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What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 78 of “Utah in the Weeds” features Riley Meyer, who is an experienced cannabis grower and one of two cultivation managers at Standard Wellness.

We began this episode with a discussion on Riley’s background in gardening and his first job in the cannabis industry. [02:27]

Riley talked about the 2020 cultivation season, the security concerns surrounding outdoor cannabis grow operations, and his favorite cannabis strains from that year. [06:57]

We then discussed the differences between growing indica and sativa plants,  the differences between growing cannabis for “biomass” versus flower, and some of the soil nutrients Meyer likes to use when growing cannabis. [12:02]

Riley and host Tim Pickett talked about cannabis and spirituality, and the shifting attitudes toward cannabis in Utah. [20:13]

Then, they talked about the current state of Utah’s Medical Cannabis program and the changes they’d like to see in the future.  [27:29]

We wrapped up the episode with a quick discussion about winter sports and Riley’s all-time favorite cannabis cultivar. [39:23]

Podcast Transcript

Riley Meyer:
There’s a reason why in a 100 years through prohibition, there’s a reason why that culture has stayed intact the whole time. The people love this plant and they’ve pushed it through all that BS and they’ve made their voices heard and that’s the reason why it’s here today.

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everyone out to Utah in the Weeds. My name is Tim Pickett. I am the host of this great podcast at great state of Utah. Today our interview is with Riley Meyer who’s cultivation for Standard Wellness. He is in charge of the outdoor cultivation, and a great story, especially if you have interest in getting involved in the cannabis industry or getting involved here in Utah, listen to this and his struggles and the hurdles that he encountered to get involved in cannabis and learn really a fine art for growing medicine here in Utah. One day maybe, we can all get together, we can all do the gardening class and grow cannabis here in Utah for our own purposes, for medical purposes, and maybe for those who we love and care about who can’t afford the medicine currently. Housekeeping, we’re celebrating this month the one-year anniversary of the Discover Marijuana YouTube channel that I do with Blake Smith and Kylie and JD and Josh.

Tim Pickett:
We’ve had a lot of great partners in this and we are giving away something every single week. So we’ve already given away some gifts, we’re giving away more. There is instructions on how to enter it through our newsletter at utahmarijuana.org. Sign up for the newsletter, subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel, win stuff, win schwag, win medicine, exciting times. Right. Coming up on my favorite holiday Thanksgiving, always look forward to this time of year and getting together with family. Family’s the best. Right. Okay everybody, thanks for listening. Thanks for subscribing to Utah in the Weeds Podcast. I am your host, Tim Pickett. Enjoy this conversation with Riley Meyer and have a great weekend.

Okay. Riley, take us all the way back to the beginning of like when you first were introduced to cannabis, what made you do it? What made you get into it?

Riley Meyer:
It’s kind of been knowingly and unknowingly. I’ve been around cannabis kind of my whole life. I have family members that are very fond of the plant, without saying names because it’s my new program in Utah, but yeah, it’s been a kind of a lifelong thing. My parents are very holistic people. We’ve always had a home garden. We’ve always been very connected to the earth. We always try to have some sort of garden going in the backyard. And then, from a culture standpoint, my friends, ever since I was probably about 16, that was my first real encounter with cannabis. And we kind of grew up in that scene, that skateboard, snowboard scene. And my-

Tim Pickett:
Right. Because how old are you?

Riley Meyer:
I’m 27. So ’94.

Tim Pickett:
Okay so young, young guy, right?

Riley Meyer:
Yep.

Tim Pickett:
Man, all these people are just so young now. So you grew up here in Utah?

Riley Meyer:
Yes. Yeah. Local, born and raised Salt Lake City. Definitely. Yeah. But been all over the place. I went to school down in Dixie. I know all about St. George. I love it down there, but yeah I’m local for sure.

Tim Pickett:
Local. So you get introduced to cannabis, right, in your teenage years, kind of all of us a little bit, seems like. And then, how did you learn? Because now, I mean, from smoking a little weed in high school to what you do now, that’s a long way. It’s a lot different. Right. So what do you do now?

Riley Meyer:
So what I do now, I am one half of the cultivation management for Standard Wellness. And the other half is my good buddy, Riley Ellis. So it’s the two Riley’s up at Standard. He’s known as indoor Riley and I’m known as outdoor Riley at the moment, but we kind of help manage the whole cultivation scene up there. But yeah, as far as starting in my teenagers and getting to this point, it definitely did not start out with me wanting to cultivate this plant. It’s kind of evolved as I’ve become more aware of the scene and really just falling in love with the culture. And it’s not about just smoking dope and getting high, man, it’s more of a consciousness thing. And I really just connected with the crowd of people that I would meet. People like yourself and a lot of people in the industry, they’re just open-minded, aware, conscious. They think about things and their impact. And that’s just something that I really fell in love and I wanted to be a part of.

