Marijuana Business Magazine July 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | July 2019 132 M old and powdery mildew can ravage a cannabis grow and lead to destroyed plants, lost time and money and even total eradi- cation of the crop. Vigilant growers can take these steps to guarantee that microbials don’t contaminate their marijuana: • Ensure the people entering and leaving your facility are not car- rying any harmful pathogens on their persons or clothes. • Control the environment—includ- ing temperature, humidity and air flow—to inhibit the growth of undesirable microorganisms. • Keep your plants healthy and correctly arranged to give them a fighting chance. • Detect early signs and symptoms of mold and mildew to quarantine or eradicate the affected plants in the event of an outbreak. “The best prevention is preventative,” said Mark Krytiuk, president of Nabis Holdings, a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Toronto. “If you have a clean facility with good HVAC, you’re 95% there.” Excluding Unwanted Visitors One surefire way to bring unwanted microbials into your cultivation operation is on the shoes or clothes of a visitor. “That is really the earliest place you can start to be proactive in eliminating any chance for contam- ination,” said Lance Lambert, head of the herbal division for Boveda, a humidity-control product provider for the cannabis industry based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He recommends growers require full-coverage suits and booties for anyone entering the facility. Advanced cultivation rooms also have blow-down rooms with specialized high-pressure fans to knock off any would-be tagalongs from outdoors or other sites. “Anything can ruin a crop,” Lambert said. “All it takes is some sort of exposure, cross contamination of mold, spiders, mites. All those things are really bad for the crop.” Danny Murr-Sloat, founder of AlpinStash, a craft cannabis grow operation in Lafayette, Colorado, also ensures his entryway is clean. Visitors don Tyvek suits or grow-only clothes and shoes before entering the cultivation area. “Everybody suits up,” he said. Murr-Sloat pointed out that powdery mildew is often present in the environment, and “keeping it out is the first step” to maintaining a clean grow room. Environmental Controls Indoor growers have the luxury of controlling all the variables in the grow room. Temperature, humidity and airflow can all influence the proliferation—or lack thereof—of mold and powdery mildew. Lambert emphasizes the importance of keeping air moving in your facility. “That’s what’s most pivotal,” he said. “Any time that moisture is stagnant Best Practices In Cultivation | Bart Schaneman Microbial Matters How cannabis growers can fight mold and mildew Danny Murr-Sloat, founder of AlpinStash, monitors plants for microbial growth at his cannabis grow in Lafayette, Colorado. Courtesy Photo