The Dime Episode 48 Transcript: Simplifying Cannabis Genetics ft. Jordan Zager CEO of Dewey Scientific

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Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

Bryan @bryanfields24 and Kellan @Kellan_Finney sit down with Dr. Jordan Zager , CEO of Dewey Scientific to discuss

• How Dewey Scientific uses data to make better crop decisions
• RNA sequencing to maximize the expression of genes
• How to set up a breeding scheme
• The role of tissue culture in the cannabis space
• How brands can replicate their product to provide consistency across state lines
• Genetically engineered cannabis
• Cannabis as medicine


[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: [00:00:00] This is the dime a 10 minute dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangents. What’s up, guys! Welcome back to another episode of the dime as always. I’ve got my right-hand man. Kellan, sitting here with me. And today we’ve got a very special guest Jordan Zager CEO, and co-founder of Dewey scientific, Jordan, thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?

[00:00:25] Jordan Zager: [00:00:25] Hey. Yeah. Thanks for having me on. I’m doing, I’m doing good. How are you doing?

[00:00:29] Bryan Fields: [00:00:29] Awesome. It’s a beautiful day here in New York, the end of  March. And we’re excited to kick it off.

[00:00:34] Kellan Finney: [00:00:34] And it’s pretty warm out here in Colorado, so

[00:00:36]Jordan Zager: [00:00:36] I’m jealous. It’s about 42 degrees and sleeting here in Washington right now.

[00:00:42] Kellan Finney: [00:00:42] It’s, it’s, it’s a normal spring,

[00:00:44] Bryan Fields: [00:00:44] I think before we get started, I think it’d be great. If you could share with our listeners a little bit about you and what Dewey brings to the space.

[00:00:51]Jordan Zager: [00:00:51] So a little bit about Dewey. We, we like to say that we’re bringing incredible science to the cannabis industry. And when we’re talking about credible science, we’re talking on the plant [00:01:00] genetics and biochemistry side. Cause you know, that’s really what cannabis is. And the end is it’s a plant that has very unique genetics and biochemistry. So we really try to apply modern science techniques to understand that. And then how to leverage that into the commercial cultivation and plant breeding.

[00:01:15] My background, I have a PhD in plant biochemistry and it was one of the early people to work with cannabis, genomics within academia. And I’ve discovered a few terpene genes, some synthesis. In the terpene family.

[00:01:29] Bryan Fields: [00:01:29] How did you get started in cannabis?

[00:01:32] Jordan Zager: [00:01:32] Yeah, so I ,  I’m going to go pretty far back here to my days in college, I worked in a plant biochemistry lab and you know, I was a college kid. I was smoking weed all the time. I was like, wait, I’m learning some really cool stuff about plant biochemistry. I happen to love this plant. Let’s, let’s make this my career. At that time, like there was medical and some States, and then recreational just, just started in Washington and in Colorado. So when I applied to grad schools, I only went to, looked for States where I could work with [00:02:00] cannabis, maybe at home, not necessarily in the lab that, that brought me to Washington. I found a lab whose main focus was the biochemistry of glandular tricombs and terpene production within secretary cells. So I, you know, I knew enough about plant physiology at the time.

[00:02:17] Oh, tricombs, terpenes sounds like cannabis, and it’s going to be pretty close to working with cannabis. So I joined that lab and then eventually I got to work with cannabis ,  part of my, my PhD project. And it was about that time that that project started. I decided, you know, let’s, let’s try to apply this into the cannabis space and it’s not like they’re, you know, at the time there were a bunch of large companies.

[00:02:38] Like there are today, at least in Canada, where they have like pretty in-depth research teams. And so in the time, since we’ve found a Dewey more and more companies have incorporated us in, but that’s, that’s how that was my path to the cannabis industry. Just a love for biochemistry and a, a love for cannabis.

[00:02:53] Bryan Fields: [00:02:53] Perfect combination. So before we happen to the questions. Take it back to Dewey. How, how did that start? Was that another [00:03:00] cannabis induced idea and kind of take us through that?

[00:03:02] Jordan Zager: [00:03:02] Yeah. So Dewey scientific it’s ,  it was founded by me and a plant breeder. When, you know, we, we started out as, as friends ,  umpiring baseball, actually, we were baseball umpires. And after a game, I think we went and smoked some weed and it turned out he was a plant breeder as a biochemist. And so we thought, Hey, let’s, let’s try to apply what we know to cannabis. So I think that that was in like 2015, 2016. We set up like a little makeshift lab in my house. We bought like some laminar flow hood on eBay, started doing some tissue culture in my house, and that’s how I liked it really started.

