting, not to mention encouraging.

Because if these plants grow that easily, perhaps cannabis would too. And if it did, well, it goes without saying that it would be a game changer.  We’d never have to pay for weed for the rest of our lives.

Now, I’ve always heard that if you can grow tomatoes, you can grow pot. Sure, there’s a wealth of ins and outs that go into cultivating commercial cannabis, but was it possible for the average person to grow a single pot plant outside on their porch and have it produce an admirable yield? I felt like it was. If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed in my limited experience as a horticulture hobbyist, it’s that plants, just like humans, want to survive, no matter what. If plants have the basics—sun, water and dirt—they flourish. Even if humans don’t give them any attention at all, some still find a way to prosper. If there was a God, after all, he, she or it didn’t intend for farming to be super-perplexing. That, they understood, would never work. They knew humans would struggle to survive if food required the use of too much intelligence. Nope, no matter if it was a tomato plant or cannabis, our creators wanted cultivation to be simple.

Growing Weed Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

Still, many cannabis growers act like only a rocket scientist can grow the stuff. The snobbishness of the scene has scared a lot of people into thinking that cultivation should be left to the professionals. Without the right lighting or the proper ventilation system, any amateur’s crop is destined to be junk. So don’t even try. Well, forget that. Although agriculture tends to get overly scientific, it is rudimentary at the core. “There are some complexities to growing cannabis,” a grower from Indiana told Cannabis Now. “But it’s not overly as complicated as people make it out to be.”

A lot of the growers we talked to, both professional and novice, confessed that cannabis is actually “fairly easy” to grow outside in the same way one might do with a tomato plant. I knew it! The trick, however, is getting a decent yield. That requires “a lot more work,” the Hoosier declared.

Only I didn’t want to do more work. I just wanted to let nature take the wheel, the same as it had with my jalapeño and tomato plants. I wanted to grow a porch pot. To simply put a seed in some soil, water it and let the sun (or whatever God was at the helm) do the rest. At the end of the season, I wanted to harvest something off the plant that might perhaps get me stoned. And if I could do that, well, my skill level for cultivation wouldn’t have anywhere to go but up. I could always learn more, pick up tricks of the trade and get better at producing pot, but for the time being, I wanted to see what yields could be attained through the bare minimum miracles of nature.

If you ask Renee, a cultivator from Washington D.C., extra care is good, but at the end of the day, it’s just a plant that wants to grow.

“If a patient were just looking to grow for personal use, it could be done using a larger pot to help the plant grow bigger and some good old eggs shells and molasses,” she said, adding that the yield may vary. But massive yields don’t always appeal to someone looking to grow a personal stash. “I have had first-timers be super happy to grow a plant that only yielded maybe 14 grams or less,” Renee said. “The plant would still achieve its potency potential. Just consider the fact that cannabis is basically like a weed that can grow anywhere without much intervention.”

That’s precisely what I wanted to hear.

Several cultivation beginners confirmed that simply relying on nature for nugs has produced excellent results.

“I’ve grown for the past two seasons and did nothing more than plop seeds in the ground and water as needed,” explained a grower named Dustin. “I have no idea what I’m doing but I grew some strong, tasty weed. I think cutting, trimming and curing it was the hardest part. And that wasn’t even that hard. Growing it was simple.” Other amateurs agreed, going on to say that it’s easier than they thought. “I have better luck with weed than with tomatoes,” a man named Alex said. “If you have the right strain for your local conditions, it will do well, even without your help, as long as it is in a sunny location and has its head and shoulders above any neighboring plants.”

Nature Shouldn’t Be Against the Law

Unfortunately, while nature wants cannabis to grow, law enforcement doesn’t. It’s still mostly illegal in the US to grow this plant for personal use. A nation built on “In God We Trust” doesn’t seem to trust its creator’s decision to give us cannabis, a plant that has provided millions with therapeutic relief. Therefore, the only real problem with growing a little porch pot is the risk of getting busted. The plant may go unnoticed in its infancy, but once it starts getting bigger (and it will get big and bushy in most cases), the odor wafting from your porch might be enough to warrant a visit from police—and that isn’t good. In the state of Indiana, the location of my urban jungle, cultivating any more than 30 grams is a felony punishable with jail time and steep fines. So, until the laws change, I’ll have to be content with tomatoes.

For those fortunate enough to live in a legal grow state, porch pot is alive and well. Residents such as Tim from Massachusetts—a place where growing six plants is legal—are enjoying the farm-to-lung lifestyle. “My entire neighborhood smells like weed. Everybody grows it,” he said. “I don’t typically like gardening, that’s my wife’s thing, but I really like growing weed. It’s easy and fun for the whole family.”

In the end, regardless of whether we subscribe to a higher power or exist with skepticism and contempt—a place where I’m undoubtedly most comfortable—it’s tough to argue against the magnificence of nature. Just plant that seed in a pot, give it access to the elements and try to have a little faith.

