Lenny Wong: Insights from a Toronto Master Grower
For Len Wong, who has made his career in cannabis, the future is looking optimistic. As the Canadian cannabis industry continues to take off, we’re seeing a willful push away from the stigmatized days of old, towards a broad acceptance of the cannabis as an agricultural commodity.
Len Wong is a greenhouse specialist with a devotion to organic growing practices. He’s also the master grower and founder of two businesses: Genetix Consulting and The Grow Depot.
We recently invited Len Wong for a Q&A session to talk about how his companies are helping others, why certain growing practices are especially useful for the Canadian cannabis grower, and more.
What is your background and what prompted you to focus your expertise around organic growing?
Lenny Wong: Well, I’ve always been dedicated to sustainability and understanding the role that organic growing plays in the environment as well as in human health. I’ve spent the last 16 years working in the areas of genetics research and development of marijuana for medicinal purposes. I began accumulating my knowledge in the area with medical cannabis consulting under Health Canada’s Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), then moved on to serve as a consultant for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
You’re focus is on breeding superior cannabis strains. How does this help the patient who is in need of medicinal marijuana?
Lenny Wong: It all comes down to genetics and helping patients find specific strains of cannabis that meet their individual health needs. Different types of plants produce different effects, making each strain uniquely effective for treating certain types of pain and medical conditions.
We all know the Canadian climate can be unforgiving, especially when we are talking about gardening outdoors. How can growers overcome these challenges?
Lenny Wong: Greenhouse facilities are an option since they are supplemented by lights in real time. However, there are alternative, sustainable methods to be explored like taking advantage of geothermal heating/cooling, collecting and processing rainwater or installing solar panels to keep costs at bay. Again, this depends on the size of your operation. For smaller growers, who want to cultivate their own supply for personal use, we offer products related to lighting, growing environment, plant propagation, and water and aeration.
Is growing outside the best option?
Lenny Wong: Ideally, growing outdoors is the obvious solution to many of the issues plaguing the environment as growing in the sun causes a lot less of an impact and also cuts on energy costs. It also produces a potentially better quality product as artificial lights still can’t compare to the sun.
What do you see for the future of cannabis in Canada?
Lenny Wong: I believe the future will be driven by a demand for quality products. Consumers will learn more about and experience various strains, and they will begin to recognize premium quality in cannabis. The craft experience will rise and demand will become evident for ultra-premium cannabis products.