Tell me a little about the size and scope of your facility. What is the focus or specialty?
LEGION Cultivation has about 44,000 sqft of flowering canopy and specializing in sustainably produced indoor cannabis. Our facility runs on 100% California produced renewable energy and incorporates an extremely efficient water catchment and filtration system that allows us to recapture all of our HVAC, dehumidification, and plant run-off. With this system, we recapture close to 90% of our water needs from the environment.
Where do you sell your products?
In California to licensed California Distributors as well as productized to our Licensed Retail Dispensary partners.
How long has your operation been around?
About 12 months – We are still rolling out rooms and will be fully operational in Feb 2021
What was the catalyst or inception to start?
As an organization, LEGION of Bloom was founded by five farmers who had strong ties to California’s medical market before the passing of prop 65 and the newly regulated recreational landscape. As such, we at LEGION have always put quality first and strive to craft cannabis experiences that we would be honored to share with our family and friends.
We had been entertaining the idea of developing a sustainably-minded indoor cannabis facility as far back as 2016 when the LEGION was founded. When our outdoor farm burned down in the 2017 Sonoma County Wildfires, we started looking for ways to make that dream a reality. This facility is the culmination of that endeavor.
How do you feel your start-up went? Smooth? Logistics issues? Team?
With this project phasing in rooms every month as we finalize the buildout, it has been a constant juggle, optimizing systems, and procedures. We are a passionate, driven group, and to be honest, without our highly motivated team that has stayed flexible through the entire process, things would not have gone as smoothly as it has. Sure we have had a few small things come up logistically as we plan our operations around the buildout, but that is just par for the course with turning on a facility of this scope in a rolling thunder fashion.
Did you start with Emerald Harvest or did you start with another brand of nutrients?
We started with Emerald Harvest. We vetted a few different nutrient programs, but Emerald Harvest checked all the boxes for our quality standards and overall ethos. Plus, being a local California Company helped too. You know you got to support local businesses.
How was the quality of the end product? Testing for impurities, THC potency, etc.
We have topped out at 33%THC and had terpene testing as high as 4%. I would say that’s pretty good. We have run individual tests on the individual Emerald Harvest nutrient formulations that we use, and all have come back clean for heavy metals. That is a huge deal for us. It’s not just about the THC; when it comes to crafting quality cannabis, you have to know that what you are giving the plants is also good for the consumer.
Why did you decide to switch to/use Emerald Harvest?
While we are ramping up, bringing on each phase of the facility online, we wanted to know that our nutrient line would not be the source of any issue as we scaled up. Emerald Harvests’ reputation speaks for itself. It also helped that our friends in the industry had nothing but great things to say about the product line.
Did you use our straight out-of-the-box nutrient feeding program or did you already have an established regimen that you followed?
We use it straight out of the box for the most part. We tweak things here and there for different cultivars based on their flowering times and specific nutrient uptake requirements, but these changes are minor. We do use a few additional added products for the last two weeks during the flush.
Has Emerald Harvest had an effect on your staff training, consistency of feeding, or operational efficiency? Do you find the size of the product line a benefit? (only a few bottles to handle the whole grow – only one Bloom Booster, for example)
It’s a pretty simple program, all things considered. The fact that the basic program works well with many different cultivars does make the facility operationally a lot smoother to manage. It seems trivial, but simple is always better when it comes to efficiencies at scale.
Have you noticed a difference with your end products in switching to Emerald Harvest? Or have your end-users noticed the quality difference?
Yes, Emerald Harvest produces higher resin content than with previous lines tested.
Is clean Testing on the minds of consumers? Or do they just assume that all medical cannabis is safe and clean?
Yes, clean testing is definitely on the minds of the consumer. With Californias strict testing guidelines, it is safe to say that most educated consumers know that if they are purchasing from licensed retailers that the end product that reached them is clean and safe. But that does not mean that going above and beyond when it comes to quality does not go unnoticed.
How significant is the Emerald Harvest piece to ensuring your final product is as clean or as potent or just the best product it can be?
Very significant, we take our nutrient regime extremely seriously, and Emerald Harvest has never let us down. Clean testing, excellent yields with high THC and terpene %’s are big factors in our success, and as I said before, Emerald Harvest Checks all the boxes.
What are some specific wins or changes or benefits you have gained with Emerald Harvest or some of its specific products?
Emerald Harvest has consistently produced high resin content and potency across a wide variety of cultivars grown. It is simple to follow and easy to use, and for us, that is a winning combination.
How important are costs vs higher quality cannabis? Does the consumer notice the difference? Is it worth the extra money to have high-quality nutrients, lighting, etc.?
In a competitive market like California, quality is king, and for us, innovation is essential. We use three different lighting systems in our facility. One hybrid LED CDL lighting system and two other LED fixture systems. With the all-LED rooms we have been experimenting with, we have loved the results. When you combine this technology with a quality nutrient program and a sustainably minded operation, we think that is something that consumers are searching for right now
We have decided to go with 100% plant-based consumer compostable mylar bags instead of glass with our LEGION Flower line because it is a more sustainable option. This decision eliminates all single-use plastic making it a zero-waste product line. Glass is very costly energy-wise to recycle. Depending on the local recycling service requirements that each county uses a lot of times, the plastic tops are not recycled at all.
This is all to say that we feel the consumer is looking for responsible options for the cannabis they consume. So while potency will always be king, we are always looking at ways to minimize our environmental footprint and show the end connoisseur that we value the planet as much as we value their experience.
What is the future of your grow? Where is it going or where do you envision it to be?
We are looking to set the bar on how indoor cannabis can be produced sustainably, then push past it.
As I said before, innovation is extremely important to us. With this facility already setting high standards for sustainable practices, the future for us will be dialing in and eventually updating all of our rooms to full LED technology and optimizing our environmental footprint. Would love to use this facility as a model of how to build a Carbon Neutral Indoor Facility.
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Watch the interview from Cannabis Business Times
Grower Spotlight: Legion of Bloom