Extraction Archives - Page 3 of 3 - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 4, 2017


As the concentrate market grows among cannabis consumers, brands are finding that the customers are demanding a better product. Typically, extraction products or cannabis oils in vape pens use the trim, which is basically the marijuana trash. It’s the leaves that end up on the floor of the grow facilities after the trimmers take the good stuff for flower sales.

Joey Shepp, Chief Executive Officer of Humboldt’s Finest said, “Trim used to be thrown away. It was practically free.” Since many producers believed all cannabis oil is basically the same, trim was a profitable choice for a base vape product, while the nice flower was sold separately. However, the popularity of vaporizers because of their cleanliness and convenience is causing a decline in flower sales and an increase in concentrate sales.

Now, customers are pushing back and demanding a better vape experience and that means they want better product going into the oil. Brendan Baker, Founder & CEO of Sunfed Inc., which produces Bumblebee Vape said that with whole plant extraction, consumers are getting a cleaner, truer representation of what the flower is like. “It has a higher cannabinoid content and a higher terpene profile,” he said. “Whole plant extraction, when done properly, gives consumers a better product and better consistency.”

While there is definitely a trend of buyers equating price with cannabinoid content, i.e. “I want the most THC for the least amount of cost,” Baker said the market is shifting. “Sure you can buy 150 proof alcohol, but how does it taste? What’s starting to happen is that people are reintroducing terpenes back into the oil.” Some will argue, that at the end of the distillation process, it’s all the same and when compared to the alcohol market, the same can be said. Yet, there are numerous variations in the spirits market that capitalize on taste and alcohol content.

Another dynamic that is pushing the increased amount of whole plant extraction is scale. “As farmers are scaling up and the amount of pounds they are producing is rising, it’s just more efficient to do whole plant extraction.” He noted that trimming is a labor intensive job, that works on a small scale, but won’t work as California ramps up. “It’s being pushed from craft to a more industrial sized scale,” he said. “They are actually running out of waste product to trim.”

With sun grown farmers seeing margins getting lower anything they can do to cut costs is welcome, including selling the whole plant to processors. However, it does take a certain amount of retooling at the farm to deliver the whole plant and so the farms that are early adopters and first to market will benefit from the switchover. Even on the processor side, Shepp said it takes a higher skill set to do whole plant extractions versus labs that are just distilling trim. “You could do that in a garage,” he added.  The change also brings a new dynamic as to pricing the whole plant when before prices were based on flower vs. trim.

The farmers seem to be pleased with the change. While prices could be lower, the costs are lower as well. Like any farmer, they are generally happier to lock in fewer customers and less processing in order to focus on farming.

“It’s a win-win. A win for the farmer, a win for manufacturing and a win for consumers who get a better product,” said Baker. “It’s Whole Foods versus processed foods.” As the story continues to be about the clean and pure product, Humboldt’s Finest comes to mind. Consumers want to know the farm now and whether it’s sustainable and clean. Baker mentioned they may do bulk oil from Humboldt’s Finest that could be used in other products. Saying it’s quality in and quality out.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 2, 2017


How is it that a man who knew little about marijuana ended up being the CEO of one of the largest privately held cannabis companies in the country?

Ralph Morgan is the current Chief Executive Officer of O.penVAPE, which is the largest branch of Organa Brands. He started his career in healthcare, but as he was climbing the corporate ladder he felt he was moving further away from healthcare.

I started a dispensary in 2009 with my wife because I knew how to speak to people with ailments and basically that was it,” he said. “I had very little experience with cannabis.” His research into the product told him it was the perfect place for entrepreneurial opportunity. “It’s controversial, a little bit of David and Goliath, a little bit of right and wrong. Great opportunity on the upside for a social change.”

His experience as a dispensary owner, however, showed him that there was a gap in the market for products that were consistent, reliable and safe. This encouraged him and his wife to invest in a MIP or manufactured infused product facility and this was the birth of Organa Labs in 2010.

He invested in CO2 equipment. “It was avant-garde at the time,” said Morgan. Then e-cigarettes started taking off and he started playing around that concept. By 2012, Morgan and his partners had decided that vaporizers were the ideal way to consume cannabis. They felt it was going to be a disruptive technology for the cannabis market and they were right. O.penVAPE was born and the company has grown into a business that does over $100 million in sales each year.

The challenge the company faces now is scaling and growing. Morgan said that picking great partners comes from surviving bad partnerships. “At this size, the stakes are just that much higher. A new partnership means we have to get it right, if we get it wrong, can we recover?” he asked. “Each mistake gets more expensive. We made a lot early on, but the costs were low.”

