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Meet the Merchant: Robert Bartlett, 25, is garden manager at The Farmacy

By Luke Whittaker

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 9, 2017 3:38PM

Last changed on August 9, 2017 3:39PM

Garden manager Robert Bartlett, 25, has grown marijuana for The Farmacy for more than three years.


Garden manager Robert Bartlett, 25, has grown marijuana for The Farmacy for more than three years.

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“The whole reason I got into this industry was to help people,” Bartlett said.


“The whole reason I got into this industry was to help people,” Bartlett said.

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How long have you been working for The Farmacy?

“I’ve been growing for them for about three and a half years. I’ve been working in the store since 2015.”

Did you ever foresee a career in cannabis?

“Honestly, no. I never thought I would see myself here today.”

When did it become a serious consideration?

“Once I started growing medically for myself and other patients. I wanted to help people. Now we’re growing recreationally too.”

Did you have any formal or hands-on training previously?

“I had some hands-on training with my uncle who used to grow medical marijuana in California. I took an online botany course through Oregon State University in January. I plan to take their Master Gardener courses next.”

How much marijuana were you growing in the beginning compared to now?

“We were getting three pounds compared to 14 pounds now.”

What’s the average THC percentage for your marijuana you grow?

“Our percentages usually range in the high to low 20s. We’ve had a few batches over 25 percent which were amazing. Our quality is different because we’re indoor and we’re hydro. You can tell the difference in the quality and the appearance of the flower.”

Is a high THC percentage indicative of quality? Why is it important?

“People generally like the higher THC. Some believe that the numbers are what counts, that the higher THC will get you more high. But it doesn’t necessarily work like that. There are terpenes that play a big part. You could smoke an 18 percent THC plant that feels more potent than one with 28 percent.”

What role do terepenes, (the fragrant oils of the plant) play?

“Terepenes, like limonene (citrus), help with stress relief and depression while linalool terepene (lavender) helps with relaxation and sleep. I have a whole pamphlet of different ones.”

Does it seem more people are growing it themselves?

“Oh yeah, we get a tray of clones in and they sell in about three days. One batch had almost 50 and they sold in a week. May or June is about the latest for growing outdoors here. Around that time, the demand for clones is super high.”

How much are people in Oregon legally allowed to grow?

“You can grow four plants per household recreationally, as long as it’s not in the view of the public. A lot of people get it mixed up with four per person in the household, but it’s four per household maximum.”

How long does it take for a clone to finish?

“If they’re growing it indoors, you could do it in about three to four months. You could do four week vegetative cycle with an eight week flower and an extra week of flushing.”

Are there misconceptions that you regularly encounter from customers who are trying marijuana for the first time?

“If they’re older and they’ve never tried it, they often have the perception it’s bad. Sometimes they’re a little shellshocked when they come in here for the first time. We usually start them off with half the dosage that the state recommends.”

Are there marijuana strains that Oregon is known for?

“Jager, an indica, was developed in southern Oregon. There’s an Oregon Thai (strain) going around too.”

Are there any trends regarding marijuana strains?

“A lot of people like the fruity strains. Some are only seasonal, like marionberry, which only certain people grow outdoors. Throughout the winter you have it but once summer hits it won’t be around.”

Do you have marijuana strains that are exclusive to your garden?

“All of our strains are exclusive. Our genetics came directly from Amsterdam from DNA Genetics, Barneys Farm and Sensi Seeds. We have a few landrace strains that I haven’t seen around like Jamaican Pearl and Maple Leaf. We have a lot of unique strains.”

Why Amsterdam for seeds?

“They have all the original seeds and strains. It’s where you can get the true genetics. Barcelona is becoming popular for seeds too.”

What are your most popular strains?

“White master kush was one of the most popular — it was almost 28 percent THC. Northern Lights crossed x Big bud was another one.”

What things do you look for quality marijuana?

“When I’m buying marijuana medically, I’ll go for a strain that I know that works. If there’s a new strain that catches my eye, I’ll look up the genetics on my phone. Usually the name is the mixture of the mother plants, but not all the time. I’ll smell it, look at it closely and check out the density. I look at the overall quality. The numbers are usually the last thing I look at.”

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

“Helping people in need, especially when someone comes in hurting, in pain, or just tired of taking opiates because it makes them sick. I get a feeling of accomplishment from helping manage their pain — I’ve been there and done it. The whole reason I got into this industry was to help people.”

Any specific stories?

“We had one gentleman who had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had surgery. We helped him out with a topical and he loved them. He used it in place of Vicodin. We’ve also had a lot of cancer patients because we carry Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). It’s an oil that they can eat that helps people maintain their appetite and reduce nausea. The cannabidiol (CBD) products have been big too.”

And the store recently started doing deliveries?

“We started a little bit before summer time.”

Who have been your primary customers for the delivery service so far?

“It’s usually regulars that just get lazy and don’t want to come down (haha).”

Does it cost extra?

“Nope. The delivery is free, but there’s a $15 minimum order.”

What do you feel the future holds for the industry?

“I feel that if ‘Big Pharma’ gets involved it will be bad. It’s all about money.”

What changes would you like to see?

“I wish that they would have banking options for dispensaries. If the state is going to tax them like a business, they should be able to store their money somewhere safely.”


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