Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com to get started. Now here’s your program.
With so much change in the cannabis cultivation space it is important to stay abreast of advances in cultivation operations and technology. That is why I’ve asked James Lowe, President of Cultivation and Co-Founder of MJardin to come on the show today. James has a sterling reputation in the cannabis community for his wealth of knowledge and best practices in cultivation. Welcome to CannaInsider James.
James: Yeah thanks for having me.
Matthew: James to give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?
James: Located in Denver, Colorado at the moment.
Matthew: And what’s your background James? How did you get started in this industry?
James: My background is actually in design management and project management. We got or I specifically got into the industry through starting off with just handholding with ownership and guiding them through the design and permitting process when the state of Colorado forced the commercial world to kind of come from below ground and go out into commercial facilities and be permitted and have their certificate of occupancy. So we put a team of designers together and helped around thirty or forty Colorado based groups navigate that process over the course of a year or two and then from there we morphed from a design group into a full blown cultivation management company.
Matthew: Right so the management company you’re talking about is MJardin. So tell us what is MJardin? What do you specialize in and how do you help clients today?
James: MJardin’s focus is on the turnkey management of commercial cultivation facilities. So we provide all the typical assistance that the consultants out in the marijuana world provide, design, licensing, support but only in the context that it also is part of a long-term management contract. So we come in and the vast majority of the time 100% staff the cultivation facilities and run the day to day operations as opposed to providing quarterly support or a single person that might assist a owner with their day to day operations. We actually perform 100% of those activities by MJardin employees.
Matthew: Yes and that’s something to really; is a key differentiator because a lot of the cultivation and consultants out there are kind of there if you need them but you’re actually in there doing it and that’s a big, big difference.
James: Yeah absolutely. We’re essentially kind of a non equity partner that is with the licensee for the long haul.
Matthew: Yeah so can you explain what that means by non equity partner and how that’s different maybe perhaps from the way some other cultivation consultants do it and how MJardin’s compensated?
James: Yeah I mean we’re typically a cost per pound. So we work with the licensee to develop a staffing protocols and how the facility is going to be run and then we in terms of that labor cost we don’t mark any of that labor cost up and we simply; our management fee is collected on a per pound basis. So outside of the raw cost which the licensee pays for whether it’s the labor, the cocoa, the fertilizers, whatever those may be they pay for those. We don’t mark any of that up and then we simply collect a management fee based off of production so that our interests are lined with the licensee’s interest as well. If we can’t successfully cultivate we’re not billing any fees and therefore since we are just a professional fee based setup we’re not asking for any equity in anyone’s deal. So the licensee keeps their equity for their own purpose whether that’s to raise capital or obviously keep it for themselves.
Matthew: I’ve had the pleasure of walking through a couple of your grows and it immediately becomes apparent that when you’re walking through with someone like James he’s looking at things in a very different way than someone who’s coming in as a novice looking at it seeing these plants and lights and tables and everything. James when you’re setting up a grow for the first time what are the big elements in your mind that you think hey I have to execute well here or we won’t have healthy plants?
James: Ultimately what we’re doing is; our job is to have whatever genetic that we’re growing we’re there to express it as best we can and in order to do that we have to have environmental control. The best growers in the world can’t do anything if the plant isn’t thriving and the only way that it can thrive is to be being grown in a perfect or close to perfect environment and obviously that’s the number one step or the number one thing to do when getting these places setup is to make sure that we’re staying within a budget. A lot of people’s downfall happens when they; I want a 1,000 lights but I only have money for 700 and all of a sudden corners start getting cut. So we have to make sure that we stay within the confines of the licensee’s financial situation. So those extra 100 lights don’t do you any good if you have mold issues or temperature issues or whatever the cause may be. So first and foremost is having a grip on what the final cost will be with our initial designs and not discovering that too late but then ultimately we want to maximize the space that we’re using.