Morgan’s time as CEO is about to shift. “I started as CEO of Organa Labs, but I don’t act in that capacity anymore and I’ll officially change that to President of Wellness and CBD products,” he said. The company is planning on expanding the leadership to people outside of the cannabis industry. Morgan said they are looking for folks that have the experience to grow a company that’s on track to be a billion company in a few short years. “I’ve never done that before,” he said. “Despite my tenacity, I’m not qualified. We need better help. We’ve got one chance to get this right.”

Now he is focusing on the medical vertical and wellness line as he gets back to his roots. “It’s something that is near and dear to my heart.” We should have a full launch by Christmas of this year. It will be called OBA, Organa Brands Alternatives.”

With Organa Brands, it will be healthier alternatives to conventional products. Instead of a 5-hour energy drink like a Red Bull, OBA will have an energy option with CBD in it. Some will have THC in them, but the products without THC will be sold everywhere.

The OBA will have several categories, but none including vapes since that’s already available. There will be pressed pills for energy, sleep, relax and rejuvenation. A gel cap product called “Daily Dose” with a small amount of THC or CBD. A point of purchase kiosk is designed to educate the customer. It has a simple decision tree to help drill down into the product. There will be hard copy, plus a tablet to give information.

Morgan said the culture of Organa is hiring someone with the right attitude, passion and moral compass. “We work way too hard for this to be just a job,” he pointed out. “If you’re just here to make a buck you’re in the wrong industry.” Some of Organa’s company perks include free rides on Uber, matching the 401k two to one and generous pay. Morgan said, “If you have the right attitude, there’s a seat on the bus for you.” He’ll be driving the bus.

StaffStaffAugust 30, 2017


Most cannabis extractions take place in commercial labs with expensive equipment, but there are some appliances that consumer can use at home to create their own infusions. The LEVO is the latest home infusion product that retails for $199 and can infuse any oil or butter with any dry herb material and that includes cannabis.

The company is based in Boulder CO and was founded by Christina Bellman, the Chief Executive Officer of the firm. She has self-funded the development of the product since 2011, while she was working in finance in New York City. She moved the company to Colorado in 2015 and launched a pre-order campaign in late 2016 with the current version that comes in three colors. It is easily the nicest looking of any home infusion product on the market. Plus, a portion of the proceeds go to the Mile High Weimaraner Rescue.

Some of her ideas for cannabis include infusing coconut oil with cannabis to make a body product, using LEVO to make a cannabis and olive oil marinade or even infusing your own butter for home-made edibles. Her latest recipe is for a bath scrub using lavender and coconut oil, while also adding hemp seed oil. Bellman points out that hemp oil can be used to reduce inflammation of the skin.

The LEVO machine doesn’t aerate the oil and butter ingredients and increases the shelf life of the final product. The company also says that the cannabutter produced by LEVO is substantially less green and looks a lot like regular butter.

Its slick design means consumers can leave the product on the counter even if parents come to visit. The machine parts can be placed in a dishwasher for cleaning.

Other similar products on the market include the Magical Butter Machine, Might Fast Herbal Infuser and The Mota Pot. Magical Butter retails for $174 and isn’t nearly as attractive. The Mighty Fast Herbal Infuser costs $159 and works quickly. The Mota Pot looks like a coffee pot and is the cheapest at $55.

Melissa EbanksMelissa EbanksAugust 20, 2017


Future Farm Technologies (FFRMF) announced that its team at the Huntington Park extraction facility had extracted its first CBD batch using organic grape alcohol that gave the result of a highly pure, potent and effective medicinal product.

“We believe this alcohol extraction technology is the best extraction equipment on the market today,” says William Gildea, CEO of Future Farm. “The ability to process large amounts of cannabis flower into highly purified concentrates from day one will immediately benefit California’s medical marijuana community.”

The company posted a video from its extraction facility and can be found here.

Future Farm said, “The extraction equipment is designed to be able to rapidly scale the manufacture of premium cannabis oil to supply the growing demand for cannabis concentrates in the state of California. The equipment utilizes a closed-loop system to produce high quality oil in a high throughput system with minimal maintenance and labor.”

The company had acquired 250 pounds of high quality trim from producers in northern California  of both THC and CBD strains. All the trim was tested to make sure it was free from pesticides and microbiological contamination. Future Farms said that the CBD product was suitable for patients that did not want any THC psychotropic effects. In a statement the company said it was “Working toward completing multiple purchase orders for its whole flower and extracted oil products that are expected to be completed in early September.”

