How did an outlaw weed farmer from Oklahoma become a medical-marijuana grower in California and produce hundreds of pounds of premium estate-grown cannabis in a sustainable and environmentally conscious facility? Take an insider’s tour of THC Design’s massive indoor marijuana garden in the heart of Los Angeles and see just what it takes to grow large quantities of weed without sacrificing quality. It all starts with the desire and determination to create a new pot paradigm…
Grow West, Young Man
Ryan Jennemann fled from Tulsa, OK, to Los Angeles with a dream to grow pot in relative freedom. He had seen how medical cannabis helped his ailing father with debilitating headaches and how the lack of it contributed to his dad’s demise at only 47 years old. The ongoing harassment, persecution and prosecution of his family by Oklahoma law enforcement led him to seek greener pastures out West. Now he’s a co-founder and the chief cultivator for THC Design, overseeing all of the company’s growing facilities and ensuring that the medicine it produces is as clean and as effective as possible.
From the moment I meet Jennemann and his crew, I realize there’s a palpable emphasis on family. Jennemann’s brother Seth is THC Design’s president and CFO, and much of the company’s staff are trusted friends from Oklahoma who migrated out to California to be a part of the team. Seemingly every worker I encounter on my tour looks happy to be there and shares with me a pride in being a part of the company and community.
The facilities at THC Design capture, reclaim and reuse between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons of water per day from dehumidifiers and central air conditioning. The growers follow strict Oregon Tilth organic standards, which are much more stringent than federal OMRI certifications. THC Design’s focus on renewable resources is driven by a constant desire to reduce its carbon footprint, and the company has increased its energy efficiency by 40 percent over the last four years.
THC Design also provides a unique veterans-outreach program, hosting a 12-week paid internship for retired military members to learn the various aspects of the cannabis-growing business. I asked Jennemann why the company has gone out of its way to hire vets.
“Well, first off, I think they’re good people and hard workers, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for their achievements,” he says. “I’ve hired people in the past and then watched them come in at least a half hour late every day, complaining about the traffic, acting entitled. Veterans are not that way at all. They are here on time and to work. Their training and experience make them dependable, trustworthy and able to meet obligations and accomplish demanding tasks. There’s always something to do here, and the vets we’ve brought in inherently understand that.”
It certainly helps the company’s public relations to reach out to ex-military people, but it also sounds like it helps the bottom line. “Veterans are an amazing untapped talent pool,” Jennemann says. “So in addition to giving back to those who have done so much for us, our internship program also makes great business sense.”