Cannabis Podcast The Real Dirt

Grower to Grower with Little Hill Cultivators

Little Hill Cultivators is a small crew of friends focused on growing the best cannabis possible for the consumer and Mother Earth; they are farmer-owned and operated. With decades of experience, awards, and a focus on quality, they have honed their craft in a way only true cannabis enthusiasts can. 

In today’s episode, we have  Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators. Tune in as we dive into the detailed process of drip irrigation, types of flower manipulation and hear about his perspective on cannabis laws in California and Oklahoma. Don’t miss out!


I think it just comes down to the farmer knowing the plant and knowing the environment and just being ready to adjust as need be, that’s farming. – Jeff


Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include

9:03 – How to set up a drip irrigation and flower manipulation
27:02 – Oklahoma, as thriving regulatory market
33:41 – The growing environment in Oklahoma
35:12 – Crop loss due to weather
35:17 – Who are the Grow Joes
38:44 – The crash in the California weed market
43:25 – Legalization of weed in Oregon

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Little Hill Cultivators

Connect with  Chip Baker

Transcript

Chip Baker: Here we are again, The Real Dirt with Chip Baker. Well, I know I’ve said it before, and it always seems so funny to say it that way. It was just the way we developed it all The Real Dirt with Chip Baker. That’s me. I’m chip Baker, and this is The Real Dirt. Thanks again for joining me again, guys. You’re going to love today’s episode. Today I have Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators out of Trinity County, California. Jeff is a longtime friend of mine, and we often have these great conversations on cannabis and the economy and the business of cannabis all over the country. He’s been on the show several times. And he’s been to every single Real Dirt studio. He’s been to the molecule studios and Humboldt county, he has been to the Denver Real Dirt studios that are now defunct. 

This episode, we did it in one of our greenhouses with plants in full blooms, great episode you’re going to hear some sounds the chickens and the dogs and the people in the background, and we hope it sounds perfect, but we get into so much stuff on this episode. We are probably going to have to be a two-parter. I mean, we talk about California versus Oklahoma and regulations. We hear Jeff’s opinion on Oklahoma. We talk specifically about drip irrigation and different types of flower manipulation. Talk about autoflowers. We talked about some current genetics that he’s running in California. It’s just a great all together episode. I know you’re going to love it. We will have to make this one a two-parter, though, man. It is a great one for it, though. So sit back and fire one up for this next episode of LFA, Oklahoma. 

Welcome to The Real Dirt once again here you are today special guest on The Real Dirt—Jeff from Little Hill. Say hello, Jeff. 

Jeff: How’s it going, folks? 

Chip Baker: Jeff has been featured numerous times on The Real Dirt; however, mostly, it’s been via telephone, right? Now we’ve only had one telephone?

Jeff: One Skype.

Chip Baker: One Skype. Yeah, right last spring. But did you visited The Real Dirt in The Real Dirt studios in Denver? 

Jeff: Yep. 

Chip Baker: Yeah. And today, we are in a greenhouse full of ganja. The Real Dirt studio. What do you think?

Jeff: I like this one surrounded by plants.

Chip Baker: It’s definitely an improvement. Huh?.

Jeff: Roosters in the background. Kinda like that better than the pitter-patter of Humboldt rain. That was one of our sessions.

Chip Baker: That was. That’s right. Yo, you had a Humboldt session too you. You’ve been at every The Real Dirt studio now. You are hearing one of my most frequent guests now also with this episode. So we’re here in Oklahoma, Oklahoma has become the new hotbed of cannabis growing ganja growing specifically in the country. It’s actually easier to get a license to grow ganja here than it is to grow hemp. Who would have thought? It’s interesting how the most progressive state was only a few years ago, one of the worst days to get caught with ganja.

Jeff: Yep, I think part of the attitude is anti-regulations. And when they adopted medical cannabis, it seems like those values held over to cannabis.

Chip Baker: Yeah, it’s definitely a business first state. If you would describe, but the political climate here, many people describe it as a red state, but it’s actually fixing to be a green state. No, but it’s very libertarian in ideology. There’s little regulations for good or for bad here in Oklahoma no matter what you’re doing, oil and gas, building homes, building multi-tenant units in unincorporated areas. This definitely not like California or Colorado in that respect.

Jeff: It’s the polar opposite of California.

Chip Baker: In many ways. It is the polar opposite of California, as far as the regulations are concerned. So for those of you who don’t know, Jeff here he is, operates a Little Hill Farms and Trinity County, longtime medical cannabis grower, adult-use cannabis grower and has been through one of the strictest regulatory systems in the country and survived. Ask everybody to give a little clap for Little Hill here. Hey, what is your official designation?

Jeff: Little Hill Cultivators is the DBA on Instagram.

