National Cannabis Q&A With Jace Rivera

Jace Rivera, director of cultivation at Green Prairie Farms in Colorado and Oklahoma, put it to his Instagram followers to ask him questions about the cannabis industry and how growers can improve their businesses. We recently featured Rivera in Cannabis Workspace, and now he’s turning the table around to his followers. 

@dynamycinoculants, @aerieglass, @jimmycrackedcornbutdidntmind What is the government doing to keep small farmers, growers and caregivers in business?

Governments layers have unfortunately made it difficult for many small business needs in cannabis. Primarily banking and federal loan capabilities. With regulations varying state to state and no federal action towards cannabis there is little being done. There has been bills enacted limiting the number of licenses like the moratoriums that we’ve seen in Colorado and other states. Also, states have had investment caps for non-residence of the state, but those programs have not been targeted to keep small businesses going more to prevent saturation of existing businesses and keep local investments coming in.

Just like in many other industries, small businesses can get consumed when corporations move in. What helps small businesses survive many times is to adapt to changing markets, while maintaining quality products and services. I will always return to a business if it has what I like and provides good customer service. If a small cannabis business has the ability to cultivate and produce its own niche products, then it will have value in the marketplace—not a market value


@_1_luvv, @Aficionadosestates What is the importance of genetic diversity in cannabis?

Cannabis is not just one plant; it is thousands of varieties within a genus and a species. Genetic diversity and genetic stability are big issues within the cannabis industry right now. People may end up with more of a genetic soup when they are hunting packs of seeds because of poly-hybrid breeding. Unique terpene and cannabinoid profiles are extremely important as cannabis is researched and as the industry moves forward with technological innovation.

Look at it this way: The more genes you have in the gene pool, the more likely you are to find one that is more resistant to pests, diseases—or maybe it’s less susceptible to stress. The question is: Are you growing stable genetics? First thing you should do is actual research on the breeders and the genetics they produce. There are producers of genetics that may not put in the work required for stable lines. If the breeder is not understanding of the Hardy-Weinberg Principal and mapping genotypes utilizing a mathematical series known as Punnett squares you may be rolling the dice on that expensive pack of seeds.

When breeders put in years working on lines, they become very emotionally attached to some of these genetic offspring just like a child. This is why there is much conversation on intellectual property protection and patents over varieties especially ones with high medicinal values or potency.


@theancientdank How come the majority of consumers in the legal market have such a disconnect about the cannabis they smoke?

With all of the resources available to consumers the most important are the businesses producing and selling cannabis and cannabis-based products. Education is key and people are hungry for it! People love convenience and information that is right in front of them. Businesses can benefit from having an info graph on the method of cultivation, extraction process or anything that teaches consumers about cannabis consumption.

Although, people who are conscious about the cannabis they consume also tend to make more conscious choices on things like how their food is grown or alternative health care options. But some consumers care less about how something is produced and opt for quantity over quality. I also believe that people need to understand the value of “nutrient-rich” cannabis and how it enhances the compounds that make it a powerful medicine. When cannabis is appreciated for the nutritional value it contains, it will change the world.


@Medicallyfit,@rust. brandon Talking soil food web, how important is anaerobic biology versus aerobic biology? And is using KNF [Korean Natural Farming] good for soil biology?

Specifically speaking about the soil food web, the soil is the stomach of the plant. Some look at anaerobic fermentation as a bad thing; however, it is the process that happens every day in our own digestive tract to break down the food we consume. In JADAM farming, inputs are made via anaerobic fermentation with leaf mold and starch, whereas Korean Natural Farming (KNF) uses osmosis pressure and sugar for aerobic fermentation. Both are forms of natural farming and focus on feeding soil life to produce healthy plants. Much of both of these growing practices focus on the use of Indigenous Micro Organisms (IMO) to supply much of the microbial biodiversity living soil needs.

Anaerobic fermentation has gotten a bad name however there are many values to the process when followed and done properly. One of the things with JADAM farming that turns growers/farmers away is the smell, however why is smell bad? When a plant or animal dies in nature and it returns to the soil there is purification thru decomposition that creates odor before life returns to the forest floor. In an indoor cultivation facility, the odor generated by these natural fertilizers may be undesirable but the cost savings and nutrient rich product are worth it.


@d.lightfullday_everyday Does actual nutrient analysis come into play when doing living soil—particularly high compost soil?

Nutrient analysis will always come into play when cultivating cannabis. In any living soil system, the goal is to mimic nature and, once healthy life has developed, nurture it like Mother Nature. Often, we are the ones that disrupt the cycles of nature we create in our living soil. Since most no-till cannabis farming is done in beds or large grow bags, it is important to the know nutritional value of the soil. Also, have it tested between harvest, because some varieties may feed heavier than others. Nutrient analysis will give you the best option for amendments as required for the next cycle.


@the_tiedye_guy I want to know from both growers and patients all over the country what they think is a fair wholesale price for an ounce of flower?

This is a broad question. What is a fair market price in an industry with borders? Our legal market struggles to establish consistent market values because we still have a thriving illicit market due to many states not legalizing medical and/or recreational cannabis. There is mass price fluctuation in both markets. Since states with legal whole sale cannabis markets are unable to unify, fair market values for growers and patients have not been established yet. The question is: Do you pay for quality or quantity? An ounce of poorly cultivated and cured cannabis may be more harm to you than the savings are worth.


Jace Rivera is the director of operations for Green Prairie Farms, the founder of Touched By Cannabis, the co-founder of Natural Cultivation Specialist and consultant with Living Soil Solutions. Rivera is the host of the Education Over Egos Potcast with 12 years of cannabis cultivation experience, mostly using living soil and organic inputs, and six years of natural farming experience using IMO, FFA, FPE,FFE,OHN nutrients. Rivera is an official judge for the first annual Home Growers Cup in Denver in June.


More National Cannabis Q&A With Jace Rivera