Joe Stoltz, Steve Dullanty and Tim Lamb never really gave much thought to marijuana, let alone how to grow the stuff on a commercial scale.
“I’m a construction guy – I even coached basketball,” said Stoltz, a co-owner of Mean the Green, a cannabis farm southwest of Spokane between Cheney and Spangle. “None of us came from a marijuana background at all.”
Dullanty also worked in construction and flooring, and his wife Diane was a school principal. Lamb sold MRI machines and related medical technology.
Things have definitely changed for everyone over the last four years.
“We’ve pretty much been drinking from a fire hose with everything we’ve been doing and learning. But at least now it’s becoming more like a garden hose,” Stoltz said.
This summer, Mean the Green introduced its first indica, sativa and hybrid strains to cannabis retailers throughout Washington. The owners have spent the last few years on perfecting their plants and growing methods, along with selling to local processors for use in extracts and concentrates.
The farm includes indoor and outdoor elements. Ten hoop houses insulate plants but the roofs can be adjusted to let in extra sunlight as needed. Mean the Green has a Tier 3 license, which means it legally can grow up to 30,000 square feet of plants.
Mean the Green’s ownership focuses on maintaining ideal growing conditions, using natural methods to create healthy soil and consistent strains. They have been working seven days a week getting everything ready for Mean the Green’s public debut.
Besides saving on labor by doing much of the work themselves, the effort also provides hands-on knowledge and experience of every step of the process, from planting to cultivating to drying and trimming and packaging.
“We’re completely invested in this,” Lamb said. “We had to learn everything the plants will do.”
Stoltz and Dullanty also used their construction backgrounds to build the property’s hoop houses, the raised beds and “miles and miles of fencing.”
Neighbors also benefited from their construction expertise — Mean the Green is part of a group of 10 growers in the same location who share water and growing strategies, and encourage everyone’s success.
When the project first was getting off the ground three years ago, participating farmers also invited a cannabis horticulture expert to provide pointers in proper cloning, planting, soil management and harvesting.
“You really have to come together these days,” Dullanty said. “It really has to be a team effort.”
Some of their wives also help with the growing, the finances and the order tracking — and sometimes remind them to slow down and take a day off once in awhile. Their dogs also enjoy spending the days outside.
“We wake up thinking about marijuana, and think about it when we go to bed at night,” Dullanty said. “It’s such an interesting product.”
The owners are excited about Mean the Green appearing on area store shelves and for consumers to start experiencing their product.
“We already have a following at some of the shops,” Lamb said. “We love what we do.”