Chip Baker: Little Hill cultivators on Instagram, that’s the DBA that and it is the Instagram as well.

Jeff: It is the Instagram as well you can contact me on there I run my own account. I don’t have a team as they say air quotes. You can talk to me directly if you wanted.

Chip Baker: Yeah, and hey, always feel free to drop any of my guests in line when they shout out their Instagram or their Facebook account. They actually do want to hear from you. As we hear, The Real Dirt wants to hear from you as well. If you’ve got an idea about a story or you know a complaint or you know we really like it when people tell us we’re doing a great job. Yeah, just drop us a line on messenger on Instagram dm, Facebook Messenger, and Yeah, we’d love to talk to you. 

I do have a team. Let me give a shout out to my team. Travis Crane, Crane style is in charge of pretty much all the social media stuff associated with Real Dirt and Cultivate Colorado and Growers Potting Soil. Shout out to Travis. Chris is our editor, Christopher. I’m so bad with names. Man, ain’t that embarrassing. I’ve been working with Christopher for a couple of years, and I can’t quite place his name anyway. Christopher is our editor here. David Phipps also developed our theme music and is a constant consultant for style. That’s David Phipps. VST s nine. You know, I’m gonna have to give a big shout out to the rest of my team, which are my listeners here—the people who give me their time and listen to The Real Dirt Podcast. 

Jeff: Well, I need to give a shout out to my crew then–

Chip Baker: No, I’m sorry it’s not that type of show.

Jeff: Darren and Mike

Chip Baker: How many people you got on your crew?

Jeff: Basically two, Darren and Mike, best dudes best grow Joe’s best coaches ever. Awesome. Couldn’t do anything without them. I appreciate them and treat your workers well, all I gotta say,

Chip Baker: Absolutely, man. You’re nothing without the people you work with, that’s for sure no matter how big, or small you are, you’re not anything without the people you work with. So, hey, man, we’ve had just a little boring conversation here. But let’s get right into it. So you came to visit our second harvest here in Oklahoma. We set up cannabis cultivation here in Oklahoma. We had outdoor and then we’ve got six 7000 square feet of hoop house right here, asked Jeff to come over here and tell him what I was doing wrong. So let’s just start at the beginning, Jeff, and tell me what I’m doing wrong.

Jeff: It looks pretty good for as late as you got in

Chip Baker: Get this as a September 3rd planning.

Jeff: Stuff to walk into somebody else’s operation because they have their own ideas and schemes, and it’s never how you would do it, but at the same time, you don’t know all the details that forced them to do what they did. I like a lot of things about it. Setting up on the cheap, figuring out how to do it as low as cost possible, I think it is wise.

Figuring out how to do it as low as cost possible, I think it is wise. - Jeff Click To Tweet

Chip Baker: Yeah. And we did do that here. This hoop we’re in a series of hoops that we bent here with our key grow Joe’s, Boxy, Keith and Wyett and my wife Jessica and myself we’ve been all these hoops they’re just steel poles you just simple hoop bender and bend them.

Jeff: You got your irrigation set up well?

Chip Baker: And that’s a Netafim product. 

Jeff: That’s one thing I always look at is how other people are doing. Their irrigation and usually come to the conclusion that I’m doing it better. 

Setting up a Drip Irrigation and Flower Manipulation

Chip Baker: Okay, so let’s describe this irrigation here since drip irrigation got one conversation ahead. 

Jeff: It looks like you got two, one gallon an hour drippers in each five-gallon pot? 

Chip Baker: In each five-gallon pot

Jeff: And one in the– are those, what size of those?

Chip Baker: Those are three gallons. And that’s Netafim drip irrigation we use the pre-made one-gallon whips with steaks. So it’s really easy to install.

Jeff: Yeah, quick setup. Not a lot of hole punching. I like that. I like that aspect of it.

Chip Baker: Yep. And then we’re using their anti-bacterial three quarter inch supply line.

Jeff: So that is kind of the Gucci stuff to have. 

Chip Baker: This is the good stuff. It’s also, when drips so cheap, man. It’s really inexpensive, right, I think. I don’t know. I bet we’re probably about $1.50 plant.

Jeff: Yeah. Wow. Well I guess the way I would do it would be a little bit more expensive than that but

Chip Baker: All right, well, well, how would you do this?

Jeff: I like sprayers. I use those down sprayers from DripWorks, and they spray maybe, eight or 12 streams in a circle. And you can kind of just adjust their height for and their pressure for how far you want to spray how big a diameter or a circle spray you want. The downside of that is you have to cut your irrigation off into more zones because you’re flowing more water than a dripper is which definitely adds to the price and possible complications with timers and whatnot since you’re going to have a whole lot of valves.

Chip Baker: Well, I actually prefer the sprayers, the three and a half-gallon, and the six and a half gallon sprayers what size you have? 

