Cannabis Kombucha

It’s three in the morning. I am putting on a mask and plastic gloves. Our faces, arms, and legs are covered by T-shirts and gardening gloves. My mom and I are about to go to the grow room to spray all the marijuana plants with Eagle 20. At this point, we really didn’t have a choice. It was either use this nasty pesticide to kill the microscopic, weed eating insects called spider-mites, or let those critters destroy all of our cannabis product.The pesticide makes the plants so sensitive that any light would scorch the leaves, potentially kill them, and if we had gotten any on our skin it would have burned us. So we sprayed in makeshift hazmat suits and in complete darkness with only a green flashlight to guide us. It felt like we were in a war zone.**This was the summer of 2016. I was a sophomore at the University of Washington where, during the week, I went to summer classes and helped manage a tech startup called EvoEco. Then on Friday afternoon, I would hop in my car, drive three hours to Portland, OR and help run JORA Green, my mother’s legal cannabis grow operation. After being up all night Sunday trimming the plants, Monday morning I would drive two hours, take a nap in the car, then drive the remaining hour straight to class at the University in Seattle.At the time, my mother’s grower was jumping ship and my mom couldn’t afford to hire help. So, being the only family in the area, I became involved. It took roughly 20 weeks to fully transform the marijuana seeds into a smoke-able flower. The fact the grower was leaving during in the middle of the grow would be a disaster. We would lose all the product and my mom would go bankrupt.He refused to teach my mom the necessary steps and techniques to maintain the plants. Luckily, the grower and I had become friends. Even though he would no longer be our grower, he agreed to teach me what I needed to know on the weekends. Then, I would try to regurgitate the knowledge back to my mom on Sunday nights before driving back to Seattle.Her efforts were to little avail. At the same time our product was ready for sale, an influx of colossal previously unknown state wide cannabis operations were releasing their product. This over saturation caused the price of all legal cannabis to significantly drop. My mom’s product profit margins were suddenly negative. Nothing was going her way. We needed a different business strategy.Cannabis infused products were all the rage and that’s where we could make a profit.My mom, ever the alchemist, created a cannabis lotion. Wonderfully healing, but not a product with high sales volume. Think about it, how often do you buy lotion?**“And let me go get you a sample of our cannabis lotion,” said my mom.“Wait, you have that?” The sales rep excitedly replied. “Oh, I definitely would love to see it.”My mom was ecstatic. She walked to the car and grabbed the lotion samples. Back in the shop, she took the lotion out of a box and placed it on the counter in front of her.“This is Cannabis Kombucha?” The rep asked in confusion.“No, this is lotion,” she replied. “Are you more interested in Cannabis Kombucha?”The rep nodded, “Yes, the drink is a unique product with high sales. Do you have you any available?”“No, we are currently only selling lotion,” my mom replied.When she came back to the car she was disappointed. She thought this was our chance, but all they wanted was a cannabis kombucha.“Mom, why don’t you just make that. I guarantee if you can make lotion, you can make kombucha.” I suggested.That’s when her face light up. Cannabis Kombucha? A-ha! This was going to be our shot — and potentially the business’s only one.**First, we had to start with what is kombucha? Neither my mom nor I had drunken it. We had only heard of it and were starting to see it on a few grocery store shelves.What we learned is that Kombucha is fermented black tea. To make it, you use a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, a SCOBY. The SCOBY is a combination of yeast and fungus which makes the tea ferment, increasing its nutrient content. Every nutrient in the tea, from antioxidants to caffeine to alcohol percentage, increase during the fermentation process. Between 7–10 days, these nutrients grow exponentially. After the first week, the nutrients then slowly and linearly grow. Depending on the level of benefits desired, the kombucha can sit for several months.Overall, brew batch of tea, let it cool to room temperature, drop the SCOBY in, add a little sugar, then cover the liquid, and let it sit for seven plus days. That’s kombucha.**Okay, we learned how to make kombucha, but now we had to learn how to make the product at scale? I.e. where were we going to get all the wholesale ingredients and materials while still ensuring top notch quality?This was when I began to recognize the complexity of supply chains.One of the problems with the cannabis industry is the supply chain isn’t well established. Think of the less than a decade old industry — the suppliers from seeds, to plants, to dried buds, to oils is akin to the mom-and-pop retail industry back in the 1950s. The market is fragmented, relationship-driven, and inefficient. You don’t know where things come from, you don’t know where supply and inventory levels are as either the producer or the retailer, and prices are subject to wild swings. While markets in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, have begun to see stabilization, new markets, such as in Maryland, have shocking variances.Today companies, such as Walmart and Amazon, have squeezed inefficiencies out of consumer supply chains. This has improved the reliability and safety of products while driving prices lower for consumers, creating a system of delivering goods to the end-consumer unlike anything previously imagined.Blockchain is ripe to disrupt supply chains and bring clarity and stability to international complex transactions.**Think of the ingredients and materials needed to create a beverage sold in bulk. The flavor my mom chose was a THC Dr. Pepper flavored kombucha made with black tea, fig juice, vanilla, and cannabis oil.What we needed was bulk black tea, fig juice, vanilla, whole cane sugar, bottles, lids, labels, and a SCOBY. We had the cannabis, but imagine if you didn’t have that. When cannabis was first legalized, where were we going to find a legal farm, with high quality THC oil, which gets you just the right amount of stoned? Every-time we use the product it is the same quality and potency, day in and day out. Not an easy task for a mother and son who have little to no connections in the industry.For us, and for most other food producers, the ingredients are all from international locations with unknown production quality controls. Sure, the company website can say they have the proper certifications, but is each product always held to the same quality control standard?In our case, the Black tea came from China, the fig juice from a farm in Oregon, the Vanilla from Mexico, the sugar cane from India, the bottles from China, the lids from Mexico, and the labels from NY. How in the world were we supposed to know whether those products were truly safe and grown in an organically and sustainable manner? We looked at each source diligently, asked for a copy of all certifications, third party lab results, and only bought the products from well communicating companies. None the less, their was nothing stopping each of these international companies from sending us counterfeit certifications or lab results. If they did, we would’ve had no idea. All we received were PDF documents of each. Any graphic designer could easily have quickly drawn up a counterfeit one.My skepticism of the supply chain was born here, but we needed ingredients bulk ingredients for a good price. So I purchased each on Alibaba or their website and we began producing.A few years later when my good friend Neil Harlow, a blockchain developer, sent me a youtube tutorial on how blockchain technology was going to affect supply chains, a light bulb went off with a solution that could have alleviated my skepticism over our ingredient purity.**Since 2012, I’d been watching the cryptocurrency markets form then crash before blowing up in value. My interest was peaked. However, it remained just an interest… I had the opportunity to buy into bitcoin when it was valued at nothing and didn’t take it, you could say, I was a little miffed.One casual conversation in 2017 with Neil, made me stop and take notice.“Wait, did you say blockchain will be more disruptive to the supply chain of goods and services than what we’re seeing right now in the financial markets?” I asked.A simple nod from Neil and I was hooked.From then on my headphones always played a crypto podcast, my reading list became only about cryptocurrencies/blockchain use cases. It was apparent to me blockchain was much more than Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies; it was a technology with far reaching disruptive implications on an assortment of industries.And I was obsessed.**This book started as an attempt to answer the question: What is blockchain going to do to products like a cannabis kombucha and the entire food supply chain? Once I began to interview technologists, blockchain company executives, and enthusiasts, I learned they were exuberant about me being a writer in the space and they began to teach me everything. I then coauthored a whitepaper for a video streaming blockchain platform called AO, helped WHYgrene Inc. an energy blockchain startup get $500,000 of funding, became a content manager for a fine art blockchain network called Look Lateral, and am now back to starting a beverage company, HONE a mushroom matcha energetic focus blend.After going to several conferences, I learned that not many in the industry even understood the technology and outside the industry, nobody knew what the f*** it was. Suddenly, I had a bigger mission — to explain blockchain in a simple form to everyone, including myself. This is not a comprehensive history of blockchain, but rather a curated look at blockchain for the uninitiated and curious based on dozens of articles, research briefs, whitepapers, and more than 30 interviews from business executives and blockchain experts. All of these offer an insider’s view of where the technology is being used, where it is hyped-up, and where it will be used in the future.By the end of this book, you might be surprised at how many industries this technology will touch, even my company’s mushroom matcha. The biggest benefit is it’ll help you tell your friends, “What the f*** is blockchain?”
This post was originally published on this site

