Top 5 Craft Cannabis Growers and Their Best Strains

Craft cannabis is a delicacy; although, it is often difficult to find growers that produce quality weed. Well, look no further because here are our top 5 picks of craft cannabis growers who have mastered the art of cultivating exquisite weed that will knock your socks off.  What is craft cannabis? The term craft cannabis […]

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Farmers Armour Launches Mask Donation Program to Fight Coronavirus

Farmers Armour, an apparel company focused on creating technical, protective gear for cannabis farmers, launched a one-for-one mask donation program in the beginning of April to support frontline workers of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

With manufacturing systems already in place, ramping up production of the masks was relatively simple for Farmers Armour. Founded by cannabis farmer Jeremy Glum in the fall of 2018, the small company has been making farming masks for just over a year now. 

Luckily, no design modifications were needed – the highly efficient and protective farming masks already feature two breathing valves, and they come with a replaceable N99 filter. The filter’s lifespan is approximately 40 hours. 

However, as the demand for masks rapidly grew with the nationwide shut down, Glum and his partner Kaz Kosciolek didn’t feel right about capitalizing off the increased sales. 

“Since there was a mass shortage of masks, we felt a moral obligation to contribute,” said Kosciolek, who handles the marketing and digital aspects of the company. 

By the Farmer for the Farmer

Kosciolek and Glum have spent countless hours in the field. They share a love of cannabis, and are passionate about helping their fellow farmers with no-bullsh*t apparel that gets the job done. One might describe Farmers Armour as a “by the farmer, for the farmer” kind of company where they treat their customers like friends, offering full transparency and a commitment to delivering quality products. 

“When so much focus has been on legalization and end product, we wanted to make sure the people actually growing the product weren’t forgotten,” Kosciolek said.

Glum’s idea for Farmers Armour was born out of a desire to work in comfort – not just for himself but for all of his fellow farmers exposed to rugged climate conditions and allergens on the job. 

Farmers Armour’s two main products are their protective farming sleeves and dust particle masks. The sleeves keep resin production off and offer protection from leaf rash and any other skin irritation associated with gardening. Glum developed the masks with trimmers in mind, as a lot of people have allergies and can become extremely irritated while working, he explained. 

Knights in Shining Armour

Utilizing the masks to combat coronavirus is not something they could have predicted, but Glum and Kosciolek feel fortunate that they are able to use Farmers Armour as an outlet to expand their reach and help people outside of the cannabis industry. 

“Doing the one-for-one donation fits into our company value of being as helpful as we can,” Kosciolek said. 

As of May 22, the Santa Cruz-based company has donated approximately 1,800 masks with another shipment of 1,500 underway. Masks are being offered to many of Santa Cruz’s first responders, like the local fire departments, health wards, and the sheriff’s office. Essential retailers such as banks, grocery stores, and the post office are also on Glum’s donation list.

Glum is personally delivering the masks to those in need. When talking to him about the donation program, it’s clear that contributing to his community means a lot to him. 

“It’s giving people an opportunity to donate and help out, and I think that’s the beauty of any donation,” said Glum. “Let’s give everyone a chance to help everyone. It’s a cool option for us.”

Glum’s desire to help others is also reflected in the company’s commitment to sustainability. Farmers Armour is continually examining ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint. Recently, this meant making products that are reusable and moving away from plastic packaging – something consumers will notice when receiving their masks. 

The mask donation program will continue for as long as masks are still needed by front line workers. 

Those who don’t need masks but still want to participate in the donation program can do so at https://farmersarmour.com/shop.

Alongside the donation program, the Farmers Armour team is working to release new farming-related gear in the coming months. Visit their website for product updates and more information on their one-for-one program.   

TELL US, are you helping others during the COVID-19 crisis?

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Growing Exposed Wants to Help You Cultivate Great Cannabis

Gone are the Reefer Madness days of cannabis prohibition and fearmongering, replaced instead with a more positive public who enjoy their weed and support legalization. This change brings a new wave of curious enthusiasts all looking to increase their cannabis cultivation skills to grow their own plants via educational and entertaining online videos. Enter Growing Exposed, the YouTube channel for all fans — from veterans to newcomers.

The original garden tour series focuses on the entire cannabis cultivation sector. Each unique episode opens up the once underground world of weed, revealing industry insights and an unrestricted view inside the world of cannabis.