[00:03:35] And then, you know, fast forward a few years, we start pitching to investors. And we, we get funded. So really what we do is ,  we work with other companies, breeding programs, and we, we sort of supply them with, you know, the scientific expertise ,  as it relates to genomics, genetics, biochemistry to improve their breeding program. And so we work with a few folks in the space. We work with a couple of different farms in the [00:04:00] recreational space. Farm down in California, a couple of farms in Washington. And then of course we have our own recreational cannabis brands doing cannabis company. That’s in Washington and that’s it. And it’s whole ,  we, we do work with a couple of international companies. We’ve worked with some folks in, in ,  in Costa Rica. They, they recently just changed their laws. They’ve got a CBD market now. So we, we actually, we helped with the first import. Hampstead to Costa Rica because those seeds came through the Dewey lab ,  at one point. So that’s, that’s really what we do.

[00:04:28] Bryan Fields: [00:04:28] The classic tech garage story turned for the cannabis industry. So it’s, it’s awesome to hear the evolution of it for our space. So let’s, let’s kind of dive. Yeah. Sorry. Continue.

[00:04:38] Jordan Zager: [00:04:38] I was just going to say the first right to do tissue culture. You need an autoclave. So just like high pressure, high temperature. So we bought a Shopko down the street was, was going out of business. So we, we picked up like a $20 pressure cooker. And ,  that was how we, we made our first batch of media, $20 pressure cooker in my, in my garage.

[00:04:56] Bryan Fields: [00:04:56] Do you live in at home at the time?

[00:04:58] Jordan Zager: [00:04:58] No, this was, this was while I was in grad [00:05:00] school.

[00:05:00] Bryan Fields: [00:05:00] And imagine what your mom would say that if she opened up some, what the hell is going on here?

[00:05:04] So let’s, let’s dive into some of these things on the websites is better crop decision in its simplistic version. How Dewey do we do that?

[00:05:12]Jordan Zager: [00:05:12] So we are big fans of collecting data on your crop. If you’re going to want to improve something, you need to know what is going on. All right in the first place. So that’s, that’s sort of our approach there is, is capturing as much data, whether it’s plant performance data in the field, or if it’s data related to the genetic makeup of the plant, we take a full view of that too, and make better breeding decisions.

[00:05:36] Bryan Fields: [00:05:36] Let’s talk about those better breeding decisions. Are there ones you can specify, ones that are common in this space?

[00:05:43]Jordan Zager: [00:05:43] I, you know, I think with the increase, no, if we back up to when it became legal ,  with the, with the 2018 farm bill. You know, since then, there’s been a lot of progress by many companies in improving the genetics that are out there. I think the first couple years, everything was like a [00:06:00] cherry wine background. Now there’s, there’s, you know, maybe eight, you know, a few dozen of solid backgrounds that are out there. So, sorry, I’m going down a rabbit hole here. Genetic uniformity was a big problem with it. With the 2018 farm bill, like crops were varied, uneven. A lot of crops were hot. I mean, that’s still a big problem in the hemp space.

[00:06:18] You guys know that. So it’s, it’s a matter of, right. If you’re just breeding for, for low CBD or sorry, low THC abundance in a CBD backgrounds, you want to have the tools that can speed up your breeding decisions and your timeline to getting to what you achieve is that I don’t think that answers your question.

[00:06:38] Kellan Finney: [00:06:38] When I was thinking about this and you correct me if I was wrong, have you heard of the myostatin gene that was recognized it’s called the mighty mouse gene. Right. And so when I was actually thinking of what Dewey does, I was thinking about this kind of work that’s being done like by biohackers, I guess is the best analogy I could think of.

[00:06:56] And so, the presence of this gene or the actually [00:07:00] the absence of it causes muscles to increase dramatically, right? And so when I was thinking about doing it, I was thinking that’s exactly the type of work they do in terms of analyzing the plant to say, okay, like I see that say this specific strain has massive tricombs, right? And then all of a sudden it’s testing higher, but, but what is the exact reason that it has those larger tricombs and why is this strain yielding better when I extract it versus this strain isn’t, right? And so is that a good representation in terms of Dewey is going to come in and help me learn exactly genetically what’s going on from a expression standpoint. And then I can try to replicate that in my breeding program. Is that something that’s similar?

