BY JOHNNY GREEN — If you are not aware of the use of heavy metal fertilizers in cannabis cultivation, you really need to do some research. I believe in the wellness benefits of cannabis, but one thing that is not on a lot of people’s radars is heavy metal fertilizers and how it may affect consumers’ health. It’s one aspect of cannabis consumption that I will readily concede should be a health concern for society.
Long time cannabis users have consumed cannabis that was grown with salt fertilizers at one point or another. If you were consuming cannabis in the 90’s and 2000’s when hydroponics and deep water culture was all the rave, then you DEFINITELY consumed a lot of heavy metal fertilizer. The salts, the A and the B, the stuff that smelled like something more fitting to be an ingredient for an industrial cleaner than for something that eventually goes into your lungs. What that is going to do to people in the future is largely unknown, and quite frankly, scares the hell out of me sometimes when I think about it.
Fortunately craft cannabis is becoming more and more popular which directly addresses the issue. Just as people are becoming more conscious about what they eat and consuming more locally sourced organic foods, so too are they becoming more conscious about the cannabis that they consume. Craft cannabis is grown using 100% organic methods with an emphasis on soil health that results in soil becoming more of an ecosystem than just simply a one-use temporary grow medium.
The use of heavy metal fertilizers degrades soil quality, which is why people that use those types of nutrients cannot re-use their soil. Craft cannabis growers amend their soil by adding beneficial nutrients that make it to where they can re-use the soil over and over. ‘Super soils’ are made with all types of inputs like fish bone meal, worm castings, and all types of other funky stuff. Compost teas using all types of inputs are brewed and poured over the soil to provide what is needed to keep the soil going.
Craft cannabis, when properly grown, is the best of the best. The flavor is more dynamic, the smell of the flower lasts longer and is more pungent, and the effect provided is much more thorough and enjoyable. Some will say that craft cannabis is a new thing, and that ‘old school growers can have a hard time picking it up.’ But I say that craft cannabis is actually older school than what the previously mentioned crowd is talking about.
To someone that is relatively new to cannabis (started in the last ten years or less), I’m sure that the use of heavy metal fertilizers is seen as somewhat of a standard. After all, ten years ago it’s what most people were doing. But twenty to thirty years ago and beyond, craft cannabis was the norm. People didn’t use Botanicare products and basically pump their plants full of roids. They used organic inputs, if for any reason because that’s all they had. That’s the type of cannabis I grew up consuming, and my friends and family grew up consuming, due to having 3-4 generations of cannabis growers in our networks. ‘Kill bud’ was what we called it back then, which was not the best name but was the common reference at the time. I much prefer craft cannabis!
Oregon is home to one of the best craft cannabis scenes in the nation, if not the world, which makes sense considering how long people have been growing cannabis here. Legendary breeders like DJ Short are from Oregon, so quality genetics have been around here for a long time, in addition to craft cannabis cultivation practices. Oregon’s craft cannabis growers are going to be on full display this Friday when the Cultivation Classic takes place in Portland, Oregon. Some of the best craft cannabis growers in the state have entered the competition, some of which can be found below:
7 Points Oregon
Big Beard Farms
Bull Run Craft Cannabis
East Fork Cultivars
East Wind Cannabis
Ebb & Flow Farm
Gaia’s Ganja Garden
Green Source Gardens
Hidden Elephant Ganja (MindRite)
High County Organic Farms
High Valley Organics
Lion Tree Farms
Lucid Forest (Trichome Forest)
Massive Seeds / Roganja
Nelson & Company Organics
One Family Farms
Phoenix Rising Farm
Siskiyou Sungrown Farm
Southern Oregon Cannabis Company
Ten Four Farms
The Cannabis Farm
Top Grade Medical
The Cultivation Classic is like no other competition I have ever seen in the cannabis world. Unlike other events which involve a great deal of promotion of particular companies who then not-so-shockingly go on to win their categories, the Cultivation Classic is a completely blind taste test competition. How the cannabis looks is not even a measurement in this competition. Each sample gets ranked via an encrypted numbering system to help the organizers keep scores, but keeps the judge in the dark about what strain the sample is, what potency levels are involved, and what company grew each sample.
Each sample gets up to 5 points for nose/smell, up to 5 points for taste, and up to 10 points for effect. Every single sample that was in my pack (14 total) was unbelievable. However, some were more unbelievable than others. I would consider every one of them to be top shelf, but I graded each one on a curve with one clearly being the best and one clearly being the ‘least best.’ As you can see in the image above, I numbered each one on the cap of the container for what nose/smell score I handed down. Only one sample received a perfect score from me in all three categories, which I will blog about later. Scoring ends tonight at midnight and I don’t want to jeopardize the integrity of the scoring process by describing anything in too much detail until after scoring has closed, on the off chance that another judge recognizes what I’m talking about.
The event is going to see the launch of a new organization that I’m very excited about, the Craft Cannabis Alliance. Keep that name in your brain because it’s going to be a very big deal moving forward. It is no secret that big business is trying to bully its way into the cannabis industry. It is also no secret that their corporate cannabis is sub-par at best, and that their cultivation methods are as crappy as their code of ethics (or lack there of). Those types of companies are saturating Oregon because of the low barrier to entry in Oregon.
The Craft Cannabis Alliance is going to make it to where when people go to Oregon dispensaries that they know they are buying the real deal, from real Oregon farmers who run companies in a way that is ethical and sustainable. I know that I don’t want my dollars going to a company that supports shady activity in the industry, and I’d hope that you feel the same way. I want the best product possible, and from people that are going about business the right way. The Craft Cannabis Alliance was founded by Adam Smith who is one of the longest serving cannabis freedom fighters in the country. He is a mentor to many, including yours truly, and is probably the closest thing to the cannabis activist Yoda that there is. I look forward to supporting his efforts in the future.
Craft cannabis is here to stay in Oregon, and because craft cannabis has been around for so long, it’s truly Oregon’s time to shine as cannabis continues to go mainstream. There will always be corporate cannabis in Oregon, it’s an unfortunate reality that cannot be prevented. But events like the Cultivation Classic that put Oregon’s craft cannabis community on display will continue to help highlight the type of cannabis that people should be consuming in Oregon. That way when people come from out of state to visit, or are in a different part of Oregon than they are used to, they put their dollars towards solid companies rather than companies that are better at hiring publicists and purchasing billboards than they are at cultivating cannabis!