Notoriously unapologetic lifelong marijuana aficionado B-Real of Cypress Hill, runs vertically-integrated cannabis company Dr. Greenthumb’s.
The hip-hop pioneer continues to expand his canna-business empire with the launch of THC Controls, an industrial automation system that is perfecting indoor cultivation operations.
THC Controls fuses together the prized trade secrets and methodology from legendary cultivation sensei Kenji Fujishima, with top-tier technology.
Recently launched, the budding operation provides an all-in-one cultivation set-up with a completely automated environment, and a 24/7 support system, for indoor grows to thrive.
This turnkey solution is designed to develop the optimal environment for any indoor cultivation operation to scale, by eliminating human error.
THC Controls’ ‘cultivation made easy’ model focuses on four pillars needed to execute optimal crop yields by providing automated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, fertigation, and data systems, and even floor plans, which are customizable to each clients’ needs.
Indoor cultivators can now come out of the shadows and set up grows that reflect the multi-million-dollar operations that are indicative of a rapidly expanding industry.
THC Controls founding members, B-Real and Kenji Fujishima combine their knowledge of the cannabis plant with techies George Balasanyan and Mitch Wayte’s experience in setting up commercial, FDA-approved buildings from hospitals, to schools, to military-grade facilities.
Fujishima, a master cultivator with over two decades of experience, leads operations at THC Controls.
“Replicating nature in a controlled environment requires a fusion of trade secrets and the top minds in environmental control to produce the crop yields needed to run a successful cannabis brand,” Fujishima said.
“Until now, expert cultivators have had to makeshift their own technology out of what was commercially available for other types of businesses and are forced to deal with unreliable vendors. The instruments needed to control everything from making sure the build-out is correct, lights stay on, plants are fed, the temperature and humidity stay at a set point, reminders for routine maintenance, to rapid alerts of any malfunction detected need to work together to be the most effective. By merging these services under one roof, we are ensuring that the equipment and maintenance work in harmony so growers can turn their attention to the plants and ensure a consistent high-grade product.”
Additionally, the data systems installed by THC Controls are meant to be kept local, away from third-party operators such as app stores and cloud databases that can leave your trade secrets vulnerable to hackers or eyes outside your organization.
With no outside investors, THC Controls has complete autonomy to ensure the passion and quality of their work are aligned with Dr. Greenthumb’s brand.
“We have been in this game for quite some time,” said B-Real. “The expertise we have gained in the industry came with so many risks and sacrifices. As the climate is changing, we are finally finding ourselves on the other side and plan to grow Dr. Greenthumb’s as we always envisioned. We are now in a position to benefit others with equal passion for the plant as we continue to grow Dr. Greenthumb’s empire.”
THC Controls offers full custom setups.
There is no controller out there that is built one standard way for people in cannabis.
If you talk tech with 10 different cultivators, they probably have 10 different ways to describe how they cultivate. “You can’t just sell a boxed controller and say, ‘Here’s your stuff and here is what you gonna do with it,’” said Balasanyan, “because there are sequences and variables.”
“In the clothing industry, for example, there are off the rack options versus tailor-made,” Balasanyan said. “THC Controls are the bespoke regulation system. We offer customizable options and program it accordingly.”
In this exclusive interview, the team behind THC Controls shares how they developed the idea for the brand and what’s next for the rapidly expanding automation company.
Cannabis & Tech Today: B, as a serial entrepreneur, I’m sure you get pitched all day and you’ve launched several successful brands including B-Real TV, Dr. Greenthumb’s, Insane merch, Phunkytips, and now THC Controls. What is it about an idea that gives you that “aha” moment, where you decide the pitch is worth investing in?
B-Real: Yeah. It’s tough listening to the pitches! Sometimes I just don’t.
Something that’s enough to grab me has to make sense with who we are, and the culture of our brand.
We say no to a lot of people. So, we try to do what makes sense for us.
Fortunately, some of the collaboration and things that we’ve done up to this point have worked for us well.
We try not to overextend and do too much while we’re growing, as we’re still a very young company in a young industry.
So, we’re just trying to not be in a rush to get it wrong.
So, we thought THC Controls would be a good investment to not only implement it in our cultivation but also get behind it on a wider scale.
C&T Today: What made you decide to start a custom cultivation installation company? What made you decide to launch THC Controls?
George Balasanyan: We’ve always been in the cannabis space.
One of the owners of Dr. Greenthumb’s is related to me, and one day he’s like, “Man, I wish I could just automate this stuff because there are problems occurring.”
I told him with my technical background that we could make it happen. So, we tried one room. And now, we’re in multiple facilities. We have about seven million square feet of grow we’re doing this year.
We put about two years’ worth of R&D into our business plan before we opened up to sharing the idea with other growers because we wanted to make sure that we’re able to send them a product that’s going to work, without fail.
The critical difference between THC Controls and a lot of other control systems is our control system is not designed originally for agriculture.
Growing tomatoes and orchids are different. Our system is specifically made for cannabis. That’s why we partnered with Dr. Greenthumb’s. We have all of their cultivators in our network.
C&T Today: Kenji, you are a hardcore underground cultivator. What made you decide to finally “go public” so to speak?
Kenji Fujishima: Unfortunately, because of the nature of the business, I was always very standoffish about putting my face out there. Regardless, we’ve been cultivating for a long time.
The name has been out there for a minute as a cultivator, so that was hard to avoid. But as far as speaking, even in the world of legal cannabis, I still held onto my old ways.
With everything that’s going on now and the confidence of how I feel about what we’re doing and where the cannabis market’s going, I feel like we need to speak out.
I’m a cultivator first and foremost and a lot of people have looked to our crew for direction on how to do things.
I feel like I really needed to be able to be out there and feel free to talk about the concept of THC Controls now.
C&T Today: Who came up with the initial concept of THC Controls?
B-Real: It was a project that developed a technology for Kenji and me. It was Mitch and George who came up with the initial concept, the THC Controls.
Kenji Fujishima: The brainchild of THC Controls was a model that was used for Dr. Greenthumb’s and we decided to expand that to other companies.
C&T Today: How long has Dr. Greenthumb’s used THC Controls before officially launching it as a separate company?
B-Real: I believe maybe just over a year.
C&T Today: So, this model completely works for you and you’re ready to provide it to additional clients?
B-Real: Yeah. We feel that it’s highly efficient and we’ve seen great results behind it for us.
C&T Today: Who are some of THC Controls’ current clients?
B-Real: I believe Stizzy is another brand that now uses THC Controls. They’re a very sizable brand.
I think other companies like Stizzy are being made aware of this whole system. We’ve been in the cultivation business for a long time, and this is what works best for us, so people often look at what we are doing.
THC Controls is something that interests a few other brands in terms of recording the data and trying to maintain a level of consistency of product.
I would imagine that there’s going to be other companies, small and large, coming to see what THC Controls is about.
Mitch Wayte: We have approximately seven million square feet of grow ops to install in multiple facilities so far this year.