The post Growing Porch Pot: A Lesson in Faith appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Ukraine Takes Initial Step Towards Medical Cannabis Legalization

Summary: Ukraine has taken an initial step towards legalizing medical cannabis by approving a bill. The proposed law, supported by the Ministry of Health, aims to establish a system for licensing the cultivation of specific cannabis strains for medical purposes. Additionally, it emphasizes the need for stringent monitoring of the production and distribution of medical cannabis and its related products. To ensure transparency and traceability, each batch of medical cannabis will be marked with a unique barcode, enabling tracking throughout the entire supply chain. However, the draft law still requires a second reading, potential amendments, and finalization by lawmakers before it can be enacted as law by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Notably, President Zelensky is in favor of the plan, and a recent poll conducted during local elections in October 2022 revealed that 65% of Ukrainians support these proposed reforms.

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Ukraine Moves Closer to Legalizing Medical Cannabis

Ukraine’s parliament has taken a significant step towards the legalization of medical cannabis. In an initial vote, lawmakers have approved a bill that proposes the establishment of a licensing system for the cultivation of specific cannabis strains for medical purposes. The bill, backed by the Ministry of Health, also emphasizes the need for stringent monitoring of the production and distribution of medical cannabis and related products.

Major changes to the Israeli medical cannabis program

To ensure transparency and traceability in the medical cannabis supply chain, the proposed law mandates that each batch of medical cannabis be marked with a unique barcode. This provision will enable tracking of medical cannabis products throughout the entire supply chain, from cultivation to distribution.

However, the draft law is not yet finalized. It still requires a second reading, during which potential amendments may be made by lawmakers. Following this, the bill will need to be signed into law by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Notably, President Zelensky is in favor of the plan. Furthermore, a recent poll conducted during local elections in October 2022 revealed that 65% of Ukrainians support these proposed reforms, indicating a strong public backing for the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine.

[Source: Ganjapreneur]

With the blessing of Zelensky the road is wide open for medical cannabis in Ukraine

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

And the people of Europe want more cannabis

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French Police Seize Thousands of Cannabis Plants in Alpine Raid

Summary: French police have seized 4,000 cannabis vines from a large indoor cultivation warehouse in Morette, south-east France. The operation was run by French and Albanian nationals and resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of six people. The warehouse contained two complexes, housing a total of 4,050 plants, or 1,201 kg of cannabis. The estimated resale value of the equipment and plants is between €10-15 million.

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French Police Crack Down on Large-Scale Cannabis Operation

In a significant drug bust in Morette, a village in south-east France, French police confiscated 4,000 cannabis vines weighing approximately 1,100 kilos. The operation, which involved both French and Albanian nationals, was the culmination of an eight-month investigation, resulting in the arrest and imprisonment of six individuals.

Did Portugal went too fast?

The warehouse that was raided consisted of two complexes. One was a 375-square-metre production facility equipped with various systems such as electrical, ventilation, hydration, UV, and drying, where more than 1,550 plants, or 508 kg of cannabis, were discovered. The second structure, spanning 300 square metres, contained 2,500 plants weighing 693 kilograms.

The estimated value of the equipment and plants seized is believed to be between €10-15 million. All confiscated items were destroyed on-site with the approval of the public prosecutor’s office. This action underscores the seriousness with which French authorities are tackling illegal cannabis cultivation and distribution.

Two Albanian “farm workers” involved in the operation received prison sentences of 7 and 10 months, along with a 5-year ban from France. This sentencing sends a clear message about the consequences of engaging in illegal cannabis cultivation.

European want more access to Cannabis

The remaining four suspects are currently in custody and awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for 9 August. This case highlights the ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal cannabis operations, not just in France, but across Europe.

[Source: Euronews]


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Home Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Connecticut Starting July 1

Summary: Connecticut is set to allow adults aged 21 and older to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use starting July 1. The new home cannabis cultivation law, part of the state’s cannabis legalization legislation, permits the cultivation of up to three mature and three immature plants per individual, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. The plants must be grown indoors, in locked areas, and be inaccessible to anyone other than the consumer, qualifying medical cannabis patient, or caregiver.

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Connecticut Greenlights Home Cannabis Cultivation Starting July 1

Starting July 1, adults aged 21 and older in Connecticut will be allowed to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use. This development comes as part of the state’s legislature-approved cannabis legalization law. Individuals will be permitted to cultivate up to three mature and three immature plants, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

The law stipulates that the plants must be grown indoors, in locked areas, and inaccessible to anyone other than the consumer, qualifying medical cannabis patient, or caregiver.

Christina Capitan, with CT Canna Warriors, has warned consumers to be aware of the regulations within some cities and towns and rules for apartment buildings and federal housing. “We pushed very hard for individuals to have the right to grow and not be reliant upon the producers that are licensed in our state. … Patients will have access to what they need. They will be able to grow the specific strains they need and the types that they want,” said Capitan to FOX 61.

Soon in Vegas: Social smoking clubs…

Adult-use cannabis sales in Connecticut commenced earlier this year. Last month, sales neared $23 million, marking the highest sales totals since the launch of the market in January. The average adult-use cannabis product price of $35.86 was its lowest level since the market’s launch but were only slightly lower than the average price of $39.48 in April.

[Source: Ganjapreneur]


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The post Home Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Connecticut Starting July 1 appeared first on Cannadelics.

