Once upon time in Oklahoma, there were two cousins who decided they wanted to grow weed and sell it, as a legal business. At the time the state was considering whether to legalize medical cannabis. As the campaign wore on, it appeared to Ellie and Travis, that legalization of medical cannabis seemed more and more probable. Shortly after the passage of State Question 788, a partnership was formed and Smokey Okies was born.
If you have ever dreamed of what it would be like to grow weed for a living, or to start your own cannabis business, this story will give you inspiration to go after those goals, as well as some important tips for success.
The Origin of Smokey Okies Cannabis: a family owned & operated Cannabis Company
Smokey Okies Cannabis was born out of an idea that maybe, just maybe, it could be possible for two cousins to get together and figure out how to grow cannabis and sell it, thereby creating a profitable cannabis business.
Ellie and Travis ultimately did just that. They figured out everything they needed to figure out and got started. They found the right location, with the right landlord and in the right municipality. They figured out how to scale the project in phases. And they figured out how to grow cannabis indoors, in Oklahoma, something that had not been done before on a commercial scale historically.
And through all of this they made many mistakes. But these became opportunities to learn and grow. From there, they pressed forward, and never quit. And eventually, they learned how to cultivate, how to achieve high quality, premium flower as the end product. Most importantly, how to achieve this on a perpetual, recurring basis.
Starting a Cannabis Business begins with a dream but is only made real by taking daily action
You may have that same idea, too. Living the dream, growing weed and having ample amounts of flower around all the time. You can smoke, get high all day while you run you cannabis business…
Well, not so fast. Above anything else, the biggest thing to understand about a cultivation business is that it is still a business, and it will fall apart if not ran like a business. That means it must have sound operations to turn out the product. Sound operations are a result of a competent manager. If you are not one, you must hire one.
Your daily operations depend on having good management
Well managed operations give way to a consistency of output (product) and a consistency in expectation (by the consumer), which allows the company owners the opportunity to make an business out of the cultivation. And to have a real business, you must have cash-flow. Not projections or possibilities, not exit-strategy valuations, but actual cash coming through the business every month, and preferably every week.
The real question you should be asking is how to build a cash-flow generating cultivation business. Because if you want your cultivation business to last, it must have consistent, and reliable, monthly cash flow. We will show you the fundamentals involved in creating a cash flowing cultivation business.
Step 1: Getting genetics to start your cannabis grow operation
To start your grow, you must have seeds or clones. We have written about the advantages and disadvantages of Seeds versus Clones, but either route is fine.
If you choose to purchase clones, you must have reasonable assurance that the clone source is reputable and the clones are free of pests and disease. Additionally, you will want to be sure the clone is from a good performing pheno. You will also want to have multiple strains.
If you choose to start your grow exclusively seeds, then you will need to pheno hunt an initial batch in order to find those plants worthy of cloning. Pheno hunting entails planting many seeds of the same strain, numbering each, and then taking a clone off of each numbered plant and retaining that clone. You then flower each of your seedlings and you judge the final product of each plant and take notes. Which plants yielded well, which ones had the traits you were looking for: color, aroma, THC, flavor, appearance, etc.
You then go back to your clones and retain only the ones that you want, and that is how you pheno-hunt in a nutshell.
Step 2: Learning how to set up your cultivation operations for perpetual growth cycles
After you have pheno hunted and found your keepers, you are ready to put them into perpetual production. In order to achieve perpetual propagation, you must create a system for different tasks related to every stage of cannabis growth cycle, that can be done simultaneously, all the time. To do this, you simple create separate spaces for each phase of the growth cycle.
You must have a cloning space to take new clones and get them rooted. You must have a space for vegging your plants, to create future supply for your flower rooms, and you must have multiple flowering spaces in order to have alternating harvest dates. Do this correctly, and you can have non-stop harvesting, whether every week or every day. Non-stop harvesting leads to recurring supply of cured flower, and thereby an endless supply of inventory to sell.
At Smokey Okies, Ellie and Travis decided to run only strains that have been pheno-hunted through an original sample size, and to harvest on a weekly schedule, which then imposes a cloning schedule and vegging schedule that must be adhered to in order to keep the flower rooms full.
Step 3: Finding dispensaries to buy your cannabis flower
The most crucial part of operating any business is having customers that actually want to buy your product. If you devise a plan for growing cannabis but omit any strategy on what to do with it after you grow it, then you are setting yourself up for a tough time in keeping your business afloat.
You must be able to sell your crop in order to fund the existing operations, the other plants that you are growing behind the current crop. The beauty of perpetual harvesting is the recurring cash-flow, but in order to have recurring cash-flow, you must have recurring orders for your flower. And that requires customers, repeat customers, and new customers to replace old customers that go out of business. And all of this requires a serious effort at sales and marketing effort.
So don’t just work on a plan to grow weed, but work equally hard on a plan to sell it after you’ve grown it.
Make your dream of growing commercial cannabis a reality
Elie and Travis made their dream of growing commercial cannabis a reality. Now they focus on maintaining the highest standards of their flower, and continually searching for new and different strains to add to the Smokey Okies Cannabis catalogue.
The beautiful thing about cannabis is the great variety of differences the plant can express – different fragrances and aromas, flavors and tastes, visual appearances, psychedelic experiences, and therapeutic uses.