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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Emerald Jane’s expands production with new facility

John Nelson The Spokesman-Review
Chances are you haven’t seen much Emerald Jane’s premium flower cannabis on the market. That’s about to change. The Western Washington grower is ramping things up, with a new state-of-the-art facility in Tacoma that will expand production nine-fold over its previous location in Lake City, north of downtown Seattle. “If I had my way, we’d have our product in 300 stores statewide,” said Marty Duffy, facility manager and grow master for Emerald Jane’s. Previously, the company’s high-end weed was available only at a few locations in the Seattle area. Starting in October, consumers across the state will see its product in more shops. It’s all part of a business reboot. Emerald Jane’s has its fans, but it’s more expensive than many competitors. As retail cannabis prices continue to drop around Washington, the company needed to expand and streamline production in order to lower prices, Duffy said. “We only sell premium cannabis,” he said. “We know our product is better, but we were more expensive. We couldn’t compete. “Right now, you’re only seeing the strong survive in this industry,” Duffy added, pointing to Spokane Valley’s GrowOp Farms, maker of Phat Panda, as an example of a competitor that continues to expand on the marketplace. “They’re everywhere now.” Lowering production costs and offering more choices is Emerald Jane’s business plan to become a statewide player. The company is even considering building an additional grow facility on its Tacoma site, Duffy said. “Our goal is to move product,” he said. “We need to be like Walmart instead of Nordstrom.” The new grow facility, built on the site of a former hockey rink, will make Emerald Jane’s a Tier 2 grower with 10,000 square feet of soft canopy. Duffy designed the facility himself, with the help of an architect, to automate watering and feeding of the cannabis plants. Harvests will be streamlined through a system of movable racks. While many new systems will ease production, Duffy said Emerald Jane’s will still invest in operations that are important to the company brand. Plants are hand-trimmed and harvested flowers are jar-cured, sealing in freshness, Duffy said. In addition, Emerald Jane’s will continue to use no pesticides, relying on biological pest control instead. Duffy uses “Ulti-Mites” from Natural Enemies, a company in Oregon. As he held a package of mites, he pointed to tiny insect crawling out onto a cannabis plant. “These little guys work 24-seven,” he said. Part of the company’s expansion will feature more strains that Duffy believes will set Emerald Jane’s apart from its competitors. To that end, he’s paying attention to what’s trending on Instagram and Twitter. “Social media is so important in deciding what’s hot,” he said. “Having the right strains is critical.” Among the new flower that Emerald Jane’s will offer is Blue City Diesel, Mimosa, Watermelon Gelato, Wedding Pie, Lava Cake, Gelato Cake and Orange Cake. “Everyone loves their cakes,” Duffy said with a laugh. Emerald Jane’s also will look to expand its extractions and edibles at an on-site lab and kitchen facility. While many companies offering extractions use run-of-the-mill weed to cook the cannabis and distill the THC, Duffy believes Emerald Jane’s will start with far superior weed grown on premises. “That’s where I’m going to be able to beat everyone else,” he said confidently. Depending upon how it goes, Emerald Jane’s new grow facility may serve as a test case for expansion into other states. “We want to use this as a model to build more,” he said. “There’s nothing out there that compares to this.”
John Nelson is a longtime journalist, having worked at major news operations in Spokane, Memphis and Seattle. He is a freelance journalist, writing about outdoors recreation, marijuana and recreational vehicles. Check out his travel blog Going Mobile.
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