Meet the Farmer

Dewey Cannabis

The story of Dewey Cannabis Co.

How did Dewey come to be? Can you tell us about your personal journey into growing cannabis throughout the transition of the medical and recreational market?

Jordan: My personal journey in cannabis began in 2011 when an old a high school friend had received a medical grow license in northern California and needed some help trimming. It was also the first time that I had access to different cultivars/strains and started experiencing the entourage effect
for the first time. At the time, I was a biochemistry student and worked in a plant biofuels research lab at the University of Nevada, Reno growing oilseed crops (like Camelina and tansy mustard) in a greenhouse and analyzing seed oil content on a gas chromatograph (GC; same instrument we use
to analyze terpenes). Soon after I started growing cannabis myself in a tent in my closet.

I distinctly remember learning about terpenes and the entourage effect late one night while reading various forums like grasscity/rollitup/etc. but was left thinking there must be a more scientific explanation that the comments of legacy stoners left on the internet. Shortly after that I decided I
wanted to become a cannabis researcher. Fast forward to 2013 and I was choosing between graduate programs in California, Washington, and British Columbia (where weed was more or less legal in each state/province – i502 was still in the licensing phase). I ended up selecting Washington State University and was lucky to join the Lange Lab –whose focus was on terpene biochemistry in glandular trichomes(!!!) just not in cannabis –to get my PhD in Biochemistry.

At the time I figured this was the closest I could get to studying cannabis in an academic setting. I spent my first three years at WSU studying trichomes of tomatoes, mint, and some lesser-known medicinal plants. The common research theme was always: “How do trichomes of different plant species work at the biochemical level?” For the most part they produced predominantly terpenes. In the spring of 2017, one of the worst things that can happen to a graduate student happened to me.
My tomato research got scooped, meaning someone else published research very similar to what I was working on. This brought me and Prof. Lange to the drawing board.

For the most part I was never open about my ambitions to get into cannabis research, but Mark posed the question “what do you want to work on?” I think you know what my answer was. Shortly before this happened, WSU changed their cannabis research policy from “no way Jose” to “no plants, no extracts but DNA/RNA/protein is fine.” So Mark and I put together an experiment in collaboration with a recreational farm in southern Oregon and an Oregon licensed cannabis testing lab that satisfied WSU’s rules. We successfully raised ~$20K from private donors (mostly Coug Alum) and executed the experiments over the summer of 2017.

At some point in the middle of that story, before getting scooped, I decided that I wanted to start my own cannabis company –One that would leverage my growing expertise in plant genetics/biochemistry (my parents are serial entrepreneurs and instilled their passion on to me). I started to put together a business plan, found another PhD student who had complimentary skills
(plant breeding) to my own to join (Dewey co-founder Dr. Paul Mihalyov). As I neared graduation in the fall of 2018, I found a tier 3 producer/processor license that was for sale and started pitching my business to prospective investors. After 3-4 months we had the capital, the license, and the
facility to start Dewey.

Four years later, we feel that we have one of the most scientifically advanced cannabis programs in the country. Our scientific team is stacked with PhDs and Masters degrees, we’ve bred all of the Dewey cultivars that we currently grow and bring to market, our cultivation team is made up of former students of WSU and UI’s horticulture and greenhouse management program, we’ve developed strategic partnerships with Scotts Miracle-Gro/Hawthorne Gardening Co and The METER Group/Aroya.IO, we routinely publish peer reviewed research on cannabis in top tier journals, and we leverage technology and data-analysis at every point of the cultivation cycle.

How does Dewey convey the magic of your products and grow process in this competitive market?

Jordan: We love telling the story of our founding team (Me, Paul, and Mark) and our dedication to advancing the cannabis industry when marketing our product. We strongly believe that emphasizing sound science in our operation will lead to a product that consumers can truly trust. A product that is consistent time in and time out.

Can you tell us about the Dewey Team that grows and packages this amazing flower? 

Jordan: Our cultivation and post-harvest teams at Dewey are what has driven our early success. They take their jobs seriously while maintaining a playful and helpful culture crafting our products for consumers. We’re so lucky to have such a detail oriented team. But for the most part, no one had
any cannabis industry experience before working at Dewey (save for the famed Uncle Jerry – ask Lo about Jerry – and a couple of former budtenders). We’ve all grown tremendously together over the past few years as we’ve gotten our feet underneath us and figured things out. A couple people that deserve a shout out here are Hannah Fleming (Greenhouse Manager), Zach Chamberlain (Facilities Director), Zach Dauscher (former GM of Dewey Cannabis Co.; current Chief of Staff at Dewey Scientific), and Sam White (quality control); they’ve all been with Dewey since we launched the brand in mid-2020. We like to joke that Dewey is all our COVID baby.

Can you tell us a bit more about your specific growing practices? 

Jordan: We grow all our flower for the Dewey Cannabis Co. brand in hard walled, controlled environment greenhouses with supplemental lighting (currently in the process of switching our lights to LEDs). We grow in living soil with water-saving drip emitters, only use OMRI listed (organic) and WSLCB/WSDA approved sprays in our IPM program, and constantly monitor our environment (temperature, humidity, soil water content, soil fertilizer content, vapor pressure deficit, and lighting intensity) using the Aroya.IO platform. We try to be as sustainable as possible in the grow process.

How do you cure your flower? 

Jordan: This might sound weird at first, but we take the “cured meat” approach to drying and curing our flower. Meaning we use the same technology and process that has revolutionized jerky quality over the past two decades. Remember eating jerky as a kid. That shit was TOUGH and DRY. Jerky today? Tender and moist. In the simplest of terms, we slowly remove water from the flower in low temperatures at a carefully controlled humidity inside extremely clean dry rooms. After a [redacted amount of time] and careful control, we start testing our flower’s “water activity.” Water activity is a measurement of water that is available for microorganisms (like bacteria and mold) to grow on the flower (or on jerky). Anything above 0.65 water activity is in the “danger zone” and in our experience anything below 0.5 water activity is dry and a bummer. Once our samples are in the 0.6-0.65 water activity range we buck the plants, separate them on our in-house made bud sorter (the handy work of Sam White and Zach Chamberlain), and pop them into different containers depending on their size. Bigs and mids go into 2-gallon glass jars, smalls go into air-tight food-grade buckets. Because
of the long drying process, we’ve found that an additional cure is unnecessary. Once those nugs get into their respective jars/buckets we start the trimming process. Bigs and mids get hand trimmed and go into our “Tree Tops” line (1g, 3.5g units), smalls get machine trimmed on a GreenBroz
Model M and go into our “Tiny Trees” line (7g units) or into our pre-rolled “Dewbies” and “Matsticks” (hash infused pre-rolls).

How does VOLUME 4 support the values and brand of Dewey? What excites you about the release of VOLUME 4?

Jordan: The Dewey brand is all about camaraderie and warmth, the logo is even resembling a little smile. The collaboration with Heylo for VOLUME 4 reflects that value. We’re all about elevating the entire industry through collaboration, partnerships, and joint projects. When it comes to the unique aspect of Volume 4, I can attest that the Dewey family loves art of all kinds – we playfully fight over who gets to play their playlist on any given day, we place each other’s art around our facility, and employees are often going to community events that showcase local theater, avant-garde films, etc. together. VOLUME 4 represents the first time Dewey product will be in CO2 extracted product. At Dewey we take every step necessary to reduce our environmental impact (use of sunlight, tight monitoring of watering/fertilizing practice, organic listed pesticides only, etc.), this collaboration adds to our commitment to a more sustainable cannabis industry through the release of solvent free vapor products.

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