Amid a crashing market, one cannabis grower prepares for first harvest

CASSOPOLIS, Mich.– After soaring, Michigan cannabis products are worth half what they were eighteen months ago.

In just one of three grow rooms at Highway Horticulture, the parent company of Cassopolis Dispensary Sunset Coast, breeders have 1,942 plants.

Their first harvest season is upon them and in the next few months they will reduce their hundreds of cannabis strains to around thirty.

Leading growers say offering a wide variety and using the best facilities will help them survive a collapsing market.

“We have 1,942 plants in this room,” said Chief Cultivation Officer, Nicholas Luhowy. “They are all individual phenotypes across hundreds of strains at the facility.”

Michigan marijuana breeders like Luhowy are experimenting with the genetics of the cannabis plant to create their best strains yet.

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“Every flavor from coffee to gasoline to horrible flavors you might not like to every fruit and candy is represented in cannabis,” Luhowy said. “You have to run a massive pheno farm like this to find the strains that have these flavors.”

But Luhowy said so many new companies now have too much Product.

“When we started here, we knew that price pressure was inevitable for a young market,” he said. “18 months ago the wholesale flower trade was almost twice as valuable as it is today.”

He said many new businesses are all growing similar, if not the same, strains of marijuana.

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“You see a lot of startup companies that just put out medium-quality flowers and drive the price down because they’re not in it for the long haul,” he said.

At Highway Horticulture, Luhowy and his colleagues are trying to combat a crash in cannabis prices.

“The only way to survive this is to differentiate yourself in some way. So if you’re trying to partner with retailers and sell your product, offer something unique,” he said. “If you don’t offer that, they’ll just haggle over the price.”

Luhowy even predicts that the bottom half of the market will fail.

“Anyone looking to make a quick buck without decades of experience will soon learn that there is no such thing as a quick buck in cannabis,” he said.

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But what can cannabis companies do to stay ahead of the crowd? Luhowy said the trick is to have a wide variety of products in the best possible facilities.

“So it comes down to how much you can produce a gram of top quality cannabis for?” he said. “If you want to compete in a collapsing market, that’s what you need to focus on. But it starts with the engineering of your plant…”

Highway Horticulture will harvest for the first time since it opened in about two weeks.

After that, they will harvest 350 to 400 pounds of product each month.

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