[00:07:39]Jordan Zager: [00:07:39] Absolutely. Yes. So, , you just have to have your trait of interest and when I say, yeah, you need the data on it, you know, you want to know, let’s say, let’s go back to your, your, , this plant is extracting extremely well. So, what will you do is, is to really learn the genetics behind that. You have to set up a breeding scheme. You want to have something that you want to set up a what’s called a segregating population. You want to have one [00:08:00] parent that has the trait. You want to have another parent that doesn’t have the trait you cross those. And then you, you look at the, the progeny, the children of that cross. And if some of them have the trait you want, and some of them don’t, you have, what’s called a segregating population. And that’s sort of the best way to go about understanding the genetics behind a specific trait of interest. You know, whether it’s powdery, mildew resistance or it’s extraction yield, that’s, that’s sort of the approach, the approach we take. So, specific examples of what we’ve done in the past are; One, is powdery, mildew resistance. We have developed more like molecular markers for that. So once we have these molecular markers in hand, it speeds up our breeding process. So rather than, you know, okay, we’ve got this Skittle Mintz, and we’ve got this lemon merengue that we want to cross.

[00:08:43] And this lemon merengue super susceptible to powdery mildew, but the Skittle Mintz is not, we can make the cross instead of, you know, going through the whole timeline of phenotyping, all those progeny. You then just have a quick genetic test at the time. They, they sprout their first leaves to identify what is [00:09:00] going to be powdery, mildew resistant.

[00:09:01] So we’ve done that with a few traits, a few different traits.

[00:09:03] Kellan Finney: [00:09:03] That’s awesome.

[00:09:05] Bryan Fields: [00:09:05] Yeah. How long, how long does that take? I know that’s ballpark and then that’s a pretty specific request, but just ballparking.

[00:09:12] Jordan Zager: [00:09:12] Yeah. So it’s, it’s really a matter of if you know the plants you’re working with. We’re talking about a 13, 14 week timeline.

[00:09:21]And if you don’t, well, then you got to start collecting data. So that that’s sort of where we come in with the cultivators. And, and just like, you know, provide them the scientific assistance to get what they want, right? Because most operators in the space right now, they know of what’s in their genetic library. What does well, for certain things, whether it’s terpene accumulation, whether it’s, you know, purple flowers or what have you, or, you know, resistance to different. You know, antibiotic factors or biotic factors ,  such as like, you know, right now doing we’re, we’re trying to tackle a fit resistance and at least develop some markers, race resistance. And so of all the different varieties [00:10:00] that are recreational grow ,  is growing. We do know some are incredibly susceptible and we know that some, I don’t want to say that they’re fully resistant, but they almost never, almost never gonna find aphid on them.

[00:10:12] So that’s, that’s sort of the next trait that we’re, we’re trying to capture. And so with this, because, because we haven’t really categorized our plants for this specific trait, the trait of aphid resistance, it takes a little bit of time there. So maybe, you know, maybe three or four flower cycles. So that is sort of a long timeline. If there’s there’s five flower cycles in a year ,  but a year to 18 months, I think is a good timeline.

[00:10:34] Bryan Fields: [00:10:34] And what exactly is that? What are aphids?

[00:10:37] Jordan Zager: [00:10:37] Yeah, aphids or ,  a, an insect pest. One of the bigger problems in the cannabis industry are aphids. You know, most, most folks control it by just having a really clean grow environment. But even then, like they can, if it’s consultant liberate. So what they do is they latch onto the plant and then they suck the sap, sort of the moving sugar water through the plant. And so it just leads to lower [00:11:00] lower production  from a plant standpoint, overall yields, cannabinoid, content, terpene content.

[00:11:05]Kellan Finney: [00:11:05] Change gears a little bit. You mentioned tissue culturing. Could you kind of provide a simple definition for listeners of what tissue culturing is. [What’s the] why is that different from traditional breeding methods where you’re just kind of crossing two plants and letting them grow and kind of doing the Punnett square? What was the guy with the beans?

[00:11:28] Jordan Zager: [00:11:28] Gregor, Mendel, green wrinkled and yellow, yellow round. Exactly.

[00:11:38] We seem to be so proud to him.

[00:11:41] Oh man. So actually tissue culture is not something that we use in our breeding.

[00:11:47] Kellan Finney: [00:11:47] It seems? 

[00:11:48] Jordan Zager: [00:11:48] You know, at the very basic level, we do go back to punnet squares. That’s what we refer to as Mundelien genetics. So like when we’re capturing all this big data, you know, genetic sequencing data, you can start to see traits segregate and [00:12:00] what we call it, mundelien fashion where it’s like one to two to one. Which is exactly the point of doing those Punnett squares. So, but, but to, to get to your question on tissue culture, tissue culture is a way for clonal replication, meaning right in the cannabis industry, people are always taking clones of their plants and, you know, cutting, you give it some rooting hormones, put it in some rock wall, or maybe some soil you get roots.

