A little while ago we had the pleasure of working with a company that shall rename nameless because what happened to them was truly unfortunate. Here was a brand that was well-respected, had been operating for a few years, and was ready to take a leap by adding additional cultivation space. At this time, vertical integration—growing your own cannabis to sell at your own dispensary—was as profitable as ever, so expansion was going to seriously impact their bottom line.

The space was massive, but had issues. The previous tenants had also been a licensed grow and had patched together an HVAC system that was problematic to say the least. AC units would go out  randomly, leaving staff shocked when they’d open a door to a 90 degree room. Electrical upgrades hadn’t been done to code. All of this amounted to a lot of unexpected out of pocket expenses, but they were a smart company that had budgeted for issues just like these.

When things were finally dialed in you could tell in the resulting harvests. Gorgeously dense, trichome covered flower was cranking out and you could see it in the faces of the staff. There’s nothing better for morale than when your rooms are killing it. I remember walking into a trim room and being floored at the aroma coming out of it. Sometimes, you’re politely trying to ignore the smell of hay.

They had produced pounds and pounds of top-of-the-market flower and it was all garbage. It failed pesticide testing.

The company had no clue why: their IPM strategy consisted of state-approved products, they were working with their own clean genetics, and employees had strict protocols for personal cleanliness standards to avoid cross-contamination. They had laboriously cleaned every room before putting anything in there, but their remediation efforts didn’t go far enough. The HVAC system was still circulating pesticides from the previous grow.

It was a six-figure loss for something they couldn’t see.

Even in a brand new facility, you have to consider what possible remediation needs to be done. In California, we talk to farms that worry about the massive amounts of pesticides that are being sprayed on neighboring berry fields. You can fail a state-mandated test for even trace amounts of a chemical you’ve never even seen, so it’s critical to understand what’s going on around you and how to counterbalance it. Otherwise, you’ve got pounds of incredibly sticky potpourri.