Ohio Medical Marijuana Cultivator Brings Organic Cannabis to Patients
Galenas Soil-Grown Cannabis Sets Example for Industry Growing Practices
Cultivation methods vary when it comes to growing cannabis for the medical marijuana industry. One Ohio medical marijuana cultivator, Galenas, has chosen to grow organically.
Non-organic growing practices are common in the cannabis industry. Caused in part by discrepancies between state and federal laws, non-organic farming practices involve using synthetic man-made fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other intensive activities that damage nature. Conventional farming methods have been linked to disorders and diseases such as cancer, birth defects, allergies, Alzheimer’s, reproductive organs issues, disrupt hormonal functions, etc.
Especially when it’s being used by immunocompromised or allergy-prone patients, clean medicine can mean the difference between life or death. But how does a patient know whether their medicine is clean?
The state requires an Ohio medical marijuana cultivator to send their products for sale to pass required third-party laboratory testing. But patients can better learn what’s in a product by looking more closely at a cultivator’s growing process.
Enter Galenas, Ohio’s only certified-KIND organic medical marijuana cultivator that grows all its plants in organic soil without pesticides.
Galenas Founder and CEO Geoff Korff spent the last decade lending his expertise as an attorney and patients’ right advocate to furthering marijuana legalization in Ohio. He wrote some of the first language that was submitted to the Ohio attorney general to create a medical marijuana regulatory structure in the state. When the state passed the program via Ohio House Bill 523 in 2016, Korff was among the first to apply for a cultivation license.
Galenas received one of 24 cultivation licenses the state issued in 2017. Their 10,000-square-foot facility was built from the ground up with sustainable growing in mind. The facility’s energy-saving features abound: LED lights, steel insulated walls, solar panel roof, and a water system that filters the water and pulls it from the air to be recycled. Watch the Galenas facility being built here.
The Plight of the Level II Ohio Medical Marijuana Cultivator
As a Level II cultivator, Ohio permits Galenas to utilize only up to 3,000 square feet of their facility for growing space. This forces the cultivators to grow their plants vertically, with three rows of plants towering high into the sky. They tend to the upper rows via a scissor lift. As I toured the facility, Director of Cultivation Christine DeJesus told me it’s harder to control the temperature this way. She yearns for more space.
Ultimately, the additional space would do something more important than grow more plants. As an organic medical marijuana cultivator, the extra space would allow Galenas to compost their waste material. DeJesus tells me this could make a huge environmental impact.
Another Level II cultivator grower, Agri-Med, petitioned the state last year to increase their square footage to 6,000 sq ft. They were denied. In the state program, Level I facilities can grow in 25,000 square feet of space, but those licenses have all been issued. Galenas will plan to expand once they can reapply to the state for approval. In the meantime, they’ve also begun work on an additional facility in Michigan.
First Organic Soil-Grown Cannabis from an Ohio Medical Marijuana Cultivator
Coming from the world of organic farming, DeJesus was previously head of cultivation for Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Pint Size Farm. She lends her experience from the food world and applies many of the same principles to growing cannabis.
When it comes to reducing waste, DeJesus is proud of earning Galenas the certified KIND designation. Certified KIND is an “earth-friendly way of farming rooted firmly in the idea that the way we farm is just as important as the yield”. DeJesus also prides Galenas’ commitment to using local, sustainable vendors. Their soil comes from nearby Cleveland organics recycling company Rust Belt Riders. Choosing Rust Belt as their soil vendor allows Galenas to save many tons of food waste from landfills each year, DeJesus said.
Cannabis packaging waste is a huge concern in the industry. Developing environmentally-friendlier packaging for products is a commitment for Galenas, but the road ahead is unsure. Hemp certainly would seem a perfect candidate, but commercial hemp packaging isn’t a viable option yet. DeJesus says she’s keeping an eye on it for future. Until then, Galenas flower is available in plastic bags while their Artifact premium line of hand-trimmed cannabis comes in glass jars.
Galenas announced in February they were adding a clear window to the bottoms of their bags. This feature allows patients who’d like to visually inspect their product before buying it at the dispensary. Cannabis and Hemp packaging supplier Grovebags developed the new bags. Designed specifically for preserving THC and terpenes, Grovebags are reusable, made with zero waste, and use soy and vegan inks. Grovebags sustainability plan includes five year goal of replacing current components of their film structure with hemp-based plastics.
Strains to Watch For from this Ohio Medical Marijuana Cultivator
Cultivation-savvy Ohio patients have taken notice of the commitment to organic growing methods at Galenas. New strains have flown off the shelves at Ohio dispensaries in recent months. The Galenas Artifact line features a strain called Second Breakfast, an indica with a whopping 34 percent THC. Galenas social media describes Second Breakfast as “the type of pipe-weed that causes one to eat Elevenses before 11. Easily our strongest indica to date, this potent cross will have you fantasizing about all seven meals of the day.”
Gorilla Nut is another new strain from DeJesus’ preferred vendor, Michigan-based Fresh Coast Seed Co. Pictured above, Gorilla Nut flowers are big and beautiful. The strain crosses Peanut Butter Breath and Gorilla Butter. The flower combines aromas of nuts and gas with hints of ginger root. Another high THC strain, Gorilla Nut contains about 31 percent THC.
The third strain to watch for is Electric Peanut Butter Cookies. EPBC is a collaboration between Fresh Coast Seed Co and Lightsky Farms. It is The San Franscico Cookie Cut crossed with Electric Gorilla Butter, which has Lemon G, G13, Peanut Butter Breath, and Gorilla Glue #4 in its parentage. Electric Peanut Butter Cookies has an amazing lemon/orange nose that’s backed up by the peanut butter cookie dough body. This strain tests above 30% THC and has over 2.4% terp content.
Commitment to Patient Advocacy
Their commitment to Mother Earth at Galenas is admirable. But their industry advocacy is perhaps even more important when it comes to expanding access to more patients.
Galenas has been vocal recently about their commitment to patient rights. They specified across their social media platforms that they support patients’ right to grow their own medicine at home. It may seem counterintuitive for a company to support what ultimately could be viewed as a competitor. But DeJesus explained that when patients can grow at home, it helps the industry as a whole and drives prices down for everyone.
Galenas products are available at medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Ohio. To learn more about this Ohio medical marijuana cultivator, visit Galenas.com.
Interested in trying cannabis as a treatment for your medical condition but don’t have your Ohio medical marijuana card yet? Reach out to DocMJ today to schedule your evaluation.
Gabrielle has been writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries for more than 20 years. She’s held positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop. She currently writes articles about medical marijuana for DocMJ, Duber Medical, and is the founder of the Ohio cannabis journalism non-profit, MedicateOH.