Carson City – According to the Nevada Department of Taxation, there are 63 cannabis dispensaries licensed in the state as of June of this year, and Sol Cannabis in the Washoe Valley is the 13th dispensary to open in northern Nevada, but Sol Cannabis is also a thoughtful cultivator and unique in several ways. The company will celebrate its grand opening this weekend with Harvestfest for people 21 years of age and older. The event will include live music and a public harvest of marijuana grown under Washoe Valley sunlight. To learn more about Sol Cannabis, owner Ed Alexander appeared on the radio edition of the Nevada Capital News on October 25. Here is that interview …
Sol Cannabis, like a few other vertically integrated companies in Nevada, conduct seed to sale operations, but Sol Cannabis is unique in that it cultivates, processes and sells marijuana from one location, and dispensary customers can see into the grow facility.
“We’re one of the only vertically integrated companies in Nevada, which means that we operate a dispensary or retail facility along with our cultivation and production facility. What really makes us unique is that all three of those licenses are operated from a single facility. We’ve got a newly constructed state of the art building constructed in the Washoe Valley and includes an 8,000 square foot dispensary along with a production area,and then a 25,000 square foot naturally lit cultivation center, so it’s very very unique. We are extremely proud of the project. We’re extremely happy to be part of Washoe Valley and northern Nevada in general. Just really looking forward to showcasing our beautiful facility to the general public.”
Most of the cannabis grown legally in Nevada is grown indoors under artificial light. The Sol Cannabis cultivation facility is a series of long greenhouse buildings adjacent to the retail space. Alexander referred to the cultivation part of the complex as “hybrid” buildings.
“So what we have is a naturally lit greenhouse that has all of the climate controls of an indoor warehouse,” Alexander said.
Lighting manufacturers have yet to truly mimic the potency of sunlight, so Alexander said they decided to use greenhouses along with lights and other environmental controls.
“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we decided that a greenhouse providing natural light was both a very economical way of producing cannabis along with an environmentally sustainable way of producing cannabis,” Alexander said. “At Sol our commitment is to our employees. Our commitment is to our clients, our patients and also to Mother Earth.”
Cannabis is a photo-period specific plant, so in nature the plant grows in the spring as days get longer, and as daylight wanes later in the season, the plants produce the desired outcome of flowers or buds as they as known, but the Sol Cannabis grow buildings are designed to compensate for the ever-changing seasonal presence of light, which allows the company to continually grow and harvest marijuana.
“One of the beautiful aspects of our facility is that we have all of the benefits and features of Mother Nature,” Alexander said. “The sun, the presence of UV, and then we’ve taken it a step farther and we’ve environmentally enhanced this greenhouse. We’ve got two million BTUs of boilers that radiantly heat the slab in our greenhouse, so that as we enter into fall and winter we can keep the root-zone of the plants at an ideal temperature.”
Humidity is a factor, and so is the facility’s carbon footprint.
“We’ve got a 150 foot long, what’s referred to in the industry as a wet wall, which is basically a swamp cooler that allows us to draft cool, moist air through the cultivation facility during all times of year, and what that equates to Brian, the average pound of indoor, or warehouse produced marijuana, takes about 200 pounds of coal in a coal-fired plant to produce that cannabis,” Alexander said. “In comparison, a pound of outdoor or hybrid grown product is about 1/100th that amount, so as I stated earlier,our commitment to Mother Earth is evident in the fact that our footprint is infinitely smaller,” Alexander said.
With the possible exception of gaming, cannabis is the most highly regulated business sector in Nevada, and scrutiny of the newly minted industry is high, and marijuana business operators have a collective but tacit commitment to good corporate citizenship. The facility requirements alone are numerous and costly, but just north of the Chocolate Nugget on old 395, the Sol Cannabis facility is new and contemporary in appearance. Ed Alexander said he and his team have worked to exceed already stringent standards.
“We go so far above and beyond of what is expected of us,” Alexander said. “I mean we are really trying to be the best neighbor we can be. We’re trying to make sure that through our charitable giving arm that we make sure that as we become profitable we share in these profits. Because part of the struggle we have, is for the better part of 50 years, we’ve had generations that have been given a fairly biased outlook on marijuana, and so, what our job is, to educate them to the fact that this is a plant, and this is a plant that has miraculous capacity to heal. It’s got capacity to bring people together, and in doing so, in my opinion fix a lot of what may be ailing our society.”
The Sol Cannabis Company dispensary had a soft opening this week, and products from other Nevada manufacturers are currently available. Cannabis grown in the Washoe Valley facility will be available sometime in early to mid November.
For more from Ed Alexander, listen to the audio interview embedded above …