stage. We don’t really have that problem, but we do it anyway.” The real key to success in the desert, obviously, is beating the heat. There are 75,000 watts of light showering down on Cannahelp’s gardens. As Stacy Lays out his tactics in the endless battle of heat versus cooling, A/C specialists are doing maintenance on the system.
“It never ends,” Stacy sighs. “Our energy bill tops $12,000 a month. We’ve installed a lot of extra venting for all of our rooms, and we have extra-heavy-duty A/C units. We also require a Lot of dehumidifiers, since the moisture levels can get really high. Humidity can put you in danger for powdery mildew; it also slows down the cure time during harvest. When temperatures top 120 during the summer, we have to be prepared for anything.” The garden is laced throughout with trelliswork, which is especially necessary to support the taller, Lankier sativas. Heavy buds can weigh down plants, which require support—after all, the last thing a grower needs is broken stalks. Stacy explains that Cannahelp’s trellises are constructed out of PVC and usually have two or three tiers of netting. “We even net the sides of the tables to give the plants extra support,” he says. But before we flip into flower and change the lights to 12 and 12, we try to give the plants a more lollipop shape: We strip all the bottoms off the plants and remove excess growth. There’s no sense leaving a bunch of growth on the bottom of the plant that won’t get good light and will only produce small, larfy nugs. It also allows for much better air flow and light distribution.” But all of the effort in creating this immaculately appointed grow op is worth it. Cannahelp currently has 30 strains available to the medical-marijuana public. All are tested for potency by Steep Hill Lab of Oakland, CA. Their Kush strains continue to be the most popular, but Green Crack—with a whopping 24 percent THC—has been attracting attention as well. Palm Springs Diesel is a truly great strain, as is their rendition of Martian Mean Green. Old-school strains are on the menu, too—–classics like Northern Lights. Although the desert heat will always require “ne-
gotiation,” as Stacy puts it, the-political heat started Ito ebb once Cannahelp’s importance to the local community became clear. “We think we’re a unique cooperative in many ways,” Stacy says. “We work with the Desert AIDS project. The patients we serve need us, and we need them. We have needy patients who donate their time, doing things like cleaning windows and pulling weeds in exchange for medicine. We work with patient volunteers only to trim the crop during harvest—they, too, donate their time in exchange for medication. Some patient volunteers work in the garden. We’re encouraging a warm, family-like community here.”