A little cannabis education can go a long way

Green Carpet Growing
Marc Emmelmann runs education-centric cannabis business Green Carpet Growing in San Diego.
(Lara McCaffrey)

It’s fitting that Marc Emmelmann’s home grow class is held in a home — his own home in Bankers Hill, as a matter of fact. The smell of cannabis is evident walking down the steps to the backyard area of his apartment complex where the class is held. Students perch on Emmelmann’s couch listening to his lecture, then practice various cannabis plant caretaking tasks such as planting clones, watering and inspecting cannabis plants’ trichomes. This curious scene is part of the curriculum offered by Emmelmann’s San Diego-based company, Green Carpet Growing.

There are few cannabis education-centric businesses like Emmelmann’s in San Diego, which are arguably important as they empower consumers and provide more education than budtenders are able to offer within a dispensary setting.

“My business of teaching people about growing their own cannabis is vital,” Emmelmann said. “It’s not gonna reflect positively upon our society if nobody can grow cannabis and only an elite select few are cultivating eventually leading to a complete corporatization of cannabis.”Emmelmann said that his students want to grow for various reasons, including saving money on products and growing cannabis for themselves or a loved one. Student Ricky Ramirez, who attended Green Carpet’s class in January, said he wants to home grow to save money on cannabis products as well as gain knowledge for working in the cannabis industry.

Registered nurse Elisabeth Mack is also in the business of consumer empowerment. Her business, Holistic Caring, consults with patients about how to use cannabis in their healthcare routine. After receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis and recovering from a bicycle accident, Mack discovered cannabis’ medical potential. When she found out there wasn’t a lot of information for those that wanted to use it medicinally, she was inspired to launch Holistic Caring. “When I sit down with somebody, I walk them through what is available at the dispensary, teaching them exactly when to take the different methods of administration, and how to time that with their real life,” Mack said. “I needed to start this company because when I went to the dispensary, nobody was able to provide me the guidance that I wanted.”

Marc Emmelmann runs cannabis education-centric Green Carpet Growing from his home in Bankers Hill.
(Lara McCaffrey)

Budtenders, Mack said, often aren’t able to provide the same information she can as a registered nurse. Although they may know a lot about products, they’re not qualified to give medical advice. Mack eventually wants to see more doctors incorporate cannabis into their practices and more medicinal cannabis consulting in dispensaries.

Businesses like Green Carpet and Holistic Caring are hard to come by in San Diego, but cannabis tour company, MJ Tours, is one of several available in town. CEO and founder Kaylena Pinuelas said her tours are unique cannabis experiences that educate the public on the importance of recreational state licenses and knowing where their product comes from.

MJ Tours’ most educational tour, the Grow-op Tour, demonstrates cannabis’ route from “seed to smoke,” and reinforces Pinuelas’ beliefs in choosing legal and tested products. For $110, the tour consists of visits to local dispensary San Diego Recreational Cannabis, cultivator Outliers Collective and cannabis lab Infinite Chemical Analysis. “Budtenders probably only have a couple minutes to answer all of your questions,” Pinuelas said, “versus going on an educational tour (where) you’re on a tour for four hours with a professional that can answer any question you have about cannabis.” Emmelmann said it’s not budtenders’ jobs to do intense educational consulting with patients. There’s often lots of people in line at dispensaries and they have to keep things moving.“You can’t expect a budtender to sit there and make it their job to educate you for an hour or two about cannabis,” Emmelmann said. “If someone has the intention to go see a budtender and get one-on-one consulting for a couple of hours, I think that would be a shame. “

When customers visit dispensaries after receiving more well-rounded education, it’s possible they might have a better idea of what cannabis product to buy and how to use it. Or maybe, they’ll even grow their own.