Classic genetics like Bubba Kush Pre-98 and OG Kush strains will be available worldwide when two powerhouses join forces. On September 21st, Colombia-based multinational juggernaut Clever Leaves announced a partnership with legacy brand House of Kush to become the exclusive breeder and distributor of genetics worldwide.
Clever Leaves will produce genetics for House of Kush, expanding its reach outside of the United States and Canada.
Clever Leaves will be cultivating House of Kush genetics in facilities in Colombia and Portugal over the next three years. Clever Leaves’ footprint is global, with smokable bud already being sold in Germany, Israel, and Australia.
Clever Leaves will produce House of Kush’s signature strain – Bubba Kush Pre-98 – as well as other classics like San Fernando Valley OG Kush. There are many different theories, but Bubba Kush hit the market in the ’90s, known for its sedative effects. People have turned to it to help with pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
The scale is massive: Clever Leaves has a cultivation area of 18 hectares (44.4 acres) in Colombia. More importantly, the company holds EU Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification from Colombia’s National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute – Invima, and Good Agricultural and Collecting (GACP) certification practices).
In Portugal, Clever Leaves operates approximately nine million square feet with 260,000 square feet of greenhouse facilities. They also have regulatory privileges there with a license from INFARMED IP, the Portuguese pharmaceutical regulator, with (EU-GMP) certification and are (GACP) certified.
House of Kush genetics
The partnership will make House of Kush genetics available to a wider market. “Going international was really a big step,” says Steve Gardner, co-founder and chief sales officer of House of Kush. “Clever Leaves are doing such a good job. And we were so impressed with them. And we really have been working on this deal for almost a year. But when you’re connected to a group like that, it can take you anywhere.” Gardner’s roles as a serial entrepreneur, consultant, investor in sports and entertainment stretch back 30 years.
“I would echo that sentiment and just point out that other countries are legislating faster and have more open, flexible laws than what we’re currently seeing in the US,” said House of Kush co-founder and chief executive officer Reggie Harris. “Being able to get there early in our growth strategy not only helps us improve our status as a US company, but everyone is in the process of spreading that knowledge and product and being able to go out there. So [it’s as much of an] Exposure type, as there is also a financial advantage that the two somehow fit together. It’s not one without the other.” Harris’ career as an executive in sports and entertainment spans two decades.
“Our first introduction to Bubba Kush was actually by Matt Bubba Berger, who was one of the original breeders, and obviously Bubba Kush was part of that founding group that also invented OG Kush,” Harris adds. “And I checked it out and contacted Steve [Gardner] and said, “You know, I got this interesting call, a product opportunity. Let’s sit down and talk about it.’”
Protecting these genetics is another story. While House of Kush has explored blockchain technology and other ways to protect their genetics, there is more value in continuing to build their reputation as a brand.
“The biggest safeguard for us is quality assurance,” adds Harris. “We created a Kush certified program where we go through and tell people these are the recommended ways of growing the genetics, this is the right way, right soil, right water, all that kind of stuff, because we ultimately knowing we can’t protect it nationwide now, there will be someone who could take it, we will lose more money trying to defend it and then we will just go ahead and be better than them. So we spent a lot of time just trying to have the great genetics and great SOPs around it to make sure it came out right on the other side and up to our standard.”
Regulatory Benefits of Going International
Clever Leaves’ footprint spans the globe, but each facility has a specific purpose. “We have two facilities, one in Colombia and one in Portugal,” said Julián Wilches, Clever Leaves co-founder and chief regulatory officer. “The plant in Portugal focuses on flowers. And in Colombia, the Colombian investment has focused on extracts, raw materials and finished products such as oils. Now we have the opportunity to also export flowers from Colombia, which we plan to do in the coming months. But now it is very important for us and we will have access to additional genetics.”
One of the advantages of Clever Leaves are certifications in Europe. But one of the keys to growth is international expansion to improve the odds of success.
“If you grow it in the US, you can’t export it because of the federal ban in the US,” says Gustavo Escobar, co-founder and chief operating officer of Clever Leaves. “The fact that we can grow it in Colombia and export it for medicinal use opens up the global market. In addition to the USA, we focus on four markets: Australia, Israel, Germany and Brazil. We cannot sell flowers in Brazil. So I would say three markets for flowers: Israel, Australia and Germany. But there are additional markets like Portugal and Italy, UK, Ireland, most likely France and Spain. Now we have Thailand. So the world is moving towards medicine and medical legalization.”
The partnership brings benefits to both companies that were previously not possible.
“Together you can achieve better things,” adds Wilches. “So partnering with people with good genetics and the skills described will give us a better chance of succeeding in these markets. That’s why we believe in partnerships and we believe in working together and building long-term relationships to be in the market with really high quality and good products for the long term.”