Ray’s Live From A Cali Pot Farm
Something strange is happening in California’s Salinas Valley.
Located a half-hour inland from California’s gorgeous Central Coast, the Salinas Valley has historically been called the “Salad Bowl of the World,” a nickname that comes from the production of lettuce, broccoli, peppers, artichokes and other crops grown on a massive scale in the fertile valley.
Drive around the area and you’re much more likely to share the road with massive articulated semi trailers hauling produce to supermarkets around the country than with other cars.
But something is happening in the Salinas Valley.
It’s transforming from a “salad bowl”… to a very different kind of bowl.
The change is happening in the greenhouses that dot the valley. Formerly home to fresh flower growers primarily, one local farmer estimates that around 95% of the commercial greenhouse space in the Salinas Valley has been converted to grow legal cannabis.
And last week, I visited a greenhouse.
At a glance, you may not realize that the farm you’re driving by is home to thousands of cannabis plants. The whole greenhouse structure is surrounded by a tall privacy fence and there’s no signage telling you where you are.
But step inside the gates and walk into the greenhouse entrance and there’s no mistaking what they’re growing inside:
It’s not the cannabis plants growing up to your head that tip you off at first. It’s the smell.
Inside the greenhouse is a drying room, where marijuana cures to increase potency and quality. Next to that is the processing room, where workers are trimming plants to get them ready for market.
The Salinas farm was purchased by a major pot proprietor in May, and it’s been working hard to implement infrastructure and make the facility compliant with the California cannabis regulations that go into effect at the start of January.
In the meantime, it’s the heart of growing season and the farm has been producing about 600 pounds of salable cannabis each week.
Heck, even the scraps are proving valuable.
Farms are selling their stems to cannabis extract producers, adding a new revenue stream from what used to be garbage.
It’s interesting to see the transformation taking place in the Salinas Valley right now.
In the 1980s, competition from Asia and Latin America decimated the cut-flower business, leaving many of the greenhouses in the valley vacant. Now commercial marijuana production means jobs are coming back.
Despite all the growth (and packed greenhouses), we’re still in the early innings.
While the Salinas Valley provides a perfect microclimate for growing pot, regulators currently only allow cannabis growers to use greenhouse structures currently in place.
And even then, current regulations in Monterey County only allow for medical marijuana cultivation even though recreational pot became legal in California back in January.
I’ll be watching this space closely as things develop.
And as soon as a buy opportunity manifest from the information I’ve gathered on my recent trip out west I’ll be right back here to share it with you.
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