Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Craft cannabis uses cultivation methods that are healthier for you and the environment. Created in small batches and often with organic farming techniques, craft weed can elevate your cannabis experience.
Explore the advantages and disadvantages of craft cannabis, along with the best craft cannabis strains to try.
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What Is Craft Cannabis?
Craft cannabis refers to superior-quality cannabis produced in small batches. Growing methods in craft cannabis utilize minimal natural resources, making this type of cultivation environmentally friendly. Careful cultivation techniques including hand harvesting distinguish artisanal craft cannabis from “ordinary” cannabis cultivated in large-scale operations.
Craft cannabis offers an array of benefits in terms of the economy, the environment and your health.
Grown In Small Batches
Small batch growth often results in superior-quality cannabis. In addition, growing cannabis in small batches gives “mom-and-pop” businesses a chance to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.
The big commercial cannabis facilities are licensed to grow thousands of plants simultaneously. But the entire operation of microbusinesses such as Regional Roots in Niles, Michigan, and Lifted in Buchanan are housed in a single building. Cultivation and processing of the plants happen in the rear, while cannabis products are sold in a store upfront.
“The microbusiness is more of a mom-and-pop shop,” Matt Rosinko, co-proprietor of Regional Roots, told the Southbend Tribune. “It’s a far less expensive way of getting into the business.”
Michigan’s craft cannabis entrepreneurs, such as Rosinko of Regional Roots and Lifted’s Michael Walpole, believe their long experience in medical marijuana cultivation is the true added value of their artisanal approach to marijuana growing.
One prime example of an eco-friendly craft cannabis brand is Craft Cannabis Connection in Cathedral City, California.
The CCC’s cannabis plants are grown in coconut husks rather than dirt. The exclusively-organic cultivation eschews chemical pesticides and tailors “food-grade ingredients” into ideal nutrient formulations for each strain’s particular appetite. Even the air these Cathedral City, California, Craft Cannabis Connection plants breathe is supercharged, “infused with carbon dioxide for optimum growth.”
Organic cannabis is made without the use of potentially harmful pesticides. Established in 2010, Southern California’s Palomar Craft Cannabis casts itself as an artisanal cannabis pioneer, “committed to producing the highest quality craft cannabis using responsible growing methods and innovative technology.”
Pesticides are forbidden in the Palomar Craft Cannabis playbook, and sunlight seeping through a “hybrid”, “clear top” facility may partially lighten the indoor crop’s carbon footprint.
Growing marijuana in the great outdoors is a leading brand quality of Mountain Craft Cannabis, which farms its “broad-spectrum cannabinoid and terpene-rich cannabis flowers” high in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The Mountain Craft plants are fed on “composted whole food inputs including saltwater fish, kelp, worm castings, ancient bird guanos and glacial humus,” breathing a pristine atmosphere of warm and dry sunshine-drenched air, strengthened and protected from pests by “beneficial microbes, predator insects and funguses instead of chemicals.”
Checking off all the sustainable artisanal boxes, Mountain Craft asserts its growing processes are “better for the farm … better for the environment … better for the Cannabis.”
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Craft cannabis also comes with some disadvantages, including a higher price tag and lack of regulation. However, the taste and effect may make craft cannabis more cost-effective overall.
Like craft beer, craft cannabis is more expensive than its generic counterparts. In some cases, craft cannabis may cost double what “ordinary” cannabis costs. As a consumer, it is up to you to decide if the price tag is worth it. For some people, the environmental and health benefits of craft cannabis may justify the cost, but that cost is undoubtedly prohibitive for others.
Citing guidelines for craft breweries set down by the Brewers Association that declare “an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional,” the Cannabis Business Times asserts that no equivalent definition applies to self-proclaimed American craft cannabis farmers.
Cannabis Business Times editorialist Kenneth Morrow questions whether a craft cannabis label should apply based on a grower’s plant count, number of employees or limited production and sales counts. Does outside investor ownership disqualify a cultivator from craft status even if correct nutrients and pest control are in place? Should the grow facilities be a factor in earning artisanal branding? Does a marijuana producer’s community involvement and philanthropy give extra credit toward craft cannabis certification?
Like so many other aspects of the cannabis industry, there are no clear regulations or standards in place. Yet.
Best Craft Cannabis Strains
The best craft cannabis strains come from reputable farms with sustainable practices. Many of these farms are located in the western United States in places like Colorado, California and Washington. Here are some of Leafwell’s picks for the best craft cannabis strains to try:
- Black Diamond from Sonoma Hills Farm
- Mandarin Sunset from Pagosa Craft
- Strawberry Starduster from The Frost Factory
- Purple Gelato from Lake Grade
- Bridge Burn from Hummingbird Cannabis
Small farms in the United States produce all of the above craft cannabis strains.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does craft grown mean?
Craft grown is a cannabis cultivation process that generally involves environmentally sustainable practices. In addition, craft grown cannabis is usually produced in small batches and certified organic.
What is considered small batch cannabis?
Small batch cannabis comes from growers who value quality over quantity. In general, a grow space of less than 10,000 square feet may be considered small batch, but some put the cap at 5,000 square feet.
What is a craft grower?
A craft grower utilizes eco-friendly cultivation methods to produce small batches of artisanal cannabis. Craft growers are not regulated in the United States, but many claim to use superior techniques such as hand harvesting.