Image - Cannabis Public Media

by Brian Bahouth

Reno – Moana Nursery has been an anchor business on Moana Lane in Reno since 1967.  Experts at 3 Reno area stores provide deep, regional cultivation knowledge, and customers can select from a wide range of decorative and edible plants suited for northern Nevada’s high desert environment, bird feeders … wind chimes … lawn art, and before this week the nursery’s Saturday seminar series had titles like “The Art and Science of Woody Plant Pruning for Beginner to Seasoned Gardeners,” or “Desert Tortoise Adoption and Basic Care,” but this week the company’s iconic sign announced a seminar titled, “Cannabis Q&A.”

Lisa Braginton is a certified nursery professional and a Plant Doctor at Moana Nursery.

“There was a lot of conversation internally when legal marijuana passed last November,” Braginton said.  “We were trying to decide the best ways to go about getting some knowledge for ourselves and being able to offer some knowledge out into the community about this rather broad subject of marijuana growing, use, legislation, potential impacts to employers, concerns in the community, so we knew we couldn’t cover each and every one of those topics individually, so we thought we’d begin with some opening statements and facts, and then an open forum with questions and answers.”

Last November Nevada voters approved the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, and as of the first of the year 2017, individuals 21 years of age or older can legally possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis or a quarter ounce of marijuana concentrates.  And even though there is no place for the general adult public to legally purchase cannabis in Nevada yet, the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries may open to the public as soon as this summer; but if an adult lives more than 25 miles from a dispensary in Nevada, they are allowed to grow up to 6 cannabis plants, with no more than 12 plants per household, and this Saturday’s seminar was at capacity – 60 people.

A human resources specialist with Solutions at Work, Diana Albiniao, helped attendees understand the human resources implications associated with legal marijuana.   Horticulturist and noted Nevada gardener Dianne Stortz-Lintz talked about the challenges of growing cannabis in northern Nevada’s arid environment.

Representatives from the Cannavative Group also gave presentations.  Last week Moana Nursery staff toured the local Cannavative facilities for a candid look at a company that cultivates and processes cannabis under Nevada’s medical marijuana system.  Master Cultivator and Extract Artist Alex Taracki and Cannavative Vice President of Sales and Business Development Kristin Ehasz spoke and answered questions at Saturday’s event.  Over the past 2 years, Cannavative has distinguished itself as one of the state’s finest cannabis cultivators and concentrate makers with products widely available in Nevada’s system of roughly 50 dispensaries.  Lisa Braginton was among those to tour the Cannavative facilities in Stead, a community north of Reno.

“Very impressive operation, and might I say, very impressive people,” she said.  “And of course, they have been selling medical marijuana here in the community, have a ton of knowledge, so they have a lot to share.”

But there are many limitations on the time, place and manner an adult individual can grow marijuana in Nevada.  In addition to being more than 25 miles from a dispensary, the plants must not be visible “from a public place by normal unaided vision,” and if a person rents property, they must gain the land owner’s approval before growing cannabis, among several other restrictions, but growing any plant in northern Nevada’s arid and extreme high desert environment is an acquired skill, and Lisa Braginton is an expert but says she has more to learn about marijuana cultivation.

“We want to learn, and that’s something I’m sad to say I am ignorant about,” she said.  “I’ve done a little bit of research, but I’ve never done any growing.  I can talk in broad strokes about what works for different plants and different considerations that you may have both about environment, trying to provide the ideal environment as much as you can for growing the plants and other pest considerations.  Those broad knowledge things I have, but our aim in part is to glean information, so we would have information we could distill and then share out in the community.”

To see the word “cannabis” displayed on such a prominent sign on one of Reno’s busiest commercial streets is an indication attitudes about marijuana are changing, and for Lisa Bragington and Moana Nurseries, success and knowledge are closely connected.

“I think ownership had some concern, but the more we learn, the more stigmas go away, and that applies to everything.  It’s all about proper use, knowing what you’re getting into, and that’s really one of our bases, that we want to provide that knowledge, so people have success in growing and extrapolate that out to success in life, and I think that this forum was a great place to start because it starts with knowledge and it starts with communication.”