Decontaminate Your Cannabis Cultivation Facility

With cannabis lab testing becoming increasingly stringent, it’s more important than ever for cannabis companies to operate in clean cultivation facilities that have been professionally decontaminated. And while there are many mold remediation companies out there, very few have developed a process that can be safely used around cannabis. Thankfully, one business—Canna Klean & Remediation—is filling this need.

Headquartered in Massachusetts, Canna Klean & Remediation is merging cannabis cultivation practices with commercial decontamination and remediation techniques so that cultivators can rely on a healthy harvest. Flower is still the number one category positively impacting cannabis organizations’ bottom lines. Without collecting consistent data and using best practices to ensure the cleanliness of the environment, cannabis operators will fall victim to invisible enemies that compromise their ability to sell the flower they worked so hard to produce. Once consistent flower failures occur, there’s a downstream ripple effect that causes a company’s bottom line to begin hemorrhaging. Discovering the source and the root cause of why cannabis flower is failing lab tests, and acting to properly disinfect the problem, prevents the erosion of a cannabis operation’s bottom line.

Canna Klean & Remediation can help your facility identify and eliminate the issues that are causing your organization to fail lab tests. They utilize cannabis-compliant methods and chemistries, and custom-built negative air containment solutions, to safely decontaminate cultivation facilities with minimal interruption to staff and production.

Now, let’s dive deeper into just how this process works and why disinfecting cannabis facilities is critical for success. 

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms

Consistently failing flower lab tests will make or break companies that are learning to navigate the extremely competitive marketplace that the cannabis industry has evolved into. Growing cannabis inside a “sick” environment is unsafe for both the end user and the people working inside of the infected building.

To combat repeated lab test failures, many cannabis companies are resorting to flower and product remediation techniques to pass lab testing to get their failing products to market. The flower and product remediation techniques that are widely being used are short-term solutions to a long-term facility problem that will continue to worsen over time. Discovering the source and root cause of the contamination is the only way to completely eliminate the problem rather than using a Band-Aid solution such as “cleaning” the flower with remediation techniques.

Contaminated roof board.

Contamination Mapping

Repeated failing flower is a major indicator that there’s either a process contamination issue or a facility contamination issue that’s reoccurring. Understanding a lab Certificate of Analysis (COA) and realizing that the flower is the number one indicator for reoccurring problems sets a cannabis organization up for success. Trending lab data will allow cultivators to see rising or falling levels of bacteria, microbials, fungus, yeast, mold and coliforms that are contaminating their crop.

Using scientific methods to map the contamination, speciate the source of the issue and locate the areas inside the facility that are housing the pathogens guides the facility to a targeted approach to eliminate the source of the contamination. Sick environments can happen to even the cleanest state-of-the-art facilities.

If a facility doesn’t discover and eliminate the source of the contamination, the source will continue to thrive and replicate at an astounding rate.

Cannabis cultivation facilities create a perfect environment for bacteria, mold and microbials to perpetuate themselves using common food sources such as plant matter, growing media and many kinds of building materials. The food sources are constantly being hit with excessive moisture levels due to plant transpiration and evapotranspiration, temperature fluctuations, foliar applications and high levels of air flow. This creates a perfect storm and the rapid perpetuation of colonies inside an indoor cultivation facility. Mold, bacteria and microbials are invisible enemies that even the cleanest of facilities fail to eliminate without professional help.

The importance of understanding the levels of bacteria, microbials, fungus, yeast, mold and coliforms inside a cultivation facility could mean the difference of getting 85-90% of all batches of flower produced to market vs. only getting 15-20% of all batches to market.

Matt Iarussi, COO of Canna Klean & Remediation, has been cultivating cannabis for 20 years, including three years as a head cultivator for an MSO. He understands the many ways a facility could be contaminating their crop and causing it to fail lab testing. Distinguishing between a process contamination issue and a building contamination issue is the first step in solving the problem.

Iarussi uses his cannabis cultivation knowledge to assist facilities in trending and understanding lab testing data while also reviewing cultivation, dry cure, processing and sanitation SOPs to evaluate them for contamination issues.

“Sometimes a facility is contaminating the flower with a part of their process that’s being overlooked. Often, it’s a poor sanitation practice being used as a best practice that’s causing the contamination of the flower. Another great example is incorrectly designed dry rooms with undersized HVAC/dehumidification systems creating a breeding ground for microbial contamination,” Iarussi says. “When the level of average harvested biomass moisture exceeds the load limitations of the HVAC/dehumidification system, the excess moisture left in the environment will become problematic, and the crop will not dry at the correct rate. To add to that issue, many facilities do not measure the water activity (WA) of the flower throughout the dry and cure process. When the WA is held at too high of a range due to excess moisture in the environment, mold and microbial colonies grow on the flower and cause the product to fail lab testing.”

Canna Klean & Remediation
Mold in rafters (L) and a contaminated HVAC system (R).

Backed By Science

Canna Klean & Remediation starts the contamination mapping process by bringing in 3rd party non-biased Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) to biologically evaluate the facility. A report is generated by the CIH team documenting the species and the locations of the contamination. Canna Klean & Remediation works hand in hand with the CIH team to design a targeted approach to decontaminate the facility using a patent-pending 4-step process. Common issues can be found behind walls where mold and microbial colonies have taken hold of poorly selected substrates, ceilings where roof leaks have not been addressed where the moisture is feeding colonies, HVAC systems with no preventative maintenance cleaning plan, irrigation systems that are not being properly cleaned that are full of bacteria, growing media that is contaminated and perpetuating issues throughout flower rooms, etc.