Jeff: I think I run the smaller. I think around the block ones, so I think that’s the smaller. 

Chip Baker: I’m a Netafim guy and your your your drip works is local to use, you use drip works, but I like the three and a half and six and a half gallon sprayer. Some Netafim they come in the same pre-made [inaudible], you don’t have to put anything together or have any moving parts. I do prefer those, but I actually didn’t use those here because of exactly what you said. I have some simple battery-powered solenoid timers here. And I wanted to be able to run the whole garden in one zone, which actually didn’t work, and I had to break it into two different zones. And that’s why I chose these one-gallon drippers instead of the sprayers, but I prefer the sprayers too.

Jeff: In a perfect world, and sometimes you got to do–

Chip Baker: Back to that conversation, and I don’t know why you made that decision when I come into someone’s garden, I don’t know why they made a decision, right? Like that this one–

Jeff: Sometimes, you’re forced to do or change your plan or looking forced into something. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, cuz it was a sprayer. Also, you need you to need timers that can do more than just four times a day if you’re concerned about the re-runoff.

Jeff: Yeah, right.

Chip Baker: What type of timers do you have? 

Jeff: Switch between Galcon and Hunter timers. It seems like the shop I buy my stuff from is always switching. I think I like the Galcon a little more; they seem to last two or three seasons as opposed to the hunters, which last maybe one or two seasons. So, they’re just outside sitting in the sun all day. That’s our life we take him in in winter, but uh–

Chip Baker: You have sprayers? Right, you have runoff? 

Jeff: Not a whole lot, 

Chip Baker: Not a whole lot. So your spray times are short?

Jeff: I think somewhere around 12 minutes is a gallon for us in the zone. 

Chip Baker: And that’s what you spray like that at 12 minutes? 

Jeff: 12 minutes is a gallon, and we usually do that twice a day or twice. We like to water two gallons. So we do that. We’ll do it twice. We’ll run a cycle twice.

Chip Baker: And you’re in 10-gallons or 20-gallon pot? 

Jeff: 20 gallons. Not a whole lot of runoff. Sometimes you’ll see some, but generally, we’re not trying to see it. Not trying to flush out of the soil. I want to keep it there.

Chip Baker: Yeah. You can see it this garden that’s been one of my problems, I’ve had over run-off that’s one of the grounds it a little muddy here and just try it out. That’s also why the plants are slightly yellow to the extreme run-off we’ve had here haven’t been able to keep the nutrition in here we’ve been trying to– This is mostly an organic crop or garnish, a supplemented it twice with a synthetic product. It’s going to be some fine smoke, that’s for sure. But you know also you look at it, like bright green. 

Jeff: Some of them vary a little strain to strain. I think that’s a good reason, a good argument for more zones as you can. 

Chip Baker: Oh, yeah, absolutely. 

Jeff: Put a strain on a zone and water it how it needs it as opposed to his whole garden at once. 

Chip Baker: But yeah, you can see those one’s upfront, the small pots and the three-gallon pot, and three-gallon ones. Like they’re pretty good. They’re much greener than these five gallons, and the buds look great. And also, my experience is that I don’t see enough yellowing gardens towards the end of flower either.

Jeff: You definitely want to make sure that plants metabolizing all those extra nutrients that stored or else you’re gonna end up trying to be trying to smoke that, and it’s gonna kill the flavor, maybe hurt the burn quality. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, were you on flushing? 

Jeff: Around two crops out of a 20-gallon pot, we might top dress a couple of times. 

Chip Baker: So you’re just water the whole time? 

Jeff: Pretty much just water besides like some compost tea. If I have to liquid feed, I have some organic. 

Chip Baker: So you don’t flush?

Jeff: I don’t want to say I don’t flush sometimes. I think the plants needed the last two weeks to flush out the available nutrients.

Chip Baker: Is it the first run or the second run when you first run? Is it always the first run, right?

Jeff: Give the zone a flush may be two weeks before it helps them yellow-out. You’re just flushing out what soluble, you’re not gonna flush out, other stuff that’s in there and it’ll become available later for that second run, and I do get a good yellowing off. I think the plant knows, for some reason, that it needs to waste time to stop wasting time uptaking nutrients. It just seems to flush itself if you let the plant just run its natural course, and it’ll dictate what it wants to take up rather than forcing certain things synthetic wise into the plant.

Chip Baker: Yeah, you’re right; the plant does take up what it needs. However, you’re pretty strictly organic, right? 

Jeff: Pretty strictly.

Chip Baker: Pretty strictly. Do you use anything that’s in-organic? Is anything not certified organic fertilizer by some agency? 

