Growing Quality Cannabis; Could Your Plants Meet Blue Ribbon Standards?

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Ed Rosenthal, nicknamed the “Ganja Guru,” judges marijuana plants on August 13 at a competition designed to select nine specimaens for display at the Oregon State Fair. (Photo credit: Gillian Flaccus/AP)

Cannabis is truly taking a foothold in the United States when growers seek blue ribbons at a state fair. By definition, a state fair is a competitive and social gathering of a state’s population. They’re as American as apple pie and have been part of our culture since the first U.S. state fair was held in New York in 1841.

Oregon is making history this year as the first state fair to introduce cannabis as a farm crop to be judged just like tomatoes, watermelon, squash, corn and other fruits and vegetables grown by farmers across the state. If you go to the Oregon State Fair—which goes through September 5—don’t expect to find the winning cannabis plants next to prize-winning vegetables, but in a pavilion with commercial vendors displaying new cleaning products and exotic pets. As with cannabis stores, the cannabis tent is checking IDs and visitors must be over 21.

In the cannabis industry, we’re familiar with cannabis cup competitions that judge cannabis products based on visual aesthetics, taste, aroma, effect and burn-ability/purity as well as a THC, CBD and residual solvent lab test. Oregon’s State Fair judges focused on the plant’s health and appearance including spatial nodding, leaf structure, and aroma, but not the finished product. And, while this doesn’t indicate each plant’s potency, the state fair competitors still had their reputations on the line.

Competitor Mandy Seybert told National Public Radio, “We’ve never shown anything at a state fair—it would be like my husband’s dream to be able to show some of our cattle or his pigs. So it’s a pretty big deal.” Seybert’s cannabis plant took second place for the Indica variety.

Perhaps what’s most promising about adding the cannabis competition to the Oregon State Fair is the exposure to fair goers. Don Morse, the head of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, said, “It was this year that the state Legislature designated cannabis as a farm crop. And the general public should know what it’s all about.”

Acquiring Blue Ribbon Cannabis Growing Knowledge

Growing cannabis that meets state fair blue ribbon and cannabis cup standards depends on the right knowledge. No matter what level of cultivation experience you have achieved, building and refining your marijuana knowledge has value…especially today.

EarlyBirdSale“Medical cannabis is legal in some form in 25 states now and patients demand high quality cannabis. Our comprehensive and advanced cannabis horticulture training is provided by master cannabis growers who are the best in the industry,” said Dr. Aseem Sappal, Provost and Dean of Faculty at Oaksterdam. “Our students are prospective and experienced cannabis growers, many of whom want to learn the proper way to grow medical grade marijuana and to comply with state and federal regulations.”

Semester classes for the fall have already begun, but there are still opportunities to learn! Oaksterdam University will host cannabis horticulture seminars in Las Vegas from November 11 to 14 and in New York from December 3 to 6 this year. Called the ‘Harvard Business School of marijuana’ by the Washington Post, Oaksterdam University is recognized for its high-caliber, cannabis industry faculty, its 20 years of experience in cannabis education, and an alumni base from around the world.

Both seminars will focus on indoor cannabis horticulture and will cover everything from seed to harvest including federal and state laws, methods of irrigation, proper nutrients, organic methods, mothers and cuttings, combating pests and pathogens, electrical safety, how to design a grow room, and much more. These seminars will also include a class project in which attendees will create their own personal grow room design!

At the end of four days of intensive instruction attendees have the option to become certified, which is an excellent credential to have in the expanding cannabis industry and requires passing an exam.

Early bird savings up to $245 are available for the seminars in both locations. Both seminars consist of two parts; Part 1 tuition is $645; Part 1& 2 tuition is $1,045. Participants must graduate from Part 1 to take Part 2.

Don’t Wait. Register Today to Save!

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Resources:

Cannabis Growers Seek Blue Ribbons For Their Buds at Oregon State Fair, August 30, 2016, All Things Considered, National Public Radio.

U.S. Cannabis Industry Is Job Generator: How Prepared are You to Be a Part of It?

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Just how many jobs are being created because of the U.S. cannabis industry? There’s no denying that it has become a major job generator. With 25 states legalizing medical cannabis in some form and four states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for adult-use, opportunities are seemingly endless.

According to a Marijuana Business Daily Chart of the Week from July, cannabis-related companies now employ over 100,000 workers. These estimates include part-time and full-time jobs at retailers, wholesale grows, infused products/concentrates companies, testing labs and ancillary firms focused primarily on marijuana. This is on par with numbers of people employed as flight attendants, or web developers, database administrators and librarians. Wow!