Once a facility starts biologically evaluating areas that test positive for contaminants, light is shed on the root cause contributing to the flower not getting to market. Many facilities chase their tails and stay in a state of denial hoping their next round of COA’s will be passing. Instead of hoping for a miracle, let Canna Klean & Remediation help your facility identify and eliminate the issues that are causing your organization to fail lab tests.

Matt Short, Owner & CEO of Canna Klean & Remediation, has been in the mold & microbial remediation business for 20 years. He’s an expert in his field and created a compliant remediation process utilizing specific chemistries and techniques that can be used inside of cannabis cultivation facilities. Short’s process goes after the source and root cause of the contamination issue and is paired with scientific testing and data to pinpoint and eradicate the problem.

 “We go after the source and root cause of the contamination issue working with Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) to locate, speciate and enumerate colonies in the facility. After our process is complete, clearance tests are performed by the CIH team to show that the area is free of contamination and has a clean bill of health,” Short says. “We highly recommend implementing our re-occurring environmental testing and deep cleaning schedule moving forward after the decontamination is complete. Routine quarterly environmental testing and deep cleaning can mean the difference between hitting your quarterly sales numbers or having to explain why a microbial outbreak caused you not to. Maintaining the environmental health of your facility is what your crop, employees and bottom line need to succeed.”

Canna Klean & Remediation cannabis decontamination
Working inside of a growroom,

Using Compliant Methods

Working inside cannabis cultivation facilities has its own set of unique challenges. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations that include specific allowance levels for contaminants and pesticides. Many chemistries used for commercial cleaning applications to target mold or bacteria aren’t safe options to use inside cannabis facilities or around a high-value crop. The off gassing of these chemicals into a cannabis facility can cause the crop to fail lab testing for pesticides. Employee safety is paramount during facility decontamination. Keeping the employees safe and keeping the facility consistently generating income are the main focuses while Canna Klean & Remediation works inside of a facility.

Maintaining a clean environment and utilizing best practices keeps the levels of contaminants in the environment handcuffed and manageable. It’s not just about decontaminating the facility and moving on; it’s also about the continued maintenance of the space that keeps a facility clean and passing its lab tests. A healthy cultivation environment generates consistent revenue. Routine environmental sampling, including air quality assessments, surface swabs, tape lifts, water quality evaluations, media testing and input testing are becoming standards in large-scale cannabis production operations.

Mold and microbial contaminations don’t go away on their own. To win the battle against invisible enemies, it’s necessary to use a process designed to eliminate distinctive species using chemistries and techniques that target the contaminants. Canna Klean & Remediation developed a process that is backed with a guarantee to eliminate the contamination inside of a cannabis cultivation facility and bring the space back to better than pre-contamination levels.

If your organization is experiencing repeated flower lab test failures, reach out to Canna Klean & Remediation at 877-907-0160 or visit

The post Decontaminate Your Cannabis Cultivation Facility appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Meanwhile, In The South Pacific’s Emerald Triangle…

Rugged alpine mountains sweep down to thundering waves along the wild Kaikōura Coast in Marlborough, New Zealand. Standing in a field high above the southern Pacific Ocean shoreline, I inhale deeply; the sweetly pungent aroma of sungrown cannabis plants and crisp ocean air surrounds me. An overwhelming sense of déjà vu suddenly hits me — it’s as if I’ve been here before. 

I’m on assignment visiting Kēkerengū, the grow operation for Puro, New Zealand’s largest licensed medical cannabis cultivation company. Founded in 2018, Puro is part of an exclusive international group of large-scale commercial growers using organic methods of cultivation. Tiffany Tompkins from Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is also on the tour. As CEO, her mission, she says, is to help OANZ members, including Puro, collaboratively work for organic policies that benefit the health of New Zealand’s people, communities, environment and economy. 

Winston Macfarlane (Kēkerengū Site Manager) scouting during outdoor cultivation season.

Winston Macfarlane, site manager at Puro, explains that Kēkerengū is almost the exact distance from the equator to Humboldt County but along southern latitude lines. Therefore, that same terroir that makes the Emerald Triangle grow some of the world’s best cannabis can also be found here. 

Kēkerengū has been home to Macfarlane’s family for more than 130 years. Winston and his older brother Sank Macfarlane, who’s also on Puro’s leadership team, are the sixth generation to farm the 1000-hectare property. Implementing sustainable grow practices, they’re working to grow premium medical cannabis that improves the health and well-being of people, along with the surrounding environment. 

Puro’s decision to grow under organic protocols has come from the company’s core values, the younger Macfarlane says. “We’re committed to growing and supplying premium cannabis products as sustainably and ethically as we can.” 

Max Jablonksi Puro
Commercial Cultivation Lead Max Jablonski in the field.

Overwhelming evidence shows that synthetic chemicals used in conventional agriculture pose adverse health risks to humans, as well as nasty side effects to the environment. Organic agriculture, on the other hand, works in partnership with nature — it nurtures the health of people and ecosystems. With an emphasis on clean water and creating soil vitality that’s teeming with microscopic life, organic farming encourages the soil rhizosphere to flourish, rather than treating it as an inert monolayer.