Jeff: I don’t believe so. Though, I’d have to check a little harder. I know once the organic regulations come out with the CDFA, which they’re working on a comparable organic program. I’m definitely looking to abide by that and get certified—something I’ve wanted for quite a while.

Chip Baker: Yeah. Well, this is our growers [inaudible] soil and has a calcium nitrate in it. That’s not organic. Right? But it also has lime and gypsum, but the calcium nitrate just made it just makes coco happen. It really does. And then we use the geo flora product from GeoPlanters; they’re top organic dress. I’ve been talking about this. Oh, no, you should check this out, man. You’re, it’s not a dust product. It’s a granulated product. So it’s really safe for your employees.

Jeff: Yeah, keeping the dust down a nice thing.

Chip Baker: Right? And it actually works pretty good. I think their application rate is a little off. I think you should, you know, they’ve got like, so many ounces per gallons of soil or per cubic foot of soil. And they want you to do it every two weeks. I think I’ll probably get as much in there as I could as possible at the beginning is the better way for me to do it. 

Jeff: Yes, give them more time to break down.

Chip Baker: Yeah, give it more time to break down. But it’s a real low application, right? We really literally just put a handful on all these plants right, and then they got to synthetic fertilization. I think that’s the challenge so far.

Jeff: Do you think the top dress is able to get washed into the soil?

Chip Baker: Now, we hand water. So we initially these all these this is 1000 plants or something, they were all in one shade house, and we were hand watering them until we just top dressed them from now, hand-watered them in. Now and then, we also [inaudible] a few days ago, like a day 21. We’re at day 30 now. Now we’re going to give them synthetic fertilization and then water after that.

Jeff: Does it look like they want it some of them?

Chip Baker: Yeah, well, you know, when they go yellow or pale like this, at this stage of flowering, there’s no going back, right? You just got to go forward, but the buds look great.

Jeff: Buds are developing fine. 

Chip Baker: I mean they definitely are, man it’s purple punch over here just looks incredible for four weeks. 

Jeff: She’s pretty plant, yeah, they’re definitely well developed for four weeks. 

Chip Baker: I don’t say necessarily have a method. But in containers like small containers like this that synthetic fertilizer definitely works. Organics and living soil these smaller containers don’t work as well. We were talking about this earlier when we’re talking about teaming with nutrients, right? 

Jeff: Teaming with microbes, micronutrients– 

Chip Baker: They are great books, you know, if you haven’t read them, you should read them Teaming with Microbes the same with nutrients. There’s some great graphs and diagrams that really explain a lot of soil science to the laypeople, the beginning farmer. There’s a great one in there with a barrel and nutrient consumption, one of the first few pages that detail how your nutrient uptake is limited by the availability of your nutrients. That if you’re off on one nutrient, then, you know you could be just because you don’t have enough availability of that one nutrient, it might inhibit your availability of other stuff as well. It’s a great little chart. 

Jeff: Right? Yeah, you’re only gonna get so big and so fast and so healthy. Let’s first start with your macronutrients. Make sure those are there, mainly nitrogen. And then as you go up, your plants are going to be growing faster-growing yielding more, until you can just eliminate all the limiting factors nutrient was right. And then after that, we’re saying container size is going to be your biggest limiting factor.

Chip Baker: I think the 20-gallon size that you’re using is about the perfect size 15th and 20s.

Jeff: Yeah, I mean 20 it’s, and I’d say it’s like maybe slightly on the small side, but–

Chip Baker: Oh, really? Are you shooting for half-pound plants in them? 

Jeff: I’m shooting for half-pound plants. I don’t necessarily always get there. But I get close.

Chip Baker: That’s because you need to vege it more.

Jeff: Spacing vege time all these things. I mean vege times a killer.

Chip Baker: Right. California, the regulations on all the square footage makes it difficult with the vegging.

Jeff: Yeah, I mean, you have square foot square footage, limitation, and you can grow any way you want any plant, plant numbers you want. I’ve run pretty low plant numbers in my greenhouses comparatively to other folks. 

Chip Baker: I know I’m always more and more you’re always– 

Jeff: Sure, and I’m just like, man, I can’t produce 1000 cuts of the greenhouse I just can’t do it. With the nurseries coming online, it’s going to become a little bit easier to reach those clone counts, but you know, not having a mother room and being regulated and following regulations is definitely made some challenges, and you know, still waiting on some things to get built out.

Chip Baker: Yeah, man. The regulations are great for growing cannabis here in Oklahoma, that’s for sure. Well gone just specifically, but even hemp, after you get through the application process, it’s fairly regulatory free. I don’t think this is a bad thing. Many people want to regulate this industry to death. We have to have some sort of freedom to bend and flow because this is a plant; this isn’t a bakery, right? We can’t– it’s hard to do the same thing the exact same way every single time. Right? We talked about this the other day. It’s like, you know, you’re like, man, my greenhouses yields vary widely.