We’re not proponents of compartmentalized grows. We look to the general horticulture industry to see that vast acres of cut flowers and hydroponic vegetables are grown in wide open greenhouses. They’re not cutting these facilities down into small basement size rooms. So by looking at that we make sure that we can maximize production in the square footage available and not get caught up in figures of I can grow three pounds a light or I can grow two pounds a light or four pounds a light or whatever the number is. The real question is how much marijuana can I successfully pull per square foot per year because three pounds a light is not a measurement. It doesn’t give me any context as to how much space that light is taking up. It doesn’t give me any context to how many successful yields were accomplished over a certain amount of time. So that’s how we; those are the main factors on how we approach a new facility and maximizing the value of the clients license.
Matthew: Looking at soil what kind of growing medium do you use or consider and why?
James: I think all; there’s no best soil. There’s no best hydro system. It’s all about what the clients objectives are, what their marketing objectives are. I mean if we’re looking at organic production we’re probably going to look at some soil based system. The vast majority of our facilities are not looking for organic production. They’re certainly looking for clean production but from an organic standpoint most people are onboard with the increased production they can get from some hydroponic or at least traditional fertilizer blends. So for the most part we use cocoa fiber. It provides faster growth than soil or peat moss blends but it also provides a little bit of a buffer for some of these larger facilities.
We can look at aeroponics or we can look at other systems rock oil, Hydroton but the cocoa fiber we feel provides kind of the best of both worlds. We do get accelerated growth with it but we still have a buffer with a large mass of roots so that we’re not looking at; we’re not running into situations in a large facility where we might only have minutes or hours to fix a problem. The cocoa fiber gives us that margin of safety that ultimately is extremely important and when choosing a soil or a growing medium you have to ask yourself and there’s a lot of variables in play but you have to ask yourself at what point is the risk profile not worth the reward and we do recognize that there are grow mediums that I might be able to get higher production out of but we just like the risk profile and the production associated with cocoa as opposed to; certainly as opposed to aeroponics or even potentially hydroponic mediums such as rock oil.
Matthew: Yes that’s kind of borrowing an ideology from the financial community which is risk associated return meaning you could probably get something a little bit better but then you’re introducing a lot of variables that could ultimately hurt the whole grow in some way.
James: Yeah absolutely maybe I could get 5% better yields with maybe a rock oil or an aeroponics system or something else. Maybe even 20% better yields whatever the number may be but it only takes that one failure to totally wipe out what could amount to; it could take you years to build back up with that one crop loss cost you.
Matthew: Turning to water and keeping your plants hydrated. In touring in one of your grows I saw that you had a special wicking pad or something similar to that. Can you describe what that is and why you use that?
James: Yeah. It’s called a capillary mat. We don’t use them everywhere and it’s a company called “WaterPulse” that we acquire ours from but it’s essentially a ebb and flood bench without the flood and so the benefit of that capillary mat is that instead of force feeding we’re relying on the natural capillary action of the growing media. So what happens with a drip system or a flood bench system or really just about any other system is that when a irrigation zone turns on you are watering at the frequency of the thirstiest plant for lack of a better term. So what that can lead to is situations where if I have a lot of strains in one zone and yet I am watering at the frequency of the thirstiest plant it’s at the detriment of the plant that might be the hardiest and doesn’t necessarily need as much watering and you can get into situations where you have ammonia toxicity from slight overwatering and it has nothing; it appears as a nutritional issue but it really has no bearing that we know. The fertilizer composition is correct it’s just a result of over watering.
So the benefit of the capillary mat is that when I have multiple strains in one zone instead of a drip system turning on and gravity pulling that water down or a flood bench system flooding and everything being fully saturated now we are relying on the dryness of a pot to absorb water. So just like a sponge you put a wet sponge and a dry sponge on one of these capillary mats the wet sponge is just going to stay at its current water holding capacity whereas the dry sponge is going to sit there and start to absorb water and the same is true with the cocoa fiber. So in addition to automatically watering the plants like any hydroponic system it also regulates the amount of water being delivered to various plants in the same irrigation zone so the plant that’s already a little wet is not going to be watered as hard as the plant that is very dry and needs more water. So we end up without ammonia toxicity issues in a irrigation zone with multiple different strains.