As Macfarlane leads us across the farm toward the fields of cannabis, Tompkins can’t hide her enthusiasm. “It’s really exciting to see this brand-new medical cannabis industry emerging in New Zealand. Puro is setting a new precedent for organic cultivation,” she said.

It’s late summer on the flat plateau at Kēkerengū, and the plants are thriving in their microenvironment. The grow offers high UV ratings and long sunshine hours, while the salty sea spray provides a natural anti-bacterial layer, helping to keep insect and pest numbers low. 

Guy Randall (Research and Development Manager) assists with Puro’s first commercial outdoor harvest.

Puro’s Managing Director Tim Aldridge and Commercial Cultivation Lead Max Jablonski join us in the fields. We walk through the rows of fragrant bushes, inspecting the beauty and bounty of the flourishing pink-pistil plants, and Jablonski starts telling me about his life before New Zealand: He was working at Caliva, a vertically integrated cannabis company in California, where he focused on postharvest, cultivation and fertigation. Turns out we have a few mutual connections; again, California doesn’t seem all that far away.

“Kēkerengū provides perfect growing conditions, with a coastal microclimate that’s ideal for medical cannabis production,” Aldridge said, adding that he and his team believe New Zealand has the potential to produce some of the best cannabis in the world. Cannabis grown under organic protocols in New Zealand has piqued international interest, and Puro is currently finalizing its first export orders. According to Aldridge, the government has been extremely helpful, especially the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Tom Forrest Puro
Puro Cultivation Director, Tom Forrest, and the Puro indoor team inspect mature THC cannabis flowers grown under license at Waihopai.

Aldridge also reveals that Puro’s Cultivation Director, Tom Forrest, is leading a research and breeding program with geneticist Dr. Anna Campbell from AbacusBio, a world-class genetics company. Using a scientifically driven quantitative breeding program, the two are developing a seed bank of consistent medical cultivars that are adaptable to organic cultivation methods, alongside traditionally important traits such as yield and potency.

A Churchill Fellow for Cannabis Agronomy, Forrest has spent time at over 50 cannabis cultivation facilities across eight countries, examining differing approaches and optimal methods for growing cannabis. Under his leadership, Puro has been awarded an “In Conversion’’ organic certification. 

“After informal experiments with various living soil methodologies and forays into the world of permaculture, it became very evident that organic cultivation is a necessary part of our future,” Forrest later tells me on the phone after my visit. “Although it’s still somewhat anecdotal evidence, we’re confident that biological, natural and organic cultivation methods will encourage healthier growth with more desirable secondary metabolite production — higher concentrations of terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids.” 

Raised in a conventional farming family, Forrest says he’s always wanted to challenge traditional modern agriculture and find a more progressive means of cultivating healthy food and medicine.


“Natural products have been intertwined with pharmaceutical practice since the dawn of mankind,” he said. “Our first recorded medicines were all plant-based and organically produced. Herbal medicines are now a powerful voice in the pharmaceutical portfolio, and cannabis has a strong role to play.”

We agree about the sheer beauty of the outdoor cultivation site at Kēkerengū, and we discuss Puro’s overarching plans to improve the land, soil and environment while contributing to a healthier future for both plants and people. Forrest believes the relationship between organic cannabis and the local environment, the benefits for the farm and farmers, and the influence of terroir on cannabis expression are all strong arguments for organic cannabis. 

“Organic and sustainable medical cannabis cultivation are two of our core values,” Forrest said. “We aim to improve the land, soil and environment of our growing locations and contribute to a healthier future.”

The post Meanwhile, In The South Pacific’s Emerald Triangle… appeared first on Cannabis Now.

How to Grow Cannabis?

Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis >> Download e-Book Version <<   Overview of the e-book This e-book will provide a comprehensive guide for beginners looking to start growing cannabis. It will cover everything from choosing the right cannabis strain to setting up a grow space to caring for and harvesting your cannabis plants. It will also include information about the legal and regulatory aspects of growing cannabis, pests, and disease control, as extracting and processing cannabis. This e-book is meant […]

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Colombia Touts Major Increase in Cannabis Exports

The marijuana trade is thriving in Colombia. The South American country announced last month that its cannabis exports increased 96% between November 2022 and January.

“The amount was US$8.4 million, thanks to the sales of 13 companies from five departments to 14 countries. Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, the United States and Germany were the main buyers,” ProColombia, a government agency overseeing exports and tourism, said in an analysis released on January 26.

Carmen Caballero, the president of ProColombia, said that “58% of these exports were destined for Latin America and the Caribbean.”

“It is a sector that has significant potential in generating quality employment, especially for women, in different regions of the country. Likewise, cannabis value-added goods have stood out for their quality and innovation,” Caballero said.

The agency said that the $8.4 million worth of exports came from the following regions in Colombia: Bogotá (48%), Cundinamarca (30%), Antioquia (12%), Santander (8%) and Magdalena (2%).

In addition, ProColombia noted that “nine of the 51 participating companies are located in eight municipalities [Nemocón, Cajicá, Rionegro, Ubaté, Pitalito, Mosquera, Tocancipá and Pasca] with less than 200,000 inhabitants, which is part of the Government’s strategy to generate development by strengthening the business fabric in the regions.” 

