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News and Best Practices

Grower Profile: Emerald Twist

May 27, 2016

While some companies use a production line method of cannabis growing that focus solely on outcome and yield, Emerald Twist is focusing on paving the way for eco-friendly practices. Not only does this company grow exclusively outdoors, it was the first U.S. cannabis company to be Certified Clean Green. This certification exceeds the USDA standards for growing organic produce. But since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, the phrase “organic” is technically unattainable. Many growers claim to be “organic” or “all-natural,” but there are few restrictions on how recreational cannabis can be labeled.

One of the founding growers, Emerald Twist Director of Operations Jerry Lapora, was part of a group of like-minded, health conscious growers in Oregon near the California border when the 2012 recreational marijuana bill failed. Upon seeing a similar bill pass in Washington, several growers moved to Goldendale, Wash., to start legitimate businesses.

Grown completely outdoors using micro-irrigation and helpful insects for pest removal, Emerald Twist is helping to set and advance the standard for lowering the carbon footprint in the cannabis industry. By removing artificial lighting and ventilation costs from an indoor grow, the amount they save is a huge boost to profits. Emerald Twist estimates it costs 75% less per pound to grow outdoors, without sacrificing quality or quantity.

Now that recreational cannabis has been legalized in Oregon, Emerald Twist has expanded its brand to include a co-op grow in that state. This co-op meets all of the high standards Emerald Twist has come to expect from its brand, including outdoor growing and maintaining Clean Green certification. All of this is done with a relatively small staff made up of packagers, master growers and a few executives to run the company.

Although stomach acids help break down harmful chemicals used in food production, lungs don’t have that ability. So smoking cannabis that’s been sprayed with pesticides is more dangerous, because our lungs cannot break down the chemicals used in food-grade pesticides.

Healthier grown cannabis means a healthier consumer. This is the driving force behind Emerald Twist—growing cannabis that does not harm its users. In fact, the company’s trimmings are sold for the purpose of making CBD oils, which has been proven to help combat various conditions. A new strain the company hopes to begin growing soon reportedly has a 9:1 CBD-to-THC ratio, which could be very beneficial to patients.

Emerald Twist estimates that the cost difference in growing outdoors is 75% less per pound than indoors, since it eliminates lighting, ventilation and other indoor costs.

In the future, Emerald Twist predicts an even stronger tendency for customers to prefer cannabis that meets or exceeds USDA’s organic standards. Given how far the organic movement has come over the past several decades, it seems likely that healthier cannabis will quickly become desired products over those that use pesticides and leave a larger carbon footprint. With such a strong, worldwide trend of preserving the environment, Emerald Twist has found its role in leading the industry in this environmental preservation.

(Information gathered through interview with Jerry Lapora- Director of Operations for Emerald Twist)

By Benjamin Johnson

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