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Master grower with Western Green Mamba Labs

Discussing the value of tools with Kenneth Johnson

In Adelanto, California, there’s a 12K sq.ft. facility by Western Green Mamba Labs, where cannabis is grown hydroponically. Kenneth Johnson is the master grower of that operation. He has many years of experience with growing cannabis. “I have been a consultant for a long time, which helped me with gaining the necessary experience to run an efficient and successful operation,” he says. “Not many people can rely on such experience, and you can easily see that in some medical cannabis growers who are struggling.”

Kenneth Johnson

According to him, one of the biggest issues in the current cannabis industry is the lack of specialized workforce. “Many people jumped into this industry, but a number of them did not have any previous experience,” he points out. “I have seen many operations where people had money, but not much experience. Most of these people do not know how to grow.”

Valuing tools is the big key
Ken continues explaining that the consequences are that “these people would hire someone to take care of the cultivation. Thing is, a number of them would opt for cheap labor – that is, an unqualified workforce.” According to him, the risks associated with this is that these people would not value the equipment, which is the most crucial part in a cannabis operation. “Unqualified workforce is one of the biggest issues within the cannabis industry,” he points out. “They put people in charge who don’t value tools. There are a lot of younger kids that do not know how to take care of the tools. I think that the main reason is that these ‘younger kids’ have never lost. And what I mean is that I lost a substantial amount of money from not using my tools properly. That allowed me to learn from my mistakes, thus improving my cultivation process.”

The importance of maintenance
From that moment on, Kenneth has been checking, cleaning and calibrating his tools constantly. “The simple act of cleaning the tools every week, or recalibrating the pH tools for instance, has such a huge impact on the overall economy of a cannabis operation and, of course, on the cultivation itself. And this is what I mainly teach to my guys: care.” Kenneth indeed says that he encourages his growers to follow him during the weekly checks so that they can even double check, and thus directly experience the importance of maintaining the equipment. “I want to offer my employees a good career, and I want them to be excellent in what they do. I repeat myself over and over because I want everything to be perfect, and I want my guys to fully understand the importance of what they are doing.”

Coming in to teach
That is why Kenneth particularly appreciated that Bluelab, a company manufacturing measurement tools for the cannabis industry, visited his facility to teach Kenneth’s employees how to use Bluelab’s solutions, and the importance to take care of that. “I understand that it can be annoying when someone keeps telling you how to do things,” Ken explains. “That’s why I think that my guys really benefitted from Bluelab’s visit here. Suddenly, there was someone else, other than me, telling them how important it is to keep the tools clean, and to recalibrate them when necessary.”

“Data is everything”
Kenneth is very happy with Bluelab’s solutions, as they allow him to measure “pH, and EC for instance. These are crucial because they can show you how you are feeding the plants, the level of nutrients, and the uptake ratio. These aspects are extremely important, especially if you follow a custom regimen,” he explains.

Thanks to Bluelab’s measurement tools, Kenneth is able to collect all types of data from his cultivation. “Data is everything, I love data,” he says. “It allows you to put on paper the state of things, how they should be and how they should come out. This information helps you to grow the same quality consistently. In an industry which is highly influenced by pharmaceutical, this is of the utmost importance.”

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