Jeff: Widely, yeah. Season to season strain to strain you know, good runs bad runs, late runs early runs. It’s tough to say this amount of square footage needs to yield this much, especially when your environment’s not controlled, and you’re just running open who pauses.

Chip Baker: Yeah, right. So it’s farming some years you get the canopy right, you get to hit the environment right and it– I mean, it’s impressive [inaudible] yields there, man and these hoops were off on maybe some of our plant count. We just put whatever plants we had in here. That one next door to us, I think, seems to be spaced better. The one on the very front side, I think, is probably the most efficient with the numbers and the way it’s, it’s packed in there, but five gallons to three gallons. Yeah, I think that’s a perfect place to take a break. Let’s take a break. 

We want to form long term relationships with other entities who have similar goals. - Chip Baker Click To Tweet

These new episodes are made possible through some awesome partnerships. We want to form long term relationships with other entities who have similar goals. Thanks to Grower Soil, a line of soil and nutrients manufacturer developed right here in Colorado. Also, thanks to Cultivate Colorado with two stores in the Denver metropolitan area. Cultivate has one of the largest selections of indoor horticultural equipment in the known universe. So stop by if you have any growing needs. Grow your dreams, cultivate your legend. 

Grow your dreams, cultivate your legend. - Chip Baker Click To Tweet

That’s right real dirt, The Real Dirt with Chip Baker. I’m going to have my guest today Little Hill Cultivators, Jeff. Hey, I want to thank Cultivate Colorado if you find supporter here, also to Real Dirt, if you’re interested in any hydroponic equipment, any indoor organic equipment in Oklahoma or Denver or throughout the known universe because we do ship check us out at cultivatecolorado.comcultivateokc.com. Give any one of our stores a call, and we’d be glad to chat with you no matter if you’re one liter or 1000 liter, we probably will have a great conversation. Stop by 10th and meridian that’s 1101 North Meridian Avenue in Oklahoma City or 6400 Stapleton in Denver or 666 Buchtel in Denver, Colorado. A little promotional plug there. What do you think?

Jeff: You got three stores in Colorado?

Chip Baker: No got two, and one address here. Yeah, three stores, man, I really have a renewed vigor in the hydroponic industry coming here to Oklahoma. 

Jeff: Fantastic!

Chip Baker: Yeah, it’s been great, man. I meet all these incredible farmers incredible, first-timers, incredible old-timers, imports, ex-pats all kinds here in Oklahoma that come into the shop and you know, introduce themselves and get to talk to them about their farms, and their cannabis, and what they’re growing hemp or ganja and it’s been really refreshing.

Jeff: Nice. They’re probably stoked to be free finally, and be able to do it, they’re so paranoid and probably had so many sleepless nights doing, especially in Oklahoma. They can come out and talk about their passion and just not have to worry about their whole life getting turned upside down because of a plant.

Chip Baker: Yeah, absolutely, man. You know, and there’s so much as yearn for information here, and people want to talk and share, and sometimes it’s a pain in the ass because we do operate a business, and we’ve got multiple customers, and I enjoy hearing the old-time stories and the like, new time stories, but like, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to have to run the business, and it can’t just like, you know, sit and chat. Right. We’re about grown with the customers, man. 

Jeff: Right. Well, I can if you hit me on the DMS, I’ll talk about growing all day.

Chip Baker: Oh, yeah, they, they? Well, you know, online, it’s a different story. And, and I have a few people to get back to you right now. But just get so busy. Sorry. Hey, if I haven’t gotten back to you, I’ll get back to you. Real quick. So what do you, what do you think so far about Oklahoma?

Jeff: I got to tour around a little bit yesterday. Flat. It’s got a lot of dispensaries, man. More just I saw more dispensaries that’s while driving and just noticed then pretty much anywhere else I’ve been. Because they’re spread out, they can go anywhere, you know, as long as I guess it’s zoned right. They can’t tell you can’t set up there. 

Chip Baker: Exactly. 

Jeff: That’s so refreshing to just, Hey, I own this land. This is where my crops gonna be. You don’t have to go get cleared by 50 different agencies, all with their hand out. To set up a shop.

Chip Baker: Shout out to fishing game [inaudible]

Jeff: Shout out life and–

Chip Baker: Shout out to the water department’s planning department. 

Jeff: The board assumes the planning commission’s 

Chip Baker: Thank you guys for keeping the regulator–

Jeff: The list goes on. 

Oklahoma, as Successful Regulatory Market

Chip Baker: But do you consider this a successful regulatory market? 

Jeff: I think it’s really early, but you’re talking Oklahoma? There’s a lot of places in business. So I said possibly, yeah. The barrier to entry is low. And that’s what’s drawing people in. And that’s what everybody’s been complaining about in California is the barrier to entry is way too high. If you didn’t already own land and have a bunch of money or just happened to be in the right situation, you’re going to get left out. 

