HUMBOLDT GROWER

– the gold standard

Biomass — March 31, 2018

Biomass

 

The way we sell products is changing and it seems like the distributors want your trim and don’t want your flower. How do you spend $500+/lb in production, while selling trim at $50/lb.?? With that plan, you can’t afford to trim your flower. Can we keep our high grade flower market? Not if you are selling it for what it cost you to grow. That won’t work.

The distributors are each looking to sign up 200 plus farms based on the amount of trim they need a year for their business plan….. 200 farms x 300 lbs per farm = 60,000 lbs of ex-tractable material a year. They get their material but these farms all go bankrupt. Now if that distributor would take biomass “whole plants bucked”,  he could get the same amount of material from half the farms. In this model the distributor takes all the produce from each farm he works with. This will work for the farmer if the price point is right.

We just need to settle on a price that is fair in relation to the cost of production. This would be a model that can keep farms alive. For example: Humboldt’s leading product becomes whole plants bucked selling at $500/lb – this would include both flower and trim. By weight, flower and trim are on a 1 to 1 ratio – this means the farmer is getting twice the weight. Humboldt will have an estimated 250 acres of permitted cannabis cultivation in the next few months……that is still a large enough crop to sway the extraction market.

The plan is simple: extraction companies need so much material, they have to get it from the Triangle. The Triangle is only offering bucked whole plant material…..trim and flower are no longer separated. The wholesale price of that product is our production costs x 2 – at minimum. That is the bottom line that we need to enforce. The sooner we all start using the math to our advantage, the sooner we can get the pricing set on this new product line and sleep at night.

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Cannabis international market… — March 11, 2018
Sunrise… — March 8, 2018
poor corporate behavior… —

poor corporate behavior…

Boycott Weedmaps

 

We are recommending that anyone who has used Weedmaps, stop; this includes all customers and all licensed dispensaries.  Weedmaps has not been our friend. They do not care about cannabis or cannabis culture; they care only about their advertising revenue. They have been intentionally advertising black market businesses to the determent of legal business – undercutting the whole thing. We also suggest that you continue your boycott even if they stop their present course. The State has been forced to send them a “cease and desist” letter. We do not want this kind of business in the cannabis trade. Resist.

 

It’s really too bad… — March 1, 2018

It’s really too bad…

It really is too bad the State again chose to supplant the Emerald Triangle farmers rather than include them. The State had one chance to get this right for California and for the whole country. All the farmers were out in the open and ready to go for it.

That boat has sailed. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of tens of thousands of generators firing up. The black market has already spoken. They went back inside. Now the State will never find them. That google map won’t help anymore! Now instead of growing outdoor, they grow indoor…..the State’s greedy and discriminatory choices just mobilized and weaponized California’s black market and positioned that in direct competition with the legal indoor market in every state.

California now may be responsible for the failure of the legal cannabis industry. Make no mistake, the other states having banked on indoor as their model, are all going bankrupt as we speak. The legal companies, Big and small, are only keeping their front doors open by selling out the back door on the black market to survive. The same is true for Cali’s indoor market. California’s black market going indoor again may be just enough to topple legalization altogether. Now the authorities will never find them. People can again buy top shelf AAA studio grade indoor for a fraction of the price – on the black market. Sharp move, eh?

This was an, “If you can’t beat them….join them situation.” The State could have joined with the American people. Cannabis culture belongs to the American people – not just a few thousand farmers. A hundred million Americans are cultivating, distributing and consuming nationwide. That’s 1 in 4 people. That’s a culture not an industry. Cannabis culture is synonymous with freedom for most of those oppressed Americans who didn’t or don’t fit into mainstream society – that’s most of us now.

Legalization is now become synonymous with giving our freedom away to big corporations. Why would anyone do that? Government has proven time and time again that it lies. Now government has just proven, again, they cannot control a full twenty-five percent of Americans and can not regulate an entire culture. You could have tried it without so much control.

You had the ball in your hand……you dropped it.

A change in the wind…. — February 17, 2018

A change in the wind….