“Likewise, last year, more than 90% of Colombian cannabis exports originated from the departments of Bogotá, Cundinamarca and Antioquia; however, 12 departments are identified (Antioquia – Bolívar – Boyacá – Cauca – Cundinamarca – Huila – Magdalena – Meta – Risaralda – Santander – Tolima – Valle del Cauca) with high export potential for this type of product,” the analysis said.

The cannabis was produced by 13 countries, according to ProColombia, with the exports reaching a total of 14 countries, including: Argentina (40%), Brazil (14%), Australia (12%), Switzerland (7%), Israel (6.5%), the United States (6%) and Germany (5.5%).

According to the agency, the “most sought-after goods abroad were extracts, medicines and seeds.”

“It is worth noting that in November 2022 the second Medicinal and Industrial Cannabis Business Roundtable was held, organized by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and ProColombia, with the support of Asocolcanna. At the meeting, 250 business appointments were held with 21 international buyers from 10 countries and 51 small and medium-sized companies, with a Colombian offer that ranges from extracts to finished pharmaceutical or cosmetic products,” the agency said last month.

With its warm and hospitable climate, Colombia is bullish on the long term prospects of its cannabis cultivation. 

“The country has a stable regulatory framework and is one of the most complete internationally, since it includes measures ranging from seed, cultivation, transformation, generation of added value and safe access by patients,” the agency said in the analysis last month, noting that the “environmental and geographical conditions of Colombia allow it to have 4 harvests a year in three different cultivation modalities (open sky, open sky with semi-automatic irrigation and indoor with light and irrigation)” and that “the country’s geographical position allows it to have 12 hours of solar radiation during the 365 days of the year, thus maximizing crop yields and reducing production costs.”

“Likewise, it is an industry that enables the scientific and technological development of Colombia, intensive in R+D+i, which allows the development of research centers,” ProColombia added. “It is also added that Colombia has a wide range of products: seeds, crude extracts, distillates, isolates, finished products such as phytotherapeutics and cosmetics. All this, complying with high quality standards, which enables insertion into global value chains.”

In December, members of the Colombian senate passed an amendment legalizing cannabis.

The post Colombia Touts Major Increase in Cannabis Exports appeared first on High Times.

Growers Without Borders Passes On Ancient Wisdom to Cultivators

Growers Without Borders is a collective of cannabis industry experts who are committed to upholding the traditional Socratic methods of education that characterizes the cultivation of marijuana through an open-source platform. The project is the brainchild of ex-marine, Jordan Curl, who has been part of the industry in form or another for more than 15 years.

Through Growers Without Borders, he aims to pass cutting-edge knowledge on cannabis cultivation, extraction and marketing to today’s budding cannabis entrepreneurs all over the globe. In this interview, he shares some of his fascinating history, knowledge and industry insights.

QUESTION: How did cannabis become part of your life?

I’ve been an advocate most of my life. I had heavy ADHD as a kid, and was a high dose of Ritalin from the age of 6 to about 12. It was a dose of 60 to 80mg, much higher than the recommended dosage, so it led to a bunch of other problems like OCD and other developmental issues. When I got to the age of 12, I tried cannabis, and very quickly there was a dramatic change in my quality of life. I could sleep. I could make friends for the first time. Going to school became something I enjoyed instead I something I dreaded. It was literally a life changing experience. From the age of 12 to 16, I was that nerdy kid writing my legislators to change the laws around cannabis and hemp because I knew its therapeutic potential firsthand.

QUESTION: One of your past projects is Warrior for Weeds. How did that organization get started?

I joined the Marines at age 17 and was based in California. When I was there, I became friends with a guy in the medical industry who taught me how to make extracts and medical edibles. I was with the Marines for four years, and when I got out, I ended up in Washington State, and for the first six months, I tried education, but slowly just ended up in cannabis because that’s what I knew. But I noticed lots of veterans in BS jobs or not getting the care they needed, and I saw the need to create opportunities for them.

I started one grow house, and when that worked out I added another, and another. And I staffed each grow with veterans because they were easy to work with, and I taught them how to grow, process and extract. From 2015, we built one of the second-largest delivery services in Seattle, which lead to getting the second recreational license with the legal 502 system, which meant we became the first licensed growers. This was a really interesting learning curve because we were dealing with all the pain points of a brand-new market.

QUESTION: Where does your belief in the Socratic method of education come from?

What most people don’t realize is that this has always been the way cannabis cultivation education is passed down. I’m currently in Eswatini, South Africa, and I know people here who are fourth generation deep cannabis growers. They may not have all the knowledge about nutrient ratios and soil care, and they make mistakes but they still have a unique skillset. Put the right person in the right place with the right knowledge and it makes a huge difference. One person can teach 10 people, 20 people, how to fix lots of different problems and create sustainable grow systems. It creates real opportunities for farmers.

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QUESTION: How did you end up in Eswatini and what are you working on there?

I came to Cape Town for a conference while I was working for an Israeli company, and because of COVID I got locked down here, and ended up staying for a few reasons. I was brought out here originally to help with building out the infrastructure for legalization but COVID put a dampener on that. So I took the model that I used to teach veterans and have been working with growers here, hosting classes and workshops.

