Winning in weed, innovation and a sharp learning curve have put this New England grower in a league of his own.
In the fall of 2016, Cannabis Allstars put on their fourth annual event at the Tetra Hydro Club in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Their mission: “to provide a safe comfortable environment where the pioneers of this new industry can gather respectfully and look for that ‘Holy Grail’ of strains that can push this medical efficacy to new levels.”
Founded in 2013, Cannabis Allstars has grown to be one of the most prestigious medical cannabis competitions on the East Coast.
Joe (AKA @Eastcoasterdam of Instagram fame) was one of the big winners this past year, with several strains and solventless extracts making the cut. His Blueberry Cookies was the top winner and sounded absolutely divine from anecdotal reporting. These wins were big, as Joe has entered every year since Cannabis Allstars premiered in 2013, and this was his first year to celebrate the acknowledgement for which he’d been striving.
So what changed and who is Joe?
Joe has an enormous online following and is a compassionate caregiver. Though, “I don’t consider myself an activist,” he said, “other than I’m just a grower of the plant. It’s my duty to grow a safe, clean plant for the patients assigned to me. My activism, I guess, is keeping the plant alive for the future and continuing to provide plant medicine to my patients.”
Clean medicine is a big deal, especially when it’s being utilized by patients with diseases and disorders that can be exacerbated by contaminants.
“Having safe, clean medicine is no different then having safe, clean food and water, in my eyes,” said Joe. His Clean Roots Platforms are part of that cleanliness, too.
“Clean Roots Platforms are plastic platforms which your plants sit on top of,” he explained.
They allow your plants’ dirty runoff water to remain safely away from the root zone, avoiding reabsorption. There are several benefits to using the platforms while growing, because when it comes to indoor growing, roots are the literal base of your grow. They are delicate, sensitive and bring a lot of the life-giving components to the rest of the plant, including all important oxygen. Maximizing root aeration benefits the plant from seedling to harvest.
But what was done differently this year to produce so many great wins for Joe?
Joe explained, “This year’s products that were entered into Cannabis Allstars had another year of learning behind them, and I’ve implemented some new things into my garden, including different light spectrums and a new base nutrient mix. In years past, I was using HPS lighting only, and this year I’ve played around with LED lighting and also mixed HPS and LED spectrums.”
LEDs have gained much momentum in the last few years and are finally proving themselves as hefty, full-cycle growing machines.
“I use BloomBoss LED grow lights for every phase of growing,” Joe noted. “I use the LED strips for my cloning process, and I then use the small PowerPanel light for when the plants are rooting in Clean Roots Cups. Eventually, they make it all the way to BloomBoss FUSION Pro1800, which I use for late veg through harvest. The lights have proven to me that LEDs have come a long long way since years past. I could not be happier with my results in every phase.”
“UV is something I find very interesting,” he added, regarding the “UV-Boss” switch on the FUSION Pro 1800. “I personally have been testing out a few things with UV at the very end of my flowering cycle…The end product under normal growing conditions and the UV switch toggled as advised does appear to have a ‘frostier’ appearance.”
He went on to say, “This year I learned that the LEDs are for real. In years past, it was just a thing you heard about people claiming, but it wasn’t taken very serious. Now, you are seeing more and more growers using LED lighting and having absolutely stellar results. The plug-and-play ease of LEDs is really appealing to new and old growers alike.”
In addition to producing award-winning flowers and extracts, LEDs save growers money, as they utilize less electricity than their traditional High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide counterparts. Growers see substantial savings on their electricity bills every month.
Joe, a U.S. distributor of Buddha’s Tree Nutrients, an inventor of a popular, functional product and a grower for people who truly need him—such as his quadriplegic patient “who has had countless amazing benefits from dropping opiates off his daily intake to healing bed sores”—has seen the miracles that well-grown plants produce and has basically invested his entire life into the growing community.
His advice to those just getting started?
“Keep it simple,” he said. “The more complicated you make it at the start, the longer it will take you to have success. Start simple, and then add things as you pick up skills.”