F or the past week or so, Max Cirello, 19, has begun his day the same way.
He awakens inside a mobile home at 7 a.m., walks to a wooden shed just steps away and begins processing his recently harvested marijuana.
It is a tedious job. He takes totes stuffed with a quarter to half a plant and trims the cannabis bud, which is used for medical purposes, off the branches.
It goes through three waves: hell clip the nuggets off the branch before he sends the buds through an electric trimmer designed to shave off useless sticks and leaves. Prior to packaging, hell complete the operation by inspecting each individual bud for blemishes he would promptly pick off.
Marijuana processing season is underway for many of the 378 outdoor cannabis cultivators registered in Calaveras County. For a few, it will not take long to prepare a product for market. For Cirillo, who works until 6 p.m. every day, he will not be done until February.
Hes usually working on his own. Knowing his ability to trim the buds directly impacts the quality of his product, he takes special care.
The better the quality, the more youll make, he said.
On Friday, he trimmed the marijuana then placed it in a large turkey bag. He processed four buds in a minute.
By the end of it, he said hopes to have processed more than 200 pounds of product. If its good enough, hell make between $300,000 and $400,000. It would be a great turnaround for an initial $50,000 to $60,000 investment.
Most of that will be one-time expenses, Cirello said.
How he got there
An incoming storm pushed harvest up only a short amount of time last month at Cirellos registered grow.
If the plant is ready for harvest, the trichomes that bulge off the plant would be amber, he said. If they require one more week in the ground, theyll be cloudy. At the time of his harvest, he said most were ready to go. Some, however, were not.
But he couldnt wait. He feared mold which can wipe out an entire crop would set in if he tried to endure the storm.
With moisture, theres a chance of bringing mold, he said.
Cirello said he harvested about 300 plants in three days from Nov. 14 through 17. He worked 16-hour days that included cutting the plant at the stalk and placing them on a tarp during the daylight. At night, he would spend time splitting the branches and hanging them to dry in two insulated storage containers provided by his father.
The plants dried in the containers for about five days. The humidity settings were set between 55 and 65 percent to prevent mold. Temperature was fixed in the mid- to high 60s.
Once the plants were dried, he tossed them all in black-and-yellow totes to prepare for transportation. He rented a trailer, filled his truck and cab full, and drove them to his fathers registered site. Cirello said it took four trips. He said he had 125 totes full and moved them three days before Thanksgiving.
I did it right as it was getting dark, he said. So people could not see inside the truck.
Finding a match
The sale of his product will be difficult. Cirello, who at 19 is new to the industry, said he does not have many connections in the industry.
Hell be able to rely on relationships his father and friends developed for a few leads, but everything else will be up to him. He said he plans on venturing out sometime after Christmas to the various dispensaries in Calaveras County and Sacramento to find a buyer.
Cirello said hell bounce from location to location providing samples. He speculated various prospective business partners will factor the smell, the look and the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the ingredient in marijuana that provides the high feeling.
Sometimes it is hard, he said. Theyll be picky. A lot of dispensaries buy a lot of indoor (grown marijuana) and not a lot of outdoor. Outdoor, the quality has to be really good to sell at a dispensary.
Cirello grew 15 strains. Each strain serves a separate function medicinally. Some will assist with insomnia and others will combat eating orders and depression. Others have large THC percentages.
One strain could be 25 percent THC, he said. That will get (someone) higher than a 10 percent THC.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Young Marijuana Grower Takes Great Care To Process A High Quality Product
Author: Jason Cowan
Contact: (209) 532-7151
Photo Credit: Timothy Norris
Website: The Union Democrat