Growing Exposed is the brainchild of Jeremy Deichen, an experienced content creator working under the digital marketing company LG Digital Inc. In addition to producing the series, LG Digital Inc has found a niche in the cannabis sector, creating content and branding projects for several other companies within the cannabis industry such as Method Seven, Green Planet Nutrients and Sugarleaf to name a few.  

Deichen produced hundreds of videos about products within the industry before launching Growing Exposed, but he knew there was something missing. Sometime in early 2015, however, Deichen had what he called a “light bulb moment.”

“I had created hundreds of videos where someone is standing at a trade show explaining the pros and cons of a product. And when I uploaded them, no one gave a shit,” Deichen told Cannabis Now. “There was certainly cannabis content on YouTube, but nothing with high production value. Plus, I was seeing a lot of conflicting information coming from people in their basements versus what I knew was going on in the sector.”

Deichen knew the industry needed a voice, so he began going behind the scenes, touring facilities, speaking directly to the growers and documenting history.

“I created a video from the growers’ perspective talking about the same pros and cons and it got 20k views within a few months. I knew I couldn’t waste my time making the other style.”

Since its, the video has racked up over 80,000 subscribers and 6.5 million views.

“We know we have a great media platform to promote a product or service for a brand, but our purpose goes beyond marketing,” said Deichen. “We’re documenting the history of our industry, and we know this plant is helping people and making this a better world to live in.”

Growing Exposed creator Jeremy Deichen

About Growing Exposed

Hosted by former MTV Canada and Spike TV personality Amanda McKay, Growing Exposed features a segment with David Robinson, an experienced cannabis cultivation expert and author of The Grower’s Handbook, to pass along cultivation knowledge to viewers. Each week, garden tour guide Justin Cooper heads out on another adventure, from touring some of the most unique cannabis farms in the country and gleaning invaluable growing tips straight from the most experienced cultivators.

But it’s not all farm tours and big buds. Growing Exposed also lets you experience first-hand some of the most innovative and iconic industry events in cannabis culture, like Spannabis in Spain or the High Times cups. The team’s access-all-areas gives you exclusive sneak peeks into the newest trends and helpful product reviews so you can be sure you’re on track to producing your own mouth-watering cannabis. Plus, the show’s website has become a hub for cannabis growers.

“Our website continues to be a great educational tool as it delivers high-quality content,” said Deichen. “We have recently added two new categories: a strain library where you can browse and learn about trending cannabis varieties and Cannabis MD, a tool that diagnoses plant problems and recommends solutions.”

Growing Exposed is the perfect resource for people interested in learning more about some of the largest North American growing operations around, the people behind them and what makes them tick.

Season three has just launched, so head to the Growing Exposed channel to catch up on all the latest episodes and previous seasons.

TELL US, have you tuned in to Growing Exposed?

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Intellectual Property Protections for Cannabis Cultivars

Cultivators in the United States have been breeding new Cannabis cultivars since the 1960s, seeking to combine or enhance cultivar characteristics such as yield, flavor, aroma, potency, and neurological/physiological effects. Both federal legalization of hemp (i.e., less than 0.3% THC) and increasing state legalization of marijuana have brought about considerable financial opportunities for companies that develop commercially desirable cultivars. But, the development, refinement, and stabilization of Cannabis cultivars requires substantial investments of time and money. However, options for protecting those investments through intellectual property (IP) safeguards remain limited for marijuana cultivars. 

Relevant IP protections for Cannabis cultivars include plant patents, plant variety protection certificates, and utility patents. Below, we provide an overview of each; but, before diving in further, we note that the need for seed deposits to obtain certain IP protections may present an insurmountable hurdle. United States depositories will not take seeds or tissue derived from marijuana cultivars (i.e., greater than or equal to 0.3% THC). Industry innovators would be well-served by considering their IP strategy before federal marijuana legalization removes these impediments.

Plant Patents

Plant patents protect any new and distinct variety of plant that has been asexually reproduced. Unlike trademark law, patent law has no legal use requirement. Consequently, plant patents can cover both marijuana and hemp. All that is required is that the cultivar be: 

  1. novel—patentee was the first to discover the cultivar or breed and select it;
  2. distinct—differs from known related cultivars by at least one characteristic; 
  3. uniform—the cultivar’s characteristics are consistent from one plant to another; and
  4. stable—the cultivar’s characteristics are fixed from generation to generation. 

