Strainly’s logo. Photo Credit: Strainly.
There are hundreds of cannabis strains for consumers to choose from. But where do all of these varieties come from?
The answer is a combination of both cultivators and breeders.
Cannabis cultivation and breeding is becoming more and more important as the cannabis industry continues to grow. Cultivators are an absolute necessity as they are literally growing and maintaining the plant from the ground up.
Breeders are also equally essential as they “purify and strengthen strains, combine strain traits, or enhance specific characteristics like higher yields, specific aromas, potency, and many other things” according to Leafly.
It is very common for farmers to both grow and breed cannabis plants, or for breeders and cultivators to work together to produce new varietals and enhance existing ones.
In the past, it has been difficult for cultivators and breeders to connect, mostly because the plant was still illegal. These people worked underground, therefore connecting on any online or social platform was very risky for them. But, after multiple states legalized cannabis, many used a directory of breeders and cultivators to connect with one another. This process could be slow and unreliable as it is simply a description of what the person or entity offers.
This is where Strainly steps in. Strainly is a web-based platform made specifically for growers and breeders to improve access to genetics. It was created in 2016 by an experienced grower himself, Alan, whose last name we’ve withheld due to fear of being banned from entering the US.
Alan’s involvement with cannabis is extensive. When he first discovered the plant, he was just 17 years old still living in Europe. He eventually travelled to Amsterdam and noticed growing plants at a seedbank, which made him more interested in the industry. This led him to experiment with growing on his own. After many successful runs of growing, he worried cannabis would become another plant for large corporations to take control of.
Take corn for example. Just like cannabis, farmers plant corn and harvest it for consumers. When farmers are ready to sell their crops, they compete with a small number of very powerful grain-trading firms instead of selling directly to the consumer.
Just three of these firms — ADM, Cargill, and Ingredion — control 87% of the market, according to a 2014 study by University of Missouri rural sociologist Mary Hendrickson. What used to be abundant and available to everyone is now kept captive to only a few corporations.
To help prevent this in the cannabis industry, Alan created Strainly.
With the cannabis industry at a tipping point between corporations and small-businesses; Strainly takes breeding and growing back to the roots of what it is all about: appreciation and experimentation.
According to Strainly’s website, the platform allows breeders and growers to “trade seeds, clones, tissue cultures or pollen and have easier access to a variety of strains to grow and breed.” The company adds, “whether looking for propagation material or growing supplies, users can browse, filter and find their cultivars while benefiting from a rating/review mechanism, fostering trust among the community.”
All one has to do is create an account to get access to hundreds of breeders and cultivators. Depending on what the user is looking for, there are different account plans to choose from. For example, the Preservationist plan is the basic, free account. It gives the member access to unlimited listings, private messaging, and secure transactions. The Premium plan includes all of the Preservationist features plus unlimited transactions and the ability to move active listings to the top of the homepage 10 times a month so more people can see them. Lastly, the Pro plan encompasses all of the above; a profile feature on the vendors page, and newsletter inclusion on active listings five times a month.
Once a part of the community, it is easy for members to find any strain by simply searching for it in the search bar. This list lets the community know who is offering such and such strains. Users can even specify exactly what they are looking for by using an extensive filter selection.
Looking for the most recent and new items? Strainly does that too. The company sends out notifications to members when new items are listed so they can stay on top of the latest genetics drops.
When the user finds the perfect varietal for them, the members on each end can agree to a “donation” amount through private messages. These “donation” payments can be made in-person or through personal payment methods both parties feel comfortable using. Most importantly, this information is always kept private as Strainly is committed to providing the best possible customer experience and privacy standards.
Alan plans to keep Strainly as a web-based platform in order to protect privacy and freedom of action. Although there is not an app, the company designed the website for an optimal mobile experience. It is very easy to add the website to a phone or computer’s bookmarks and home screen.
In the future, they plan to eventually integrate bitcoin payments within the platform, thus allowing buyers and sellers to make transactions in one, secure place. Unfortunately, at the moment, many payment processors such as Paypal restrict cannabis companies from using their platforms. That’s an opportunity to jump straight to the most suited currency for the industry according to Alan: bitcoin.
Overall, the community truly fosters biodiversity through genetic access, sharing, and development. It gives growers and breeders the platform they need to thrive.
Written by Sydney Heinbaugh