Tropizen completes first commercial cannabis harvest at new El Yunque facility
By The Star Staff
As patient demand for cannabis flower in Puerto Rico continues to surpass available market supply, Tropizen announced this week the completion of its first commercial cannabis harvest from its recently added 10,000-square-foot outdoor cultivation facilities destined for both flower sales and the manufacture of infused medicinal products.
“This harvest represents an important milestone for our company as we continue to expand to meet patient demand for high-quality flower,” said Tropizen co-founder Marni Meistrell. “We are growing cannabis near the base of El Yunque tropical rainforest, following cultivation best practices as we conduct research and test new strains that thrive in this location.”
An additional 7,000 square feet of outdoor cultivation will be added before the end of the year, Meistrell said. Tropizen recently expanded its cannabis flower production to 400 percent of original capacity, at an investment of over $1 million. The expansion project included the construction of the new outdoor cultivation space.
The new harvest comprises five of the company’s best-performing strains. Tropizen rotates five primary strains with five secondary strains, including Brian Berry Cough, Ogiesel and Agent Orange, all exclusive to Tropizen in Puerto Rico. One of the company’s priorities going forward is the cropping of rare tropical cultivars as part of its ongoing research and development process.
Meistrell said the company is working on the introduction of a new packaging and grading system for its cannabis flower, incorporating a new prepackaged midgrade flower product that will be more accessible to patients in terms of price, while offering the same effectiveness as the premium flower.
Tropizen was the first cannabis cultivator on the island to offer individually prepackaged flower to dispensaries instead of bulk cannabis packaging. The former facilitates higher sales volumes for dispensaries. Moreover, patients get a fresher product, as the packaging protects the delicate cannabis flower from exposure to degrading environmental conditions, including oxygen and moisture. Presently, prepackaged flower comprises approximately 20 percent of the company’s sales to dispensaries.
With lab tested cannabinoid concentrations of over 20 percent (and as high as 30 percent), Tropizen offers product consistency, exceptional plant genetics and attention to detail, said Novacann Labs Director of Operations Christian Burgos. “Normally we see that quality suffers when production volume increases; however, this has not been our experience with Tropizen,” Burgos said. “The results from their harvest demonstrate strict compliance and consistent quality control.”
As part of its cultivation protocol, Tropizen uses live soil with beneficial insects in its outdoor cultivation facilities, as well as organic processes. An outside entomologist serves as technical adviser and conducts weekly inspections of the plants. Moreover, chemical pesticides are not used.
Meistrell noted that cannabis flower has been in short supply in Puerto Rico this summer.
“Dispensaries are consistently running out of product even though our volume has increased,” he said. “We seem to be approaching a worrisome scenario where patients have a harder time acquiring their medicine, driving prices up.”
The growth in patient numbers may be a contributing factor, but official figures have not been published so far this year.