It’s three in the morning. I am putting on a mask and plastic gloves. Our faces, arms, and legs are covered by T-shirts and gardening gloves. My mom and I are about to go to the grow room to spray all the marijuana plants with Eagle 20. At this point, we really didn’t have a choice. It was either use this nasty pesticide to kill the microscopic, weed eating insects called spider-mites, or let those critters destroy all of our cannabis product.

The pesticide makes the plants so sensitive that any light would scorch the leaves, potentially kill them, and if we had gotten any on our skin it would have burned us. So we sprayed in makeshift hazmat suits and in complete darkness with only a green flashlight to guide us. It felt like we were in a war zone.

**

This was the summer of 2016. I was a sophomore at the University of Washington where, during the week, I went to summer classes and helped manage a tech startup called EvoEco. Then on Friday afternoon, I would hop in my car, drive three hours to Portland, OR and help run JORA Green, my mother’s legal cannabis grow operation. After being up all night Sunday trimming the plants, Monday morning I would drive two hours, take a nap in the car, then drive the remaining hour straight to class at the University in Seattle.

At the time, my mother’s grower was jumping ship and my mom couldn’t afford to hire help. So, being the only family in the area, I became involved. It took roughly 20 weeks to fully transform the marijuana seeds into a smoke-able flower. The fact the grower was leaving during in the middle of the grow would be a disaster. We would lose all the product and my mom would go bankrupt.

He refused to teach my mom the necessary steps and techniques to maintain the plants. Luckily, the grower and I had become friends. Even though he would no longer be our grower, he agreed to teach me what I needed to know on the weekends. Then, I would try to regurgitate the knowledge back to my mom on Sunday nights before driving back to Seattle.

Her efforts were to little avail. At the same time our product was ready for sale, an influx of colossal previously unknown state wide cannabis operations were releasing their product. This over saturation