[00:12:22] Tissue culture is just a different way of doing that. And it’s done on a much smaller scale from a plant perspective, right? For a clone, for a healthy clown, or you wanna take like a six inch cutting for, I don’t even know the number, but for micropropagation or tissue culture based cloning, you know, you’re taking something that’s a few millimeter.

[00:12:43] Millimeters in length. And so it’s this the same thing you’re giving a cutting of the plant nutrients that it cannot get without roots and you’re tricking it to grow roots is, is the goal. So that’s tissue culture in the cannabis industry. There’s some companies that do their cloning methods that way, rather than the traditional cup cloning.

[00:12:59] And it [00:13:00] gives, it provides the benefit of young clone is grown in a completely sterile environment, which there’s evidence out there that you can remove some, you know, old accumulated systemic diseases or something from a tissue by using tissue culture. We’ve never done that. And I don’t want to make the claim that we can do that.

[00:13:19] Cause I have no idea on the legitimacy of those claims, but that’s tissue culture as it relates to cannabis in the short.

[00:13:25] Kellan Finney: [00:13:25] Appreciate that.

[00:13:26] Bryan Fields: [00:13:26] Yeah, I’ve got another site for you can really play a major role or can it play a helping role in the future with the personalized medicine by understanding exactly how. What the whole process works is that somewhere you see Dewey playing a role in the future?

[00:13:41] Jordan Zager: [00:13:41] Well as for personalized medicine, you know, I, I think that. You know, th the, the combination of all of the phytocannabinoids and the turpines within the plant are consistent, you know? Right. If you have, and this ties into it’s, it’s the entourage effect, right? If someone is using cannabis for medical [00:14:00] purposes ,  they want to get that same mixture every time. Just, just like you do with like aspirin.

[00:14:04] It’s always going to be the same ingredients, time and time again. So for, for folks going after a more natural means of pain relief or whatever reason you want to know, you want to find out what works for you. And then you want to make sure that those chemical constituents are always there. So where we can come in is, you know, we will know that in a given environment, this strain will always produce this chemical profile. And so the right there is there’s multiple factors there, it’s the environment, it’s the genetics, and it’s what the end-user’s getting, which basically comes down to the processing of the flower or the extract, whatever it may be. So from a genetic standpoint, it’s making sure that the plants that are being sent to the growers of, you know, medical cannabis growers, or even, even the patient themselves [that] the genetics that they’re receiving, or at least capable of providing the chemo type that, that [00:15:00] treats their ailments. There are variables in it that are out of the genetics control. But for the most part, if the, if the genetic makeup is there, the ,  the chemical profile will be there to help.

[00:15:10] Bryan Fields: [00:15:10] The environment, it’s gotta be such a complex variable to account for, and especially given all of the restrictions now with large MSO is kind of growing across different States. I mean, That’s how it worked, Jordan. I mean, you got major companies across state lines, all trying to grow roughly the same style products that when you go dispensary materially in California versus New Jersey, you can kind of feel familiar with the products, but there’s gotta be a ton of different variability. So how does that work?

[00:15:36] Jordan Zager: [00:15:36] Yeah. So from a genetic and biochemical perspective, like the, the major pathways that are producing medicinally relevant, or even bioactive components, right. We’re talking about the cannabinoids, we’re talking about the terpenoids and we’re talking about the flavonoids. All of these pathways are heavily influenced,at the genetic level in terms of genetic expression, which is really the driver, right? So if you think of back to the something you learn in, in [00:16:00] biology with ,  with Gregor Mendel is the central dogma of biology, which is  genes are at the first level. They get transcribed into RNA, which is the gene expression. And that gets translated into proteins and the proteins are like the chemical reactant reaction factories. So all of these pathways, cannabinoids, flavonoids terpenoids are incredibly sensitive to environmental interactions. And so in a genetic space, we call this gene by by environment interactions G by E. And so that is something that. Is I think the next big hurdle to clear in the cannabis space, you know, folks are getting really good with their genetics. The next hurdle, I think, to clear in producing that consistent product from state to state to state is ensuring that the environment is the same. So that the, these, these metabolic pathways that produce these biometric compounds are operating the same.

[00:16:54] Now from a recreational standpoint, you know, maybe the chemical. The, the chemo type isn’t as [00:17:00] important for the consumer. Maybe somebody just wants like super frosty buds or, you know, they only want purples. Those are two traits, you know, that ,  are absolutely controlled by the genetic makeup. But you know, if we’re talking about purple, you know, you could, you could have a purple plant when it flowers at 72 degrees. It’s purple. And when you flower it, 82 degrees, it’s mostly green. So that that’s an example of a G by E trait is, is plant color.