Until the government recognizes that cannabis is a culture more than it is an Ag crop we will get nowhere – until the government recognizes they have no control of this counter culture,  let alone this new industry

Washington
Oregon
Cali now

You did not include the cannabis leaders in the ramp up to 215.

You have not included them now.

This mistake will result in millions of people, not thousands, suffering the consequences.

And this ill considered way of thinking by government effects all small business not just small cannabis business.

Cannabis belongs to the American people. As much as we all hate the black market and all the dysfunction that comes with it…..it’s ours.

When government recognizes that they have no control and take our offer to give them a piece of our business in exchange for constitutional protection, we will be on the correct path. That’s the deal.

Government has again and again proven they have no control and the shortsighted legislatures end up always supporting the black market.

All stemming from the same basic misunderstanding.

Americans won this war and the US government lost. Until the government approaches it that way, legalization won’t work.

One year from now with all the states failing and 90% of investors reaching the 5 year mark on pro-formas….

Investors will pull out and legalization will collapse.

Legalization only works if we are part of it…..do the math.

You can’t eradicate, imprison, deport or murder us. I know you are not used to that……but unless you do you get used to it…. you will get your ass handed to you by the American public.

The cannabis world makes a place for everyone who was rejected or behind in this country….we are the underdogs…..we offer a path of hope.

Cannabis and cannabis culture is just like what Christianity was supposed to be.

Our Big Move… — February 6, 2018

Our Big Move…

Standing together we can all make one move right now that will turn the tables in our favor for good. Stop pre-trimming your product. Only trim for prepaid orders. Leave that huge pile of product you can’t afford to trim. Don’t trim it. The legal market buyers are only interested in purchasing your trim. They don’t seem to care if you can pay your bills or not. Side step that issue. Do not provide trim as a product for sale any more. If there is no trim available, buyers will be forced to buy the new product you are offering…..”bucked whole plant extractable biomass”. Once they are purchasing the whole plant, your problems are over.

Today we can’t staff our farms because the price point for trimming is still higher than it is for field work. As soon as people stop trimming their product prior to having orders for it, trimmers will start transitioning to field work for employment…..then we will have the staff we need.

Today our flower prices are plummeting because there is too much flower on the market. Our trim prices are increasing because there is not enough trim on the market and the value added products that are based on oil are in demand. Indoor flower still accounts for most of the flower sold over the counter. This is making it almost impossible for us to sell sun grown flower. Once we are selling a biomass product we will again be in control of supply and demand.

If we all work together.

That means we need Mendocino, our sister County (now the largest producer of biomass product). Together, we control most of the available unbranded product in the State. That means if we change the way we sell it, they will have to buy it that way.

Once we have established this new market we can affect the prices. Biomass bucked product weighs about 2 times what your trimmed flower does. If you have 100 pounds of trimmed flower…you also have about 100 pounds of trim. Sold as a bucked product (not separated), its over 200 pounds. When trim is extracted it yields about 10% by weight. When biomass bucked product is extracted it yields 15-25% by weight. Selling trimmed product with a trimming expense of $150-200/pound+running+compliance costs at $700-1000 a pound nets no profit. If you are selling a bucked product for $500 a pound (and double it by volume), then, apples to apples, you are grossing the same $1000, minus all the trimming costs, avoiding the taxes on trimmed flower, and avoiding compliance costs related to processing or packaging. Your expenses just went way down.

Stop trying to accomodate trimmers on your property. Stop trying to package your own product. 90% of cannabis businesses in the country lose their licenses due to non-compliance at the packaging or inventory stages. Let the distributor take the fall for you. Bucking your product down as it comes off the lines is not processing and does not require all the compliance official processing does. If you are only trimming small amounts of flower for pre-paid orders your compliance issues are significantly mitigated.

Don’t stop there. Take it one step further. Choose to only sell your extractable biomass product in the Emerald Triangle. Do not export anything in extractable form. Support Humboldt manufacturers if you are from Humboldt. Support Mendocino manufacturers if you are from Mendocino. Don’t use the companies that move up either. Use historic local and family run organizations. Do not allow outside extractors to have control of our extractable products and we will maintain control of the industry. Make sure all our products go through local supply chains and end up in consumers hands directly from us – with our brand.