Chip Baker: It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up a legal operation for most people in California.

Jeff: You know, most people don’t have that.

Chip Baker: And maybe not just at once, but over time, because you keep paying for it.

Jeff: Or they had a business going, and they had to move it because of some regulation. 

Chip Baker: Yeah. Oh, absolutely, man. 

Jeff: Or they were already so like, Oh, I got to sell my property, which isn’t valuable for growing legal ganja anymore. I have to go buy one that is, which is going to be even more expensive. I’d say It’s definitely drawn a lot of people out here. And I think more people I know, I have people waiting in California to hear about what I thought because they’re thinking about coming out here because they’re so frustrated with the limitations of California’s regulated market.

Chip Baker: They’ve restricted it slightly here recently in August for residency requirements. So now you have to, if you’re not a resident of Oklahoma after August 23rd or something, you have to be here for a two-year time period, or some other little like, you know, caveat, I forget, but basically, if you used to live in Oklahoma and tried to move back then you could do that, or you just own 25% of the business. Right. And that’s the other ways as you can come in, you know, 25% of the business and, man, you know, initially like we didn’t get any hate at all from being outside of the community in non-Oklahomans. I mean, we got driver’s license and taxes now. We’re Okies. Right? Like always just don’t believe in that locals-only thing–

Jeff: So it’s kind of, yeah, I mean, that’s always local communities always want to do that to maybe help out their own, but I guess it made sense if you got here sooner.

Chip Baker: And that’s okay if you got here sooner than everybody else. You know, the real thing though is it’s– Hey man, I’m sorry if I’m gonna hurt your feelings guys, ganja growers everywhere. But it’s the arrogance, and it’s the ego that people get with ganja growing. Right? It’s the greed that happens when there’s a small market, and then it becomes a bigger market. You know, in the smaller markets, the existing players don’t have any competition. So anything they put out is great, and their customers love them for it and say it’s great. And then in the market gets bigger if they don’t, you know, increase the quality of their product, increase their customer service then they get pissy that regulatory [inaudible] or, you know, somebody else down the street stole their customer, and they were from Ohio or whatever it is. 

The fact of the matter is, Oklahoma didn’t have a previous large cannabis history, right gone in history. There’s not as much of a ganja culture here, as in other states and Oklahoma needed that injection of intellect, experience, and capital to make their industry successful. And that’s why the legislators made the initial rules only be 30 days so that people could come in here immediately from other states inject millions of dollars into the economy immediately because they knew that if it were just left up to Oklahomans, most of them wouldn’t be successful, most of them would have to start on a very small level, you know, they wanted the industry to grow faster. 

Right? And then once it grew more quickly, they shut the regulations down, right and made it we had to be a two-year resident. And I mean, I think you should have some sort of barrier to entry. Don’t get me wrong, but we’re all Americans here, man. I don’t think that any American should be shut out of any state to do any business. That’s capitalism. I don’t think there’s any prerequisite for any other industry. Can you say of another industry where you have to be a quote-unquote resident of the state?

Jeff: No, there’s no other industry like cannabis as far as regulations go. There’s no certainly no other agricultural crop that’s been regulated. We wouldn’t have any food on our, in our grocery stores if any agricultural crop were regulated like this.

Chip Baker: You’re 100% right. And people say, Oh, you know, alcohol. Well, alcohol is regulated, but not the crop is not regulated, I can go grow as much barley hops or great as I want, it’s unregulated. Right? And I know there’s, you know, technically I mean, this is a different plant that like the active constituents are, you know, present in the plant very young. So, I do see some sort of regulation, but, man, it needs to be like tobacco used to be kept small, five acres, four acres, whatever like the small number is, that’s how I would like to see the regulations go. Right, because they’re gonna– hear, in Oklahoma specifically, by allowing people to grow as much as they can, it’s gonna flood the market.

Jeff: Pretty quickly. Pretty [inaudible] fill in and out this year. 

Chip Baker: It’s gonna flood the market–

Jeff: And they’re gonna blow it out next year.

Chip Baker: It doesn’t take that much. Man, you know, I bet if we put our heads together and we went and grew 50 acres of ganja, that would be most of the needs for the state of Oklahoma by the patients that would be for smoking quality. That’s 100 acres, and I bet it’s even smaller.

Jeff: Price tips. The patients will smoke more.

Chip Baker: Rarely does the price change to the patients. It should but like rarely like in Colorado has a little bit, and in Oregon, it has a little bit as it has in Washington?

Jeff: I don’t know about Washington, I could say– 

Chip Baker: Cheap in Oregon. 

Jeff: Not too much in California because of those added excise taxes.

