In this month’s cover story, Jim Belushi emphasizes that people outside of the cannabis industry don’t fully appreciate how difficult cultivation and turning a profit can be. The actor, comedian and now cannabis cultivator says aphids, mites and ground squirrels are just a few things that keep him up at night.
This issue also includes a column from Leif Abel, co-founder of Greatland Ganja and Cannabis Business Times Editorial and Conference Advisory Board Member, who says after four years growing cannabis on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, what he’s learned is, “There is no less risk now, no less uncertainty. It’s just a different set of more complex challenges.”
Operating in an industry with many highs and lows requires a thick skin but more importantly, a powerful sense of purpose. For many cultivators, remembering their “why” is how they power through the obstacles. Belushi clearly outlines his “why” for joining—and staying—in cannabis despite thin margins. Abel has become comfortable with expecting the unexpected, and what helps him rest easy is his team, who, he says, "has inspired me further and given me a greater purpose."
That sense of purpose can slowly deflate with each setback, whether it be lower-than-expected yields, employee turnover or—an aphid outbreak, which is why constantly reflecting on and “refilling” that purpose is important. Reading stories from peers with similar challenges and hearing their solutions can help rejuvenate that sense of purpose. And being in the same room as those who share that industry passion and are willing to discuss what they’ve learned can be even more powerful.
To that end, Belushi, Abel and more than 70 other industry leaders, university researchers and technical experts will gather and speak during this year’s Cannabis Conference, April 21-23, in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Many of the expert contributors who appear in this issue will lead sessions as well, including Dr. Brian Whipker of North Carolina State University, who regularly shares the latest results of his team’s cannabis research; consultant Robert Eddy, who this month explains how digital phenotyping can help growers predict and improve yields and more; and Sjoerd Broeks of The Pharm, who is a cannabis breeding, cultivation and greenhouse design aficionado and will speak on all three topics this spring.
Each issue of Cannabis Business Times and each annual Cannabis Conference demonstrates our purpose—to provide the highest level of educational content to those working in cannabis cultivation so that they can in turn provide the highest quality and safest product to patients and consumers, as well as be successful in their operations. Research is a big part of that, and this issue also includes CBT’s latest exclusive report, “State of the Growing Environment,” which explores how cultivators manage the many variables of climate control. It also includes a column from the Resource Innovation Institute, a nonprofit that has developed HVAC and lighting best practices guides for cannabis cultivation and controlled environment agriculture.
Whether in person or on the page, sharing these stories, the latest technologies and research is how we all become better and how we remember that we’re in this together.