Now some of the benefits of the or excuse me that specific benefit starts to not be an issue when facilities get larger and larger and now maybe I only have one strain per irrigation zone or two strains per irrigation zone and those strains are matched and require watering frequency; a similar water frequency. We might start to look at a more traditional drip system or flood bench system or some other hydro system when we don’t need that benefit.
Matthew: So this is fascinating to me. So the flood table is indiscriminant. It sends water down the table to everybody in kind of equal measure but the capillary mat says okay it’s more surgical. It says this plant needs a little more and this one needs a little more. Have you noticed when you switched from like I’d say you were doing a flood table then you switched the capillary mat and do you see like wow the results were pretty clear that it’s a more uniform grow? What were the biggest changes you notice when you switch over to a capillary in some instances?
James: I mean it’s maybe that down turn of leaves and the vegetative state where we might have a couple different sizes of plants mixed together as everything’s filling out their pots. There’s some irregularity in growth at that point and that’s when the ammonia toxicity shows up most commonly and so we’ve seen the increase just a healthier vegetative plant which leads to a faster growing vegetative plant. Green from an entire tray being 100% green; nice, soft leaves as opposed to a leaf that is starting to discolor, turn down, and curl and get that slight yellowish tint to it. So in general we just don’t see ammonia toxicity anymore which is an important thing to achieve.
Matthew: Yeah so when the leaves turn down and they’re droopy like that are they typically yellow or they’re just drooping?
James: Yeah there starts to be some yellowness, maybe some necrotic areas. It’s subtle. It depends obviously on the degree of ammonia toxicity that’s being experienced. There’s obviously other issues that can cause the same kind of appearance so you don’t want to go down the wrong rabbit hole.
Matthew: James in terms of climate, temperature, humidity what is optimal there to help your plants thrive?
James: We’re generally; with carbon dioxide we’re generally in the mid to high 70’s with our flower areas. We run a little bit warmer than that in vegetative areas to increase growth and then 45 to 50% humidity in flower. 50 to 55% humidity in veg and we like to have our cloning separated from our veg because we do do root zone heating and so we like to run that climate a little bit cooler so that ultimately with the root zone heating the microclimate around the plant itself is still the same as what it would be in the normal veg area.
Obviously if we do that in the vegetative area and we’re still adding that root zone heat we can get situations where that microclimate might actually be a little bit out of spec and a little bit warm. Not the end of the world but we generally run a little bit higher humidity and a little bit higher temperature in our veg rooms because there’s less risk of bud rot or any other issues and we do. There are some benefits there. Once we get to flower we want to mitigate any risk of bud rot or powdery mildew that we can so we go ahead and drop the humidity slightly lower.
Matthew: So let’s say we’re looking at a 5,000 or 10,000 square foot grow. Is there any ideas around making sure the humidity and temperature is uniform within that whole space so there’s not little pockets of cold or something similar?
James: I mean the key is airflow. I mean there’s depending on your facility there should be a spec that you are designing around to get a certain velocity of air movement and for that air movement to be continuous from one side of the facility to the other that’s going to not only keep the environment consistent but it’s also going to help reduce risk of condensation where leaves could be touching and water forms and now is a breeding ground for any number of molds and so that air movement keeps that condensation from occurring. If it does it helps to dry it out fast and then obviously like your question asked it obviously keeps the temperature and humidity consistent throughout the facility. Dead spots are your enemy.
Matthew: Yeah. In terms of lighting what do you like these days? I mean is it the double ended lights or what are you using typically there?