Tim Pickett:
What was your first job in the cannabis industry?

Riley Meyer:
My first job was a hemp job back when the program first started, it was a part of the pilot program. I worked for a company. I helped them propagate something like 5,000 hemp plants. It was all indoor. So it was controlled. It wasn’t a field where we were just throwing seeds out there. So that really kind of showed me the side of really manicuring these plants and taking care of them and trying to get a really high-quality vapable flower, if you will, out of the product, instead of just going down a once you’d seasons done just chopping it all up, turn it into biomass.

Tim Pickett:
Okay. Yeah. This gets into outdoor, indoor. What’s the difference really, other than the plants grow outdoor? Do you grow different strains? Is the process different?

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. 100%. You’re kind of at the mercy of mother nature obviously when you’re outdoors. So whatever she presents to you is kind of the quality that you’re going to get out of that plant, but you can still get really high-quality flower out of outdoor just as you can indoor. It just depends on your location. Utah, I truly believe is an amazing place for outdoor cannabis. We obviously have a very short grow season here. So it comes down to the strains, cultivars that you picked, because they have to be early finishers, right. If you want to beat that frost then they have to be done before fall comes rolling in and freezes your whole crop. But yes.

Tim Pickett:
So in outdoor, is it like growing tomatoes? You got to wait until the frost risk is gone or do you start these plants indoor and then move them? What’s-

Riley Meyer:
So yeah, it all depends on how you want to go about it, but at Standard for our first year last year, we germinated early. So what we did, we kind of got a late start because it kind of ended up being a little bit of a Hail Mary for us this last season, future seasons are going to be a lot more dialed, but this last season we propagated or germinated, I should say, in early April, somewhere in that first week of April. And they had all that time inside before we threw them outside and leveled them up pot size to pot size. And we started in a red Solo once they were pots, a red Solo cup that is. So one gallon, so five gallon, and they ended up in big 45 gallon pots. And that first day that you can put them out is usually around May 20th. That they’re good. The temperature is consistent enough to let them hang out overnight.

Tim Pickett:
Right. It’s always like when you plant your home garden, you got to wait until Mother’s Day and you can plant. And in Utah, that seems like that’s about right. Mid May and then you’re away from that frost risk. So you just throw a bunch of weed out in the field, all these plants, they’re all out there and what’s the fence, what’s the security situation like where you guys grow?

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. So we’re enclosed. We’re dialed, our security is awesome. So, that would be kind of comfort.

Tim Pickett:
So the only other one I’ve seen and I haven’t been to your facility, but there’s fences up, there’s barbed wire at the top of the fence. It seems like it’s pretty secure, but still I mean, I guess somebody could break through the fence or something, but are you in a pretty remote area? We won’t discuss where exactly these places are really because even though I don’t think a lot of people would go there, might as well not tell the people. I mean, almost out of respect for the neighbors. People driving by, trying to figure out what’s going on.

Riley Meyer:
We’re definitely out in the boonies, man. Yeah. I will say we’re northern Utah. But we’re out there. Good luck trying to find us, man. But yeah. As far as a concern for people breaking in, I mean, there’s always that concern, but those people, I feel like wouldn’t know if they’re trying to come in and clip a bud off or something, there’s a whole process that goes into getting that final product off of the plant. You got to dry it, you got to cure it. That takes a while, that’s in itself two weeks drying and usually two weeks curing before it’s a final product. So it’s not a huge concern, but yeah, definitely we’re aware that that could potentially.

Tim Pickett:
What strains did you grow up there? What cultivars? You guys call them cultivars. Right.

Riley Meyer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. That’s-

Tim Pickett:
And not strains. Is there a real difference? I read online about this shit. It’s like some people really get antsy about their naming. Okay. Right. Like my YouTube channel is Discover Marijuana, so I get that, but strains versus cultivars is there a difference?

Riley Meyer:
Man, there’s probably a lot of people that are going to cringe when I say this, but to me no, man. And I wish I could tell you all the scientific jargon of why there is a difference, but that’s not a huge concern to me. To me that the names are the same, cultivar or strain, it’s all the same.

Tim Pickett:
What do you grow?

