El’s Army Grows

Remember El’s Army, the winning cultivar selected by patients at our Cannaversary celebration? Our staff recently harvested this new flower, and we are excited to share it with you. Assuming all goes well with independent lab testing, it will be arriving on dispensary shelves soon!

But before you try the new flower, we want to finish telling you the story of these plants. As we reported previously, our growers planted four El’s Army seeds on August 24. The seedlings were up-potted on September 9, and each plant was labeled with a unique barcode for tracking purposes.

El's Army vegetative
Four El’s Army plants begin to reach for the sky

Unfortunately, as we mentioned in our first El’s Army blog, “much can go wrong during the growing process.” While three of our young soldiers appeared to be healthy females, plant #3 began showing signs of intersex traits. When this happens, we immediately remove the plant from production.

photo of seedling with male flowers
This El’s Army plant demonstrated intersex traits and was immediately removed from production

Propagation Day

You might wonder how three little plants are supposed to produce enough cannabis to supply patients. The answer is “propagation.” On October 17, our staff took approximately 18 cuttings from each of the three plants. If all goes well, each cutting is expected to develop into a mature, flowering beauty! From this point forward, the original three plants will be known as “mothers.”

Preparation is key to successful propagation. A few weeks before we propagate a plant, the mother plant will be “topped” or “tipped” to encourage lateral branching. This increases the number of cuts that will be available. The practice is as simple as removing a top portion of the plant’s tallest stalk, known as the “leader.” Removing the leader causes plant hormones to be redistributed to lower portions of the plant, promoting new leaders to take the old leader’s place.

For each cutting, we carefully remove a branch and immediately place it into a cup with water. The cutting is then carefully trimmed to facilitate growth and placed into a pre-soaked “propagation plug,” where it can begin to take root and form a new plant.

photo of seedling and propagation plug
El’s Army cutting in a propagation plug

To keep track of each new soldier, we place them on a tray and label each phenotype. Labels include the date of the cuttings and the initials of the employees who took them. The cuts are still very sensitive at this stage, so we spray a dome with water and place it over the tray for the first night or two to keep them moist. On average, roots will start to poke out of their plugs one week after propagation. These cuts will live happily in our “Mom Room” until they are ready to be transplanted and moved into the vegetative phase.

Now that each mother plant has produced offspring that are genetically identical to the mother, we have created three different “phenotypes.” At this point, you can already see clear differences emerging between the cuttings from El’s Army #1, #2, and #4.

photo of cuttings, some much taller than others
Does El’s Army have a minimum height requirement? Asking for phenotype #2.

So what happens to the mother plants? We keep them alive and happy while we wait to see what happens with their offspring! If one or more of these phenotypes produces amazing cannabis flower, we will surely want to propagate more cuttings from that mother in the future.

Next: Transplant Day and the Vegetative Stage

Meet Our Cultivation Manager on 4/20!

What day could be better than 4/20 for learning about cannabis cultivation? We are pleased to announce that our cultivation manager, Antonio Garcia, will be available to speak with patients and caregivers at the Chichester dispensary between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20.

If you’re curious to learn more about Prime’s cultivation methods, this is a great opportunity to meet the man in charge!

Antonio has been a member of our cultivation team for more than five years, and he would be happy to tell you anything you might like to know about our cannabis plants. He will also have a table set up with some photos and information about the cultivation process.

photo of Antonio Garcia standing in front of LA Kush Cake plants
Prime’s cultivation manager, Antonio Garcia, smiles for a photo in front of some LA Kush Cake plants.

We hope lots of patients will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about cannabis cultivation on 4/20!

Oversight Board Listens to Patients

Last week, the Therapeutic Cannabis Medical Oversight Board (TCMOB) spent two hours listening to patients’ perspectives on the program. Thanks to all who spoke at the meeting, both in-person and via Zoom!

photo of Rep. Jerry Knirk introducing listening session for oversight board
Rep. Jerry Knirk introduces the session via Zoom as patient representative Heather Marie Brown prepares to facilitate.

This was a great learning experience for all who attended and observed. Ray Duckler wrote a column on the listening session for the Concord Monitor, and Zach Huffman published an article at Grownin.com. Both articles featured comments from Prime ATC’s Matt Simon in support of allowing home cultivation (a policy change requested by several patients).

“[I]t should never be a crime for patients who try to take care of their medical needs.”

Prime ATC’s Matt simon, quoted in the Concord Monitor

Several Prime ATC staff observed the meeting, and we greatly appreciated the opportunity to hear feedback from patients. We are constantly trying to improve our products and services and make them more affordable, and we understand that patients are relying on us to serve their therapeutic cannabis needs.

If you were not able to speak at the listening session, you can share your thoughts with the oversight board via email: dhhs.mobtcp@dhhs.nh.gov.

Many thanks to the oversight board for scheduling this session and listening to patients!