Establishing an “extractable biomass market” will pave the way for local farms to enter the legal industry.

We can avoid our single largest expense.
We can transition our staff to the projects we need worked on.
We can redefine our product lines.
We can affect the prices.
We can keep the industry centered in the Emerald Triangle
We are in control….just take control.

The second your product is all trimmed you have given up your power play. Everyone must stand firm on this. When we do, we will be able to set prices that include enough profit to survive on. This is the most straight forward power play imaginable. Do what you already want to do. Stop trimming!

From back to the landers to take back the landers — January 29, 2018

From back to the landers to take back the landers

 

Here are some thoughts to consider :

There has been a running sentiment in our community for a long time, “get these green rush’n, big money growers out of our community”. For them, the breaking point may have been reached and now they are leaving. Bankrupt in all likelihood. This will give those who have wanted them gone an opportunity to retake the land.

It would be nice to have a mechanism by which those properties being vacated can go to faithful stewards of the land or new families moving in to staff all of our farms. The real estate values will drop on unlicensed properties and they could be within reach of young families. It would be a brilliant move by the County to start an entity that would buy up and then resell these properties. There could be a level of local regulation that could help expanding farms purchase adjacent properties thus increasing their employment opportunities. Create a housing program for placing young professionals and new farming families on these properties. We could even put them into a land-preserve to be sustainably managed.

Take the former Tooby Ranch as an example: the Tooby ranch is 13,000 acres comprised of parcels larger than 160 acre. There are 50ish owners in this area. The farms are larger and the density is lower and most of the owners are second generation farmers….rightful stewards.

This would be a great model to follow county wide as an idealized cannabis community. In the communities with 40 acre parcels, as residents are forced to leave those communities, the neighbors have the opportunity to lower density. The licensed successful farmers will need to expand into the land around them. The County needs to subsidize this by holding these properties in trust to be accessed by the farms when needed through application. We need a mechanism that holds property for local farmers and a job placement program for non compliant farmers who want to remain in the community as farmers.

This mechanism needs to also make homes available for new farming families and could encourage new residential construction. We have the talent living here; we need to keep them living here. As the properties change hands, we need to keep people in their homes and enable them to work in adjacent farms. We do not want the fabric of our community disrupted.

If it works or not, we all got to start thinking.

Steve
answers.humboldtgrowers@gmail.com

 

New Year’s Resolutions for the Humboldt grower – an attack plan in 21 points — January 18, 2018

New Year’s Resolutions for the Humboldt grower – an attack plan in 21 points

Start acting like farmers. This is not a hobby. This is not a hippy summer camp. Take this seriously. This is an energetic lifestyle. Get up at 5am. Work 365 days a year. Plants never sleep. Work with people who have a sense of urgency about making Humboldt farms successful. Assemble your A-team and bring your A-game. Prove that your sungrown is better than indoor.

Adopt a business model that has successful precedent in the real world. Start paying people salaries instead of percentages. Stop paying $200/unit to trim. Maintain your own genetics. Don’t just rely on whatever you can get from the guy next door.

The multiple harvest model is the wave of the future. You can not maintain year round employees or pay monthly bills with one crop a year. Year round business attracts contributing new members of our community. Full term crops promote black market paradigms and attracts derelict seasonal workers only here to take something from us.

Your going to need storage facilities with A/C now that you are harvesting all the time and have inventory all the time.

Pull out the corporation playbook. Start playing to win. Stop trying to be fair with farmers from Counties outside the triangle…its us or them. Make no mistake, we are about to put every other state out of business. The competition does not use words like “share” or “fair”. They don’t care about community or history. We are mounting a take over of the cannabis industry or we will be wiped out. We are the largest corporation in the world…..start thinking that way. Identify the competition and take them down – Tilray, Privateer, Weedmaps, Leafly, Harborside, all this talk of Salinas…..just some of the entities who have spent millions lobbying to put an end to Humboldt County small farmers and continue to fight to limit our success in the marketplace. Don’t support them!

