Ruby S Wilson
YEARS IN REGION
We have no heating at all and no cooling except for 4 portable air conditioners. We exchange the heat from our flower room into the rest of our facility with exhaust fans and keep the whole building heated during the cold winter months by alternating flowering cycles so that we have ½ of our flowering lights on for 12 hours and the other ½ of our flowering lights on the next 12 hours. We have no other heat in our 4500 sq ft warehouse. We do not grow inside except for clones from April-mid October and only grow outdoors during these warmer months. The only cooling we have is 2 portable air conditioners in our product storage area to keep our product at the correct temperature for proper storage, one portable air conditioner in our processing area and one portable air conditioner in our cloning room to keep the temperature at a standard 69 degrees. The only time we use dehumidification is during the drying process for our large outdoor crop and then we rent 2 large commercial dehumidifiers for about 1 week to assist with that.
Editor’s Note: Companies are scored on energy within their own categories (indoor vs. indoor, etc.), using whole systems analytics scoring methodology, including kwh/gram metric.
Our entry wage for agricultural and processing workers is
$13.00, and our average wages range between $14.00-$20.00 depending on amount of time with the company.
We don’t currently provide healthcare, but it is definitely something we want to do as soon as we are able to pay for it.
We offer 4 weeks paid leave for maternity/paternity leave. We allow our employees to set their own schedules for the most part and if they miss time that they do not have sick leave for they can make it up over the weekend or whenever works for them. We do not set minimum hours so really our employees can work the days and times that work best for them and their specific circumstances.
We offer one week paid sick leave per year for the 1st and 2nd year of employment, 2 weeks paid sick leave per year for the 3rd year and beyond. We also let employees set their own hours for the most part. They can come in to work early if they have to leave early or they can work as few or as many hours as they need to for their specific situation. So far this has worked well for us and our employees seem to appreciate it.
We really operate as a family business and our employees are our family. So far we have not had any issues with this sort of thing but if we did we would deal with it immediately because we want all our employees to feel safe and secure in our work place. For one employee that was going through a break up of her 15-year marriage, I handled all the paperwork for her divorce. For another employee that had housing issues we found a suitable affordable living situation for him and paid all move in costs, expenses, even finding used furnishings and household goods and fully furnishing his new home. We really allow our employees to set their own hours for the most part because we want their “job” to fit in with their real life and not to have the “job” be a restriction on that. No harassment of any kind would be allowed here and so far it has not been an issue for any of our employees.
Our county enacted a moratorium of cannabis businesses right from the start of I502. We (meaning my family) worked with our county commissioners to educate them to what we actually do, how cannabis is cultivated, how many employees the industry would support in our county and even had them come for a tour of our operation. Going to every county commissioner meeting for a few months we were able to get the county moratorium lifted enabling us and the other licensed growers and retail shops licensed here. Unfortunately, after a retail shop opened in the town where our county seat is there was such an outcry from some residents that a moratorium was again placed on any expansion, change or new cannabis businesses opening here but we are working on changing that as well and hope to have some positive movement in the next month or so on that. We are in a light industrial zone area and for the most part get along great with our neighbors except for one business next to us that is absolutely against cultivation and legalization of cannabis and nothing we can say seems to change that at all. We are located in a light industrial zoned area that has very few other businesses around however and since we have large fences that are always locked we have very little interaction with our neighbors. The community prefers to not hear about us at all unfortunately. We have tried to donate money to the local school band and they will not accept it. We do volunteer for local clean up days but no one really knows who we are so they pay very little attention to us.
I am probably the most transparent producer/processor in the state. I have shared my business plan, our site plan, and every single resource that I bargain hunted for. I always try to answer my phone and emails which is one of the biggest complaints of most producers in the state since all of us are so busy and have little time to chat or type on a computer. My partner Hayden has helped multiple other growers put in security cameras and evaluate their security prior to LCCB inspections and even helped a couple of retailers with their security cameras. Just for an example, so many growers utilized my recommendation of Security Camera King camera systems that I am a “star” with the company and they gave us a $500 credit with their company. I am one of the founders of the Cannabis Farmers Council, a grassroots organization to bring the issues facing growers to their attention because none of us have the time to monitor that sort of information with the hours we all work and then to collect the opinions of the majority of growers and bring that to the regulatory process so growers can have a voice at the rule making table. I have hosted a Wednesday night growers online/call in meeting for over a year now to give growers a voice to their frustrations with the processes that affect us all so negatively. I attend many LCCB board meetings or arrange with other farmers to do so in my absence so we can report to farmers about what the LCCB actually discusses and plans so it does not just come at us and affect us in negative ways. We have held a couple of growers in person meetings on the west and east side of the state at our companies’ expense to speak directly with growers to get a sense of what the majority consider the most serious issues affecting us and organized petitions that we send to growers for signatures and present them to the LCCB in an effort to affect the regulatory processes that are put upon us in such a heavy handed manner.
