Ganulv Gardens enters medicinal marijuana market
Raychelle Wilson, who holds degrees in botany and biology, inspects plants at Ganulv Gardens a business in Peggs dedicated to cultivation of medical cannabis. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
RayChelle Wilson and Cherokee Nation citizen Chris Taylor, co-owners of Ganulv Gardens, say they want to test their products and increase production before signing supply contracts. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PEGGS – Medicinal marijuana is a new economic frontier in Oklahoma, and a startup business near Peggs is carefully moving into the market.
Cherokee Nation citizen Chris Taylor, 44, and RayChelle Wilson, 36, are owners and operators of Ganulv Gardens, dedicated to cultivating medical cannabis. The pair moved quickly to get the business started with licensing in June, opening in August and getting the first flowers in October.
“I have seen the effects of cannabis on several family members,” Taylor said. “I’ve lost family and friends to cancer. We just want to help. This has always been medicine to me and a lot of others, even when people really didn’t see the benefit. This seems like a natural transition.”
The transition was from traditional vegetables to marijuana. Taylor and Wilson did not simply rush into the trade. They anticipated the legalization of cannabis as medicine by several years and planned for the eventuality.
“This (building) began as a music room and storage area,” Taylor said. “When I was doing that, I was preparing in case (State Question) 788 passed. I knew something like it was going to pass sooner or later, and I knew we wouldn’t have the up-front costs. If I hadn’t started the way we did, there is no way we could have done this.”
Wilson called growing plants “a passion” and holds degrees from Northeastern State University in biology and botany. She worked with a local organic grower for 10 years.
“I’ve always had a love for plants ever since I was little,” Wilson said. “Going to school, I got more focused in it, working with vegetables, and being organic…When this came along, it’s served as medicine for me. The biggest pleasure I get out of this is I have a friend whose daughter has seizures. This helps with that and helps her live a more normal life.”
Taylor and Wilson expect more regulatory bills when the Oklahoma Legislature begins its four-month session in February, but said they are ready to make adjustments after years of planning.
“I don’t think it will change so much that it will hurt anyone who is trying to do it right, and is prepared for it,” Taylor said. “We all know the regulations are coming. We have friends in other states who are growers, and we toured their facilities. Throughout those seven years, we would take time off or vacations to go volunteer and work with them to learn. Growing marijuana is completely different from growing any other plant. People think it is as easy as growing tomatoes. It’s not. If we hadn’t gotten the opportunity to ‘intern’ we would try to schedule our visits during different times of the process. We learned about seeds, nutrients and what the plants like in the environment.”
Ganulv Gardens still has no contracts because the operation remains small and the owners want to grow plants of the highest quality.
“We’ve had literally every dispensary in Oklahoma contact us, wanting our products,” Taylor said. “But we’re in no rush. We want to do it right. We want to have our testing done. We want to know the product we’re selling before we go making deals with people and committing to anybody. The hardest part right now is figuring out exactly who to work with – whose in it for the right reasons and doing it right.”
However, Taylor and Wilson have discussed adding a processing lab and kitchen to the facility and creating an entire line of edibles and concentrates because they enjoy the interaction with nature at a basic level.
“It’s been our medicine for centuries and part of our culture, with our healers and medicine men using it way before we were here,” Taylor said. “It’s a really spiritual place to me. When I come in here by myself, this is probably the most spiritual place there is to me. There are times I’ve literally cried because I would come in here and just couldn’t believe it.”
Wilson said she’s able to use her expertise to engineer the best plants, but it isn’t all about the science for her either.
“It’s spiritual for me too,” she said. “I go to work every day in Tulsa. It’s draining, but soon I’m coming home. Once we get this to where we are getting paid, I can work here on a 24-hour basis.
We always have energy when we come out here. We want to get this done.”