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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
Hans Brand, Co-Founder of Autumn Brands, Discusses Their PURE Designation and Clean, Pesticide-Free Cannabis Products
A clean toke begins with a distinctivey pure product, but “pure” means Autumn Brands something different to everyone. Autumn Brands line carries the PURE icon – featured on all brand packaging – guaranteeing a steadfast commitment to the quality and safety of the pesticide-free plant elements within. Offering a simple way for customers to identify products they can trust for a clean, potent cannabis experience filled with all the positive energy of a natural, truly PURE approach.
“You can wash your lettuce but not your weed” has quickly become a famous mantra for Autumn Brands Co-Founder Hans Brand.
Said to resemble a person holding up the sun – a nod to the brand’s sungrown cultivation – a third eye that speaks to healing elemental plant power, or a ladybug representing their pesticide-free approach that allows beneficial bugs to thrive, the PURE guarantee marks a product that is:
- Pesticide-free, grown and nurtured by hand according to integrative, no-spray techniques that allow beneficial creatures like ladybugs to coexist peacefully
- User-first, always keeping the safety and experience of customers top-of-mind during every step of the process
- Responsibly-grown, using hydroponic methods and natural well water on a closed-loop system
- Eco-friendly, incorporating into the grow process earth elements like sustainably sourced products that keep the brand’s carbon footprint small
Read full press release here
On March 1, 2021, I had the opportunity to interview Hans Brand, Co-Founder of Autumn Brands about their PURE certification and their dedication and commitment to consistently clean cannabis.
CANNABIS LAW REPORT: Do you have a tagline, company-inspired saying, or favorite quote?
Hans Brand: Leave the place and or land better than you found it! We have always used this mantra! Always trying to ever improve cleanliness and sustainability.
CLR: How did you get into the cannabis space?
Hans Brand: The Flower industry was collapsing due to South American imports and we saw the movement on new legislation in California. We wanted to be at the forefront of this new industry.
CLR: Why focus specifically on the importance of –and practice of– renewability and sustainability and clean, regenerative methods, regarding cannabis?
Hans Brand: Again, unlike Lettuce we don’t wash our weed, so whatever we put on our plant during it’s growing cycle is consumed. So we find it better to NOT add any products, organic or not!
Being Dutch, we always looked at inputs in our growing methods, how we can be more efficient and have less inputs. This has not changed due to a crop change.
CLR: Tell me about your 2020 cannabis year to present, and your general take on the current national cannabis landscape, explaining your perspective.
Hans Brand: Our sales have been extraordinary and we have nothing to complain about on that side of the business. The Branded line has exploded and we hear of more and more dedicated AB consumers. Which we highly value and makes us continue to strive to perform at a constant level.
We are looking forward to 2021 and one day again, to be in front of our consumers to tell the story of Autumn Brands.
CLR: With COVID-19, what has been the business impact so far for Autumn Brands? Are you as a company doing anything new or differently? How have things evolved, specifically concerning current PURE certification initiatives?
Hans Brand: 2020 has been a challenge due to COVID-19, we added many procedures to ensure our team stays healthy and safe. We have been deemed essential and stayed open from the beginning. It has added an extra cost but no cost is too high to keep our team safe.
The PURE statements comes from us having to explain no spray and no pesticides which some of our competitors started to say and market “essentially no spray”? This obviously is not the same so we decided to explain what clean really means and how it is “The PURE Plant” you smoke and not by products from foreign materials sprayed or dusted on the plant.
CLR: What is the mission and vision behind PURE?
Hans Brand: This plant is an amazing tool for not only making people feel better naturally, it also can help and cure certain things. Hopefully we will get to see more studies on the benefits soon. In short, we want our consumers to get the full benefits of the PURE plant only as nature intended!
CLR: Explain to me how you “use Mother Nature as your partner,” so to speak.
Hans Brand: The most amazing thing we have seen in the past 3.5 years of not spraying pesticides is that natural beneficial insects’ like ladybugs, have chosen our greenhouses for their next generation.
They strategically place offspring in locations where there will be or might be a food source. In essence before we know of a problem these natural partners 😉 of ours have put a strategy in place to ensure so we don’t have a flare up of pests.
CLR: Tell me about your sustainability and renewability initiatives. Can you please give me a couple examples of how you’re addressing climate change/ sustainability, and renewability at Autumn Brands?
Hans Brand: We have a few things we do. Obviously we reuse, recycle our irrigation water, which not only saves water, it saves nutrients and there is absolutely no runoff ever of irrigation water.
Our growing media and plant stalks are all put in green waste and recycled and mulched. We use a high efficient/Low NOX hot water heating system.
We have a carpooling system in place for ½ our workforce, and currently looking at adding more.
We have moved away from plastic packing materials to biodegradable packing materials to name a few.
CLR: How financially feasible is it to be renewable and sustainable for the company? Can you explain how businesses could actually become more profitable by incorporating more renewable and sustainable initiatives and practices?
Hans Brand: There is a cost involved with being sustainable, at first, the no spray system was difficult and we had losses to endure and pest outbreaks and crop losses.
Doing the right thing is not always financially the best, but we feel in the long run it will pay its dividends and we are here for the long haul. We are committed to improving our impacts and becoming more efficient.
