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Marshall Lionti, Redemption Botanicals:

US (IL): “With such stringent testing requirements, air sanitization is essential”

"Illinois has some of the most stringent testing requirements for cannabis in the United States. Therefore, when building the facility, we were very focused on reducing the risk of any contamination and molds," says Marshall Lionti, CEO of Redemption Botanicals. The company has a craft grow license in Illinois and has just started up production. Currently, they are starting with 5,000 square feet of flowering canopy and are hoping to expand to 14,000 early next year. "We use the ProGuard technology to keep our environment clean, we've got them all throughout the facility."

An appealing market
Redemption Botanicals' craft grow license allows the company up to 14,000 square feet of flowering canopy, as well as unlimited space for vegetation, mother plants and cloning. On top of that, craft growers are allowed to extract and infuse inhouse. "In other markets, it is often the case that the licenses are split into different businesses. The combination of Illinois being a limited license market and the craft grower license allowing all those activities made it one of the most appealing markets for me participate in," Marshall says.

About two years ago, the state's applicants received their craft grow licenses. "We were able to complete the entire interior buildout and get operational approval within about 7 months. This year, at the end of April, we brought our first plants into the building." The company's phase 1 includes 4 flower rooms (a total of 5,000 square feet of flowering canopy), a mother room clone room, and 1 vegetation room. "The state requires us to operate for 6 months to show that we can grow a good product and sell at least 50% of what we produce," Marshall explains. "After that, we'll get the greenlight to expand with 5 more flower rooms (totaling 14,000 square feet of flowering canopy) and a second vegetation room."

Air sanitization
Marshall explains that the facility includes some state-of-the-art technology. "Cultivation has come a long way in the last five years and we wanted to lean into the available technology. First of all, air sanitization is essential," Marshall says. "The reason we went for the ProGuard technology is because of the stringent testing requirements in Illinois. We wanted to take every precaution we could to stay ahead of any contamination, so we've stacked the rooms full of the ProGuard units, which enable us to keep a clean environment. I had used the technology before when I grew on a smaller scale in Colorado and was very pleased with the results. Now moving into a much larger facility, it's critical to have air sanitization in place."

Mike D'Ambra, Founder of Innovative Solutions, explains one of the main things that makes ProGuard different from other technologies: it was specifically designed for high humidity cannabis cultivation environments. "What makes the ProGuard technology unique is that as humidity levels increase, ProGuard is able to also increase its sanitization output. This allows cultivators the ability to run higher humidity levels while increasing their sanitization protection to minimize contamination risks. Other products do not have the ability to do this and often become less effective as humidity increases. We also use an 'active' sanitization process that constantly seeks and destroys pathogens throughout the entire room. This gives growers the peace of mind of knowing their rooms are being protected 24/7. Our active sanitization process is continually protecting against mold and mildew which makes it ideal for helping cultivators grow a higher quality product and maximize their yields. We love working with Marshall and the team at Redemption Botanicals because they are truly focused on growing the highest quality product and we are honored to help play a part in their success."

For lighting, Redemption Botanicals chose the Fluence VYPR 3P lights. "They're very high efficiency fixtures and we were able to make use of a rebate program. We also used 4 inch insulated steel panels. That has been the new standard, it's not typical to see studs and drywall in cultivation spaces anymore."

When it comes to the irrigation room, the company worked with Demeter Designs to develop the layout. "Different nutrient recipes are stored in batch tanks. As cannabis grows throughout its life cycle, it wants different ratios of the inputs. More Nitrogen upfront and more Phosphorus towards the end. So we have different recipes that are available in all rooms. That way, the plants can be given what is needed at any given time."

For HVAC, the facility makes use of Trane units that don't only heat and cool but also do dehumidification. "That means that there are no dehumidifiers inside the building. The outdoor units use hot gas reheat and hot gas bypass to dehumidify the space without having standalone dehumidifiers in the building."

Getting started
With the first part of the facility ready, it's now time to start up production. Cultivation officially started at the end of April. With a team full of cannabis enthusiasts that are proud of their craft grow, the company is excited to supply the market by the end of the year. "Up until now, the Illinois market has been supplied by MSOs. The prices are high while the cannabis quality is oftentimes substandard. Craft growers now have an opportunity to focus on the high quality instead of quantity. We look forward to offering a superior quality product at a competitive price."

For more information:
Redemption Botanicals
Instagram (coming soon): @redemptionbotanicals
Email: [email protected]

Innovative Solutions
Instagram: @proguardofficial