For more than 20 years, Jeremy Moberg dreamed of growing cannabis in the sunshine — without the threat of helicopters or arrest. Now that marijuana is legal in his home state of Washington, he can.
Last year, Moberg started CannaSol Farms, where he is licensed to grow marijuana in Okanogan – a rural area about 4 hours east of Seattle. A self-described “rugged individualist,” he is now one of the 10 biggest producers in the state. Since pot became legal in July, he’s grossed almost $1 million in sales.
Yet, the transition from growing a small, illicit crop to commercial scale cultivation hasn’t been easy. On top of ensuring the quality of his product and running a sustainable farm, he’s been forced to become a businessman – building relationships with retailers, maintaining budgets, managing people, and keeping track of legislative policies and other regulations that impact the industry.
That means these days Moberg is constantly on the phone, working long hours and often on the road, trying to stay ahead in a competitive new marketplace.
Here are journal entries from a day in his life:
Wake up and get my nine-year-old daughter going for her school day. My live-in sales rep, Tyler, is making coffee and eggs. I pay him partially in housing. We need to take breakfast to go as we commute down the mountain to town.
Arrive at CannaSol Farms. I fought tooth and nail to get this farm up and running in time for a 2014 harvest. Most licenses in the state were issued too late for outdoor growers. But we’d rather grow under the sun than use massive amounts of electricity to grow under artificial lighting.
It’s exciting to see the plants in one of our greenhouses start to flower. By law, we can grow as much as we can on a limited 21,000 square feet of space – which for us means 2,500 plants currently. Our first harvest will be about 6 to 8 weeks away. Last year, we yielded almost a ton of weed.
The greenhouse manager and I discuss which strains we think will do well in the market. The early season Blue Dream is flowering in another greenhouse. It looks and smells phenomenal.
Phone call from our local soil supplier who says that we are not considered an agriculture business by the state, and therefore, we’re not tax exempt. We owe him $5,000 for last year’s sales tax. I write an email to my state representative outlining the issue.
Meeting with Processing and Sales team. Processing complains that there are not enough glass jars to fulfill upcoming orders. We’ve heard from retailers that our glass packaging drives repeat customer visits. We agree to reduce prices on our bagged products, until the glass arrives.
The conversation drifts toward automation and conveyor belts. Right now, it’s a lot of handwork – individually weighing and sealing bags. A large order for 10,000 single gram bags comes in – it’s a decent-sized order but it’s really inefficient to fulfill one-gram units.
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