The thought of California-grown cannabis rightfully brings romantic visions of massive outdoor farm areas nestled in between forests and trees, but today’s reality means that some of the state’s best weed is now grown in the indoor comfort of suburbia.
Tucked behind the San Fernando Valley’s housing sprawl just over the hills from Los Angeles, hidden in the middle of an unassuming business office district, lies an ordinary warehouse that produces extraordinary cannabis. This massive 40,000-square-foot grow is home to Terraform Genetics, a family owned and operated facility, producing not only some of the most remarkable boutique strains available in Southern California, but qualitatively, it’s some of the very best cannabis available in the US.
The workhorse behind Terraform is Brett K, a longtime cultivator whose genetics gained notoriety through a partnership with one of the first Los Angeles pre-interim control ordinance (ICO) dispensaries, WHTC Treatment Center.
“We try to be very selective in what’s going into jars and obviously the whole cultivation process from the beginning—how we’re managing these plants through the process and really cleaning them up and just showing them love,” Brett says. “Put love in, get love out.”
On a normal day, Brett tends to each of several grow rooms sectioned by specific life cycles. Despite the different stages, many of them bear similar hot and humid surroundings. “We run it like the equator for the first weeks: 75 percent humidity, 85 degrees,” he says.
Despite Southern California’s idyllic balmy weather, Mother Nature remains unpredictable at times. It’s why Brett prefers the control of an indoor grow rather than the unforeseen variables of sungrown flowers. Modern tech also allows him to monitor every plant with a camera system; plus, he can maintain optimal conditions with a few simple clicks on a tablet.
“You have to keep that environment on point,” Brett says. “No matter what the weather’s like outside, you have to have what you need in here.”
The brand’s latest customer favorites include Terra Herer (his own version of the classic Jack Herer), White Truffle and their best-selling strain of 2021, Terra Mints.
Black Gummy is a particular strain rising to the top of many lists. This pheno of O.M.F.G. (Runtz x Red Pop) has a lip-smacking balance of gassy and fruity tones, matched with kind waves of euphoria brought on by more than 30 percent THC.
Yet another crucial Terraform offering, Blucifer, is Brett’s take on the classic Blue Dream strain, which could be seen as the impetus for Terraform’s beginnings.
More than a decade ago, Brett’s version of Blue Dream captivated the senses of Yana B., owner of the popular WHTC Dispensary located just minutes away from Universal Studios. The cut was so impressive, Yana invited Brett to grow his flowers directly from WHTC as a pre-ICO Prop D dispensary.
“That’s where we started terraforming Terraform,” Brett says. “There was a little bathroom upstairs, and that’s where I had all the male plants and did all the breeding projects.”
The partnership began with a small six-light operation running on the dispensary’s top floor, and it eventually blossomed into Terraform and its current home base.
Yana’s medical dispensary background means that she always holds her patient’s best intentions in regard. It’s the reason why half of the partnership brings a well-known secret ingredient to the growth process. “Love,” she says. “It’s just like raising children. They say children are your biggest investment, and what you put in them is what you get out. Well, I think it’s the same with flowers. These are living plants, and they feel you, they feel your energy. I really think it all starts with the seed and that you show love.”
The love theme now determines a number of different strategies employed by the company. As a response to a disruption of business at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Terraform one-eighth ounce jars are now packaged at a generous 4.2 grams compared to the 3.5 grams standard.
“When COVID started, it was, like, ‘let’s give the community more love.’ Because we obviously need money to survive, to last, to build,” Yana says.
Terraform’s transparent relationship with the customer has produced a program never before seen in legal cultivation: Genetic Development.
“Genetic Development is special,” Brett says. “I love it, the team loves it—we want to bring it to the menu. But before we do that, we want to put it out to the consumer. The market dictates it, so let’s have the market be involved in that process as well.”
Specific strains marked as such contain a QR code linking consumers to the “TerraPortal,” where they can critique said strains. The overall response has been overwhelmingly positive, especially with Black Gummy and White Truffle which both graduated from the program with remarkable praise.
In this adult-use era, Terraform’s newfound facilities are quite impressive, but they literally have more room to grow, with at least five more theater-sized rooms being prepared to cultivate luxury-quality indoor cannabis.
“I was always into Total Recall,” Brett says. “I love that movie, terraforming Mars and this and that. I was thinking that’s cool because that’s basically what we’re doing. You’re creating the environment. Whatever’s going to happen in that room, you have control of that. Terraform is like shaping a world to be habitable, whether it’s human beings on Mars, or cannabis in a room.”
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.