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Grower Spotlight: Phat Panda

Grower: Phat Panda

(The Herbery crew visits Phat Panda!)

(The Herbery crew visits Phat Panda!)

Location: Spokane Valley, Washington

Owner: Robert McKinley, CEO, Johnny Wilson, vice president. (The interview below is with Johnny Wilson)

How did you get into this industry: “My best friend (McKinley) from high school asked me if I wanted to go in on a business project,” Wilson said. “He’s never smoked weed in his life, but he’s a guy who knows how to run a business very well.”

Wilson, on the other hand, is an avid long-time smoker. He said he jumped at the chance to join the fledgling industry.

“I’ve been smoking a good long time, maybe 20 years,” Wilson said. “We grow top shelf cannabis. And what we really want our company to be about is relationships, customers, great products and transparency.”

What sets your farm apart from others: “The obvious thing is our branding, but there’s more to us than that,” Wilson said. “Our facility, for instance, is top notch. We have maximum light penetration, extremely clean production and amazing quality. Our people are also some of the best in the business.”

(Phat Panda Golden Pineapple in flower)

(Phat Panda Golden Pineapple in flower)

Beyond that, the company also prides itself on its strain genetics, he said.

“We had, when we came into I-502, a really strong focus on genetics, and on tracking down very solid stable genetics,” Wilson said.

As an example, he noted the company’s popular Golden Pineapple strain – it’s a strain that was developed for medical use in Southern Oregon. The company looked at several similar strains prior to startup, but the genetics of that particular Golden Pineapple was superior – and the flavor is consistently amazing, Wilson said.

Lighting method: High pressure sodium.

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor grower, tier 3. “We’re the first indoor facility tier 3 to be completely built out – at least I’m 99 percent sure of that.”

The company started with 16 rooms, and now has 26 of them – with 29,550 feet of canopy space.

Pesticides: “We do use pesticides, but they’re all state compliant and we only use them as needed. Trace Analytics just did an independent pesticide test of our products and we passed with no residuals.”

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Soil/Growth medium: Coco Coir

Signature strains: OG Chem, Golden Pineapple, P91 F?#K Yeah, Platinum Girl Scout Cookies, Bubba’s Gift, Gorilla Glue.

Other strains or products of note: “Keep an eye out for ‘Hot Sugar’ – that’s our new line of edibles, and ‘Panda Pens’ – which is our new line of vapes. They’ll be in stores very soon!”

What would you like to see next as the industry evolves: “I would like everybody to learn what terpenes are, and also to know why THC percentage isn’t the best way to pick a cannabis strain, because terpenes and other cannabinoids play such an important role.”

Grower Spotlight: Going Green

Grower: Going Green

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Owners: Mark Robertson

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How did you get into this industry: “I’m just a business man. I’ve run a boat shop here in town for 20 years. I was looking for something else to do and this just kind of came along. I’ve smoked pot since I was in my teens, and this just seemed like a really interesting opportunity,” Robertson said.

What sets your farm apart from others: “Our focus is to grow the highest grade flower we can produce – whether that’s CBD strains or things on the recreational side. We’re always looking at ways to improve and make things better, but our processes are reasonably set now. Things are working really well.”

Lighting method: Full spectrum 100-watt HPS XXX hoods for commercial products. Also doing some test runs with other light spectrum technology.

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor grower, tier 1.

Pesticides: No pesticides. The company uses Neem Oil and sticky paper to protect crops.

Soil/Growth medium: Ocean forest soil with a perlite mix.

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Signature strains: Sour Tsunami and Harley Sue CBD strains, F***ing Incredible and Juicy Fruit THC strains.

Other strains or products of note: Blue Dream, Cheese and several other strains for the recreational market.

What would you like to see next as the industry evolves: “I would love to see better education to the public on what the lab numbers actually mean. High THC doesn’t always mean a stronger head high, yet so much of the recreational market is based on that. The other cannabinoids and the entourage effect play a very big role – there’s a lot more to it than just THC.”

Grower Spotlight: Doc & Yeti

Grower: Doc & Yeti

Location: Tumwater, Washington

Owners: Joe “Doc” and Jared “Yeti.”

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How did you get into this industry: “We got into the industry because we love weed, and the Washington marijuana culture,” Jared said.

What sets your farm apart from others: “We are driven, and passionate for what we do,” Jared said. “We have the grower and smoker expertise and we are business-minded to make it through all the I-502 rules and regulations.”

Lighting method: 1000-watt hps double ended bulbs.

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor grower, tier 3.

Pesticides: “We are fully biological with our pest management, meaning we use bugs to kill other bugs and beneficial fungus, and microbes to combat diseases,” Jared said. “We also use neem oil in veg and the first two weeks of flower only.

Soil/Growth medium: Coco Coir, a coconut based product.

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Signature strains: Red Headed Stranger, Breakfast Kush, Buffalo Bill, Dutch Treat.

Other strains or products of note: “Our vape cartridges are an alcohol extract which increases the cannabinoid profile – we feel it gives you a better high that last longer and smokes thicker,” Jared said.

What would you like to see next as the industry evolves: “All we want is a complete level playing field for all 502 businesses to participate in.”

Grower Spotlight: Cedar Creek Cannabis

Grower: Cedar Creek Cannabis

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Owners: Mark Michaelson and Ann’ette Pedigo

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How did you get into this industry: “When I first started growing when I was young, it was just to get stoned,” Michaelson said. “But then I figured out there was some money to be made, and I learned that the better the bud was, the more I made. So over the years I just kept focusing on improving the quality. Once I-502 got started, I brought my family in to help set up Cedar Creek Cannabis. One of my daughters also has a farm in Longview, called Bare Naked Bud.”

What sets your farm apart from others: “I would say probably true, honest dedication to quality,” Michaelson said. “It’s nice if we can make some money along the way, of course, but I really just love growing pot. I want to be a pioneer in this industry when it comes to quality.”

Lighting method: Full spectrum. No LED.

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor grower, tier 2.

Pesticides: Occasional use of two pesticides, primarily Nuke ‘Em, an organic product made by American Agriculture in Portland. The farm also uses predatory mites to kill spider mites.

Soil/Growth medium: “Ours is similar to hydroponic but it’s not,” Michaelson said. The company uses Coco Coir, a coconut based product, as a grow medium.

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Signature strains: OG Kush, Jack Herer, Chemdawg.

Other strains or products of note: King Tut, 101 Headband, Dairy Queen and a variety of vapes and oils.

What would you like to see next as the industry evolves: “I’d love to see the stigma go away,” Michaelson said. “People who don’t know anything about cannabis love to talk about it even though they’ve never tried it. I hope people who used to smoke or are curious about it will think about trying it again – there’s a lot more to it, and it can be a lot of fun.”