Recently I had the opportunity to drive to Yakima and check out the legal 502 recreational scene. I learned quite a bit. Mostly that the state fucked the growers and consumers over when they did away with the medical cannabis shops and growers.
My friend with the grow has been through spectacular failure after failure. As have most of the 502 growers. It does help that he's more of a businessman then a farmer.
He's the kind of guy the state wants in their 502 program. Has connections and experience making money. He's been smoking pot since his college days, growing legally has always been a dream. He has the finances to follow through on it and is serious enough about making money he's willing to do what it takes to make a profit.
He's learned that it's farming like growing any other crop. He's made cut after cut after cut of expenses until he's down to a bare bones crew of 6. He's doing light deprivation with hoop houses under the powerful Eastern Washington sun.
He plugs them in, starts them flowering immediately. It's all bottom line, any Veg time is a waste. He gets the clones cheap, $3 or less each. Uses a bulk chemical hydroponic-like bloom fertilizer. Since cannabis is not approved by the FDA it can't be certified organic so he sees no point in using organic sources. Plus it would be too expensive.
His flowers smelled nice, he had good strains. Purple Glue was my favorite wonderful sweet skunky smell. He had quite a few rows of CBD strains.
He had just put in his natural sun 'main run' crop. They were rows of scraggy little clones. Just from Vegging through July he'll have a big harvest in October the sun over there is incredible.
His entire harvest is converted to Hash Oil. He sells it direct to the manufacturer for $200 a pound. Yes that's right ounces used to go for $300 an ounce and he's selling pounds at $200. Welcome to the legal cannabis world.
He can't afford to pay trimmers. It's too much overhead. The only way he can turn a profit is to make it into oil. The drying and trimming is by far the biggest cost.
He can't afford to grow big plants, he wants to grow small plants with small buds. He says the buyers only care about THC%. They don't care about anything else. Terpenes, color, organic, all that shit is meaningless now. Larger buds have more plant matter which means lower THC levels. They will only buy the highest THC strains so he had plenty of Bruce Banner.
The state has the growers weigh and dispose of the leaves and stems. So handling and destroying all that plant matter is a large cost. Small plants produce less leaves and stems. It's another reason for his light deprivation and late start on his main run.
He was proud he didn't use pesticides, I was glad he didn't. Everyone has broad mites the clone dealers have seen to that. He had predatory mites he's looking into ways to keep them around because most of the time they have nothing to eat.
The entire time we were in the field there was a plane circling the sky above us. He said there's more DEA agents in Yakima County then almost anywhere else. I don't know what the plane was doing but there certainly wasn't anything to look from up there. Besides ganja fields. He had hundreds of cameras everywhere. The state seems a bit paranoid.
It was good to see he'd figured out how to succeed and make a profit. Fun to see thousands of ganja plants. Otherwise it was a depressing trip, kind of like a smack in the gut.
He told me the Tier 1 growers have been selling at a loss to take out the small growers. He thinks it's just a matter of time until the price drops to hops prices, $20 a pound. Lots of hops in the field next door.
I estimate the cost for trimmers alone is $200 a pound. He's selling pounds at that rate. With the cheapest chemicaliest fertilizer. With small light deprivation plants, tiny buds, mass production, high THC % is all that matters. Everyone who hasn't made these adaptations is out.
If you're thinking of getting a 502 license think it over long and hard it ain't your old time grow show. Sad to see the future of the plant I love getting perverted by legalization.
Glad I've got my medical card I'd hate to buy the shit from those Rec shops.