Homer, Alaska resident Jeremiah Emmerson describes himself as an “industry hopeful.” He and his wife own Kachemak Kind, and they’re restlessly preparing to apply for their cultivation facility license. They are also founding members of the new Alaskan non-profit organization, the Alaska Small Cultivators Association.
Emmerson got started in the cannabis business roughly eight years ago. A convert of black market growing, he says, “I was tired of the sub-par herb available in my town … and I was tired of paying for it. I decided that growing was the best way to deal with that problem—and well, here I am.” Some of Emmerson’s initial influences for getting into the industry were High Times articles by Danny Danko, Nico Escondido, Jorge Cervantes, and the like. He learned how to grow by reading marijuana horticulture books and online forums such as Breedbay and Grass City. His decision to get involved was inspired by the passing of the ballot measure 2, under which licensed growers are given no limit on the number of plants grown, sold or transferred—as long as regulations are adhered to.
After receiving their license, Kachemak Kind plans to offer cannabis flower, trim, and vegetative plants to retailers, manufacturers, and other cultivators. They hope to expand their facility and license type to accommodate rosin, dry sift, and ice water hash extraction within the first two years of operating.
Rather than deal with the public on a daily basis in a retail setting, Emmerson says he “would much rather tend my girls [plants] and make a few sales per month, versus dealing with customers all day long.” Preferring to focus on his strengths, he adds, “The idea of a ‘vertically integrated’ program sounds lucrative, but requires a great deal of upfront investment. I would much rather hone in on my talents, versus spreading myself out all over.”
Explaining his adjustment to the legalization effect in Alaska, Emmerson says obtaining an investment is challenging when Alaska is not allowing them unless proprietors are owners who live in-state. However, he understands the value in building a business with patience, step-by-step: “Scrapping together every single dollar you have is tough, but I expect it to be worth it in the long run. We will have to be modest and grow into our dream facility, versus jumping into huge loads of debt right out of the gate.” Emmerson sees the need for regulations for cannabis cultivation, despite what others may feel about testing, paying taxes, and taking security measures. He believes these are level-headed initiatives that will protect cultivators.
He is humbly confident that his product will be in high demand, as he’s been sharing photos of his grow on social media, and has provided samples to several people. Confessing to be “a very picky consumer,” he has lofty standards for what he considers to be high-quality product. The feedback has been positive so far. He intends to supply several strains that cannot be obtained through a seed bank, or established breeders. He primarily carries DNA Genetics/Reserva Privada and TGA Subcool strains. He plans to initially run four to six strains—two of which will be Kachemak Kind’s premium strains.
For quality control, Emmerson believes in the age-old aphorism, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” He explains, “This applies to all aspects of growing, including what nutrients you use, to how clean your grow room is. We sweep and mop almost every day in our personal garden. We make sure that we always sanitize all equipment before use. It’s not rocket science—the cleaner, the better.”
Emmerson promotes using glass jars for storage and occasionally burping cured buds. Getting most of the moisture out before storing in an environment between sixty to seventy degrees is acceptable. He says, “Buds can last in a jar for a very long time without all the humidity that comes with freezers and fridges.”
For hopefuls, he advises, “Don’t give up and stay positive.” Handling business in a mature manner is indispensable. He says, “This isn’t the black market anymore and we cannot conduct ourselves as such. We have to learn to act like professional businessmen. We also have to hold our tongue when we disagree. Instead of reacting [based on emotion], respond politely.” Personally, Emmerson says this level-headed approach has lead to a larger fan base and gaining more potential business partners.
He concludes, “I love cannabis from the bottom of my heart. I find it my duty to defend the species, as it has been misunderstood for too long and not allowed to achieve its full potential. Having that in my mind makes the rest really easy.”
Emmerson can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.