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Cannabis experiment tests which strains fare best in the drought-stricken West

During summer 2022, Weeds. Cannabis Consulting experimented with different cannabis strains on a farm in Socorro, New Mexico, to see which best survive the hot, dry summers out West.
Matt Kennicott
Weeds. Cannabis Consulting
A cannabis consulting firm is experimenting with different cannabis strains on a farm in Socorro, New Mexico, to see which can best tolerate heat and drought.

News brief

With climate change and drought in the West, farmers have to adapt. This summer, a cannabis consulting firm in central New Mexico is digging into which cannabis strains can best beat the heat.

The company, called Weeds. Cannabis Consulting, has nine strains among its 400 plants as part of its experiment in Socorro, New Mexico. They’re hoping to identify strains that flourish under a variety of environmental and soil conditions, as previously reported by the El Defensor Chieftain.

One of the firm's founders, Matt Kennicott, a former legislative staffer who worked on New Mexico's cannabis legislation, says they’re switching up the strains, soil mixes, and watering methods as part of the experiment.

“All over the West, especially in the Southwest, we’re in a drought right now. Not only that, we’re having to contend with climate change,” Kennicott said. “How do all of those different factors affect the growth of cannabis plants in this region?”

Kennicott says hot and dry Socorro is an ideal place for testing strains' tolerance for heat and temperature fluctuations.

“Some days in Socorro you can have a day that's 100-plus degrees, but in the evening it drops down to 70 or 60 or so degrees,” Kennicott said.

The Weeds team, which includes Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, expects to have data on plant health, pH and nutrient levels and other indicators at the end of the growing season in the fall. They plan to share the results early next year.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.