At CANNA we’re excited to share passionate grower stories from across Canada that resonate with our community and inspire us to grow, in the widest sense of the word.
Mehgan, please tell us a little about who you are.
Mehgan: I’m the Alternate Master Grower at MTL Cannabis which means I ensure everything that has to do with day-to- day operations is carried out to the team leaders and ensure consistency throughout the tasks
This position requires that I come in before the crew, do a walkaround to see my babies growing happily, assess what needs to be taken care of, and prioritize tasks that need to be done to have a smooth transition throughout the day. I’m always available for my crew. I am as much there for the people as the plants.
“Head growers need a little less on their plates. As an Alternate Master Grower, I get to help alleviate some of the “day to day” tasks so we can both work happily without an overwhelming workload. It’s nice to have a little room to breathe, think and to have two minds instead of just one”
Tell us the story of how you became a passionate grower.
Mehgan: When I was a kid, I lived in a town where cannabis was a big thing. Back then I wasn't aware of what it was, I just knew it smelt really good and I couldn't touch it! [*laughs]
I was really into sports in high school, and a big advocate for physical and mental health. Sports were a great outlet, they made me happy. I was a dancer and rugby player as well so I had my fair share of injuries, and Advil just wasn’t cutting it so I began experimenting with cannabis.
After a few concussions, I decided that playing the sports themselves may be too dangerous, so I chose to continue my schooling in “sports injuries” and studied both athletic therapy and sports sciences.
When covid hit, I was supposed to be continuing my education in osteopathy, that not being possible I decided to give MTL Cannabis a whirl. I figured I liked gardening, even though I could never keep any houseplants alive [*laughs].
I have an amazing veggie garden though. I love getting to see the fruits of my labor succeed. Sitting in the garden, having a coffee. It's a beautiful thing to feel. I figured I could do exactly that at MTL Cannabis and help people with pain management / stress relief at the same time. I believed it would be a nice step forward in a direction I never thought I would go. Plus, I’ve never let an opportunity pass me by where I could help people understand the pain management and stress relief properties as well as many other benefits of the cannabis plant.
How has your passion for growing evolved over the past 2 years?
Mehgan: I started at MTL cannabis a year and a half ago as a gardener. I had never touched a cannabis plant before I got here. I was fortunate enough to come in at a quiet time when several people were on vacation, and learned gardening / propagation first by shadowing a propagation specialist.
But honestly, it was baptism through fire.
Within 1 year, I was promoted to Alternate Master Grower. A huge jump! Which I am so thankful for, but it was A LOT of work. It takes a lot of attention to detail, and a strong passion to be able to keep up in this industry and it all happens very quickly.
My passion for growing has evolved alongside my understanding and knowledge of the plant. At the start it was a lot of guessing here and there. From a trial and error veggie garden to having an understanding of a plant's needs, seeing and understanding a plant's behaviour. It truly changed my perspective on what a plant is and how it communicates with you.
“Seeing a plant's behaviour has truly changed my perspective on what a plant is and how it communicates with you. The plants tell us a lot of what they need, you just have to listen.”
What would you consider your favorite part about the entire growing process?
Mehgan: My faves are:
- Shaping the plant for an optimal structure. Getting it to where you need it to be and where you want it to grow.
- The cloning process, and keeping the mothers at peak health.
- The mid-section when you start seeing the change in the morphology of the plant, when they are bulking, that moment when you think to yourself “she’s doing it. It’s happening!”.
“I’m passionate about growing because it allows me to put what I feel into a plant, and watch how my love and affection can actually produce something of beauty, that is manifested both physically and through its properties”
What would you consider to be your least favorite part of the entire growing process?
Mehgan: Harvesting the crops.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a grower?
Mehgan: Learning a new industry. Anything cannabis related, it was all very new. The new information wasn't the hardest part though, it was the transition from grower to alternate. Managing people is a huge thing. I went from a 25 year old university graduate in sports to co-managing a crew of 33 people within a year.
When people come to you and you don't have the answer you need to think very quickly about how to get them the info they need to complete a task and have a better understanding as to why their actions are so important, when it comes to pruning the plants. I believe management should always be leading by example and strive for their team to be able to follow in their footsteps.
Change is difficult, but this is how we grow. Being given this opportunity has really opened my eyes to a blooming industry with the best community love and support.
What’s the one tip you would give a home grower just starting out?
Mehgan: Don’t be afraid. It’s a plant. It wants to live.
You can do a lot of things to a cannabis plant and she will bounce back. You have to try, because if you don't try you’re never going to know.
If it doesn't work you get to try again and that's the beauty of it.
What are some of the questions a consumer should be asking when buying cannabis products to ensure they get a safe and quality product?
Mehgan: It shouldn’t all be about THC. The terpenes are what people need to learn a bit more about and their effects. There are a lot of health benefits depending on the types of terpenes in your cultivars.
Also, consumers need to do their research because consuming for recreational vs for pain relief/anxiety/ptsd is very different.. some if not most cultivars will affect everybody differently. Cannabis consumers will all have an individual experience, and trying new strains is the most exciting part!
In years to come, what would you like to be recognized for within the growing community?
Mehgan: I want to be able to bring knowledge to people. Right now, that's what we're missing. Knowledge, I want to spread it. I want cannabis to be recognized as a non illicit drug within sports. Wide acceptance. It does such good. I see myself as an advocate for cannabis and sports. I would like to be recognized for helping make a change in the sporting community and in rehabilitation.
Who is someone you look up to in the Cannabis industry and why?
Mehgan: Patrick Pagé. He’s been a rock in everything at MTL Cannabis. He’s always been able to be that person to get me out of my own head and see the bigger picture. His work is admirable and the results speak for themselves.