The Journey of Cannabis From Soil to Oil

It’s no secret that the Emerald Triangle, in Northern California, has been the reigning champ of cannabis production in the United States for decades. However, with the advent of legal recreational pot in California, the rules of the game have changed. Growers are now forced to comply with legalization restrictions while hopefully not losing sight of what should be the goal—growing great pot. For many of us, this is a breath of fresh air, literally, as chemical fertilizers and pesticides will no longer fly thanks to lab testing. If you’re new to farming or transitioning from nonorganic farming practices, growing organically is the highest ideal a farmer can strive for. It’s essentially replicating the soil biology in the natural world around us but in our garden beds. From developing good soil and fertilizers to harvesting and trimming for quality hash production, we’ll share some secrets and tips on how a couple of mom-and-pop operations are still getting it done the organic way.

About an hour outside the town of Willow Creek, up one of the many long dirt roads and perched on a boreal-forest ridge, sits Love and Laughter Farms. The farm is an impressive tract of forested land that rises from a creek and valley to a craggy mountaintop, and it is home to black bears, cougars, and fishers. Old-growth Douglas fir and madrone surround the two gardens that sit high atop the mountain at an impressive 3,900 feet.

Love and Laughter were founded by Stephen DiTuro and his partner, Brianne Aalders, as a small medical farm in the late 2000s. With backgrounds in chemistry, environmental engineering and herbal medicine, the couple have always aimed at producing medical-grade full-sun flowers with a respect for sustainable practices. Now almost a decade later, the crew at Love and Laughter is navigating the waters of legalization, including the emerging recreational market, and learning to embrace California’s new regulatory landscape.