James: Yeah we’re using the double ended HPS fixtures. We are running numerous LED tests and they’re there. I mean they’re pretty much on par with the double ended HPS and they’re definitely ahead of the Chinese knockoffs. The name brand and not all the name brand units but there’s a few of them that definitely perform better than others and when looking at those units with their ability to put light on target at the price point they’re at to us they are still a better option than LED. There are some double ended HPS fixtures out there that are on the cheaper side that you probably; the LEDs beat out. Our issue is just that with some of the warranties that are out there on the LEDs they’re not the best in the world. I mean it’s one thing for a Diode to last ten years and we don’t need to change our bulbs and all that good stuff that LED promises but when I’m spending thousands of dollars on a fixture and my warranty is only a year or two or maybe three then that’s a little bit of a concern for me to build; to invest in something assuming that it’s actually going to last ten years. So for us I am sure within the next year or two there will be continuous LED improvements that will make it the go-to choice or price will come down but in our opinion it’s just not there quite yet.
Matthew: In terms of height of your indicas and sativas how tall are each in general at harvest would you say?
James: It varies based off of the state regulations. Where we deal with the plant count we have to maximize the production per plant. If there’s no plant counts to deal with our plants get smaller and smaller and smaller. So Hawaii being an upcoming new market I think their limitation is 3,000 plants per facility. In Colorado it’s based off of patients. Even on the rec side there’s plant count limitations. States like Maryland and Nevada where you have no plant restriction or plant count restriction at all we’ll see the smallest plants. Here in Colorado we’re typically in the for our systems we’re typically in the three to four foot range but it’s not such an important on an indoor facility. The important thing is making sure that we are capturing 100% of our canopy. That we’re not wasting light, that we’re not wasting space, and regardless of how tall our plants are when they achieve that as long as those primary goals are being met our yields will stay the same regardless of how big the plant is.
Matthew: When an investor or business owner is putting together a proform or they’re trying to come up with numbers and estimate their ROI and their expenses and things like this is there an industry standard range on yield per square foot or something you see typically?
James: It’s all over the place. If you always want to be conservative I mean when you’re trying to woo a client or certainly what we see competition doing is making the claims of; they’ll typically speaking in pounds per light which we hate to talk about but everyone wants to dream of massive numbers and that’s great on particular strains but you really have to look at the fact that whether you’re a wholesaler or a dispensary you need 10, 15, 20 strains or in some cases many more than that and the yield profiles are going to vary widely between all of those strains.
So our standpoint is certainly on a financial side of the equation is to be conservative and we typically model and depending on what the scenario is in play that 30 to 40 grams per square foot per harvest but the number ranges up into the 60 grams and the 70 grams with some strains per square foot so; but you just can’t build a financial model around your best performance strains.
Matthew: And you’ve mentioned getting an extra harvest each year because of the way you grow. How does that work exactly?
James: Well it’s just an efficiency. It’s not wasting days, not wasting time. I mean it’s filling on a schedule, harvesting on a schedule. Making sure that there’s no tasks that could only take a day that could instead take a week. I mean it’s just a matter of all protocols being followed and all schedules being kept at all costs and for us not looking at extremely long flowering strains. There’s so many strains out there. We don’t think that it necessarily makes sense to be unless there is a purpose. I mean there could be strains that just need to be grown but for your general purpose strains there’s hundreds and hundreds of strains out there that don’t take 75 and 80 and 90 days to flower and in the commercial world unfortunately for better or worse it doesn’t necessarily make sense to go after those sort of strains.
Matthew: If you could kind of turn back the clock and go back a few years to when you were just starting out in this industry or just starting to help clients what would you change about; you probably focusing on a lot of things now that you would say hey this wasn’t as important. I probably should have focused on these things and not on these things. What would you go back and tell yourself five years ago or three years ago about what’s more important and what’s less important?
James: I think compliance is everything and we always make sure that we’re operating 100% compliantly but the rules are always changing and luckily we have a really great group of guys and contacts that are always assisting us and working with us to stay ahead of that but that legal side of things and that compliance side of things can really start to bog a company down if they’re not prepared financially to deal with it. Luckily we were but we could have probably been more prepared ahead of time to understand how important that compliance team is and how detailed they need to be and how many individuals there needs to be to kind of stay on top of that thing because no matter how good of a grower you are, no matter how beautiful your dispensary is, no matter how good the product is if you can’t stay on top of the rules 100% of the time; not 99% of the time, not 99.5% of the time.