Chip Baker: Yeah, I mean, it’s expensive here. You know, the taxes are 15% here. 

Jeff: Plus sales tax? 

Growing Environment in Oklahoma

Chip Baker: Fuck something I should be like more upon. So we’ve seen some weed. We looked at some weed earlier today. Yep. Right. You’re looking at some weed right now. What’s your impression of the grow environment here? Let’s start there.

Jeff: Well, from what I’ve seen weather-wise, it’s definitely possible to grow some weed out here. Okay. I mean, I wasn’t here all summer when it was 100 degrees, but–

Chip Baker: Plants like it fine.

Jeff: I think it just comes down to the farmer knowing the plant and knowing the environment and just being ready to adjust as need be that’s farming. And if you know the plant, you’ll figure it out.

Chip Baker: Yep, it’s hot. It’s windy. In many places. It’s rainy and humid here. There’s many, many microclimates. You know, I had somebody say to me when I moved here was like, Oh, yeah, California got all those microclimates. And I mean, I think they’re everywhere. They’re everywhere.

Jeff: Everywhere, some parts are different

Chip Baker: Everywhere. Yeah, where we are here. We’re on a ridge. There’s a slight breeze. It is warmer, less humid than it is like 60-70 miles from here. If you go east, more rain, more humidity. Yeah, and honestly, where we’re at 40-50% humidity. Most of the time? Today, I think I walked out is at 46% humidity and 41 degrees. It was a little cool, right? A few days ago, it was 91 and 50% humidity. Cannabis kind of loves that, ganja loves that.

Crop Loss Due to Weather

Jeff: What’s the potential for catastrophic crop loss due to weather during the summertime? 

Grow Joes

Chip Baker: Oh man, I think that’s the reality for sure. And I mean, you’ve got all kinds, you’ve got infrastructure loss like I mean, there are tornadoes here. Tornadoes are real here, and the winds associated with tornadoes are real, and they might not call it a tornado because it’s not like site cloning or funneling but man windy–

Damn, just like the loss of infrastructure, I know, like, people lose fences, greenhouses, buildings, outbuildings, and the severe weather. There is definitely lightning storms here. There’s rainstorms. There’s flooding with severe flooding here this summer in June. You know, and that’s kind of what we actually got in this place kind of late is because it was flooding. And we wanted to make sure like the place we got wasn’t flooding. Right. And you know, we got that man swimming. You see a little runoff here there. So, yeah, you mentioned the word of the day is grow Joe. Let’s explain and grow Joe to our audience here.

Jeff: I think they’d be your main dudes. 

Chip Baker: Your main dudes, your workers? 

Jeff: Yeah. 

Chip Baker: Right. The grow Joe’s are the growers, and they take instruction from the head grower, the head cultivator, right. And then there are workers that work under the grow Joe? 

Jeff: Oh, yeah. The grow Joe’s more or less know your SOP already kind of–

Chip Baker: Middle-level management.

Jeff: Yeah, they do a lot of the hands-on stuff. They do a lot of the day to day stuff. They’re good growers and themselves. They should be, and they work with people well, they can direct people when you bring on so, you know a few more temporary people for big work pushes. They can run those crews they can, you know, teach them all how you want things done, and it basically allows the head cultivator the owner to run the business. Yeah, I mean, I’m at my farm less now than I ever was before because I have to go– Well, first my farm is remote, so it’s a full day trip if I have to go anywhere, but if I got to run two hours to the county seat or two hours to distribution, you know, that’s basically a round trip, that’s all day. And then you factor and construction on the roads. That is a pain in the ass. I drive a lot. But that’s what I have to do to run my business, logistics supplies. If I can’t get a delivery, I gotta go get it. 

Chip Baker: I mean, anybody who thinks they live in a remote location, Northern California is one of the most remote places in the country for sure the distance between gas stations, stores towns, 

Jeff: The time, the driving time, it’s the distance–

Chip Baker: It’s the quality of the road. 

Jeff: Yeah, I might be 15 miles away from the store, but, man, it’s still gonna take me a half hour to get there. 

Chip Baker: Yeah and that and you’re and you’re pissing your neighbors off– 

Jeff: And that’s just the mountains general store that’s not Costco or, you know, grow store, you’re paying a premium if you just go to the mountain store.

Chip Baker: And there’s places like that all over the country, the sheer population that lives–

Jeff: Especially the summer population–

Crash in the California Weed Market

Chip Baker: The summer population. So again, let’s talk about the California market, man. This is something we always talk about. And, you know, everybody predicted this total crash in the California market except for Chip and because I saw what was going on. And what was going on was the increased bureaucracy that was running out-growers as well as new interdiction tools that were shutting down private market or free-market growers. And the push for hemp oil pushed for less weed to be grown in California this year.

