RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the more than three months since Virginia became the first southern state to legalize marijuana, local agricultural supplier Happy Trees has received countless questions from customers about how to take care of their cannabis plants and what the laws allow.
Starting Saturday, founders Josiah Ickes and Chris Haynie are hoping to provide answers, through a cannabis-growing workshop, open to local residents age 21 and older.
“We’re kind of always teaching here anyway, and it just made sense to open up workshops for hands-on experience,” Haynie said. “Workshops will focus on cannabis, but a lot of the techniques we’re teaching are great for anything you’d want to grow.”
Happy Trees opened its doors in June of 2020. Since then, Ickes said that the focus of the business has shifted.
“We first catered to the hemp industry, which was really big last year,” he said. “We kind of anticipated that cannabis legalizations would happen in the next few years. But we didn’t know it’d be the next year. So it’s really exciting. We’re really excited to integrate into the community in the way that we’ve done, and classes are that next step of integrating into the community.”
The workshops will reportedly cover topics such as how to start your own seeds, how to build living soil, pest management, what nutrients plants need and how to feed them.
“It grows like a lot of other plants. It’s not some crazy alien gift from outer space,” Haynie said. “I hope that they learn that growing cannabis at home can be fun and easy, and that that lets more people grow at home. We want to take some of the mystery out of it for them.”
Haynie told 8News that each workshop will also start with a summation of what current legislation does and does not allow.
Ickes said that educating the community about cannabis and its growth is part of Happy Trees’ responsibility as a local business, particularly because of the nature of the product. Not only can customers face legal penalties for improper usage of the plant, but there is also a safety concern because it is something that gets ingested.
“We want to empower the community to grow the best marijuana possible,” Ickes said. “That’s what we’re here for, and that’s what our mission is, is to have people grow the best marijuana possible: clean, safe, healthy.”
Happy Trees’ first cannabis-growing workshop is set for a soft launch on Saturday evening at its Petersburg storefront. However, Ickes and Haynie said that they will be welcoming approximately 40 local residents to their workshop off of Chamberlayne Avenue in Richmond next Saturday, Oct. 16, and that slots are still open. To register, customers may stop in at any of Happy Trees’ locations.