Asexual reproduction (i.e., cloning) satisfies the uniformity and stability requirements. Plant patents permit the holder “to exclude others from asexually reproducing the plant, and from using, offering for sale, or selling the plant reproduced, or any of its parts, throughout the United States, or from importing the plant so reproduced, or any parts thereof, into the United States.” 

The upside to plant patents is that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain; moreover, plant patents do not require seed deposits. The downside, however, is that, because plant patents only cover plants that have been asexually reproduced, a holder of a Cannabis plant patent will likely be required to prove that an alleged infringer used a clone of the patented cultivar. Thus, the value of plant patents depends on potential infringers’ need to use a clone of the patented cultivar.  Accordingly, the productions afforded by plant patents are rather narrow as compared to the following two forms of protection. 

Plant Variety Protection (PVP) 

Plant Variety Protection (PVP) certificates generally provide broader protections than plant patents because they protect both sexually and asexually reproduced cultivars. Like plant patents, the cultivar must be new, distinct, uniform, and stable. PVP certificates permit the holder to exclude others from various activities including selling, importing, or exporting the cultivar or using the cultivar for breeding purposes; just Google “7 U.S.C. § 2541” for the list. 

The upside to PVP certificates is that they cover sexually reproduced plants. The downside is that the applicant must deposit at least 3,000 seeds, which essentially bars patents for marijuana cultivars. The term of protection for PVP certificates lasts for twenty (20) years (twenty-five for a tree or vine). The seed deposits do not become available to the public until expiration. However, PVP certificates are subject to a “research exemption” that would allow a person with access to your protected cultivar to use it in a breeding program to develop other cultivars for non-commercial purposes.

Utility Patents

Utility patents offer the most comprehensive protection. Most utility patent filings for Cannabis are directed to extraction methods, product formulations, and medical uses. Nevertheless, utility patents can be extremely useful for protecting a plant and its parts, including everything from breeding methods to genetic modifications (both traditionally bred hybrid plants and laboratory-made transgenic plants). Utility patent protection requires that the invention be:

  1. useful—the subject matter has a useful purpose; 
  2. novel and non-obvious—did not exist prior to being bred and selected, and was not an obvious combination of prior cultivars; 
  3. adequately described and enabled—sufficient disclosure in the application to allow another cultivator to make and use the claimed cultivar; and 
  4. not a product of nature—the invention involved human activity that transformed the subject matter from its natural state.  

Although utility patents are often associated with high costs and complexity, these factors can be controlled through a focused approach. For example, transgenic plants can be adequately described and enabled by describing the method of producing the transgenic plant or describing the gene responsible for the claimed phenotype through, for example, depositing the sequence of the gene of interest. Satisfying the description and enablement requirements for traditionally bred cultivars can be difficult, and has traditionally been accomplished through a seed or tissue deposit. 

Developing an IP Protection Strategy for Your Cannabis Cultivar

Before seeking patent or PVP protections, a threshold question must be asked: was the cultivar commercialized, offered for sale, or publicly disclosed more than one year prior to the filing date. If so, an application for a patent or PVP certificate cannot succeed.  

If prior disclosure is not a problem, weigh the practical considerations associated with each type of cultivar protection while considering (1) where in the breeding process you are, and (2) what your business wants to achieve. A cultivar exhibiting a desirable phenotype that has yet to be stabilized for seed production may be an ideal candidate for a plant patent, particularly if you plan to maintain that cultivar for cloning. If you can surmount the deposit requirement, PVP may prove the preferred protection for seed-propagated plant cultivars. If your cultivar has specific traits obtained through extensive development and aggregation into one genotype, a utility patent may alleviate PVP “research exemption” concerns, assuming you can overcome the current deposit issues for marijuana.

A final option that permits you to stake your claim is to file a provisional patent application for your cultivar. A provisional application provides the applicant up to one year to convert the provisional application into a utility patent application. This buys you time to determine if you really want to jump through the hoops necessary to fully protect your cultivar, while allowing you to legitimately mark the seeds and/or clones as patent pending.   

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