[00:17:26] And then, you know, something else like Tricom preservation, that’s, that’s like another big thing in the processing space right now. Making sure your, that your tricombs don’t wither because you want to have big frosty nugs for the recreational consumer that also, you know, might lead to a more potent flower, but also you’re retaining the turpines better. So it doesn’t matter how good genetics are. If these other steps aren’t taken care.

[00:17:49] Kellan Finney: [00:17:49] Is there a way that you could potentially implement like genetics testing throughout the life cycle of a plant, as like a quality control mechanism?

[00:17:58] Jordan Zager: [00:17:58] Yeah, it’s a technique. That’s a little [00:18:00] pricey at the moment, but it’s referred to as RNA seq. So RNA sequencing and what that does is it gives you an idea of. How the genes are being expressed. And so that’s actually a service that we do offer at Dewey with other folks is, we’ll look at your plants at different times. And so we can see when terpene genes are, are at their highest. And then, you know, we can modify that the grow environment to try to then, okay, how can we maximize expression of these genes? And that’s something we offer and, and, and have done at Dewey.

[00:18:31] Kellan Finney: [00:18:31] So say like I have a, my HVAC goes down one night, right. And I come in the next day and it is a completely different environment. I didn’t call you up. You come in, we are, we’re able to determine kind of what’s going on from a genetics perspective. Is that something that you could then coach us through on like how to correct the environment to try to get that RNA sequence back to where, where it should be, or is that kind of like a while you just accept it and move on kind of a situation.

[00:18:55] Jordan Zager: [00:18:55] Yeah, the, the results aren’t going to be immediate, right? If your HVAC goes down, [00:19:00] you got to get your HVAC back up and running or your house, right? But you know, let’s say right, you’re, you’re a company in California, and you’re growing indoors and you got a license for a New Jersey and you want to make sure your products are the same. Well, first off your genetics need to be the same.

[00:19:19]But yeah, so, so let’s say you start growing in New Jersey, your plant, you know, the, the chemical profiles is not there. This, this strain that just smelled so good in California, just doesn’t quite smell as good in New Jersey. We could answer that question with RNAC it’s w w we look at the, the gene expression profile from the same plant grown in what you think are identical conditions, and then diagnose what’s wrong using that gene expression ,  fingerprint.

[00:19:44] Bryan Fields: [00:19:44] Sounds like you’re the Ghostbusters to me.

[00:19:47] Jordan Zager: [00:19:47] Yeah. That’s the thing, a project like that, you know, that that’s not an immediate timeline. That would probably be a, a year to two year project.

[00:19:54] Bryan Fields: [00:19:54] We’re going to cut that part out from the two year timelines that people just here, these guys can come in, he can solve problems immediately.

[00:20:04] [00:20:00] Jordan Zager: [00:20:04] Yeah. Let’s raise expectations, please.

[00:20:06] Bryan Fields: [00:20:06] Kellan, did you have a question you wanted to ask?

[00:20:09] Kellan Finney: [00:20:09] I was just gonna ,  I thought you brought up a good point because I have consumed say like a N O G in Colorado, and then you go to California and say, I’m in Southern California and I purchased another OJI. Completely different versus even up in Northern California, there’s another hoagie. And it’s like, they’re three completely different plants, but they could have all started. Do you think they all start with the same genetics, but based on the environment that’s going to change it or is it we’re just at the point where people don’t really know what genetics are really starting with yet? Like, could you kind of walk me through why that is the reason from a genetics perspective?

[00:20:43] Jordan Zager: [00:20:43] Yeah, I think the first reason is that it’s probably not the same genetics. I think it’s really unlikely that clone from one source is going to be found all over the place. I mean, that’s, that’s what the cannabis industry has is, you know, it’s right with copycats, which is fine.

[00:20:54] But when it comes to understanding that from genetics, you know, there are tests out there that [00:21:00] you said that question, you know, medicinal genomics has a great product. For determining the lineage of something. So the first step would be okay, are the three OGs in these different locations? Actually the same genetically if no. Well, there’s your problem. If yes, then absolutely. Gene by environment is, is most likely driving that change.

[00:21:16] Kellan Finney: [00:21:16] Appreciate that.

[00:21:18] Bryan Fields: [00:21:18] Yes. My next question would be what percentage of the industry is using kind of techniques similar to the ones do we provide and is it based on the sheer size, that’s the determining factor, whether they move forward or not?

[00:21:32] Jordan Zager: [00:21:32] What do you mean by size, the sheer size?

[00:21:34] Bryan Fields: [00:21:34] So the size of the company, right? So we’ve got like boutique style growth who, who might be more geared or using it. And you’ve got like kind of larger ones where I’m curious to know, like, from your standpoint, what percentage of the, of the industry at this moment, both hemp and cannabis is using and doing scientific work, similar style analysis.