It only takes; depending on your state it only takes one violation by an employee that could be at the bottom of the food chain but can put you in jeopardy. So really kind of appreciating that dynamic which we certainly do now and like I said we’ve always been able to maintain compliance but we’ve made that part of our company so much more robust now than what it was years ago.
Matthew: Looking at Colorado since recreational cannabis became legal how have you seen the consumer taste change from flower to edible to vape pens and did anything surprise you in those changes?
James: I mean I think it’s no secret that edible demand and vape pen demand keeps going up month over month and we’ve seen the increase just like everyone else has. I don’t think; it certainly hasn’t surprised us. I think the question will be is how far it goes but it’s my suspicion that it will at some point overtake flower sales and the amount of product being grown for vaporizers and edibles here in the next few years. There’s probably a lot of people that disagree with that but I’m certainly not surprised by it and the good part about that is it’s a different growing style and a little bit easier growing style when you’re growing for what’s essentially resin production instead of bag appeal. So it should lead to lower costs and lower prices for the consumer in the end.
Matthew: You have a up-close view of the different types of cannabis dispensaries and different types of consumers. Some are just looking for hey I want the cheapest price per gram or per ounce and others are looking for more like of an artisanal quality cannabis flower and experience. I mean tell us a little bit about that range that you see here in Denver. What’s it like? Is it really that big of a spectrum and when you go in what’s the consumer taste like?
James: I mean the vast majority of consumers I feel are looking for a quality product at a bargain price and then you’ve got; you do have your connoisseurs and that’s true of just about; alcohol industry is the same way. I mean you’ve got millions upon millions of gallons of Budweiser and Coors being sold throughout the world and you’ve got; there’s still a lot of connoisseur beer out there. There’s a lot of the same on the spirit side of the equation but I don’t think cannabis is any different there. The vast majority of people are looking for not necessarily a low end product but they want value with an acceptable quality and no matter what we’re talking about here when it comes to the regulated cannabis market everything is for the most part there’s very few people that are able to stay in business that aren’t growing fairly decent product.
So we’re not talking swag bud here by any means but they do want a value product at a good price but there are a number of dispensaries in town that have low volume sales, connoisseur only buds at a higher price and they’ve found their niche and they are successful at it but as the industry develops and maybe one day starts to cross state lines I believe that you’ll see very large players that are providing a 95th percentile product instead of a 100th percentile product that at very low prices.
Matthew: Turning back to cultivation best practices. In terms of pests and diseases how do you mitigate those risks without going crazy?
James: Design is paramount. You can’t escape bad design so it kind of all happens on day one and assuming that we do have our environmental protocols in place or standards in place and they’re met and the environment is being kept that’s the number one combatant. If our humidity is low whether or not mold spores are present they’re not going to be an issue. The same is even true with a lot of bugs. Spider Mites being probably the number one issue that people face. It’s a whole different battle dealing with Spider Mites if your environment is hot. Every seven degrees of rise in temperature can see 100% increase in how fast a Spider Mites lifecycle is. So it’s really not difficult to combat these pests when the environment is as it should be but when your environment is compromised safe practices, safe pesticides, safe insecticides are not able to keep up with the increased growth rate when the environments out of whack.
But regardless of that it’s really all about; for us it’s having our IPM staff at the ready. These guys are entomologists on hand. They are able to predict problems before we even know that there is a possibility of something depending on seasonal changes, temperature changes, environmental changes, and then coming up with a plan of attack to deal with anything in a safe; with safe pesticides whether they be and inorganic doesn’t necessarily mean safe but whether they be some sort of organic pesticide, a biological pesticide, some mineral based suffocant the key is to always change it up and not rely on one or two products so that there’s never any resistance being found in your facility and it’s paramount to do it in a safe way because there’s still as you see in Colorado there’s still so many hot tests coming back for pesticides that people are still falling back to some of these products and I guess crossing their fingers that they’re not going to get caught and that’s just completely irresponsible and above all else you’ve got to make sure you’re using safe products.
