Updated: Oct 27
In June of 2022, Higher Learning LV conducted an exclusive interview with Graham Farrar, President of Glass House Brands in California, a leading cannabis company that encompasses several brands. Farrar explains what attracted him to the cannabis industry and the reasons behind the company's adherence to eco-friendly greenhouse cultivation.
Other popular articles in the Higher Learning LV Interview series include:
Graham Farrar of Glass House Brands
In 2021, Higher Learning LV conducted an exclusive video interview with Kyle Kazan, CEO of Glass House Brands. Together, these two interviews provide an informative overview of Glass House Brands and Glass House Farms.
Higher Learning LV: "Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Graham. As President at Glass House Brands, what motivated you to jump head first into the cannabis industry?"
Graham Farrar: "I've loved cannabis for more than 30 years. I find that it helps me relax, it makes me laugh, and it brings out the best version of myself.
"My first grow was in a closet when I was about 18 years old in 1996, in a small three by two foot space. I loved the biology and the technology and the product I grew. From there, I grew in rooms, garages, houses, and eventually multiple houses.
"About seven years ago, I started Glass House Farms. It was then that cannabis became a job in addition to a passion. I think cannabis makes the world a better place and I want to bring cannabis to as many people as possible."
HLLV: "Glass House Farms is known for its use of greenhouses for cannabis cultivation. What are the effects of this strategy in terms of carbon footprint and other metrics of efficiency and environmental stewardship?"
GF: "Greenhouse growing is my favorite. I have done indoor grows, but I really like the way that greenhouses work in partnership with Mother Nature. This approach uses what Mother Nature gives us—for free and with no environmental impact—and then polishes and supplements that to perfection. It's very efficient.
"Our greenhouses are located in the amazing climate of Southern California, which is almost perfect. It is one of the best places to grow cannabis. We use the controlled environment of the greenhouses and supplement with carbon dioxide and control the temperature and humidity. We try to really make it perfect for the plants. Greenhouses are very water efficient, using 50-90 percent less water than open field growing.
"We also capture and reuse the water to make it even more efficient. We produce 1/27th the carbon dioxide of a typical indoor grow (per gram) and consume only 10 percent of the electricity. Plants are best grown where plants naturally grow, below the sun under which they evolved. The one lighter in the sky is our favorite lighting system."
HLLV: "Does Glass House Farms' focus on sun grown cannabis give it a competitive advantage over companies doing indoor cultivation?"
GF: "A great thing about cannabis is that there are many ways to do things and none of them are wrong. It's just different strokes for different folks. At Glass House Farms, we really like sun grown cannabis. I think it has the potential to be the best cannabis out there and to be grown in a way that respects the planet.
"I think the more consumers ask where their cannabis comes from, the more they will prefer sun grown. If we do things right, the cannabis should be high quality, affordable, and respectful of the planet."
HLLV: "Glass House Farms is expanding quickly. Can you tell us about your production facility footprint?"
GF: "Glass House has been growing quickly, but it's important to remember that we got big by starting small. Many of the people here have been involved with cannabis for decades. I have known several since high school or even earlier.
"Our first farm was 150,000 square feet. It felt giant at the time...now not as much. Then we got the second farm, which was 350,000 square feet. Then we started opening stores, after which we launched the Glass House Farms brand. Then, about a year ago, we went public. A lot has happened since then.
"We acquired one of the largest greenhouses in the country, most of which is still growing food, but we retrofitted about 600,000 square feet of canopy over to cannabis. The facility is amazing and I think the quality of what we can grow here will be amazing, too.
"We now have six retail stores, with six more in the works. In terms of brands, we have Glass House Farms, Plus Gummies, Forbidden Flowers, and Field Extracts—with more on the way. It's a lot of hard work, but we're lucky to have the opportunity to do these things."
HLLV: "How is Glass House Farms leveraging technology to both manage and monitor its cannabis cultivation facilities?"
GF: "We use a lot of technology. I'm a tech geek. Our greenhouse is controlled by automated systems that monitor the climate and react with heat, shade, blackout, irrigation, carbon dioxide, fans, vents, etc. It is a really amazing system. We do lots of data collection to ensure that we can produce quality and consistency at an affordable price."
HLLV: "Glass House Farms currently operates in the state of California. Does the company have any plans to expand into other states?"
GF: "Tequila comes from Mexico. Champaign comes from France. And cannabis comes from California. Our plan is to give the people high-quality cannabis, grown along the sunny central California coast, and then ship it to the rest of the country and eventually the world.
"Until then, we will focus on California. We believe that if you can make the California cannabis consumer happy, you can make any consumer happy. And that's our goal: To make people happy and healthy with plants."
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