Surviving the Dismantling of Cannabis Prohibition


The world is changing. There is a great reckoning coming for independent growers around the country. Last night I seshed with a great grower friend of mine, Chris. Some excellent Orange Monster, by the way.

Chris is one of the smart ones…

He’s been a small-scale medical grower for years. He has mastered his craft. He has curated dozens of unique and tantalizing hybrids seed-popping and crossing genetics from top breeders. He is a connoisseur of process and is meticulous in his methods.

His problem is that he’s never passed this expertise to others. Never had to. He’s made a good living, served his patients and enjoyed life. But that is changing. Growers like Chris who don’t adapt will be shoved out of the market to make way for licensed and organized growers.

Black market collapse: California law enforcement may see $150 million in new funding to crush non-compliance. Even with millions of dollars allocated Colorado cops want more funding to prosecute marijuana violators. As state regulations crash down on our rebellious industry, independent growers trying to skirt the law will be hunted down and prosecuted.

Corporate takeover: With the inevitable march toward consolidation, even small-scale licensed growers will struggle. Big business is here. Big money is here. Over 1000 accredited investors have invested in over 650 cannabis companies.

Consumer demand: The mass-market is expanding rapdily. New consumers don’t accept the unmarked baggy of “Kush”. They want safe, reliable and consistent cannabis. California, the largest cannabis market, is failing miserably (this means opportunity).

Grow smarter

Chris is building a team. He procured a license to grow. He pursued real funding from real investors. He scaled up his operation, while maintaining his high standards.

He gives instructions by text message, which are followed half the time. The white board with barely legible mix recipes gets erased accidentally. A dozen phone calls per day, repeating the same instructions. Tasks aren’t systematized. Scale is a bitch.

Chris spends most of his day barking orders and chasing problems, rather than finding creative improvements. This wasn’t a problem as a solo grower. If he wants to stay in the new game, he needs to grow smarter.

I made Botana to start solving this problem. My rooms used to have nutrient stained notebooks and white boards too. Most of that data was intentionally destroyed or shoved in a file cabinet never to be seen again. It was near impossible to iterate and improve over time, other than intuitive guesses. This doesn’t work anymore.

The framework:

  1. Focus on your strengths – If you can’t scale, focus on boutique strains.
  2. Set specific goals – Grow for yield, potency, exclusivity, or scale.
  3. Create systems – Train your crew with repeatable tasks for consistent results.
  4. Track everything – More quality data uncovers insights for improvements.
  5. Iterate constantly – Small improvements based on data-driven insights.
  6. Collaborate – Work with others, share your discoveries, ask for help.

In the coming weeks I’ll dig into each of these with examples from growers around the country. I hope this is useful. Please send me feedback, stories, requests, hate mail, love.

Let’s get started,

About the author

Robert Schneider

Add comment

By Robert Schneider

Recent Posts