Riley Meyer:
But yeah, we run I think it was 12 different strains. God help me on remembering these. We did a bunch of stuff-

Tim Pickett:
Which one was favorite?

Riley Meyer:
Let’s say my favorite was Purple Punch. It’s a tough tie up between Purple Punch and Kush Mints. Those plants just killed it. They’re great early finishers, huge buds. The aroma was crazy. I mean, you could smell us half a mile down the road, talk about security concerns, man. You got people driving down the freeway smelling it. All you got to do is follow your nose if you’re in the vicinity. Right. But it was between those two for sure. Kush Mints and Purple Punch. But yeah, we have 12 of them. Yeah. It was an interesting run to say the least.

Tim Pickett:
Was all of it smokable or do you feel like oh some of it half and half? What’s the breakdown?

Riley Meyer:
So with us kind of getting a late jump on this, there were some strains that aren’t necessarily the earliest finishers. So we’re not going to get a lot of smokable flower out of those strains, but most of them we did get a lot of smokable flower out of it. I think we ended up with something like 300 pounds of just smokable flower. The rest went to biomass, but yeah, there’s definitely going to be a lot of flower hitting the pharmacy shelves for sure.

Tim Pickett:
It seems like everybody’s outdoor, even a lot of indoor grows kind of finished at the same time. Do you follow what everybody else is kind of doing at the time? Does that make any difference for you guys? And we’re talking about Oak Bridge and Wholesome Harvest, Zion, Tryke. Right. If they have an outdoor grow it’s coming on at the same time, because you’re only getting one harvest a year, right, in Utah.

Riley Meyer:
Right. So there’s a term, it’s called photo period plants. There’s a difference between, there’s auto flower and there’s photo period plants. And there’s a reason why everybody finishes up and that they call it Croptober. And that’s usually the time of year that that light cycle is changing and photo period gets its name is because these plants are triggered by the amount of darkness that they are exposed to. So once the daylight schedule flips to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark, that’s when the plant triggers and flips in a flower. So depending on which strain you have will determine how quick that finishes up. Now, it could be a 45 day or it could be a 55 day or it could be a 63 day, could go all the way up into 90, 100 days, depending on super indica leaning or super sativa that’s kind of… But usually if you’re growing outside and you know you have a quick grow season, like in Utah, you’re looking for those more indica dominant, quicker finishing strains.

Tim Pickett:
Wow. I didn’t know that it was more like your sativas, but I guess it makes sense. You’ve got sativas come from certain spots of the world and indicas kind of come from certain others parts of the world. Is that how this all started?

Riley Meyer:
Exactly. Yeah. Yes. Sativa has kind of come from more of a equatorial range where there’s super long summers, that light cycle doesn’t flip until late, if at all. If you’re talking about somewhere like Ecuador, that never flips. So yeah, that’s where a sativa kind of comes from, is that closer to the equator and then your indicas are your Afghanistan or places with a higher latitude or even lower below the equator. So-

Tim Pickett:
Next year, what do you think ? You’re going to double your production. You’re going to add another 50%. Is it more about quality next year or more about both quality and amount quantity?

Riley Meyer:
It’s always about quality, man. Always. So with this year, like I said, it was kind of a Hail Mary. We kind of slapped it together, but it worked out really well, but yes, future plans, we plan to double if not a little bit more, but in Utah we are limited to our canopy space. So we do have our indoor facility coming up. The future of Standard Wellness cultivation is very bright, man. We have a 48,000 square foot indoor facility that’s going up, totally tailored to indoor cannabis that we’re just really going to be trying to churn out the most quality stuff that we can. But as far as outdoor goes, you can only set it up in the best way to combat mother nature. And where we’re at it gets really windy. We actually saw a fair amount of rain this season for Utah. Usually we’re really dry, but we did get some weather this this year. But yeah, we do plan on doubling that canopy space and really going for a high-quality product as always.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like a farmer or do you feel like a craftsman or what do you feel like when you’re growing cannabis? Because it doesn’t seem like it’s normal farming.

Riley Meyer:
Oh yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right. I mean, you’re doing a lot more work to these plants, especially if you want to make them smokable or vapable. First is biomass.

Riley Meyer:
100%. Yeah. No, that’s a great question because you are a farmer in the sense that you’re doing serious labor. You feel like a man’s man out there just throwing dirt around, sweating all day, but yeah, there’s the whole kind of sewer side that goes into it as well. There’s selective defoliation, you’re topping these plants that keep them at a certain height and get so many heads off, so many colas rather off of these plants. So you’re really trying to tailor it and to get that very specific product by the end of the season. Yes.