Along the way I became the go-to guy for anyone who needs to know anything about growing cannabis. I’ve been invited to speak in parliament a few times, as well as bring my apprentices and give them the opportunity to speak on the challenges they’re facing. This place runs on agriculture, so cannabis has a key role to play and understanding their concerns is an important part of the process.

QUESTION: Is South Africa close to legalizing?

To be honest, it’s a scam. Growers were brought in from Jamaica as far back as 2014 to grow hemp for CBD. And consultants have been milking investors on the basis of South Africa’s huge agricultural potential. But the consultants are in bed with the government so everybody has to get paid off, and no one ever gets a license. There are half a dozen producers now, but no doubt they had to pay millions of rand to get up and running. I spent three months there, and even illegal grows are paying the government. But to be honest, this is just the way it is in cannabis for now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a legal company that wasn’t doing something illegal, for the right or wrong reasons. It’s just how things get done, and I can’t judge that if it moves the whole industry forward.

QUESTION: Are there aspects of the way the industry that worry you?

The cannabis oils market concerns me. You know, at one point, all of the extracts and high potency strains in Europe were American product and it was a real problem for the Mexican cartels because it was pushing them out. Finally, they got an expert in, and started producing their own stuff. But the reality is a lot of the oils and synthetics that are being produced are full of contaminants, whether it’s the conversions or improper handling or people actually adding extra ingredients. A lot of these people just don’t know what they’re doing and I don’t think it’s in public interest to have that stuff around.

And if legislation changes in certain jurisdictions, things could go south for a lot of companies very quickly. Because of the risks that are being taken now, it could result in even more stringent regulation down the line. 8 or 9 states in the U.S. now have a ban on vapes because of links with popcorn lung when actually the whole thing started with a company who was added vitamin E to the formula, and misleading customers. The actions of one company made a worse regulatory environment for everyone. It’s so counterproductive to not follow smart public health measures but I see some serious scare stories related to vape oils in the future.

QUESTION: What inspired you to start Growers Without Borders?

For me, it was just about getting the right information into the right peoples’ hands. Right now, there are a lot of people trying to transition from the legacy to the legal market, and yet I have such a hard time convincing people to write a CV or do a business plan or get on LinkedIn. I want to show them that we don’t have to do the crazy things we used to do to make money, we’re professionals now. But there’s still so much stigma and it has to be broken. I travel a lot and I just make a point of helping people out wherever I go. Weed is such a global thing really it’s an international community.

QUESTION: What is your goal for Growers without Borders?

Basically, to support the legacy growers and help people find jobs by taking their skillset and transferring it over to the professional world. A lot of these people don’t realize that their skills have value in this new industry, or they don’t know how to access the industry. So, through various forums and group chats, we offer advice, share documents, and provide education on different methodologies. I know a lot of experts who have tips and tricks, so I invite them onto the forums to help out the people who need that advice. But we help with anything from finding seeds to making bubble hash.

QUESTION: What do you see for the future of cannabis market regulation?

Governments really need to get out of the way. We have such regulatory inconsistencies across markets it makes trade impossible, and leaves the door open for all sorts of shenanigans. I’ve heard it’s even possible to get non-GMP hemp certified as EU GMP hemp. Down the road, I think a lot of things will end up micro-tiered but there’s always going to be the McDonald’s of cannabis and commercial growers.

What I see most is that people generally like to consume cannabis that comes from their own country, and they want to be able to decide what they consume. And at the same time, individual countries will want to protect their domestic markets, and there has to be regulations and processes in place that assures safe product. And I’m speaking as someone who’s always been a fan of sketchy smoke shops, but because so much product is being cut these days, safety will become an issue in the future.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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Cannabis Trends From MJBizCon: Cultivation, Rolling Papers, Vapes, & White-Labeling

The biggest cannabis business convention came and went last week. And it made a lot clear, particularly in trends. So, what are the biggest cannabis industry trends currently going on according to MJBizCon? Read on to find out where the money grabs are in the legal world of weed.

What is MJBizCon?

If that word looks strange to you (and maybe a little familiar), let me explain what it is. MJBizCon is a cannabis convention that’s put on every year by the Colorado-based publication Marijuana Business Daily, AKA MJBizDaily. If you read a lot about the weed industry, you’ve probably come across plenty of their articles.

In 2012, this publication launched the first Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, which we lovingly refer to as MJBizCon. The convention serves as a national trade show for businesses within the legal cannabis industry. This is an important note to make, because for the most part, it rules out gray market areas like the cannabinoid industry, which offers us synthetics in the form of delta-8 and HHC, among others. Right now, MJBizCon is considered the largest business trade show of the legal industry.

Every year, the business end of the cannabis space gathers in Las Vegas, so new connections can be made, new products and services put on display, and for the general public to get a gander at what’s out there. Complete with after parties, and big names like Mike Tyson, MJBizCon has become a popular event for anyone related to the world of weed.

The public is also allowed in this trade show, and the ability to be first in line to see what’s new, and for special convention deals, brings in those unrelated to the business world. Overall, it’s like one big weed party that we all get to play at. And regardless of whether you make a big purchase, or get a good new business connection, you’re sure to walk away with some interesting goodies and samples to try.

