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Michael Chappelle, Cannabiotix Los Angeles

A perpetual cycle operation: "We harvest every 6 days"

To be successful in the cannabis industry, knowledge alone is not enough. The thing that should come together with that is indeed passion. This is what has always driven Michael Chappelle throughout his life. “I started growing cannabis when I was in high school,” he says. “The moment I started, I felt that something clicked: it was love and passion for this plant.”

The search for a location
Therefore, the moment the cannabis industry was legalized in California, Michael began immediately to look for a location to set up his grow. “I was in Los Angeles and searching for a location where to set up the operation,” he explains. “Unfortunately, most of the owners of the buildings I visited were not interested in renting their places for a cannabis operation.” This is when Michael and founder, Neema decided to go to a small industrial town just outside of LA. “I literally walked to every building there and talked to the owners. Most of them shut their door to me. I was getting particularly stressed out. Until I saw this old, nasty-looking, broken down warehouse. So, I walked inside and got in contact with the owner, who gave me the green light. And this is how Cannabiotix Los Angeles started.”

Giving new life to an old building
Thus, Michael put together what he calls the ‘treasure map of success’: he designed the facility and prepared the ground for setting up the cultivation. “The building was in a very bad shape,” he points out. “So, we spent two and a half years to build it out. Most of the time was also spent getting the permits with the regulatory authority. Since we were one of the first cannabis operations, regulators were navigating uncharted territories, and therefore it took twice as long to get what we needed from them. Eventually, everything turned out great: now we have a really beautiful state-of-the-art indoor facility of 74,000 sq. ft., with 3 large veg rooms and 16 flower rooms. On top of that, we also have a 2,400 sq. ft. R&D room where we carry out propagation processes. Just today, for instance, my guys have cut 500 clones.”

The Cannabiotix facility is a perpetual cycle operation. “We harvest every 6 days, and we constantly keep the cultivation in rotation,” he points out. “Everything is done in a system where I am in and out of the field. It is a combination of working and planning, especially planning: it is of the utmost importance to be constantly on top of everything. For instance, every room needs to be filled at its full capacity; if a room doesn’t have plants for even one day, then that represents a loss of money. Together with my team, we are constantly focused on improving the facility for the better.”

Michael indeed remarks that they follow the principle of less manpower with better results. “This is a very competitive market, and only through strictly following the SOPs and having an equally strict IPM regiment, you can stay ahead of the competition.”

The importance of passion
Michael continues to explain that a crucial part of the operations are his employees; that is why he trains them with extreme care. “Everything we do here is done with love and care, everyone is passionate about this industry,” he says. “We extensively train our employees. We believe it is up to us to educate them not only on the processes that we carry out, but also on our core values. And to do something like this, it takes up to one year. It is always about troubleshooting the problems, and it is on us to make sure that they not only do their job properly, but that they also understand what they are doing.”

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Michael Chappelle