Meet the grower: Cedar Creek Cannabis
The folks at Cedar Creek Cannabis, a new Tier 2 grower in Vancouver, were nice enough to invite me out for a visit Thursday afternoon – and I have to say it’s an impressive operation.
The company’s first batch of buds, hash oil and dabs should head to stores in the next week or so. The buds are beautifully trimmed, and Mark Michaelson, head of operations, gave me a sniff test that was eye opening.
Michaelson, who first grew indoor marijuana in the early-to-mid 1980s, is especially proud of his Jack Herer strain.
Through his contacts he was able to get his clone strain from Herer’s son, which Cedar Creek Cannabis is now cultivating.
Herer was a marijuana legalization advocate and well-known author of the book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” about the subject. He died in 2010. Medical growers developed the strain to honor him.
“It’s my favorite strain,” Michaelson said. “I love the smell. It smells so good.”
Michaelson’s Herer strain has a fruity, almost-flowery smell that’s markedly different from the two other strains he showed me. The lab THC results were between 21 and 24 percent, he said.
The farm’s OG Kush, which had a lot that hit 31.5 percent THC and generally ranged from 20 percent up to that level, has a solid earthy-forest-pine aroma. The smell was dramatically different from the Herer strain.
And after those two he handed me a sample of the King Tut strain, which hit between 21 and 27.9 percent THC in the lab.
“This is really cheesy,” he said, which was surprisingly accurate, along with an added bit of skunk.
The different scents of cannabis are determined by terpenes, which are oils that give many plants (not just cannabis) their aroma and color. Leafly.com has a good article about them here: Terpenes: The Flavors of Cannabis Aromatherapy.
Cedar Creek Cannabis also spent a good chunk of change on a CO2 extractor for oils and dabs. The method is cleaner than the more common butane extraction methods.
The business was launched by Ann’ette Pedigo and Michaelson, who are partners in both sense of the word.
Michaelson’s daughters and Pedigo’s daughter-in-law are also involved in the family business. One of Michaelson’s daughters, Courtney Michaelson, owns her own Tier 1 farm in Longview called BareNaked Bud.
“I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur,” Pedigo said, adding that she and Michaelson both created several small businesses over the years. “I thought ‘what’s going on with this whole 502 thing?’ And then I talked to the family and I just thought ‘let’s do this!'”
She encouraged the rest of the family to get involved, and helped Courtney Michaelson get her application together.
“We’re all pretty much on the same page when it comes to this,” Mark Michaelson said.
When asked how the 55-year-old felt about his kids smoking pot and sampling his products, he said he was just fine with that.
“I’d much rather see them smoking pot then see them out drinking and driving,” Michaelson said. “And they’re all really sharp girls.”
The family also recently hired Paul Arnold, a medical grower from New Mexico, to be the head grower.
“He really believes in quality, clean rooms, cleanliness,” Michaelson said.
“My big thing is I want to put out the best quality product I possibly can,” Arnold said. “It’s important for me to be with the plants every day, monitoring things.”
The company has 32 seed types and 52 strains to work with, although it hasn’t experimented with them all yet.
Growers, when they start up, generally try several strains and see which ones work best with their growth medium, lighting and other methods.
Two strains didn’t work out so far: Jesus OG and Afgoo, Pedigo said.
“Several of our seeds that we’re going to be starting are very high grade medical strains, with high CBD (and other cannabanoid levels),” she said.
The company is also getting a lot of demand for use of its extraction equipment. As the price of buds continues to drop in the marketplace, a lot more of the product offerings will move toward hash oil for vape pens, dabs for smoking and edibles, which make up a large percentage of Colorado’s industry.
“The market is going toward edibles, and I want to make high quality oils that can be made into edibles and other products,” Michaelson said.
Once they’re at full production, the company hopes to aim toward the gourmet cannabis market, much like Vancouver’s CannaMan Farms, which is also strongly focused on high quality strains.
With the local market still overloaded with product from the outdoor grows, stores probably won’t be buying large lots from Cedar Creek Cannabis right off the bat. If customers want to try the company’s strains, Michaelson said he hopes they’ll ask their local pot store to contact him.
He expects the market for higher-end products will evolve over the next year now that the statewide shortage has passed.
“We weren’t in this to be the first in the store,” Michaelson said. “It’s not a race. We want to be in this for the long term, and we want to make everything we do as good as it can possibly be.”