8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation: Flowering

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The vision started in 2009 when a warehouse became available in Park Hill just around the block from the homes of partners Justin Jones and Greg Gamet. This was great news at a time when property owners were cautious about renting to the cannabis industry. Taking a chance, our landlord approved the lease and owners obtained an OPC License 11 and Dispensary License 13. Two guys cultivating kindness from seed to sale. Taking a cautious start while refining operations, a public medical marijuana dispensary store wasn’t opened until 2010, a full year after beginning cannabis cultivation operations. The early operation was lean, cultivating only the finest cannabis genetics. Greg, now with Gold Flora, relocated his private genetics from his home grow as the State allowed a two-week “no look” period to allow genetics to populate new licensee. Our reputation became to be known for frosty and potent buds, like Chemdawg and Platinum OG. The market expanded swiftly in 2014, when the first year of Adult Use Cannabis was implemented with Amendment 64. Wasting no time, the Dank boys added partners, leased the entire building, opened the new REC store and grow and opened two new ancillary business’: Rocky Mountain Packaging (acquired by Kush Bottles) and Denver Consulting Group, (acquired by Medicine Man Technologies).  Meanwhile, the Dank operation continued to refine propriety procedures for each of the 8 stages of cannabis cultivation by empowering staff, adding square footage and analyzing every step of the cultivation process. Achieving new records in potency and production, our connoisseur flowers reached a milestone of 3 pounds a light in 2017. That is saying a lot, especially notable without a CO2 Enrichment Program. Read on to discover part 3 of the 8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation: flowering.

Stoner Trivia
Question: When referring to a medical marijuana cultivation license, the State uses the acronym OPC, i.e. OPC License 403-00011 in our case. What does that stand for?

The flowering phase starts with relocating a “batch” of 54 plants from the vegetative room to the flowering room, falling in line with the 8 stages of cannabis cultivation. Under each light, we place 9 plants, each getting enough space in-between to develop into a 6’ tall by 3’ diameter specimen cannabis plant. They really shoot up under our air cooled, Sunlight Systems 1,000 Watt HPS. Known for deep canopy penetration, 1,000 watt, double ended lights cannot be beat. Our light fixtures are interconnected to the HVAC and Odor Control System to cool the lights while pulling air through carbon filters for air scrubbing. Packed with 6 lights per batch, and 12 lights per room, our interior grow environment really heats up, so the HVAC works hard to maintain cool temperatures, especially on hot Denver days. Thankfully, they get a rest from the heat through a 12 hour dark cycle. Optimal temperatures are maintained at 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. We’ve installed a monitoring system that provides us real-time messages if any abnormal conditions occur. Provided by TechnaGrow, the system reads the lights, the soil, and the temperature of every flowering room. If the lights fail to illuminate, we get a message. If temperatures are hot, we are notified. It is comforting to know when problems surface because they are going to happen, whether you know about it or not.

Our proprietary Nutrient Plan is developed to provide top quality product cannabis at affordable prices. Over the years we’ve tried many brands of nutrients, including House and Garden, Veg + Bloom and Growth Science. Identifying the pro’s and con’s of each brand is challenging, especially since the flowering cycle is 8 weeks long. Pro Tip: best to create small test plots periodically to analyze new technology and nutrients. In a production grow facility, that can be challenging because space is often limited. In the end, we always go back to House and Garden. We appreciate what their nutrient mix does for our flowers. Getting fed every few days, our cannabis plants develop increasingly larger flower buds this stage of cannabis cultivation. With buds so large they need ancillary support, the female plant pushes out sticky resin to capture air-born male pollen. Of course, there is no male in the facility. Eventually, the female plant is supported by stakes or netting. Containing 80% water weight, the heavy flowers contain a unique combination of terpenes and cannabinoids.

-Stoner Trivia (Answer)
OPC stands for Occupational Premises Cultivation, only applicable in the medical program. For adult use, they use the term: Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility (RMCF).

The terpenes and cannabinoids develop inside the plant genetics, but vary some with respect to nutrient regime, light conditions, and a long list of environmental conditions that make achieving a perfect run very difficult. It should be mentioned that in many ways, the growing environment dictates the growing methods, which in turn can affect the profile. Although Denver Fire Department thanks us for updating this aged warehouse, it is wrought with hurdles as you can imagine. Nevertheless, consistency is the name of the game and our growers strive to perfection with each harvest batch.  In a continuous growing cycle, new strains are introduced at every time of year, each bringing new challenges to the perfect harvest. Of course, bugs are more active in the summer. Funguses and molds like powdery mildew occurs naturally all over Colorado, but must be eliminated indoors. Pro tip: best to have regular scouting throughout 8 stages of cannabis cultivation. Recognizing problems early is one of the key aspects to a strong Pest Management Plan. Our growers minimize the use of pesticides, relying primarily on natural means to prevent and to stop pests in their tracks. Through a long and thorough flushing period of reverse osmosis water, the plant cleanses itself in enough time to harvest.

The cannabis plant reaches maturity with large flower buds, rich in terpenes and sticky with resin. Our air scrubbers work overtime in humid and pungent flowering rooms. We harvest the flower when the trichomes turn from cloudy to amber at about week 9, revealing the maximum terpene and cannabinoid profile. While the genetic has potential to develop the anticipated profile, it is not without great effort and a little luck that the perfect harvest is reached. So many variables go into every harvest, this is challenging. To ensure consistent results, we developed strong standard operating procedures which optimize our activities through training modules, daily task orders, log forms, reporting and seed to sale tracking software, METRC. Our genetics, our environment, our ingredients, our methods and our staff combine to deliver cannabis plant medicine at a high level.

Get higher at DANK.

Jay Griffin
Partner