Biggest cannabis industry trends according to MJBizCon: Cultivation

Now, technically, as a business convention, MJBizCon leans more toward a B2B experience, and less towards B2C. In that sense, its great for seeing how businesses are trying to make money in the industry. The cannabis market is still relatively new, and still getting its footing, and those eager to make a buck tend to gravitate toward where they think its possible. There are a lot of issues with the industry, and it not performing to original expectations. These trends show where operators are focusing within the legal industry, to make money.

The biggest trend was in cultivation. However this is an interesting concept because of what it implies. Cultivation itself comes with the issue of overproduction, something that can devalue a product simply by having too much of it. Cannabis prices have plummeted all over the place because of this issue, so it stands to reason that much of what is offered in the realm of cultivation, is geared not just toward large-scale growing, but towards individual cultivators as well.

This was made clear when I picked up a sample of GrowSafe Bio-Pesticide. Sure, the product is technically made for large-scale production, but the exhibitors were quick to throw in how their product can be safely used by any home-grower (and for that matter, with more crops than just cannabis).

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Cultivation might be key to the industry in general, but part of what makes cultivation products a big trend, is that cultivation equipment, especially when it comes to certain products like natural pesticides and lights, can be marketed to home-growers as well; who make up a big, and growing, part of the industry. For that reason, cultivation products, from lights to organic pesticide to growing chambers, should remain popular as they relate to both the mass production side, and the individual production side.

Biggest cannabis industry trends according to MJBizCon: rolling papers and vapes

I’m putting these together because it’s almost funny how opposite they are. One represents the standard way of smoking, and one, the newer healthier option. I should clarify though, when I say vapes, I mean oil vapes. And what this really means, is the batteries used to power the carts, and the carts as well. One growing (but still small) trend related to the carts specifically, is reusable cartridges, which will hopefully become an even bigger trend in the future.

While dry herb vapes were represented by companies like Storz and Bickel, (bigger names that have remained through time), the mass showing at the convention was for the newer oil version. Here there are less established names ruling the roost, and more way to gain entry; though with much competition, as evidenced by the convention.

They came in all shapes, colors, and sizes, with nearly every company advertising a square-shaped design; something they all seemed to think they cornered the market with. They also all do about the same thing. In fact, whereas it used to be easier to find better batteries with temperature control, now they’re all simpler models that don’t allow for such precision. There was very little difference between products, but an obvious desire to capitalize on the vape trend.

Conversely, rolling papers were also all the rage, and this was the case last year as well, and for good reason. Most people still roll joints. They’re offered with and without filters, as pre-roll cones, as blunt wraps, with and without flavors (advertised as terpene infused, but tasting like synthetic chemicals), and in a variety of sizes. Most were about the same, while some, like the company High Tea, offered products like blunt papers made of tea leaves with no tobacco, nicotine, or hemp involved. Much like with vapes, aside from companies like High Tea, there wasn’t a massive difference between products for the most part. Most were white-label products with different branding, which itself, was quite a trend this year.

Biggest cannabis industry trends according to MJBizCon: white label products

It seems the next big money grab in the legal cannabis industry, is in white labeling and branding. White labeling is when a product is made by a manufacturer, which can be individually branded as per a company. This means many companies are selling the exact same product, but with their own individual labeling. It’s very common in many industries. Tons of products you use that you thought were specific to a brand name, are likely white labeled products that a brand name was simply stuck on.

In the case of the weed industry, tons of white-labeling and branding services were offered. Whether you want to sell your own line of rolling papers or vapes, get sweatshirts with your logo, or whatever else, there are about a million companies that want to help you by providing a generic product to use as your own.

I find white-labeling a bit sad. It’s outright saying that we can expect companies to no longer come up with and market their own products. And it exemplifies the idea of a money grab. Rather than come up with inventive ideas, companies just use the model out there, and slap their label on it. The whole reason all those vapes look exactly the same? Because they are. They come from just a few manufacturers, and then get used by every emerging company looking to get in the industry. But such is the standard today for big business. The brand you love most, is sometimes no different then the product next to it on a shelf.

With all the issues in the cannabis industry, and the difficulty in making money, it’s not shocking that companies will reach for whatever they can. And with the industry being a bit flimsy in some cases, this means not putting in more money than necessary. White-labeling a product gets a company out of the R&D of making a product, and the testing, and ensuring that it meets standards. But it also means that everything we’re sold is the same.

This is truly one of the break off points between many high quality and low quality companies and products. Those actually in it to get you something good, or that offer something specialized or different, are the ones putting in the money to make it happen. It says a lot for the market in general that this emerging cannabis trend is one that generalizes the entire industry.


Last year I remember seeing several companies doing custom gummy molds, or offering products to neutralize smoke in the air. I saw less – or none – of that this year. Cannabis trends tend to come and go depending on where its thought a profit is possible, and if there isn’t one, the trend disappears. Vapes have grown (square is in), papers will likely always be big (now flavored with terpenes and/or chemicals), white-labeling is all the rage, and cultivation is key for its industrial and personal appeal. What new trends will pop up next year? We’ll have to wait and see.

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