Future Farms also gave an update on its Riverside County facility, which will be harvesting at the end of August. The company said it “Will be able to use this first harvest to execute a side-by-side comparison of its own LED grow lights versus the standard High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights. The HPS lights are currently consuming 1000 watts per light whereas the Company’s LED Canada grow lights are utilizing 550 watts per light. The Company expects to use data from the harvest to better understand the savings potential per kilowatt-hour over the lifecycle of each plant.”

“We are eagerly anticipating the harvest data from the cultivation facility and expect to yield in excess of 1.5-lbs per light. In addition, the extraction operations are developing well and we expect to soon provide our investors with revenue production. We have been working closely with potential customers to understand their needs to ensure that we provide them with the high-quality product that they expect. We are adjusting operations real-time to ensure we can provide them with consistent supply for ongoing long-term contracts,” says Mr. John Sweeney, Future Farm’s COO.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 14, 2017


The following is an interview conducted between Green Market Report Editor-in-chief Debra Borchardt and Cura Cannabis Solution CEO Nitin Khanna and President Cameron Forni. The interview has been condensed and edited for publication purposes.

Cura is a company focused exclusively on cannabis oil. We are not vertically integrated, but we are very horizontally focused on all things related to cannabis oil. We offer products to both consumers that range from 0% THC in a pure CBD product all the way up to 100% THC oil. We have products at the 20% level similar to the low THC edible movement. Really our area of expertise is in the extraction of oils, and then the delivery of oils to consumers through vape cartridges, but then we are also are large wholesalers of oil to edible companies. Most of the large edible companies in Oregon are going into California and Nevada use us to buy cannabis oil for their product.
Our area of expertise is in making really light colored oil that is for the edible companies almost tasteless and has no odor so their food products are not changed. Then we make everything from food spectrum oil to terpene added oil flavored vape cartridges for the consumers.
We work with a lot of different farms and working with farms is one of the ways that we keep the ecosystem strong. To give you a sense a of the size and scale there are about 240 licensed legal farms in Oregon of which 180 of them sell all their trim product to us to make into oil. Cameron just launched our California business back in March/February so he is focused heavily on the supply chain first. The reason being is as states legalize you are moving from a state of mind where pesticides kind of don’t matter to that’s all that matters as you move into a legal infrastructure. Really ensuring a clean supply actually is more effective in gaining market share as the state transitions from medical to legal to recreational than people give it credit for I think.
Looking at the Oregon market, when you say you are a large buyer of trim how many pounds would you say that you buy in a month?
We can assume that Oregon consumes all the excess supplies. Think about it. You have 15,000 pounds of input product. Growers usually are growing 50, 60, 70,000 pounds a month that can spare that much product for oil. So, it’s about 50, 60 70% of product that is being sold for oil in the state.
We are right now looking at data that shows that so far through 2017 in Oregon total sales have been about $45 million of which oils is $29 million and that’s about 50% of the market. And the remaining 50% is flower. Last year flower made up about 65% of the market. So you can see that even in a year the shift has gone from 65% flower to about 50% flower.
I was saying with the Oregon market we convey around 12% of the oil market and growing. In California, we’re seeing about 19% of the market. In Nevada, the new state we entered, we’re seeing around 25% plus just in vaporizer cartridges. Edibles come in shortly after that.
Just for what we are seeing it is very difficult to consume flower in states like Nevada with all the tourism coming in. You can’t really smoke flower with your room. There is really no private place you can consume flower where you are not being a nuisance or burden to people. So that’s why you are seeing a larger increase in the edibles and vaporizer cartridges. That and its more discreet. You won’t get a fine for $250 for consuming in your room. There is just nowhere private and that’s why we have seen an increase in oil sales in the Nevada market.
I think it’s just ironic that you can smoke a cigarette in the casino, but not cannabis.
Our assumption is Nevada is going to be the biggest vape cartridge market probably anywhere because even with edibles the consumer who is traveling to Vegas to have a good time their interest isn’t going out to the concert and the shows and playing gambling and so on. They are not going to take products that have too high a THC level, and so that they are sitting in their room not being able to go out.
Really the product that we are launching in our Nevada market is really our lowest THC product. Its called Social. And the Social product comes in vanilla, watermelon, blueberry, and strawberry. The exhale has no cannabis smell to it, and so the people are able to consume without actually being able to … You can’t pick up on the fact that they are consuming cannabis. It’s a very discreet disposable cartridge and we believe that having that low THC vape cartridge out there as our initial launch product allows people to be both social, which is the name of the product, and be out and about. And that’s why in Nevada that product will actually do better than both edibles and flower because again with edibles you have that issue of how … what it’s gonna take you, and when you’ll get there.

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