Matthew: Are there any other mistakes you see new growers make in high frequency?
James: Maybe. Probably not knowing their limitations. I mean everyone is an expert. Everyone has the best way to grow marijuana and you talk to 100 different growers you get a 100 different methods and the reality is it’s just like corn, just like soybeans, just like tomatoes. In the end there’s really only going to be a handful of accepted methodologies that make sense in the commercial world and that just hasn’t come to pass yet because the industry is so young and there hasn’t been the billions of dollars spent on research that have been spent on all of these other crops and so over time we’ll see tried and true methodologies start to kind of rise to the top and some of these 95 other ways to do it people will stop doing it and the problem is there’s so much ego in this industry that no one wants to think that there’s maybe a way to do things that’s better than their method and so what will happen is because there is no economic filter right now that gets rid of the ideas that may not be so good because everyone’s profitable even if there not that productive and so what happens is people have (40:06 unclear) or they’re blind on and they start designing facilities that are double the size of their last facility and they’re still maybe based off of methodologies that may not be so great and then one day and probably in Colorado it’s going to be in the sooner than later.
But at some point that economic filter kicks in and prices drop and things become competitive and all of a sudden that method that people were so such about all of a sudden is causing them a lot of problems and they can’t keep up in the price war. So I guess the advice would be and we have to remind ourselves as well but the advice is to be everyone’s still learning and you’ve got to stay nimble and you’ve got to just know your limitations.
Matthew: That’s an excellent point and one I think is not talked about enough. I mean the ego can really hurt you and everybody’s probably seen someone that’s committed to an ideology crash and burn but having that humility and ability to say I don’t know everything and I’m constantly looking for a better way. The Japanese have a term called “kaizen” that they use in manufacturing and that is continuous improvement. The cake is never fully baked. We’re always looking for a way that we can improve and we don’t get dialed into a dog mud that can come back and bite us in the butt later. Germane to that are there any stubborn myths you see around still James about growing cannabis that persists and you just can’t believe that people persist in certain ideologies?
James: Not so much. We’re kind of in our own bubble and so I don’t get out to kind of see what people are stuck doing. I think that the one thing I can say is that a lot of people and a lot of big companies even took a lot of their knowledge when things were being done on a small scale and systems that worked on a small scale and made sense in someone’s basement and have now blown those up on a massive scale and so you see facilities setup very similar to how a basement grow may have been setup except that now that basement grow isn’t 200 square feet it’s 10,000 square feet or 20,000 square feet or however big it may be and so I believe there’s a lot of things that do work and do make sense in the basement that still find themselves out in big commercial operations.
Matthew: In terms of big commercial operations there’s a growing interest in greenhouses and you mentioned tomatoes and some other typically considered produce for growing in greenhouses and outside perhaps. What do you see happening with greenhouses and cannabis cultivation in the years ahead?
James: Well I think there will be a large shift to greenhouses obviously. I mean there’s lower costs involved. We’ve got a more complete lighting spectrum. We’ve got in most cases depending on your glazing we’ve got access to UV light. There is for us; there’s people that probably think you can’t grow as good a cannabis in greenhouses and that may or may not be true but the California market has probably given a bad name to greenhouses and that’s only because there were a lot of hoop houses that people utilized to get an extra crop out of or may have used; tried to use all year round but they weren’t necessarily state of the art high tech facilities and so sometimes the product that came out of them; obviously it was better than not getting a second harvest that year but there may have been a negative connotation with greenhouses because that second harvest it wasn’t the quality that it needed to be but it was also coming out of a very basic facility up in the mountains somewhere.
A state of the art greenhouse which can cost a substantial amount of money; it’s not done to save money. There should be different motives for going to a greenhouse. Obviously your operational costs will save money but your initial installation can be quite expensive to get it to the state of the art that it needs to be to be competitive with indoor facilities. But we think; we certainly think that’s absolutely possible.