[00:21:52] Jordan Zager: [00:21:52] Oh man. Very pro probably 1% or less. Really the, the companies that are doing this are in the hemp space, the breeders, like the [00:22:00] really good breeding companies and in the correct space. Yeah. There’s a few folks that are doing, doing stuff. I think mostly in the rec. space, the companies that are doing this are in Canada and we’re talking right.

[00:22:09] Th the, the giants up there and because, you know, for the size of the company, That’s that’s really, our, our tools are, are more built for companies that are trying to get the same consistency in their products from different locations. So right, like a small farmer in Washington that is craft premium flower probably won’t have much benefit from working with us, but the, the, you know, folks that are trying to replicate their product, provide consistency to their brand.

[00:22:35] Those are the folks, sorry, their brand in multiple locations are the folks that would benefit most from what we offer.

[00:22:43] Bryan Fields: [00:22:43] It seems like a no brainer for the large Ms. Especially the ones that are like opening up shop in, in new locations, as fast as humanly possible. You need to have some sort of consistency, especially at people want that. So it seems like a no brainer for them.

[00:22:56] Jordan Zager: [00:22:56] Yeah, I think to some degree it ties so much into consumer [00:23:00] expectations of the brand. And because like some States don’t have vertical integration where the retailer is actually growing. It. It’s something that’s, that’s sort of hard to control, but for yeah, multi-state operator that is plant touching only, it makes no sense because, right, they want their brands to be the same, no matter where it is. Like Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola at my Chevron down the street is the same as the Coca-Cola where you are. And so for these multi-state operators, Hey, you’re got to have these quality control pieces in place. And genetics is a huge component of that.

[00:23:30] Kellan Finney: [00:23:30] Is this a technology that’s kind of unique to the cannabis industry or is there, is this used in other big ag?

[00:23:37] Jordan Zager: [00:23:37] Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely use another big ag. You know, I think a really good model is the Berry industry, the largest Berry provider in the US at least is Driscoll’s. I’m sure you guys have Driscoll’s in New York and Colorado, their entire business model is built on their R and D program at the genetic level. So that’s their first step of, of quality assurance is they have kick-ass [00:24:00] genetics. The next is may select their partner farms and [they’re there] they set pretty tight rules on what the farms can do and how they grow their berries and that everything from the pesticide treatment to the fertilizers that are ground prior to that, that comes down to the G by E gene by environment interaction. And then beyond that, they have, you know, very strict and standardized ,  processing procedures, right? Like everything, that’s A quality, it goes into their Driscoll’s brand. Everything that’s B quality goes into their other brand. Anything below that gets sold to somebody else or they turn it into a puree. So that’s an example of a different industry using the same tools that we’re talking about here at Dewey.

[00:24:40] Bryan Fields: [00:24:40] What’s the future roadmap or do we look like future roadmap?

[00:24:43] Jordan Zager: [00:24:43] Right now? We are ,  building our consumer brands. We are breeding breeding, breeding, breeding, always breeding and you know, we’re, we’re almost to the point where we’re going to start licensing our varieties to folks in Washington and [right?] these are varieties that are [00:25:00] resistant to a myriad of, of pests confirmed genetically. And then, you know, that are that complete with ,  with some of the popular varieties out there from a cannabinoid and terpene perspective.

[00:25:13] Bryan Fields: [00:25:13] Your biggest misconception is you started working in the cannabinoid space.

[00:25:18] Jordan Zager: [00:25:18] So from, from the time that I, I started working with cannabis to now, what was my biggest misconception? Oh, geez. I thought that we would have a larger barrier to entry ,  than we did. Right. I, I got Dewey was founded three years ago. I think at the time there was like, Eight States that have legalized it recreationally, not many. And now it’s now we’re in the twenties close to the twenties. So I think that that was this misconception. I was like, Oh man, no, one’s gonna be able to do this anywhere else, except for a handful of places. Now it’s like, Oh shit, it’s everywhere. But, but before, you know, starting Dewey, I I’ve worked in like medical collectives in California. I’ve been smoking weed a long time. So I shouldn’t say there was any major [00:26:00] misconception. I started knew what I was getting into. Also, I think the, the passing of the 2018 farm bill legalizing hemp threw me for a loop. I was like hemp, who cares? Like who’s going to be using CBD. You’re not getting high from hemp. So that threw us for a loop. And like, you know, made us question if we should do anything. And he’s sort of pivoting and ,  we, we did, you know, of course we started working with some hemp folks, but yeah, I would just say the growth of both sectors have been in adult use cannabis. I didn’t think it was going to be this fast.