Tim Pickett:
That’s the difference between growing biomass and growing flower.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Biomass is you’re cruising around with that… What are those fertilizer things for the lawn that just spit out all the fertilizer? Yeah. You’re just cruising with those, fill it with seeds, and then at the end of the season when it’s done, just go chop it down like you’re mowing the lawn kind of vibe. Whereas this is yeah, it’s under a microscope the whole time, really trying to make sure that you get the most smokable flower out of it as possible. Because if you are geared towards the smokable flower, you can really work backwards from that product. All the other products kind of come from that. Whereas if you’re going for biomass, you’re kind of pigeonholed into what you can do with it. Right. You can only make this to later or gummies or all that good stuff. I’m not knocking it. That’s awesome stuff. But if you go for flower, it just adds the amount of products that you can work with.

Tim Pickett:
Hmm. Going backwards from that, because you’ve got the highest quality plant, the flower. I mean, to be honest, I don’t know a lot about the difference between vaping… Well, that’s not true. I know the difference between ditch weed and craft grade flower, I guess. [crosstalk 00:18:09].

Riley Meyer:
That’s good. That’s good.

Tim Pickett:
And I think patients expect, especially nowadays, I feel like patients expect a high-quality product when they’re vaping it, and when you vape it, you can taste it.

Riley Meyer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). 100%. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right. 100%. So the lower the quality, the worst it’s going to taste too and the effects kind of be different. So are you growing everything up there organic? Do you support? How does this organic thing work?

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Organic and salt base, that’s kind of the big, people have their opinions on what is preferred, what makes the better product. But if you were to ask me, if you go for organic, usually you’re going to get a more full experience from the plant. You’re going to get more terpenes, usually your trichome coverage is better, but you’re kind of lacking on your yield and just vigor in the plant I want to say. When you’re growing with salt-based nutrients you just get beasts, you just get huge plants. And with that said, we are salt-based mostly at the moment.

Riley Meyer:
I did do about half of our crop outside amended soil. We went with the peat moss base and I added a bunch of stuff like crustacean meal, blood meal, bone meal, azamine, oyster meal, all these good amendments to really just get this nice base. And then, all you need to give that is just pH water. Right. Keep it at that six O, make sure the plants are happy. That’s what they love. But then the other half we went with a salt-based nutrient and pumped them up. And we really saw a big difference in size of plants as well as quality. So that’s something that we kind of did as a little R&D, which is working better, which is worth our while, which direction do we want to go in. But, yeah, we did a little bit of both for sure. Each strain, a little bit of both.

Tim Pickett:
You consider yourself a flower snob or you’re only a flower consumer. I don’t know. How much of this do you want to talk about? You being a cannabis patient.

Riley Meyer:
All of it, man. Yeah. I am a patient and I do consider myself a candidate, a flower snob for sure. I do love my flower, man. I really don’t go for anything else. When I’m looking to get my medicine, I’m always looking at the flower. Just because I feel it’s kind of more of a all-encompassing experience. It’s not like you’re picking and choosing which cannabinoids or which terpenes do you want in your product, you’re more so getting the full experience. And I also feel personally that I can kind of control my dosing a little bit better when I’m using flower. Whereas if you’re dealing with something like a crumble or a shatter or some solventless, it’s really geared towards being a more potent medicine.

Tim Pickett:
So you can use flower, you can use a little, you can use a lot, you really like that entourage effect-

Riley Meyer:
For sure.

Tim Pickett:
… of that experience. Lately I’ve been reading books about spirituality and cannabis, and I feel like that kind of fits your vibe, frankly.

Riley Meyer:
100%. Yeah. For sure, man. It’s what it’s all about.

Tim Pickett:
This whole idea of, and culturally this ganja culture of using it religiously and using it spiritually, so kind of shifting from this medical idea to a more experience-based, I don’t know, consumption.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
And you’re almost using it less. These guys are almost using it less because they want to have that fast. They want to have that few days before they use it, they consume it. And then when you have that experience it’s a little more full.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. 100%.

Tim Pickett:
And I feel like you can only get that with the flower.

