The Future of Cannabis Cultivation

Part I: Panel Introduction and Discussion

Alex Campbell – Film/TV Producer and Cannabis Activist
Kyle Kushman – Organic Cultivation Expert | Kyle Kushman Brands & Vegamatrix
Frenchy Cannoli – Master Hashishin
Dave Holmes – Co-founder of Clade 9

Part II: Audience Q&A


The Future of Cannabis Cultivation will serve two distinct markets, recreational and medical.


The recreational market will include everything from low-priced mass produced flower, derivative concentrates, and edibles to artisanal grows that command premium pricing for their distinct flavor and high. The wine industry produces wine for various markets, consumer preferences, and price points. So too will the cannabis industry. The equivalent of “two buck chuck” will be available on dispensary shelves to serve those looking to roll a joint on a budget, as will top shelf “Dom Perignon”, appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), that adheres to strict cultivation and harvest standards set forth by regions such as Mendocino and Humboldt.

Artisanal grows have variation from crop to crop, like a fine cigar or expensive wine. Wine consumers don’t expect a 1979 bottle of wine to be same as 1984 bottle of wine from the same vineyard. There will be a market for high end, unique, small batch artisanal grows featuring the artistic expression that comes with craft. Different growers, like different wine vineyards, will develop reputations for distinctive strains / genetics, combined with the terroir of the land they are grown on, that produce unique flavors that vary from year to year. The Budweiser brands will focus on price and consistency.

Frenchy Cannoli, a master hash maker who produces hash from sun grown plants in northern California, believes that every producing area in the world is currently producing for quantity, rather than quality. California has an opportunity to produce for quality. The wine industry in France has successfully branded regions and created standards and regulations around labeling so that consumers will pay a premium for trusted quality. Branding a region will allow growers to focus on quality and the prices quality can command.

The terroir is the uniqueness and power of the land in a specific area. The geology makes the soil special. The microclimate of each region creates a unique cannabis terroir. The terroir in Mendocino, Sonoma or Humboldt is so unique that California and its growers would be remiss to not try to brand the regions. Do California growers want to be a mass producers of cannabis and compete on price alone, or like Bordeaux in France that has a reputation and can charge a price premium?

If California introduces an appellation system, no one else can call something Humboldt. Quality will distinguish California growers. The idea of creating appellations is not just for current growers, but for all the generations that follow. There will be a time when cannabis can be grown and shipped around the world like fine wines. We should prepare for that future now.

Of course, consumers in California currently prefer indoor grown flower. Indoor cultivation produces the highest retail value flowers. Trim from indoor produces the highest retail value extract. This may be due to how indoor flower presents itself in a retail store, similar to a shiny red apple in a grocery store. It looks perfect. Whether consumer tastes and preferences evolve is to be determined.


The medical market will see standardization. Once a strain is developed that works well for a specific disease or condition, it becomes important to reduce variance and to to produce consistent, reliable cannabinoid and terpene profiles from crop to crop. Standardization, creating consistent cannabinoid and terpene profiles from harvest to harvest, is most likely more achievable in indoor environments, where humidity, CO2, light levels, photoperiod, light cycles, temperature, and cooling can all be controlled.


Regardless of market served (medical or recreational) and grow method of choice (indoor, outdoor or greenhouse), cannabis cultivation will have to become more sustainable or risk a public and / or government backlash. Estimates vary, but the word is out that in markets where cannabis has been legalized for medical and / or recreational use, cannabis grows are like gas guzzling SUVs. Indoor grows need to adopt technologies and methodologies to reduce lighting and cooling usage. Outdoor grows need to innovate to reduce water usage. And both indoor and outdoor grow operations need to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Swami Chaitanya, an outdoor grower,  is exploring biological and probiotic farming, along with bokashi fermentation technics to make the soil come alive.

Mel Frank grows organically indoors in LA. He uses (BT) bacillus thuringiensis and Tanglefoot, a sticky substance put on the plant stems, to ward off parasitic bugs. Other than that, he looks at his plants and pulls off bugs by hand.

Dave Holmes, a large scale indoor facility designer and grower, designs efficient indoor cultivation facilities that reclaim 80 to 90% of the water generated by environmental systems. The water from the dehumidification and HVAC can be recycled to feed the plants. Amazingly they can generate up to 80% of the water demands of the plants. To avoid pathogens and pests that could require chemical methods I utilize clean room technology and my genetics enter the facility in sterile tissue culture. 

Kyle Kushman on why he chose to grow indoors:  “You need to have 5 plants for every one you want to keep when you grow outdoors. You need one for mother nature. One for the animals. One for the cops. One for the thieves. And you get to keep the 5th one.”

Advice for new growers.

Read a lot of books. Growing is a complicated process that takes years to master. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. There’s still issues with cops kicking in doors. Know the local laws. Start small because observation is key. If you’re overwhelmed trying to learn HVAC systems and where dehumidifier vents should go, you don’t have time to focus on the plant. Learn the language of the plant. It will tell you if what you are doing has a positive or negative affect. You gain confidence as you start to understand the plant. And then you can go bigger. Wait for the peak of the flowering cycle to harvest. You want perfect ripeness. The final expression of the plant happens in that resin head at peak ripeness.