Jeff: Man, I didn’t see it coming. But uh, yeah, this early, early spring, even winter, February, March. There was basically no more weed to be bought or sold or transferred, or however, they do it. Really both markets were like that. The reasons for it are interesting. I didn’t see it coming. But I mean, there’s several factors, the interdiction, the letters that were sent out code enforcement —

Chip Baker: Let’s start right there with code enforcement. So for years and years and years, Humboldt, Mendocino Trinity rule California. They all struggled with getting people to come into compliance with building codes, especially like the extreme, you know, earthquake building codes that we have in California. Right. And with the passage of the new legal cannabis in California, legal ganja in California, it allowed local governments to come in and say, hey, you’re operating a business that’s not in zoning compliance, and we’re shutting you down. Right. And this actually worked to shut ganja growers down.

Jeff: Pretty much. I mean, also the fact that you’re operating a business and you don’t have a business license now for it. So you had the opportunity to go legit, and you haven’t, so now we’re shutting you down. Right. And they have–

Chip Baker:  tell us what these letters look like? 

Jeff: I haven’t gotten one myself but and I’m not in Humboldt, but basically–

Chip Baker: I got one. 

Jeff: Basically — you’ve got one? You’re not even growing.

Chip Baker: I know, man. I had greenhouses we were building. 

Jeff: Oh, they seem everybody was a greenhouse Even if they’re empty, even if they had fruit trees in them. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, totally. And they tried to make us take it down. But like we, you know, we’re trying to get all these stuff permitted. Sure, you know, so they realize what we’re doing. We were doing right; we’re in the right. We’re working your way towards and our way through it. 

So these letters look something like this, Dear Mr. Jackass, because that’s how you feel when you get one of these letters, right? Like you’re operating a business that is not in compliance. You need to get this business into compliance within ten days. And if you don’t, then we’re gonna charge you $9,000 a day for 30 days. And then after 30 days, we’re gonna charge you $900,000 we’ll put a lien against your property for $900,000. So it’s best to contact us immediately. 

Jeff: Yeah. That gets expensive quick.

Chip Baker: It does get expensive quick, and you know and Humboldt too, mail services rule it can be days for overnight. It could easily take ten days for you to get your mail 20-30 days from to get your mail 

Jeff: Or you just don’t visit your post office box every day. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, exactly because it’s 30 miles away yeah right 50 miles away whatever it is, right? When this happens, and people like to shut down or shut down and move on, or they try to come in some try to come into compliance. 

Jeff: Some might try and come into compliance, I think a lot of people got properties that are vacant, and that’s also contributed to the market making a comeback as there is just massively less weed ground. 

Chip Baker: Oh man and one of my old stomping grounds I heard last year there were 40 letters sent out. I didn’t even know there were 40 parcels that people live that out on eight miles.

Jeff: Yeah, I know a guy was a place out on eight miles. He got a letter from the water board and basically just told them. Hey, man, I’m under 2000 square feet. You don’t have any jurisdiction. And that alone again, it’s greenhouses are enclosed. Its square footage is under; he’s not near any creeks.

Chip Baker: Yeah. Stay back. Well, he’s one of the few. It’s hard not to be in a creek near Creek and humble. 

Jeff: It’s hard. Yeah. 

Chip Baker: Right. Oregon, too, Oregon was a source of a ton of fucking weed.

Legalization of Weed in Oregon

Jeff: Yeah, so that first-year legalization in Oregon brought down an absolute tidal wave. Now we know what the rest of the country felt like when Cali harvests and the flood newsies. Now we got it a taste of our own medicine because Oregon harvested and a tidal wave of cheap, mid-grade to low-grade pot came down from Oregon because, well, there’s reasons but–

Chip Baker: Well, tons of people moved up there. They didn’t really know what they were doing. But it was like a good opportunity to grow it at scale. Like that’s difficult to do– 

Jeff: Maybe a grower grew, you know, 500 pounds, which is a good crop, but the next year they did an acre.

Chip Baker: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Jeff: That’s a whole lot more. They collapse the price to three years ago.

Chip Baker: All right. Well, we’ve we kind of had a really good part one on that episode with Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators in Trinity County. We’re gonna get more into that episode next week on part two of this episode. We really appreciate you joining us. We really appreciate you listening. Thank you for all the questions that you asked on our Instagram. 

Thank you for being involved with our social media, Instagram, and The Real Dirt. Without you, there’d actually be zero reasons to do this. So thank you so much. Join us again for another episode of The Real Dirt by downloading it on iTunes, subscribe, please download all the episodes that you haven’t heard. Some of them are great. Some of them are better. Some of them are good. We try not to put any bad ones out. Thank you for giving us your time. And yeah, we’ll see you next week on part two. 

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