DENVER (KSNV MyNews3) – Botanist Duncan Cameron is “the plant man,” the person in charge of growing more than 700 flowering marijuana plants at a time in his legal grow facility.
Each starts with a little sprout that is tagged with a UPC card, that remains on a sprout until it’s shipped for sale to Colorado marijuana dispensaries, with rock salt encasing the products.
They are the sights, sounds and smells of Duncan’s employer, Good Chemistry, a Colorado company that has applied with local governments to legally sell marijuana in Las Vegas and Massachusetts.
“You’re trying to make medicine for compromised immune systems,” Cameron says.
Good Chemistry’s Denver warehouse is a bit overwhelming. Each of its plants carries a specific strain of medicine. After one month in a nursery, plants are moved to a larger room with a decidedly different look and feel. The lights are blue, to simulate the sun in spring time, and the temperatures are cooler than the nursery.
“There’s a reason they call it weed,” Cameron says. “It grows like crazy.”
Air is continuously circulated through a half-dozen filtered fans to retain good air and prevent that familiar marijuana scent from circulating throughout the surrounding neighborhood.
“Let’s go the full nine yards and have this be the cleanest environment we possibly can,” Cameron says of the entire process.
A nearby room –playfully dubbed the “Fun Room” by people at Good Chemistry – possesses more than 700 flowering plants, 25 different strains and 25 medicines, all different sizes, shapes and colors.
The entire process has become increasingly specialized for Good Chemistry.
“We’re getting closer to pinpointing exactly what our strains do for patients,” Cameron notes.
Each bud has different levels of THC and CBD. The latter is the anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps alleviate a person’s pain. The former is the psychoactive player that alters a person’s mood, appetite and sleep patterns.
Changes to chemicals, soil, light and humidity levels alter the medications’ strength.
“We are interested in making the best quality medicine for our patients, and we know exactly what’s in them,” Cameron says.
But there is a potential challenge to Good Chemistry’s growth process in Southern Nevada – the heat. That requires summertime air conditioning for grow facilities to succeed, and that’s costly.
“I do know one thing about Vegas,” Cameron says, “that it’s the second most-expensive (marijuana growth market) in the country. So that’s going to be a big issue.”
After flowering comes harvest. Each bud is broken down and individually bagged. It’s more “science lab” than farm. In fact, the most important tool here is arguably a spreadsheet.
Every time a plant is moved, its UPC tag is scanned and tracked by Good Chemistry so government regulators know where it’s traveled. If it’s stolen or goes bad, Cameron and his colleagues can trace it back to birth – a process that he believes could also thrive here.
“We’ve been able to achieve a high quality of medicine, and we want to continue practices that enable us to have that high quality,” Cameron says.