Preferred Gardens Doubles Down

The cultivator grows indoors and in mixed light in California and stretches operations across multiple states.

growing auto flowers

Rising Reputation in Multiple States

Few cannabis operations in America can enjoy the level of respect from peers Preferred Gardens has through its rise in California to its massive Florida launch that many call its flower the Sunshine State's finest. It's the same story back home in California. Not only is Preferred Gardens a contender in the debate about the best flower, but it ranks high in both indoor and mixed light. Its winter light-assisted harvests are among the most flavorful things you'll taste in California.

A Mom-and-Pop Multistate Operation

Preferred Gardens is essentially as mom-and-pop as multistate cannabis operations can get. Founder David Polley and his wife Nicki do a lot of the work. They're backed by a small cultivation team that helps Polley in California, Florida, and Michigan as needed to produce the high-end flowers. Polley has trained people on their growing style for out-of-state efforts.

The Challenge of Growing Indoor and Mixed Light Flowers

We sat down with Polley to get his take on the recent hype levels he's experienced on both coasts. There is yet to be another guy growing indoors, mixing light flowers, and getting the same recognition. So, our first question: What is it like to be that guy?

“I know why. It’s because they’re both individually extremely hard, right?” Polley told High Times. “Especially mixed light, it’s ridiculous. It’s so relentlessly hard to deal with at all times, being head of cultivation of my site, just controlling that facility all the time is a bitch compared to these indoor facilities.”

From Greenhouses to Indoors: The Difficult Transition

Polley laughed and explained the number of people who have switched from growing in greenhouses to growing indoors.

"Most of the guys that have come from greenhouses, they'll tap into indoor, and then they're like, 'Fuck going back to the greenhouse,' because it's just so difficult compared to what you can do. You can make it so automated indoors and have a life," he explained.

Managing Variables in Greenhouses

Polley has yet to follow in the footsteps of his peers who quit greenhouses. He visits his indoor facility in Sacramento, California, and conservatories in Yolo County daily, which gives him unique insights, like the one he offered about greenhouses being harder to automate, even if the greenhouses, like his, are generally top-of-the-line.

"Polley argues the reason for this is just the level of variables. But even with the advancements in agriculture we’ve seen from places like Holland, Polley argues, “There’s always something that’s going to hit you out of nowhere. There are just too many changes happening on the outside.”

Embracing Simplicity: Success with Rudimentary Approaches

Polley believes you should build an indoor garden after entering the fanciest greenhouse debate. It'll cost the same amount of money.

“There are just so many moving parts. I mean, I’m running 30,000 square feet in Yolo. And I have one of the greenhouses that’s 20 years old, so every day, something is going wrong with the mechanical,” Polley said.

Passion for the Plant, Dislike for the Business

But he wouldn't want to be in one of those fancy greenhouses, regardless. He feels like the more technology you add, the more things there are to break. Rudimentary approaches have proven successful for Preferred Gardens.
"All the easy analog timers and all that stuff never break. All the new stuff is made to break," Polley said, comparing cannabis hardware to the newest generations of smartphones.

Polley wouldn't change a thing just because of some new tech fad. He's spent years dialing in his mixed-light setup, which many would consider second to none for the operation's quality and the resulting flower.

Balancing Scale and Quality in Cannabis Production

Polley must be an exceptionally hands-on operator with every plant under his supervision.

“I just walk in there regularly and have the energy and the plants. It’s just different,” he said of his greenhouses. I don’t know. I see lots of indoor spaces, and they just seem so industrial, like there’s no being in tune with the plant. Really. You’re just turning and burning on a lot of stuff. This is not to say that we’re not putting out amazing indoor flowers now. But it’s a different life.”

Avoiding Mega Deals and Perpetual Litigation

As much as he loves the flower, he hates the business side equally. He's always been in it to produce the best flower possible, and he knew the money side would work out if he could.

"I love operating. I have had all these opportunities to be this businessman. That's the stressful part. I don't like doing that," Polley said. "It sucks when you're doing stuff you don't like to do all the time. I like doing the events. I love growing auto flowers. I love seeing fresh weeds, new strains, breeding, and all that stuff like crazy. That's all I want to do. Even if I didn't make any money."

Partnering with the Right People for Market Entry

But as cannabis legalization grows in America, how much can an operation like Preferred Gardens scale up and still produce the cannabis it's famous for? Especially given how much time Polley spends at the grows.

He said there's a line in the sand where you could lose quality for anyone, but it's different for everyone. With a great team like his, you can do much before you get to that point. Secondly, he's avoided the mega deals that would fund a jump in production. Some of the offers were as big as $40 million.

Expanding Operations in Florida

Polley says those deals are scary because the contracts don't even matter. If things go south with a significant money partner, they already have someone on retainer who can try to bankrupt you through perpetual litigation.

Recently, for Polley, the scale hasn't been as important as partnering with the right people from state to state to enter new markets. The deal with The Flowery in Florida has proven fruitful, and Preferred Gardens has risen in prominence among Florida cultivators.

Scaling Up while Maintaining Quality

The next phase of the Florida buildout will see them double in size to 200,000 square feet. "I already have my facility in Sacramento, and it's

A Tale of NASA Employee's Illegal Cannabis Venture

After reading the article "Preferred Gardens Doubles Down," it is also recommended to read the article NASA Employee's Misuse of COVID Relief for Illegal Cannabis Operation. This article is of interest to those who are interested in the topics of the cannabis industry and law enforcement.
The article "NASA Employee's Mistake of COVID Relief for Illegal Cannabis Operation" will tell about an incident related to the abuse of state aid during the COVID-19 pandemic by a NASA employee. It turns out that this employee used the funds provided not for legal business but for illegal cannabis activities.
Both articles provide a broad overview of the situation in the cannabis industry and allow you to evaluate different aspects of this topic. Being informed about various aspects of this industry, we can make decisions more consciously and understand the consequences of our actions. It can also cause reflections on the cannabis legalization consequences of abuse of state aid and violation of laws in this area.

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