US (NM): Cannabis research farm comes to Socorro

On a small farm tucked away in the city of Socorro, 400 cannabis plants are growing in rows of large pots. With more than eight strains and different soil mixtures – some with microorganisms and others with pearlite, peat moss, and a proprietary mixture – the goal of the farm is not retail success but data.

The former alfalfa farm is a research project run by “Weeds. Cannabis Consulting,” a business that helps growers and retailers navigate the complexities of the newly expanded cannabis industry. The goal of the farm is to find new strains that will grow well in the New Mexico heat and test a few already popular strains to find the most economic way to grow them.

What soil mixture will offer the best yield and require less water? How little water can they use to grow cannabis plants in a state where farmers are already struggling to get enough water for crops like chile and alfalfa that have been grown here for generations? After the plants are grown, harvested, and dried, which strains will appeal the most to consumers?

Business partners Pat Davis, an Albuquerque city councilor and chair of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 2019 cannabis legalization working group, and Matt Kennicott, who helped with the expansion of medical cannabis licensing in former Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration, hope the data from their summer growing project will answer these questions. Then they can pass along those answers to consulting clients.

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