Riley Meyer:
I agree. That’s a personal choice for sure. I think a lot of other people can get there with other products, for sure. But with me definitely I tune into that side with flower a lot more. And speaking of the whole ganja side of things and smoking out of a chalice and really being connected to it, one of my biggest as many cultivators or just people in the industry out there, one of my biggest idols in life was Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, all those guys. So it’s a vibe. It carries a vibe. And speaking of just consciousness and being holistic and aware, it kind of just is all one big lump sum. And that’s how I view that experience for sure.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. There’s this whole chapter on in Cannabis and Spirituality, I just finished the book and this whole chapter about growing it and about how people will get really, really high. And they go out and dig in the dirt and just have this really tactile perception of the plant and that experience and that connection. And then the idea behind this, and I’m getting way off topic here, but I think it’s fascinating, is the connection that people then have with the plant when they consume plants that are cared for like that. That does this whole chapter about, well, if you’re really caring for the plants then the plants going to care for the people who consume them even better. Right. You’re connected to that in a spiritual way. I think in Utah that would be a solid Utah thing.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah, for sure.

Tim Pickett:
There’s a lot of spiritual people here. Did you grow up Mormon?

Riley Meyer:
When I was really young, yes. My dad went on a mission and everything and, but he came back and we went to church there for a few years, but we kind of just faded away from the church, man. Not to knock anybody. I think it’s an awesome religion for a lot of people, but it just didn’t really fit our lifestyle. And we just had a lot of different views, so we just kind of faded away. My younger brothers didn’t really ever go to church. I have two younger brothers that are three years younger and six years younger than me. So they never really got that experience. It kind of faded away as I was younger.

Riley Meyer:
But yeah, I definitely grew up in that environment. My grandparents are still to this day, very involved in the church and yeah, I know all about that culture, man and actually deciding to be in this industry and telling my family that I wanted to cultivate cannabis was a big deal, man. You go and tell your grandparents who were very LDS that you want to grow this plant. And they look at you a little sideways and you got to kind of give them the facts and talk them through it. But I’m very proud to say that they’re very proud of what I’m doing and they’re all on board. They’re actually patients themselves. So it’s been a full 180 for them and they’re all on board for it. It’s beautiful.

Tim Pickett:
That’s cool. I think it’s hard, even today and you and I talk about cannabis all the time. It’s like our whole life, but not everybody is like that. We really still are a small percentage of people who deal with it a lot. And it’s hard for people to understand, it is. It’s kind of awkward to tell people, almost. And people always ask me what I do for work and you almost have to gauge them. I don’t know. It’s like I’m gauging how much I can say or how to say it. Do you feel like that now? I’m in the medical field. I can kind of lean on the, well, I take care of patients. What do you say? I’m a farmer?

Riley Meyer:
Honestly, no. I’ll tell that I keep- [crosstalk 00:26:24].

Tim Pickett:
You just tell everybody.

Riley Meyer:
I just tell them straight up, man. If you don’t agree with it then you’re not somebody that I need to be around anyway. It’s kind of one of those things, it’s-

Tim Pickett:
It’s like its own filter.

Riley Meyer:
Right. Exactly.

Tim Pickett:
No. It’s like tattoos. I got a tattoo on my forearm. Part of the reason I got out there was because, well, if I’m wearing short sleeves and you’re somebody who doesn’t like it, then I got that out of the way right away.

Riley Meyer:
Right. 100%. But it’s one of those things too. It’s I am open about it because I’d kind of like to represent the culture in a way and show people that it’s not all about just getting stoned and being lazy and whatever the stigma might be in their mind. I like to show them that I’m a clear-headed person. I work hard. I’m a functioning member of society. This is just another way to go through life. And if you can’t accept it, that’s totally fine, man. We live in America, we’re free. We get to do what we want to do. Right. So if you don’t agree with it, that’s cool. No worries.

Tim Pickett:
When you think about the future of the program here in Utah and beyond, what do you want? Do you feel like we need to expand the program? Do you feel like it’s going pretty well?

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. It’s really tough because this is one of those things where I’m an employee of a company and there’s a reason why I settled with Standard Wellness because I do agree wholeheartedly with what we’re doing out there, but there are a lot of things that I would love to see changed, but that definitely comes down to legislation and working through that that’s a long process. But my personal views, this has nothing to do with Standard Wellness, but my personal views on the plant are that this is the people’s plant. Everybody should be able to do whatever they want with this plant. They should be able to cultivate it, use it in any way they want, because looking at this medical program, there’s a lot of avenues that it’s missing. People like leaf tea.

Riley Meyer:
That’s a product that we don’t bring to the table. There’s so many things missing from the board that a recreational outlook would kind of encompass where a medical wouldn’t. I mean I love the medical program. It definitely has a place. I think that the whole calculated outlook and approach to this plant is awesome. I want to see the research done and people need very specific medicine. And I love seeing companies really try to tailor that and take care of very specific conditions and diseases. So I love the fact that there’s a medical program, but I am 100% on board for this plant being available to everybody. I think that’s the way that it should be, if you ask me.

