Create a free Cannabis Equipment News account to continue

Harley Smith: The Cannabis Industry Was Forced to Learn By Trial & Error

The difficulty unlearning industry myths and why, if you can grow really good tomatoes, you can probably grow really good weed.

Editor's Note: Download the audio version below and click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

This week, Harley Smith, a professional with nearly 30 years of hydroponics research and education under his belt, and the head of Harley Smith Hydroponics, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss the difficulty unlearning industry myths and why, if you can grow really good tomatoes, you can probably grow really good weed.

Harley Smith says he came into the industry through the back door. In 1995, he was a video producer who was hired to make a series of educational videos on the science of growing food, mostly vegetables and herbs, using hydroponics. His passion for hydroponics slowly grew into a lifetime of research and education upon which this industry has been built.

Smith started his career in hydroponics back in the days when cannabis was illegal, so, as he recalls, he was just showing people how to grow really "great plants."

He found ways to improve the plant’s natural resistance to pests and disease, as well as how to improve the flavonoids, terpenes and medicinal characteristics. 

As cannabis becomes legalized, Smith stresses that trial and error is not the best way to run a commercial, professional grow. However, the industry suffers from a dearth of information. 

When states started to come online, growers didn’t have any data and nothing was published, so they were forced to build upon basic knowledge. The hardest part was unlearning the myths growers were taught along the way.

In this episode, Smith discusses:

  • Why he was drawn to hydroponics (6:03)
  • His most significant discoveries (7:20)
  • Why he believes science should be freely shared (13:40)
  • How the cannabis industry was forced to learn by trial and error (18:12)
  • The hardest part is unlearning the myths we were taught along the way (19:34)
  • The state of growing cannabis in the U.S. (24:26) 
  • How to fix the cannabis industry's waste stream (27:49)
  • How cannabis could influence waste best practices in other industries (29:23)
  • Mother plant and the products he is most proud of (41:06)
  • Issues with regulators and labeling (42:31)
  • Why federal legalization will be a net benefit for the cannabis (47:28)
  • His ideal growing conditions for cannabis (51:40)
  • Why he started growing "the chops” (58:31)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

More in Video