The largest segment of the industry touches plants—cultivators, trimmers, budtenders—and employ 58,000 to 88,000 workers. Ancillary companies that don’t handle the plant such as professional services firms, vaporizer manufacturers, and grow equipment suppliers also employ tens of thousands of workers.

If you’re interested in getting into the cannabis industry, you’ll go further with a good education. Oaksterdam University is an important stop along the journey for many cannabis entrepreneurs and workers.  Alumni include growers, edible manufacturers, budtenders, delivery service owners, and more.

Here’s a peek at just a few alumni stories to give you a glimpse into some of the possibilities.

Big Pete’s Treats. Edibles Manufacturer.

BigPetesBig Pete’s Treats is a family-owned medical cannabis edibles company, focused on quality canna-butter at its foundation for its yummy cookies. After 30 years of research and development growing his own cannabis plants and honing his baking techniques, Big Pete enrolled at Oaksterdam University in 2009. There, he was inspired to start a business that would make use of all the shake that was going unused from his cultivation projects. His curriculum at OU included comprehensive courses in history, politics, cultivation and cloning, as well as butter-making. A presentation by a chocolate maker and a homework assignment to create a cannabis business plan really got Big Pete thinking seriously about his potential business. Upon graduation, he kept his dream alive and by 2010, he had perfected his canna-butter infusion skills and sold his first batch of “Biggies”—made in his home kitchen—to a local dispensary. Each Biggie was made using 40mgs THC from Sativa infused butter. His cookie jar then contained three classic flavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Snickerdoodle, all of which are still best sellers.

He soon moved into a large commercial kitchen to keep up with orders. Over the last five years, Big Pete’s Treats has won a number of awards and maintained its focus on making cookies from quality medical butter. Today, Big Pete’s son, Pete Jr. has joined his father in the business and they’ve got a variety of options now including 12 flavors of cannabis cookies in both sativa and indica and ranging from 20 mg to 80 mg doses.  Their Mini Packs of six mini cookies is their most popular, but they also have gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, sugar-free cookies, and Take-N-Bake tubs of pre-rolled, frozen cookie dough.

Read more about Big Pete and visit the company website!

Rachel Jacobson. Natural Cannabis Co Bud Tender.

RJacobsonRachel Jacobson is a bud tender at the Oakland location of Natural Cannabis Co, a collective of patients and cultivators in Northern California. She studied the classic and horticulture curriculums at Oaksterdam University after graduating from high school in Minnesota.

“I attended Oaksterdam University because I believe that the cannabis plants were put on this planet for human beings to utilize and that it has the potential to change the world,” said Jacobson.

She was able to learn everything from taking cuttings from a mother plant to advocating for pro-cannabis politicians and making cannabis infused butter—all within a 14-week course. Now she is a bud tender at Natural Cannabis Co, where patients can find flowers, seeds, topicals, concentrates, edibles, accessories and joints. The company has three locations: Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Hopland.

Final words from Jacobson? “There are so many different routes to go and Oaksterdam will introduce you to all of them, as well as give you the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals in the industry.”

Read more about Jacobson and visit the Natural Cannabis Co website!

Barbara Blaser. Magnolia Wellness Clinical Director.

BBlaserBarbara Blaser has supported cannabis legalization for many years. She’s a retired registered nurse who worked with hospice patients and periodically became aware that some patients were supplementing their medication with cannabis.  When she retired, Barbara wanted to learn more about medical cannabis from a place that offered professional training. Oaksterdam was the perfect choice as she was stunned at all there is to learn!

“I think the sections on legal issues was extremely interesting,” said Blaser. “The sessions with dispensary owners was invaluable. Their patient focused presentations clearly indicated this is not just a business but a mission to improve the lives of patients with some pretty debilitating diseases.”

Blaser is now the clinical director at Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland dispensary that’s served cannabis patients since 2009. Services are geared to provide well-being for patients and include massage, acupuncture and chiropractic help as well as free services and events such as a Caregiver Group, a PTSD Group, High Tea w/Clinical Director (Blaser herself!), free massage, traditional Chinese treatment, and much, much more.

And, as a final note of insight, Blaser said, “Many of the staff members at Magnolia Wellness are graduates of Oaksterdam!”

Read more about Blaser and visit the Magnolia Wellness website!

Based in Oakland, Oaksterdam University has been providing students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry since 2007. Thousands of students have come through its doors to learn the history, politics, and science of cannabis as well as how to grow medicinal quality cannabis, how to succeed in a cannabis business, and become strong advocates. With 150 active professors, Oaksterdam has gathered the best of the best in the cannabis industry—people with incredible knowledge, experience and recognition within the industry.

Want to take enroll? Oaksterdam offers semester and seminar programs throughout the year. One is sure to meet your timeframe and needs. Check Out Oaksterdam!