Tim Pickett:
Sure. I mean, it’s going to take all of us, right, to figure [crosstalk 00:29:30] out how to move forward because 100 years ago we basically just screwed this whole thing up.

Riley Meyer:
Yep. Yeah. It takes people, a lot of people and it takes a lot of loud voices, but with especially being in a state like Utah, I think there’s a lot of people who are more worried about how they will be perceived from the outside. If you ask me, man, I know a lot of people that use this plant that would rather people not know that they use this plant. [crosstalk 00:30:02]. Kind of secret users. So there’s a lot of supporters. I really feel like these numbers are vast, but what shows up on paper does not translate to our patient counts and how big this program is in Utah. It just doesn’t show the actual support that is behind this plant.

Tim Pickett:
Right. You’re saying that you think there’s a lot of people with or without cards who are buying product on the legal market still using the black market or buying it out of state, which is essentially the black market here. Right. The secondary, I don’t know what you would call it. There’s the guy down the street you can buy it from. Go to Nevada, you can buy, go to Colorado. I don’t know what you consider, I guess that’s all black market in a way, but it’s all maybe the secondary market. I don’t know what they call it. But-

Riley Meyer:
I mean, yeah. That’s exactly it. It’s so puzzling. [crosstalk 00:30:56].

Tim Pickett:
There’s people who are not buying it in state in the legal means. I agree. I wish that we knew how many people there were like that.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah, that patient count is low. Very, very low. What is it? Something like 30,000 or-

Tim Pickett:
Yes. 35, 37,000 right now. And the state is losing about 23%. So a little more than one in five people are not renewing their card.

Riley Meyer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of people that either can’t afford it, can’t navigate it. Various reasons why they’re dropping out of the program. Maybe they’re like, “Yeah, no, this isn’t worth it. I want to buy stuff on the other market.” But that seems to be, I don’t know, we’re never going to get it changed all the way unless we participate. It’s a participatory democracy. You’ve got to be involved or else things don’t change in this country.

Riley Meyer:
100%. Yeah. If you don’t make your voice heard, then the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Right. It’s the whole saying. So yeah, we got to march. We got to do it, man. We got to make it happen for ourselves. They’re not just going to give it to us.

Tim Pickett:
Now I’m circling back to how you grow this stuff. You put all this weird shells and this organic material into the soil, and then you water it with special water.

Riley Meyer:
So yeah, when you get your big mix and then what I like to do is I’ll add a fungus, a mycorrhiza, and you’ll let that sit for a period of time to let it inoculate so that that fungus goes to work and it starts eating its food. It’s what they call developing a rhizosphere in your medium. And then you’ll put your plant in there and its root system actually works symbiotically with this mycorrhiza and the mycorrhiza will eat the raw material in the soil that surrounds the roots and the plant will trade what’s called exudates with the mycorrhiza for nutrients. And it’s a little symbiotic relationship. The mycorrhiza definitely doesn’t have to be there. All that stuff will just happen naturally, but it happens a lot smoother, a lot faster with the fungus. So it’s kind of like a little mini ecosystem that you’re building.

Tim Pickett:
Right. It eats something, it poops out fertilizer essentially, right, with the exudates and then the plant eats that.

Riley Meyer:
Yep. Exactly.

Tim Pickett:
And thrives.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
How’d you figure this all out? Did somebody teach you or did you read the book or-

Riley Meyer:
Both. Both. I’ve had really cool mentors in my life. Not just cannabis-specific, but just kind of all encompassing gardening and horticulture in general. But yeah, there’s a lot of books that I’ve delved deep into, the Cannabis Bible being one of them. Many, many books that I just nerd out on, highlights, just gotten tabs all through it. So it’s a lot of self-taught, mostly self-taught as far as cannabis goes, but yeah, it’s something that you grow with and that’s why I love this industry so much is because you’re never fully capped out. You’re always learning something. There’s always something new.

Tim Pickett:
I mean, where does Riley Meyer go from here? Right. Are you going to keep growing? This looks like a longer-term project for you or, what do you want to do?