[00:26:31] Bryan Fields: [00:26:31] Yeah. The industry moves just incredibly fast and it’s, it’s funny, right. As we go on this journey where the States announced, you know, they’re, they’re coming online, there’s huge progress, but at the same time, it’s like incremental and we’re still, we’re still in the first inning, which is like the craziest part. We’re literally just beginning.

[00:26:49] Jordan Zager: [00:26:49] Yeah, exactly, exactly. It. I don’t remember who said it, but they, you know, a week in the cannabis industry is like a year in anything else and split at the same time. Right? Like we, we don’t have [00:27:00] our act together on a federal level. Like we can’t even, you know, neighboring States can’t trade product. It’s we, we do still have a long ways to go despite the speed of the last few years.

[00:27:10] Bryan Fields: [00:27:10] We’re still trying to figure it out banking, which by the time this podcast is released, we’ll have it figured out is my whole foods.

[00:27:16] Jordan Zager: [00:27:16] Oh man. I really hope so. Oh man. That’s that’s

[00:27:22] Bryan Fields: [00:27:22] and then this podcast out until it goes down, no, it’ll happen we’re going to get it done. I mean, you can see they’re close, but it’s crazy, right? Like we ask people all the time that are outside industry that want to get in and are just perplexed by the type of obstacles that are kind of like self-imposed on an industry that is still fighting and thriving at the same time. And I think that’s the most impressive part is that some of these companies, including yourself, are doing really challenging next level things. And working with partners that are, rolling for all these additional obstacles.

[00:27:53] Jordan Zager: [00:27:53] Yeah. It’s, you know, you mentioned banking as a big obstacle. The other one is the tax situation. Like we have [00:28:00] to yeah, two yeah,. I don’t know if you guys have discussed this on your show, but this tax code that says the only thing that a, you know, provider of, of. In our narcotic, which of course cannabis is still labeled as, as such. The only things you can deduct, right? You can break the law by trafficking narcotics, but you better not write off your accounting expenses. Like the only thing you can write off are the costs of the goods sold. So like for a producer, like a cannabis grower, it’s like the soil, the lights, the pots, the fertilizer, and the people that grew it, but like their salaries. So like, that’s, that’s something that when I talk to folks outside of the cannabis industry and they learn about that, but like, are you, are you kidding me? And it’s just something that’s ludicrous. And it goes hand in hand with banking, like the financial perspective of how the cannabis operates right now. It’s, it’s amazing that there are companies, like you said, Brian, that are thriving the way there are some of these MSOE and all the hoops, they have to jump through. Like I do, we, we have to deal with one governing board [00:29:00] of the Washington state. Cannabis and liquor board. And like, I can’t imagine what, like, clearly it has to deal with like dealing with one entity. One, one government regulator is enough. So prop props to them.

[00:29:14] Bryan Fields: [00:29:14] I think that’s what they have a team of lawyers. So my team, like an entire baseball team full of lawyers, because it’s gotta be nearly impossible in the acuity. I don’t want to dive into that because that’s a whole nother topic on its own. But when that gets removed, these operators will just have a hold on, more profit. And people are like, Whoa, these guys made a huge amount of money this year compared to last year, like what did they do different? And it’s like, it’s not the government stop screwing them over.

[00:29:39] Jordan Zager: [00:29:39] Yeah, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a good investing tip, Brian.

[00:29:42] Bryan Fields: [00:29:42] I got to have a disclaimer at the end of this podcast. Now we’re not professional investors. You’re not take our advice, but yeah, absolutely. Before we wrap, we’re going to do two questions. We ask all of our guests. You could tell us your experience in the cannabinoid space into one main takeaway or lesson [00:30:00] learned to pass down to the next generation. What would that be?

[00:30:04]Jordan Zager: [00:30:04] Keep your end goal in sight. You don’t know what’s gonna get in your way of getting there, but as long as you have your eyes on what you want to get in the cannabis world ,  I think you can achieve it.

[00:30:13] Bryan Fields: [00:30:13] The last time you consumed any cannabinoids.

[00:30:16] Jordan Zager: [00:30:16] Oh, Jew. Before this podcast, I took my dog on a walk and then smoked a joint with him.

[00:30:21] Kellan Finney: [00:30:21] Love it.

[00:30:25] Jordan Zager: [00:30:25] I was going to ask you guys, if you ,  if you guys want to do to have a little tote stash before we started this, I’ll get on the same level, but we just got it.

[00:30:32] Bryan Fields: [00:30:32] We’ll have to save that for the patriotic members for the video subscription.