We help every grower we can in any way we can. We have contacted our retailers with availability of other grower’s products to try to get them a foot in the door with retailers when they could not find shelf space anywhere. The formation of the Cannabis Farmers Council is for the good of all growers and I spend way too many hours each month working on issues that face growers as a group, not just as they impact our business. I have been very active to form a Cannabis Commission with the Dept. of Agriculture and it is a specific goal of the Cannabis Farmers Council to get this project moving forward and voted on by farmers as soon as possible which will firmly give cannabis cultivation an agriculture designation which is critical to the industry as well as give more legitimacy to this industry.
I am a champion of legalization and the legal cultivation and sale of cannabis. I spend every waking moment directly involved in this challenge and I do what I can to help every other grower I can. I do not see any other company as competition and in fact feel that we are all in this boat together and what works best for all legalization as a whole is the only path for the process and the industry. Often I put the needs of others in front of my own or our company and even though I work 7 days a week, 10-12 hours at a minimum every day without any pay I am driven to do what I can to help this process work, to create an atmosphere of legitimacy and responsibility to everything that we do.
We use reusable plastic containers that could be utilized for cannabis storage by the consumer or even for other product storage after it is cleaned. We hope to work with retailers where possible to have a recycling program for our containers and we will refill them. Working with the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board to put this into effect.
In terms of operations, we recycle everything we can. We reuse our solo cups even for clones. We have a water cooler for drinking water and washable glasses for our employees to drink out of. We use reusable containers for our products that go to retail shops in the hopes that most of them are reused for containers for cannabis by our consumers. We purchase containers at second hand stores for processing and clean them and reuse them. We use buckets that we clean, sanitize and reuse for our bulk product storage and just about everything we utilize here other than our lighting and gloves are repurposed.
We have no plant waste to speak of because any unused plant material we have we grind up and add to our soil mix and reuse it as compost next year in our outdoor garden. None of our plant waste goes to a landfill.
We use drip irrigation on our plants and keep our watering to a minimum. In the winter months we use less than the basic service for water. In the summer when we have a large outdoor garden our water usage is still very minimal and we have never had a water bill of more than $69.20 for actual water use and that is with a garden with approx. 700 plants. We do not have waste water runoff because we do not over water and have no drains or anything else like that for water to go anywhere else so we are quite conscious of our water usage.
I am afraid with our small company and no profits to speak of yet that we have little opportunity to address this issue. We try to promote legalization in every manner we can. We try to be a vocal advocate for legalization and to always speak our mind about this issue instead of hiding what we do from the outside world as so many growers seem to try to do.
We use no pesticides whatsoever. Outdoors we have no need of pest control mainly due to our windy location. Indoors we utilize predatory mites to deal with spider mite issues and have not used any pesticides at all since we started our predatory mite regimen in November of 2014. For powdery mildew we try to keep a watchful eye for any sign. If we find p/m we attempt to remove any affected growth, then treat the plant with a peroxide/h2o mixture with pretty good results. We rinse all our plants at harvest in a solution of peroxide and water and have no problems with powdery mildew in our microbial testing. For fertilizers we use certified organic compost and enrich that with worm castings, kelp and bat guano.
HEALTH & SAFETY
We use no pesticides whatsoever. We use best practices when we handle our plants and in the drying, processing and packaging of our products including wearing gloves, keeping work areas clean, and all our equipment clean and sanitized. This shows in our success with Q/A testing. We look to the laboratories to glean the best handling procedures and it has worked well for us so far.
WOW! Gets the WOW-impressive industry altruism award, as their willingness to help other 502 companies is simply unparalled and an example of the finest in human cooperation and commitment to the greater good. Additionally, their sustainability is all top notch, their worker relations make us weepy, and in their spare time they have organized a union of farmers. Standing Ovation, WOW!