Riley Meyer:
That’s another tough question. I have my views with these plants that aren’t shared by everybody and I’m always going to be pushing to deliver the highest possible quality plants or flower, so to speak to the patient. And that doesn’t always mean that it’s some 30% THC or just something that gets you super stoned. I would really like to get a one-to-one flower on the market or a really awesome CBG strain or start finding some CBN strains and really dialing in that flower for more medicinally, specific purposes. But I’m all for that super high THC stuff. It all has its place for sure. But what I would really like to be involved in is a more specific approach to the patient. And what I really love is how… I’m not sure if they do it anymore. I’m not really up-to-date with California’s laws and legislation, but last I heard they had caregivers out there and I think it’s really cool how connected the grower is to his buyers. And if there’s something that they really [crosstalk 00:35:59] connect with.

Tim Pickett:
Farmers Market.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. That whole approach.

Tim Pickett:
That whole approach. Yeah. That kind of local approach versus the eight growers who can grow everything and then everything gets processed. And even though you’re not limited to cultivars or strains as we call them and because they’re going to grow a nice variety, you’re still are limited to eight producers. Not the guy down the road who is your friend or you really care about, you like his product, you know he cares about the plant. Going back to that spirituality thing. Right. That connection to the earth with our community, [crosstalk 00:36:37] you still don’t get that with Utah’s program.

Riley Meyer:
Yes sir. Right. That’s definitely the big one for me, is that it’s just not opened up. I feel like I’m with Standard for a reason. I feel like they do have that approach, but then again it’s a business, man. And-

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. I mean, they got to recoup their investment and it’s a big cost.

Riley Meyer:
Right. And the overhead that comes with that is real. Whereas you have a local farmer that has his plot of land, that’s working his soil. He’s been working it for years. He’s got his process. That’s going to attract a certain group of people to want to be involved with him specifically because in this industry, quality is always going to rise to the top. It’s always going to make a name for itself. And that’s something that I think needs to be made available here. It needs to be opened up. There needs to be more options. I think that the companies here are doing a good job staying afloat. We could always do better for sure. But I really do, I wish there was more options, more availability.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. I’m not torn about that, but it makes you think how do you get from here to there? And it really is in Utah, that’s a long road.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
There’s definitely no talk about opening anything up like that. Not in this session, probably not for a few sessions. Got to have some movement at the federal level before stuff like that happens

Riley Meyer:
Yes. Yep.

Tim Pickett:
Some states probably doing better than others, but like you say, I mean, here we live in Utah and we do have a good medical program from the medical side compared to a lot of other states.

Riley Meyer:
For sure. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Come on, you go to Texas and you can’t hardly get access at all. North Carolina if they pass that medical bill, boy, that’s going to be a very, very limited access. You’ve got to be basically on your deathbed in order to get access. And at least here that’s not the case.

Riley Meyer:
That’s another thing that’s really cool about Utah, is at least they’re giving us the chance, man. At least they’re making it available. They’re taking that leap of faith and handing it over, and I really respect that. But yeah, I do think that to really use this plant to its full potential, you got to turn it over to the people. I mean, there’s a reason why it went 100 years through prohibition. There’s a reason why that culture has stayed intact the whole time. The people love this plant and they pushed it through all that BS and they’ve made their voices heard, and that’s the reason why it’s here today. So yeah.

Tim Pickett:
What do you do for fun, Riley?

Riley Meyer:
Oh man. A lot of stuff. I got too many hobbies.

Tim Pickett:
Because in the winter you ain’t got shit to do now.

Riley Meyer:
Oh yeah. Of course.

Tim Pickett:
I mean, I’m sure you got to get ready for next year and you got a lot of whatever’s going on in the indoor.

Riley Meyer:
Right. Yeah. I know, I-

Tim Pickett:
I mean, you got plans for winter? Anything fun planned? [crosstalk 00:39:46].

Riley Meyer:
100%. Yeah. I got me a little pass to PC. Going to be using that epic pass this year. Been snowboarding since I was eight years old so that’s a big winter hobby for me. And that’s kind of always been another thing that coincided with being a cultivator, especially outdoor, is that you work all summer, you get your check at the end of the season and then you go play. And that’s my whole thing, man. I love the snow. And what a place for it. Utah. It’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:
It’s going to tie you here for a long time.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Oh yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right?

Riley Meyer:
I hope so. I love this state.

Tim Pickett:
And It’s like there’s nowhere to go. I ski too. And I grew up here and I’ve skied all my life, just like you. And people always ask me, “Oh, where have you been? Where have you been?” And I’m always like, “Where should I go?”

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Where do I have to go? It’s 30 minutes. [crosstalk 00:40:37].

Tim Pickett:
Where do I have to go? I don’t know. I go 45 minutes up the road and I’m there. I’m where everybody wants to go.

Riley Meyer:
Greatest snow on earth, man.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Have you ever skied out of town?

