When Toby Ripson's dad developed colon cancer and then fought the disease for fourteen years, nothing helped ease his pain better than cannabis — certainly not any pharmaceutical drug. After his dad died, his mother supported Ripson's using his father's life-insurance money to build a company that could supply high-quality marijuana to others.
Ripson moved from Idaho to Denver and partnered with Mike Leibowitz to start Veritas Cannabis, the first licensed stand-alone grow operation in Colorado. The team has handcrafted each part of the grow process. It takes longer and is more expensive, but by controlling the environment and paying close attention to each part of the production process, Veritas growers can assure customers that they'll get the same experience each time they smoke the bud, no matter where they buy it.
The system, Ripson explains, is to get more from less. The grow operation runs with seventy to eighty plants in each room, and only four or five plants share a light. By caring for each individual seed throughout the vegetation process, the Veritas team optimizes the yield of each plant.
Leibowitz says it's like being a chef in his kitchen: A chef can either spend all his time adding in obscure, hard-to-find ingredients, or he can master the basics and learn how to use what he's got in his kitchen to create a really great meal.
"Our product looks and feels the same harvest to harvest... It's about discipline and having a good team to create a quality product," Leibowitz says. "If the customer has a bad experience, they won't buy from us again, so we need to ensure that quality."
The team of about sixteen people does this by controlling the environment in the grow, Ripson says.
"We harvest five times a year and yield more from less," he says. "It's like beer: When you have good beer that's strong and tastes good, you can enjoy less of it. You don't need as much because of the quality. Then there's not good beer that you can drink a lot of, but it doesn't taste as good and doesn't give you the same buzz."
Veritas Cannabis is available in nearly thirty dispensaries across Colorado, four of which are in Denver. See more of the Veritas grow in our slideshow.