The intelligent greenhouses from POSIBL at work
With the end of 2021 hurting the entire California cannabis industry thanks to an oversupply of wholesale flowers and an increased cultivation tax in 2022, everyone is talking about the future of the industry.
Monterey-based POSIBL is a brand that has weathered the storm. The company has made a name for itself in the California sector by doing things a little differently: The company uses proprietary technologies to build its greenhouses that produce organic cannabis flowers at cost, while offering consumers a sustainable, ethical, and sustainable environment high quality option with continuous harvests all year round. POSIBL’s Smart Greenhouses use the best climate control in their class, require less water per pound of flower, and are three times more energy efficient than indoor growers. The company sells under its own label as well as white label for other brands.
I caught up with CEO Jesus Burrola, who leads the company’s growth strategy in sales and operations, to learn more about what the company is about and what it has in store for the future. Prior to POSIBL, he worked for Beacon Building Products, the largest publicly traded building materials trader in North America, for 15 years.
Why is POSIBL the cannabis farm of the future?
Jesus Burrola: POSIBL creates the farm of the future through our high-tech greenhouse construction and the way our business provides bespoke solutions for brands. With a state-of-the-art greenhouse containing the most advanced technology in agriculture, we are breaking the ground so that we can do more with less. This technology includes the most efficient LED lighting, an energy cogeneration system, a water circulation system, control automation and AI technology for plant visibility. We believe that with the right technology, you can grow indoor-quality cannabis in a much more sustainable and cost-effective manner. For the end consumer, this ultimately means better quality at lower prices.
Sustainability is important to you. What steps is POSIBL taking to be sustainable?
JB: Our goal is to grow the perfect flower in a sustainable way all year round. Most consumers are unaware of the very large carbon footprint of flowers grown indoors. It is estimated that 1 pound of indoor flower has the equivalent carbon footprint of driving 8 times from the west coast to the east coast. An interior design makes no use of the natural environment, so the conditions are created through the use of devices that consume a lot of energy. For example, in a greenhouse you will maximize the natural sunlight and add only enough to achieve the ideal level; and with the water recirculation you are actually using the same water several times. One of the very interesting ideas that we have implemented is the use of an energy thermal power station from natural gas on site. When natural gas is burned, CO2 is produced, which in turn is required by plants and is ultimately converted back into oxygen through photosynthesis.
Let’s talk about genetics! What unique varieties are you bringing to the CA market? Tell us about your relationship with growers and what it means to make crafts on a large scale?
JB: There are two current projects that I’m looking forward to. First, through a collaboration with Space Coyote, the Sativa Preservation Society is a project that aims to preserve some of the legendary basic sativa strains that are being lost due to crossbreeding with easier-growing, faster-harvesting, and THC-rich indica strains. We grew three Haze strains – Cuban Black Haze, A5 Haze, and C5 Haze – and these are 12-14 week strains that you can’t find on the market with an incredibly energizing high. We are very excited to be working with a brand like Space Coyote, who cares about consumer education and preservation of these important strains, as well as the breeders Skunktek and J-Trees who made this project possible. We are happy that people experience these magical strains.
The second project is a collaboration with MeanGene from Freeborn Selections. We’re helping bring his legendary Root Beer, a variety that has become an urban legend among cannabis connoisseurs. There is tremendous curiosity as very few people have ever smoked it, but the reviews on this flower are superb and we are proud to partner with MeneGene to produce it on a large scale and ultimately place it in the hands of consumers .
Both projects share the common theme of working with incredible long-time growers and providing a great channel to the legal market through partnering with POSIBL and the brands we work with. This is the central vision of POSIBL.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a cannabis brand but doesn’t know how to do it?
JB: There is a way forward and a supply chain in place that they can rely on and an alternative way that simplifies licensing requirements. Just like a beverage brand doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel and buy a cane sugar farm, you can successfully launch a cannabis brand in California by partnering with a dedicated B2B grower and co-packer who understands the technicalities of genetics, large scale cultivation, Processing, testing and packaging. We work closely with several successful asset-light brands that focus on their branding skills and at the same time use specialized partners along the supply chain. The goal is to focus on the area where you can add the most value to the consumer.
Christ, how has your experience so far prepared you for the cannabis industry?
JB: My previous experience was as a distributor for small and large contractors. As a distributor who delivered exactly the same products as the competition, good service and relationships were the only real differences. In the construction industry, things rarely go as planned, so the ability to solve problems, be resourceful, and maintain strong, trust-based relationships separate the good dealers from the bad. It’s no different with cannabis, there’s no shortage of good cannabis on the market, but being able to deliver consistency, provide production transparency, solve problems, and partner with brands to help them on the Success in the market is what sets us apart from most growers.
You recently hosted a Cannabis Investor Summit in Monterey and a tour of your Salinas campus. Tell us about the summit and all the important findings from the event.
JB: Our most recent investor summit was a great success. The aim was to educate investors about the challenges and opportunities of cannabis, introduce our shareholders to our partners and offer everyone involved opportunities to network and discuss the way in which we believe this industry is developing. The legal cannabis industry is still in its infancy and there is no guide on how best to move forward, especially given the ever-changing legal challenges and obstacles. We believe we can help shape the evolution of the industry by bringing breeders, brands, distributors, gene providers, regulators, investors and other stakeholders into one room to talk and share ideas about their challenges and opportunities. As pioneers in this new legal industry, we all have a tremendous responsibility to shape the future of cannabis, and our goal is to make a contribution to this POSIBL.