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Originality vs Imitation

By Zac Ricciardi

For a very long time, cannabis was counterculture.

Growers and users are cut from their own cloth, so to speak; individuals and teams grew under unique, self-made circumstances. Those grass root operations, often kept secret, shaped genetics and methods prized by growers.

Growers were proud of their individuality and avoided copying trends. 

There were many kinds of top shelf products, each with their own traits and nuances. It was a very diverse marketplace that catered to a wide array of consumers.  

Flash forward to 2022: The market has evolved and, unfortunately, it seems that originality and innovation are no longer as important as they once were. 

Many growers have abandoned the traditional approach of paving their own lane. Genetics are no longer as diverse. Feeding plants has become more about what brand you're using rather than the results you're getting. Lighting and equipment are subject to what's hot on Instagram right now.

The problem with the “what’s hot” approach is quite simple: if we're all doing the same thing, the industry will suffer as a whole.  

Without diverse experience, growers will not be able to learn from one another and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. This industry benefits from communication with other growers. The market will suffer from lack of selection, which could drive prices even lower. If we are all selling the exact same product, demand will go down.  

The ability to separate yourself from the herd is what allows growers to build their brand and continue to operate a successful business. 

There are many things growers can do to stay original while keeping up with the current trends in the industry.

Dialing in YOUR environment is the first step to any successful grow. 

No two operations are the same, so dialing in each environment will minimize potential issues. Consider factors like temperature, humidity, consistent electrical source and water quality. Pay attention to what your operation is telling you and base your strategies on what you see. Without a good handle on the environment, nothing else will matter.

Find a selection of genetics that work well for YOUR set up. 

Growing strawberries in Alaska is silly; the same premise applies to cannabis gardens. Grow genetics that will do well in your set-ups. For example, if you have a room that trends higher on temperature and humidity, grow more equatorial leaning varieties in that room, as they are used to those conditions. Starting from seed allows growers to hunt specific traits for their own distinct keeper cuts. Plus, getting the same clones that everyone else has further increases the likelihood of unwanted contamination. 

Nutrients are also a very important component in your production—there is no “one size fits all.”

There are a few vital factors growers consider when choosing a nutrient program, including: cost per gallon, media type and availability. Make the most of your nutrients by knowing how much your specific media can hold and disperse without residual activity. In my experience, the best programs are tailored to the grower’s unique needs—not based solely on a popular brand.


Having your own "recipe" based on your understanding of your specific operation allows you to grow a better product, and helps you to stand out in a crowded space.

As the market continues to mature, maintaining your own SOPs and methods will be paramount to staying relevant and successful in the future. Knowing what the latest hype is will allow you to plan accordingly. 

Build your brand, not someone else's. 

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