Most important we are here for our consumers who we want to have the best experience in the most PURE form.
We are lucky that all our core beliefs of the owners align and sustainability and doing the right thing ranks right up there with Profitability. But yes all these things are easier done in a profitable company 😉
CLR: People-centric vs profit-centric:
- Are they exclusive?
Hans Brand: Nope, they go hand in hand, it takes great people to make great profitable company.
- What is the main reason or reasons that you decided to operate in the cannabis sphere?
Hans Brand: New market and I wanted to be at the ground floor, this made it possible to get both my kids to be excited again to be in agriculture and come home after college.
- How do you maintain a balance between people and profits, or your thoughts on the matter of intention.
Hans Brand: Honestly, we are a for profit company and our goal is to grow that. Strategy to achieve this is with the best team that is well trained and ready to grow ( pun intended) finally, if you want to grow profit you have to grow with your people as well.
We look for improvements in every step. From the person cleaning to finally the person packing the product. If we miss in any of these steps we fail.
CLR: What specific areas of the cannabis sphere do you view as having the most potential for growth and investment of time and money?
Hans Brand: I am not the right person to ask, we are extremely proud of what we have accomplished and my advice to my team is, stay the course and stay grounded.
We are a private company with no outside investment. Dream in Color but control growth through natural organic growth. Have our product speak for us and continue to perform for our consumers as that is really the only thing that matters in the long run!
CLR: What is your foremost current goal at Autumn Brands and PURE?
Hans Brand: That we are a trusted product and are doing everything we can to leave this planet better than we found it.
CLR: How do authenticity and consumer trust factor into your current course(s) of action?
Hans Brand: Funny, it is the driving force on our decision making ever since we brought out our branded line.
It is our focus and has our full attention and we feel as a small private family owned cannabis company, it is the only way to be in the ring with the big guys 😉
The feedback we receive often is exactly that trust factor and every step we take, has to make sure that is never forgotten.
“Just because something isn’t being enforced or otherwise emphasized today doesn’t mean the hammer won’t fall tomorrow.”
CLR: What would you like the future of cannabis sustainability to look like?
Hans Brand: We need a green label with an independent certification, this will allow farms like us to be recognized for our clean PURE practices and it won’t allow self certification. This will separate the upper echelon of Cannabis producers and furthermore force others to follow!
CLR: What one piece advice have you learned along the way that you wish you someone had told you when you first started out?
1. Size doesn’t matter
2. Turn Over (Gross Sales) = Vanity; Profit = Sanity
3. Cash is king.
CLR: Currently, what is the best advice you can offer to other companies and individuals wanting to enter and operate in the current U.S. cannabis space?
Hans Brand: Have a good plan, create a long term plan/forecast, and surround yourself by the best team. Most important –Don’t Leverage!
CLR: What one thing you do in your line of work that you feel is the very most important, that makes the most impact? Why?
Hans Brand: We are precise in everything we do! This is in all steps of the business growing, harvesting, trimming, curing, packing, compliance and accounting to name a few. If we set out to do things a certain way the team won’t rest till it is achieved in the correct manner.
PERSONAL NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS
PURE standards are desperately needed today in a cannabis industry based on indoor, large-scale production, and heavy use of chemicals. At a time when we need to drastically curb our greenhouse gas emissions, PURE offers an alternative that is both healthy and climate-friendly, without compromising quality.
The vast majority of cannabis products currently sold in the United States present no on-package labeling that explains how it is grown or specifically what pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used in its production.
PURE provides consumers confidence in the knowledge that their cannabis products are grown organically. According to the market research group TrendSource and its 2019 Cannabis Industry Report, over 53 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for organic cannabis products.
No chemical fertilizers or toxic pesticides are used to grow cannabis certified by PURE, whose standards go beyond USDA Organic by focusing on regenerative cultivation, farmer and farm-worker protections, and community engagement. Industrial indoor cannabis production consumes high volumes of energy and uses chemical inputs, whereas PURE Certified cannabis is cultivated on outdoor farms that strengthen habitats and build living soil.
Industrial indoor cannabis production consumes high volumes of electricity and puts the indoor cannabis industry at odds with efforts to mitigate the current climate crisis. According to a 2012 academic report, all cannabis grown in the US uses the same amount of energy it takes to power 1.7 million US homes, and generates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3 million cars.
More recently, the 2018 Cannabis Energy Report from New Frontier Data found that growing indoors uses 18 times more electricity and has a carbon footprint nearly 25 times larger than outdoor farms.
Look for the PURE icon on all Autumn Brands products at select Southern California dispensaries to be sure your product is pure.
ABOUT AUTUMN BRANDS Autumn Brands is a licensed California cannabis cultivator dedicated to the synergy of health and wellness. The Autumn Brands’ family farm started in Holland more than a century ago, and today, sixth-generation farmers apply the same expertise garnered in growing the world’s finest tulips to producing pure and potent strains of cannabis in sunny, coastal Santa Barbara County. Autumn Brands is proud to be 50 percent woman-owned, united by the vision of two families, and free of pesticides. For more information, visit www.autumnbrands.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Autumn Brands: Inhale. Exhale. Smile.