Riley Meyer:
I don’t think I have. Like you said-

Tim Pickett:
I was in my mid-30s before I even went to Sun Valley.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Oh no, I went on my honeymoon to Sun Valley and we skied a couple of days. That was 21 years ago. But I’ve never been to Tahoe. And I mean, I’ve skied my whole life and never been to Tahoe, but I never feel like it’s worth the money to leave here.

Riley Meyer:
Right. Right. No, I’ve heard a lot about a lot of really cool resorts. I mean, on my pass is Whistler and I’m just looking at that every day like, “Oh, I got to make the trip up there.” And I got to go to PC. [crosstalk 00:41:30].

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You got to make the trip.

Riley Meyer:
But yeah, one of these days. I haven’t yet though. It’s definitely on the list.

Tim Pickett:
Targhee is another place to go. Because that place is fire.

Riley Meyer:
Yes sir. That’s what I hear. [crosstalk 00:41:41].

Tim Pickett:
It was so awesome last year. So awesome. [crosstalk 00:41:44].

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. That’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:
And it’s not that far.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. It’s not too bad. Right. And even Tahoe is not that bad. I mean, California or Nevada is okay. Yeah. Not too bad. [crosstalk 00:41:51].

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You got the time.

Riley Meyer:
I got the time, man. I got a couple of months here.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Good. Well, if you could grow any strain you wanted, what would you grow?

Riley Meyer:
I would do my own breeding, man. I’d take a couple of strains and I would try to make some crazy concoction. But right now with what’s out there, I really like the stuff that’s coming from Soul Rebel, shout out to Soul Rebel. He’s got a lot of really cool sativas coming down. But yeah, my number one strain I’d say is the good old Jack Herer. I’m a big sativa guy. And in the flower world I think people kind of look at you as a weirdo if you like sativa. But yeah, I’m a big sativa guy. I just like the terpene profile off that Jack Herer. It’s so distinct. It catches my nose anywhere. If somebody shows me a bag of Jack Herer I’ll be able to tell you if it’s the real deal or not just by that smell.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, that is sweet. Okay. So I have goals now to be as good as you at recognizing one strain. Okay. Just I’m going to get one strain. I’m going to learn how to recognize it whether it’s good or bad.

Riley Meyer:
You got to find that one. You got to find that special one and stick with it.

Tim Pickett:
So when Standard comes out, when does all this stuff come? Is it available now?

Riley Meyer:
No. So we just got done clipping it into our totes. It’s in the curing process right now, we’re doing the finishing touches on our trim up. But we should be seeing that outdoor flower hit stores within the next few weeks. But that’s another thing, the state, has to go through the state.

Tim Pickett:
They take their portion. They take their cut. No, they take their testing cut.

Riley Meyer:
Yeah. Exactly. They take their time, is what they do. No dig, but they take their time. But yeah, it’s really dependent on the state. We got a awesome team killing it right now. We should be done within the next few weeks, packaged up and ready to send off. So-

Tim Pickett:
Okay. This episode will probably come out the week all that stuff comes out and so hopefully that’s the case.

Riley Meyer:
Okay.

Tim Pickett:
It’ll come out within a couple of weeks, front or back of this episode for sure.

Riley Meyer:
Sweet.

Tim Pickett:
Is there anything else you want to talk about? You want to mention? Anything burning on your chest, you just got to get off your chest.

Riley Meyer:
I would like to say for anybody out there that their passion is growing cannabis, just stay down, man. Just do anything that you can to get your foot in the door, reach out because that was me, a handful of years ago that was me. I was just itching to get into this industry. And it was so daunting because there’s people with huge reputations that get pulled from out of state and you got to be this master grower to just even get a look, but really a pebble at a time, just take a step at a time, stay down. Don’t get discouraged because I know there’s a lot of you all out there who really want to be involved with this plant and, yeah, just don’t quit. Don’t give up. That’s it.

Tim Pickett:
Well, that’s good. You’ve heard it from Riley Meyer. Who is the local kid who became a cultivator here in Utah for medical marijuana.

Riley Meyer:
Yes, sir.

Tim Pickett:
It’s a, yeah, pretty cool story, man.

Riley Meyer:
Thanks, Tim. I appreciate it, man. [crosstalk 00:45:29].

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. I’m happy you’re growing this stuff for us and I look forward to giving some a try, frankly.

Riley Meyer:
Yes, sir. Yeah. Go look for it, Standard Wellness.

Tim Pickett:
All right, everybody. Stay safe out there.

 

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