“Had we known the demand would be to this extent, we would have directed ourselves to a larger capacity. Now, we’ve already expanded our facility and are hoping to add a new one in the near future,” says Ray Thek, Co-Founder of Quill Labs. The new company has only been operational for four months and has already been overwhelmed by the demand. “Many cannabis growers have previously not had proper access to outsourced, clean, non-black market clones.” Now, Quill Labs offers phenohunted, high-quality clones from a range of popular strains to licensed growers. “We want to help the industry by making outsourced clones and phenohunting more accessible.”
A lack of reliable supply
Ray explains that growers across the U.S. have had a challenging time getting access to reliable cannabis clones. “In some states, even though the plant is legal, it is challenging to find outsourced, legal cannabis clones. There are a couple of companies providing them, but they are often backed up with waiting lists. Moreover, the market is still full of black-market suppliers. So the grower is left with a choice. They can either try to navigate the risky clone market trying to find a reliable supplier. Or they can grow from seeds, do their own phenohunt, and take up 20% of their cultivation space. Therefore, we realized it was high time for us to start up a legal, safe clone distribution.” After a lot of legal research, Quill Labs was born with this mission in mind. “In addition to supplying clones, we also do outsourced phenohunting. We allow people to select their desired varietals and traits, which we will develop for them. This saves growers a lot of time, grow space, and risk of crop failure.”
Within the first three days of client sales, the company had already capped out on their clone capacity. “We are still reeling from that. We are just now catching up and allowing ourselves to take on new customers because we’ve scaled up our facility. The demand is insane for this. Growers have been struggling to find legal and reliable clones. The clones we provide are guaranteed virus-free, and if something happens to them within a certain time period due to planting incorrectly, for example, we will actually replace them. We offer these services as it is incredibly important to have this degree of trust in a market that isn’t used to having easy access to legal propagation material.”
How does it work?
“The simplified version is that we have a process for growing our varietals within the legal threshold of being considered hemp, from the time that they sprout to the time they leave our facility,” Ray explains. “They are grown under a hemp license and are distributed in precise accordance with the local state hemp laws. Once they have arrived at the grower’s facility and get transferred into their Metrc system, they can grow them as cannabis plants under a cannabis license. As mentioned, we’ve done a lot of the legal research, and this type of system doesn’t violate any state guidelines.” Quill Labs makes sure that their clones always have a THC level below 0.3%. “They’re out the door with a full THC profile that qualifies as hemp. As a result, we haven’t run into any issues shipping them and are not expecting to in the future.”
“Had we known that the demand was there to the extent that there is, we would have directed ourselves to a larger capacity,” Ray says. With so many orders, the company has already scaled up their first facility to better meet the demand. “Yet we are quickly approaching our new capacity cap. Therefore, we are hoping to add a second facility in the near future, likely in Colorado. This will expand our capacity and act as an R&D test site.” The company also wasn’t expecting the amount of interest in their phenohunting services. “We would love to have more of a focus on that side of our business as well, as many large-scale growers don’t want to take up their own time and space to do a phenohunt every time they want to add a strain to their portfolio. We would love to grow into a business where newer, small-scale growers come to us for reliable clones and where the seasoned, large-scale growers come to us for their outsourced phenohunting.”
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