Amid a collapsing market, a cannabis grower prepares for the first harvest

CASSOPOLIS, Michigan — Falling from a record high, Michigan cannabis products are worth half the value they were eighteen months ago.

In just one of the three grow rooms at Highway Horticulture, the parent company of the Cassopolis Sunset Coast dispensary, growers have 1,942 plants.

Their first harvest season is approaching and over the next few months they will whittle down their hundreds of cannabis strains to around 30.

Leading growers say offering a wide variety and using the best facilities will help them survive a collapsing market.

“We have 1,942 plants in this room,” said cultural manager Nicholas Luhowy. “These are all individual phenotypes among hundreds of strains at the facility.”

Michigan marijuana growers like Luhowy are experimenting with the genetics of the cannabis plant to create their best strains yet.

“Every aroma, from coffee to gasoline, to terrible flavors that you might not like, to all of the fruits and sweets, is represented in cannabis,” Luhowy said. “You have to do a huge pheno-farm like this to find the strains that have these aromas.”

But Luhowy said so many new companies now have too product.

“We knew when we started here that price compression is inevitable for a young market,” he said. “18 months ago, wholesale flowers were worth almost twice as much as they are today.”

He said many new companies all grow similar, if not identical, strains of marijuana.

“You see a lot of startups that just produce average quality flowers and drive down prices because they’re not in it for the long haul,” he said.

At Highway Horticulture, Luhowy and his colleagues are looking to combat falling cannabis prices.

“The only way to survive is to differentiate yourself in some way. So when you’re trying to work with retailers and sell your product, you’re offering something unique,” he said. declared. “If you don’t offer that, they’ll just haggle over the price.”

Luhowy even predicts that the bottom half of the market will fail.

“Anyone who wants to make a quick buck will soon learn, without decades of experience, that there is no quick money in cannabis,” he said.

But what can cannabis companies do to stay above the fold? Luhowy said the trick is to have a wide variety of products in the best possible facilities.

“So it comes down to how much can you produce from one gram of cannabis, of the highest quality?” he said. “If you want to compete in a crashing market, this has to be your priority. But it starts with engineering your facility…”

Highway Horticulture will harvest for the first time since opening in about two weeks.

After that, they will harvest 350-400 pounds of product each month.

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