Large scale agriculture can not replicate what we have, especially without our climatic conditions or our Humboldt brand. The balance point of a farm that can still maintain our standard is around 10-20,000 sq ft. We can create co-ops in that size range.

Position our crop ahead of the competition. That means harvest in July and fill all the shelves with Humboldt cannabis before the other guys even harvest. Either do crop light deprivation or start growing auto flowering plants in your outdoor buckets.

Genetics: our local geneticists must lead the way for the nation. Develop and distribute the strains that our farmers need. Choose strains designed for commercial outdoor growing. Stop trying to grow indoor only studio strains. Stop blindly following market studies. Everything will taste like lemons, blueberries or strawberries in a couple of years if we just keep doing what the studies say. Lead by example. Those with the discerning palate should be creating the strains we smoke. The consumer is very young and in the experimental phase. As they age they will want more genuine flavors…make sure they still exist. Don’t throw out a thousand years of genetics that the world loves because a few market studies tell you so. Our job is maintain the continuity; we have a legacy to uphold.

Stop hiding the information. Statistics clearly show if we all have access to genetics and techniques, we stand a greater chance to establish a market. Keeping those things to yourself is not only selfish but counterproductive and anti community. Arm our troops with the best weapons and as one we will win. You can’t do it alone. Strains don’t get famous with one guy growing them.

Define the products. We have the largest crop. Extracts are the largest growing segment of the industry. We, by default, control this market. Every extract company who is serious at all will be dealing with us. We can define the way we sell them product and set the prices it sells at – we sell bucked flower at $600 a pound driving the prices of oil through the roof and pushing the market back to flower consumption. And back into our hands.

Test at home. All Humboldt product must be tested in Humboldt.

Manufacture at home. Support and use local manufacturing. Don’t fuel manufacturers statewide.

Deliver: we already have more distribution companies than anyone. Only use local distribution. Do not use any outside sources. Bring the product directly to the customers. Never ask them to come get it. Reverse the Humboldt paradigm.

By centralizing services in Humboldt, we will limit the amount of cannabis business that can take place outside the County…..they can only exist if we use their services. All testing and all manufacturing must take place within Humboldt. No outsiders. We just end up funding outside facilities with loyalties to our competitors…..we pay their bills so they can stay open and service our competition. Stop fueling the fire.

Sales and Pricing: when thinking about branding and naming products use regional and historic references to root your product in reality. Preserve traditional flavors through modern interpretations. Your product has a story that goes back 1000s of years. we have the lower taxes and a climate that allows us very low running costs. We can grow three runs a year. We can deliver product at the lowest prices. We can take the market.

Attract the talent: there are very few people that know how to grow the way we do. People trained as indoor growers don’t have any experience playing the climate. People who grow full term outdoor have no skills in multiple harvest models. Everyone in the ag industry wants to work for smaller companies….no one wants to work for corporations. People are flocking from all over the country to work for us as the other states go bankrupt and become corporate. If we take all the people in the country who either know or can be taught how to do this….the competition will have no one to work for them.

Housing: provide comfortable housing for families. We lack housing in this County. We need on farm and off farm housing to attract the work force we need to succeed. This comes down to permitting septics. If you are on a property that is too steep or wooded for a leach field, ask your supervisors, planners, and the Waterboard why Humboldt is the last County in the State still not allowing aerobic treatment plants which are being force implemented everywhere because they recycle 100% of waste water. This system would allow every property in the County to have a code septic solution.

Training programs: we have all the knowledge. Again no one knows how to do this outside of the Triangle. We must establish centralized training programs and job placement on our farms. These programs work hand in hand with human resource companies to staff our farms. Human resources in cannabis can not be successful without integral training programs.

Hospitality: we have something to show off..our authentic history. The competition has nothing. Start inviting people onto your farm. We are open people now not closed off people. Bring them to us; tell them your story and they will be with us forever.

Millennials have been deprived of the genuine real work experiences and rich history in our country. They want what they don’t have. They want a real adventure behind the redwood curtain. They want a real American story; the kind of story that seems so unbelievable, it becomes legend as you tell it.