[00:30:36] Jordan Zager: [00:30:36] There we go.

[00:30:37] Bryan Fields: [00:30:37] But yeah, we should definitely get together as now off to a virtual one, but pursuing in person.

[00:30:43] So prediction time, will the future be genetically engineered cannabis? If so, what does that look like from a timeframe perspective? If not. Why not.

[00:30:55] Jordan Zager: [00:30:55] That is a great question. I don’t know if it’s tough [00:31:00] because like cannabis is an industry that has its own subculture that has thrived within America, right? And it’s, it’s often associated with, with, you know, preserving nature, right. It stems from, from the hippie movement, the free love movement. And so. For those types of consumers, GMOs are, they’re never going to consume GMO cannabis. So I think any, any company that is producing GMO cannabis is alienating sort of the, the, the base of cannabis users.

[00:31:28] Now that’s not to say it’s not being used today by certain people. I just don’t. I think that it’s GMO cannabis will ever really hit shelves just because of the makeup of consumers. Now, using it in breeding programs, as a tool to learn is probably the way that it’s going to be used. And it’s already being used by, by a few companies. And then, you know, that’s in the, you know, the plant aspect of cannabinoids. The other side is there are a bunch of companies right now that are either currently producing [00:32:00] or on the verge of commercially producing, engineered yeast grown cannabinoids, where they have genetically engineered yeast to have the entire cannabinoid pathway, including the precursors.

[00:32:10] So they’re feeding these East sugar and they’re in turn producing cannabinoids. And that that’s that’s. I think going to be a very useful tool as it relates to cannabinoids as a medicine and is going to be key for, for production of what, you know, call it the rare cannabinoids or even, you know, cannabinoids that don’t really exist in nature, but might have clinical relevance for ,  a certain disease or ailment

[00:32:35] Bryan Fields: [00:32:35] Kellan, thoughts?

[00:32:37] Kellan Finney: [00:32:37] Genetic gene ,  metabolic engineering is really close to my heart. It’s what I studied for a long time. And so, I agree with everything that Jordan said. I don’t think that, I mean, GMOs aren’t even allowed in Europe right now. Like there’s no way this, the plot, the demographic of canvas users that are going to entertain the thought of consuming a genetically modified cannabis plant.

[00:32:57] So, but as far as the genetically [00:33:00] modified organisms go like yeast, and E Coli, I, I do think that that is just going to continue to gain traction. And, but I do think at the end of the day, it’s only going to be for pharma. Because it goes back to the thing. If you aren’t producing say a THC molecule from E Coli and you’re using it to make a bait pen, that bait pen is going to have to say it’s from a genetically modified organism and they’re not, no one’s going to buy it at that point.

[00:33:25] So I think it’s going to be strictly regulated to kind of the pharmaceutical land. Brian, what do you think? What are your thoughts here? Would you consume some genetically modified cannabis?

[00:33:35] Bryan Fields: [00:33:35] If Jordan was bonded. Absolutely. Yeah. But then as a day, I mean, I crossed Jordan blindly.

[00:33:41] So the average consumer is not going to beat like just too many things going on guys.

[00:33:47] Like they’re not going to evaluate a product. At least I don’t think they will. I don’t think they’re going to pick up a product read the back. Like I don’t do that in it now when I buy products. So like, I can’t imagine. When you go to dispensary, buy these products. I don’t think that people are going to [00:34:00] be as informative in that.

[00:34:02] And I think you’ll have your slice of, of individuals who are really well-read and understand exactly what they want to consume like you do in other industries. And I think for the most part, it’s all about money, right? At the end of the day, what makes the most sense? What’s the cheapest way to mass produce the thing from a lean standpoint to get past regulations and then go from there.

[00:34:18] So I’m thinking the other side.

[00:34:20] Kellan Finney: [00:34:20] Well I like that. .

[00:34:22] Jordan Zager: [00:34:22] Well-stated for sure, for sure.

[00:34:24] Bryan Fields: [00:34:24] Jordan, before we wrap up, where can our listeners get in touch with you? If they want to learn more,

[00:34:28] Jordan Zager: [00:34:28] If you want to learn, check it out. deweyscientific.com. If you’re interested in our recreational cannabis brand, check us out on Instagram, [we’re] @Deweycannabis.

[00:34:35]And then of course, deweycannabis.com for our recreational features.

[00:34:40] Bryan Fields: [00:34:40] We’ll tag them all in the show notes so people can find you guys. Thanks Jordan, so much for your time and thank you everyone for listening.

[00:34:46] Jordan Zager: [00:34:46] All right. Thanks, Brian. Thanks, Kellan. Had a blast. [00:35:00]


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