Matthew: When you look out on the horizon are there any technologies or developments apart from greenhouses that gets you really excited?
James: I spoke a little bit negatively of LED’s earlier. We’re a big proponent of what’s coming in lighting and we think that that will be the next big thing for indoor facilities and other than that I believe actual research going into the processes around the cultivation of cannabis. I mentioned there’s vast amounts of money that gets spent on all these other crops right now. Most of the R&D being done for cannabis is really just trial and error in the growing environment. Now we certainly are and we’ll see and I expect other people probably will as well to do true research in controlled laboratory settings on the cannabis plant specifically not just; right now people are looking at the gnome, they’re looking at other things which are all exciting but for us being a cultivation company what excites us is true laboratory university grade research being done in controlled chambers.
Repetitive tests that truly mean something as opposed to I put an LED in this room over here and I saw better production so it must mean the LED’s are good. I mean it might mean that they’re good. It might mean that whatever you were testing in that room it might be good but we look forward to the day where we truly can provide scientific backed 100% verifiable data that says this product makes sense or this light makes sense or this hydroponic system makes sense. So we look forward to being able to provide that to our clients in the very near future.
Matthew: As I toured a couple of your grows James I noticed you have a lot of people working there. You have electricians, you have trimmers, you have people on the retail and the dispensary side, and every day I get emails from people saying hey I want to get into the cannabis industry so bad. I have no idea how to do it. Do you have any stories or can you tell us about a time where you may be promoted somebody that just showed promise who really wanted to get into the industry?
James: Yeah I mean we always try to promote from within. I mean there’s a certain amount of trust that’s required in these facilities and we can always hire someone with a great degree and experience in related industries but we’ve got guys who started at the bottom and now manage big facilities and they’ve learned every task in the company and they’ve developed trust with us and a degree of confidence that we were able to put these guys in multi-million dollar facilities. Likewise we’re always interested in hiring individuals with degrees in horticulture or some plant related field.
We like people that are excited about the cannabis plant but we’re always a little concerned about old habits die hard and we’re always a little concerned about a person who has the five years of underground experience and knows how to do things which sometimes that they work well with certain systems. Our system is very much science based so we’re always eager to talk to that person who doesn’t know how to get into the industry but has that science background or horticulture background and wants to figure out how to break into that industry. We are more than happy to talk to them.
Matthew: James in closing can you tell listeners how they can learn more about MJardin?
James: Yeah our website MJardin.com. www.mjardin.com. It’s not the best representation of us at the moment but its being rebuilt here very soon but it will give them all the information and we do post job openings there. There’s a link that people can go to and submit resumes and then they’re always welcome to call us up as well if they don’t see a position open at the time. We’re always collecting people’s information because we’re always expanding into new spaces so there’s always a new opportunity on the horizon.
Matthew: James thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today and educating us. We really appreciate it. I was very impressed with your grows, your skill, and your team and thank you.
James: Absolutely. Thank you.
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James Lowe, President of Cultivation at Mjardin gets real and reveals how top shelf cannabis is grown and all the best practices it takes to ensure a healthy harvest. We talk lights, irrigation, soil mediums CO2 and more.
[1:42] – James talks about his background
[2:41] – What is MJardin?
[5:56] – How to set up a cannabis grow
[9:05] – James talks about his preferred growing medium
[12:30] – James discusses the “capillary mat” and what it does
[18:00] – Climate, temperature, humidity
[21:13] – James talks about the lighting aspect of the grow
[23:15] – Indica and Sativa heights at harvest
[26:42] – Getting an “extra harvest” each year you grow
[28:27] – Lessons learned in the grow room
[30:49] – Changing consumer tastes
[34:59] – Mitigating the risks of pests and disease in your grow
[38:31] – Biggest mistakes made by new growers
[41:52] – James talks about people’s ideologies in growing
[43:38] – The future of greenhouses in cannabis cultivation
[48:33] – James talks about promoting his people from within
[50:16] – Contact details for Mjardin
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year? Find out with your free guide at: https://www.cannainsider.com/trends