Kalamazoo’s new cannabis cultivation site growing local economy, diversity and sustainability - mlive.com

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Woods Planting and Processing Center

Kalamazoo, Michigan-The new planting and processing plant in Kalamazoo is producing more cannabis than cannabis because the founders are committed to increasing job opportunities, diversity and sustainability across the industry.

The Woods Planting and Processing Center opened in August 2020. This 16,000 square foot warehouse has been converted into high-tech planting products, capable of producing 3,500 plants.

The founders Raphael Thurin and Trent Friske grew up together in Saginaw. In 2013, the two worked as medical marijuana caregivers.

After working in California, Frisk returned to Michigan. His mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and used marijuana to cope with loss of appetite and lack of sleep due to treatment.

Instead of buying things from strangers, Frisk began to experiment with growing his own things indoors. He found that his childhood friend was also growing up, and the two formed a team.

Surin said that although neither comes from a business background, they see the cannabis industry as a huge opportunity. In 2017, cannabis advocates gathered for signatures to include recreational cannabis in the ballot. Serlin said the cannabis industry looks like "the next technology bubble of our generation."

They are weak, but they are determined to be one step ahead.

He said: "We don't have a lot of resources, and we don't have a lot of capital. The best we can do is to take advantage of this opportunity and learn as much as possible." "If we start early and plan carefully, maybe we can achieve it. This vision."

Therefore, a series of resources and development were put into practice. They tested changes in light and soil, and developed methods such as hydroponics and aerial culture.

Fast forward to 2021, and the level of detail of the entire facility consists of crazy scientist laboratories and state-of-the-art hospitals.

The climate control motherboard can display the "health status" of each growth room up to the humidity percentage. Constantly monitor the water and air filtration to prevent entry into the room.

Cerlin said that every surface of the door handle was tested.

A white board was placed outside the growing room, detailing every change in the plants during the 18-day harvest period. It looks like the nurse's clipboard in the ward, and it records each of the 800 mothers growing up inside.

She said that growth facility manager Lyndle Morley (Lyndle Morley) is attracted to the cannabis industry every day because of changes in variables. She said that the exciting thing is that even in a controlled environment like a planting facility, there are still many uncertainties.

She said: "This is an emerging industry, and I want to be part of setting standards for it." "This is an opportunity to solve a new and unprecedented problem in gardening. Even if they saw them, they didn't solve it on this scale."

Woods offers 16 different cannabis strains with a content range of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Woods products can be found in 10 different retail locations, including


Friske said that deciding which strains to keep is an ongoing experiment, depending on their growth and sales. The team also tested taste, appearance and smell to determine which products would be popular.

Friske said that given that recreational marijuana is still new, they found that customers in dispensaries are looking for the best explosives and tend to have higher THC content.

Frisk said that Woods grows genetically modified organisms, which is a mixture of Chemdog and Girl Scout Cookie, and has been tested at 32% THC. Frisk said that the trend towards higher THC levels may disappear.

He said: "Ultimately, once the entertainment market matures, it will be more like alcohol." "A premium beer like Bell may be more expensive, but its ABV will not reach 11%, which is why the cost is higher."

Woods also collects data in the final stage of the process.

The state requires marijuana waste to be shredded to an unusable level and the weight of the waste is reported to the state. Woods uses this data to provide a basis for financial and sustainability decisions to reduce waste.

Each plant is manually trimmed from stem to leaf. Even so, any sacks that don't seem to be enough to sell to consumers will be sold to producers for use as cannabis, oil or vape cartridge material.

"We really don't want our products to be on the shelves and let others look at the labels, like, oh, this is not a good weed, and associate it with our growth," Friske said.

This year, there are plans to expand Woods' production to 10,000 factories by refurbishing the adjacent warehouse. The expansion will bring the entire factory area to 30,000 square feet.

Friske said that so far, US$5 million has been invested in existing facilities, and the expansion will require another US$4 million to be raised.

It will also create new job opportunities to increase the 30 employees currently working at Woods. Friske said that currently about 75% of employees are from the Kalamazoo region.

Friske and Thurin say that diversity among employees is crucial. Both owners were accepted as part of the state’s social justice program.

In order to diversify the industry and compensate for the damage caused by the war on drugs, the Social Equity Program provides license fee reductions for individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria:


25% of the city permit fee is reduced for eligible persons. The policy also allocates 25% of fee and tax revenue to programs designed to help people of color prepare for future ownership/operation of cannabis venues and community education.

As natives and blacks in the United States, Frisk and Turin are among the few in the Michigan cannabis industry.

According to data collected by the cannabis regulator in December 2020, only 3.8% of stakeholders in the recreational cannabis industry are black or African American, while Hispanics or Latino account for 1.5%.

In order to diversify the industry from the inside out, Friske and Thurin not only hope to hire but also promote people of color, ethnic minorities and women.

Surin said: "There are different types of activism out there." "You can go there on the street, and then sometimes you can use your opportunities to benefit others in different ways."

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