The burning questions: A 420 Feature with Cannassentials CFO Myron Chadowitz

The marijuana industry is booming and, with many states legalizing cannabis in some form, things only seem to be looking up even more. One of the premiere cannabis farms in the country is Cannassentials, located in Eugene, Oreg. Having won multiple awards in the last few years, Cannassentials is truly one of the top farms in the industry and, on April 20- that’s right- 4/20, Cannassentials CFO, Myron Chadowitz took some time to answer a few questions for us. FRR: First off, happy 420! Thank you for taking time to answer some of my questions. MC: I’m very excited to speak with you! – No problem – sorry for the huge delay! FRR: Cannassentials looks like it’s become a powerhouse in the cannabis industry. Starting at the beginning, what went into building the company and farm to the level that it has become? MC: A lot of hard work!  We started with three partners, Shane and Will (who have been growing together in the medical side of things for years) and Myron, Shane’s cousin, who has years of business and financial background.  The three of us decided in May of 2015 to give the business a try.  We started with basic outdoor hoop houses and built everything by hand ourselves.  In April of last year, we took on three investors (all family members) to help us cover the costs of the buildout.  Now we have two climate controlled greenhouses and 6 hoophouses.  FRR: How did you get involved with Cannassentials? If you’ve been there since the start, where did the idea for Cannassentials originate and come from? What made you want to go into this as a business? MC: I am one of the original partners (Myron).  Will came up with the name Cannassentials as a combination of Canna and Essential.  We wanted a new word that we could trademark.  I knew that Shane and Will grew the best weed that I found in town so I encouraged them to take it to the next level….once they realized that they needed business help, I joined in. FRR: The farm is also a certified organics farm? What does the process entail to make the farm certified? MC: The farm that we rent land on is Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth.  You cannot certify cannabis as organic, so we have not done so. FRR: There are currently 21 dispensaries carrying Cannassentials. What do you look for when it comes to a new dispensary. Do they contact you? Do you have someone who looks for new business relationships? What goes into finding a new dispensary? MC: We actively seek out dispensaries and we also go plenty of inquiries.  We look for a store that will appreciate our craft cannabis, that is far enough away from our current customers to not cause any competition.  We have a Brand Ambassador (Caely) on staff, that visits prospective new clients (as well as existing) to make sure that the store is a place we want to be and to make sure the staff understands what we sell. FRR: Before working with Cannassentials, did you have experience with cannabis or did you get involved with it after joining staff? MC: I have smoked cannabis for 30 years…..grown it in college – my background is business FRR: When someone is looking to join the Cannaseentials team, what do you look for in potential employees and staff members? MC: Right now we are fully staffed, but when we do hire, we are looking for people who understand that we are a farm family, this is not a job, it is a way of life.  Our staff are extremely dedicated to the idea that great cannabis can be grown while trying to have a low impact on the earth.  We pride ourselves in thinking about how our product effects the land, the air and our customers and our employees understand that as well.  FRR: There are numerous strains offered by Cannassentials. Can you tell me what goes into making, growing and perfecting a strain? MC: We currently get strains from clones that we have had, or from seeds.  We are always evaluating our strains to pick the best for our growing techniques and for their marketability.  Many strains sell well, but don’t do well in our greenhouses.  Alternatively, we have strains that do great but don’t have curb appeal.  Strains that don’t make the muster are tossed.  They need to grow well in our conditions, produce a reasonable amount of yield, taste and smell great and be distinctive.  Seeds take a lot more work, as we have to first sex them (you only can flower females) and then they have to be phenotyped (sorted out for the best characteristics).  This is a long process, but the rewards are huge as the plant are typically much stronger. FRR: Where do you come up with the ideas for new strains and how often do new strains come about? MC: We are always on the hunt for new strains, talking to friends and breeders.  We are currently working with 25 new strains to find the best set for our farm.  We typically only run one or two new strains a harvest, but we are using the summer to find some new beauties….everyone is REALLY excited! We are not yet doing our own breeding as all of our energy is being tied up with growing fantastic flower…however we have close friends that do breed and we plan on doing so in the future. FRR: If someone is just coming across the products and strains Cannassentials offers, which strain would you recommend to someone new? What are some of your favorites and why? MC: That is a hard one – it really depends on what they are looking for.  Guava Chem is a great one as the flavor and smell are out of control and the high is a great hybid, but a bit on the strong side.  Sour Kush is a favorite for people who like to be hit really hard… Essential Sensi is a favorite for creative people…… FRR: Two of the strains that really stand out to me are the Chocolate Rock and Cannassentials Cookies. Are these flavors what I think they are? If so, who thought those up? Those are awesome! MC: Chocolate Rock was a strain that we found in Southern Oregon.  We do not know the lineage, but it definitely looks and tastes like a Chocolate Thai x Afgooey .  It is a delicious fruity smoke that hits pretty hard! Cannassentials Cookies is our version of Platinum Girl Scout Cookies.  We had to change the name to follow Oregon State Law that restricts the use of names that are related to children’s things.  It is an extremely frosty version of GSC (Durban Poison x OG Kush).  Unfortunately the yields are very small, so we only run it once in a while….. FRR: Have any of the strains you offer been harder to create and make than others? Cannassentials cookies is a tough one, Cherry Kush and Nice Dream were two we really liked smoking, but just were too hard to grow to make them worth continuing. FRR: We’re getting to a point where cannabis is becoming more socially acceptable and legalized in numerous states. What does this mean to you as a cannabis professional? MC: We changed our entire marketing to reflect a bigger client base of more professional people, as this is one of the results of this acceptability.  Our old branding was very hippy 60’s, we have now moved to a more clean 70’s throw-back that plays well in all communities.  As the acceptability increases, the market allows more specialty and craft growers like ourselves that are doing things differently have more of a market open up. FRR: Of all the awards Cannassentials has received, are there any or one that means more than the others? What award would you like to win that you haven’t yet? MC: I can’t put any award on top of the others.  The Dope Cup was great as it is a national magazine and had independent judges,  However the Ganjacup wins show that our ability to grow in all different conditions.  We have the Cultivation Classic this Friday…we are really hoping to place in this completion as it is strictly for Soil Grown/ no synthetics cannabis!  We entered our Guava Chem and Bubblegum strains….. FRR: When it comes to being nominated for these awards, do you enter or do you GET nominated? Do they contact you or do you contact them? MC: We find the contests and submit the samples. FRR: What are the future goals for Cannassentials? What haven’t you accomplished that you still want to? MC: Our goals are to pay back all of our loans J, provide a good living to all of our employees and ourselves and champion beyond organic growing.  We are constantly working towards having as few outside inputs as possible, creating a more closed loop system.  We would love to start using more alternative energy sources as well. FRR: Thank you so much for taking time for me today. Happy 420 and good luck on everything in the future! Hopefully we can connect again down the road and we can try some Cannassentials products! I have my eye on the Sour Kush, Berry White, Blue City Diesel and Orange Haze!