Over 80 percent of the extractors filling electronic cigarettes and cartridges in the U.S. either use Genius equipment exclusively or employ their tech somehow.
The number-two ranked edible company in California and the number-three ranked edible company in the nation use Genius. Twenty-seven Cannabis Cup wins can be traced to their gear.
Robert Gaither, the entrepreneur behind the California-based company, might have loved cannabis his whole life, but he learned the hard way about his green thumb — or lack thereof.
“It was my first harvest at the time and I realized I wasn’t a grower,” Gaither said of his botched initial attempt at a garden. “So I had to extract everything that I grew, because it just wasn’t a high enough quality to get the price that we wanted for the flower.”
A lifelong serial entrepreneur, Robert had helped boot-strap businesses in textiles, solar power, cannabis cultivation, and even light aircraft. When his wife Brenna came home and said she wanted to start a small business, he couldn’t resist assisting.
The couple had a few ideas: food truck, vape pen or maybe something Robert had been working on lately – those cannabis extraction devices. It made some sense. Brenna was finishing up a biochemistry degree.
Robert planned to build a device to safely extract butane hash oil (BHO) as an alternative to the dangerous “open blasting” setups notorious for blowing up properties.
That is until his wife, now CEO of Genuis Extraction Technologies, decided they should take a less potentially toxic route.
“As I learned about it, I became really uncomfortable with the process and how dangerous it was,” she said. “Not to mention the fact that untrained people were working with a neurotoxin and selling the end product for consumption.”
So for safety reasons, the pair chose a different approach than butane — or the widely used process of carbon dioxide (C02) extraction — and they have reaped serious rewards for that decision.
The two settled on an ethanol-based extraction-reclamation system. The process uses a purified, lab-grade liquid alcohol to dissolve cannabis oil into a chilled liquid state, then the machine slowly purges the ethanol out of the solute, leaving a potent, viscous cannabis oil that can be refined into other extracts.
Robert said after they constructed their first machine in 2014, they were at a Cannabis Cup in Colorado and prospective clients walked up and handed them cash for machines with no real proof that they even worked.
“Back then, they’d walk up with a briefcase and put a wad in your hand and say, ‘I’m interested,’” he said. “It was weird that people would trust us. We really felt kind of strange like that.”
Genius offered money-back guarantees on all their machines, and that worked for the heads who stood to make gobs of money, with little downside.
Today, Genius Extractions touts their status as the only U.S. extractor to hold an “OSHA-compliant, Class I, Division II training process.” That means they train their clients on Genius machines the same way an employee of a Fortune 500 company would train for installation and processing.
And their chilled ethanol method allows users to produce a more refined product free of “residual solvents,” potential neurotoxins left in petro-solvent hash.
Robert said a good number of their clients buy their $80,000 to $120,000 machines for “secondary processing” — so they can capture what’s left behind from less efficient machines.
“Your average CO2 extractor is going to leave four to seven percent of the oil on the plant,” he said. “People know that they’re leaving that much money on that plant material, so they call us to help them get that off so they can sell the oil.”
Today, the Gaithers operate at the corporate level. A five-year deal with hemp consortium Atalo Holdings in Kentucky makes Genius the exclusive extractor of their CBD oil, LifeLeaf.
A flood of hemp-derived oil hits the U.S. market later this year — all of it made by Genius.
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