On site sales: sell it the way we alway did. Get on site sales permits to bypass the dispensary bullshit. Make no mistake; they do not want you on their shelves. They are scared to death of us.

Black market farmers are part of our community. While we are fighting on the
State front, the 90% of our farmers who did not register (because they know there is no way to sell their product in state), are still out there fighting on the national front line for us. Because of them, when the feds legalize we will still have a national market. Without them, we will lose it. Legal companies can not advertise or compete nationally. Our community can not function without them.

The take away lesson: those who have been so persecuted must make a conscious decision to stop the persecution as a tool all together. Adopt a new model. The son beaten does not then beat his son. Don’t divide our community by supporting the continued persecution of those in the black market. Get along. Respect people’s decisions. No one really had choices. We all did what we had to do. You don’t get to just start turning them in. That breaks the code and undermines the values we live by.

What we have done: — January 12, 2018

What we have done:

The people of Humboldt County have done amazing work as Americans in the fight for cannabis legalization. Make no mistake, cannabis was legalized in California by the mass of people growing it. A breaking point had to be reached to bring about legalization. The bubble popped. This was the first war to my knowledge fought by families with plants in their hands rather than swords. We have just been a part of one of the most rigorous tests our Constitution has ever been put through. If we had been somewhere else, this would have either been a cartel run industry or we would have all just been squashed. Only in the United States, where a people are protected by their Constitution, as we have been, could this have happened.

This war was not won by lobbyists or by convincing the government. It was won by sheer numbers in force…just like any other war. We are now negotiating a treaty. We are going for full constitutional protection as American citizens. We are American Heroes not criminals. We are the peaceful activists that changed the world. Whether you planted one plant or a million plants we all fought on the same side….together.. Even if you were just a nice hippy who liked the laid back lifestyle and just moved up here a few years ago…those plants you grew, you grew with us, with purpose, in the fight for our rights and our freedoms. We won! one of the greatest victories in history. Many soldiers that spent decades with us in our community can now go home….no longer needed. But, we cannot abandon those front lines that we have so long held.

When wars are over, there is lots of clean up to do – our communities, our families, our futures. The old paradigms are changing but there are important parts of our history that need to remain. What we built in Humboldt is unique to the world – KMUD, the MATEEL community center, our local infrastructure, the land itself – these icons must be held steadfast; they have become our own national treasures. They are the basis for our strong community and they do not exist anywhere else. We need to cherish them. These are the tools that will bring us success in the coming years. We are the strongest cannabis farming community in the world. We have all we need right here at home. Stand your ground here. Don’t sell out!

How do we cooperate in unity together so we can continue to wield our full strength collectively? We are a group of people who agree to disagree…..trying to get people to engage the process. The success of the small family farmer in the fight for legalization arose from a system of decentralized cells, a headless horseman, just blades of grass blowing in the wind. We are an impenetrable matrix, a Redwood Curtain, with no head to bite off; we are a sustainable anarchy, a group of independents that does not need to reach agreement because what we have built was built on a common trust and a common interest. We are word of mouth. Real grass roots hippy stuff. We may never get a consensus around here…….but we never needed one before. If you know Humboldt, then you know this.

It’s not over. What we have accomplished and what we have made, we can lose. We stand to lose our community if we don’t watch out. Many of us are scared of being taken down by the big fish…we need to stop obsessing on the size of our farms. As a unit of independent cells standing side by side facing the same direction we are all 1000 times larger than they will ever be. Just look in the mirror. We are the biggest small business in the world!

We have done more for small business and entrepreneurship than any industry in American history. We have written the most environmentally forward thinking agriculture regulations ever. Don’t stop there. Bad things happen when good people do nothing…….go all the way. Don’t stop until the whole country is smoking organic sungrown flower. It is our political move. Pharmaceutical empires and health care can be reimagined. Cannabis is the flashpoint. Make the connection between health and recreation. Happy people live longer. They need us more than ever. So don’t put down your plants! SHARPEN your shovels to a fine point and Sound the Charge!

steve & Tobias