Len Wong is a Toronto business leader with over 16 years of experience in the areas of genetic research, organic gardening and the development of marijuana for medical purposes.
Len began his education in the area of medical cannabis by consulting under Health Canada’s Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR). More recently, he serves as a consultant for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
Len’s passion for genetically developing and breeding new strains of cannabis sparked as he quickly discovered the impact it had on patient’s overall well-being and improved health. Over the years, Len has focused on breeding superior cannabis strains and improving strain selection, so as to cultivate high quality, craft-style cannabis.
A master grower, Len is the founder of Genetix Consulting, a cannabis consulting firm in Toronto, Ontario. He is also the founder and owner of Toronto’s The Grow Depot, which provides superior products best suited for the Canadian cannabis grower.
Q: In many ways, you’ve helped break down the barriers attached to the stigma of medical marijuana. What are some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome to ensure people have access to high-quality cannabis?
A: I think the biggest obstacle has been convincing people that there are other ways and methods to manage their pain. Traditionally, a patient seeks medical advice from the doctor who will in turn prescribe a pill. While a prescription for pain medication can alleviate some ailments, it doesn’t always work for others. Let’s make those people suffering from pain commonly aware of the benefits of medical marijuana as an alternative.
Another challenge has been acquiring the proper seeds necessary in growing high-quality cannabis. The farmer must be able to produce and source only organic ingredients to ensure the consumer has access to this holistic approach to pain management.
Q: The science behind genetically developing new strains of cannabis is very interesting. How did your passion for horticulture start you on this journey?
A: Time and time again I’ve watched fellow cannabis farmers lose their crops to mold and other pests. Months of hard work was lost. My background in horticulture provides me with the knowledge to remedy this issue. Through a lot of research and science, I began searching and evolving new and unique strains of cannabis. I found that developing strains rich in cannabinoids (diverse chemical compounds) was key.
Q: Your consulting work with medical marijuana clinics pairs you with the patient’s doctor. Walk us through that process. How do you guide doctors or medical experts through selecting specialized genetics and strains that help patients with their specific ailments?
A: The patient has already consulted with his/her doctor and has ultimately decided to try medicinal cannabis. My streamlined research is then put to work to find a solution which will trigger the patient’s specific ailment and deliver relief quickly and efficiently. Each strain has different key cannabinoids that provide relief for different ailments. Based on the lineage of the genetics we can determine which strains can be used to find the best solution possible. I will also consult with other breeders and growers to compare notes on our research.
Q: You’re an advocate for organic farming and the benefits this plays on our overall health. How does this translate to the growing of medical marijuana and the patients it helps?
A: It’s all about quality over quantity. In synthetic cannabis farming, you’re more concerned about numbers than producing a high-quality product. Organic farming brings out different terpenes, which are essential oils that hold numerous medical benefits including anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Not only that, organic farming of cannabis is cleaner and safer for smoking and consumption than synthetic production.
Q: You’ve cultivated specialty strains of cannabis pragmatic to the Canadian climate. What are the characteristics and challenges of growing in this specific climate?
A: There certainly are plenty of challenges for the Canadian cannabis farmer. For one, the growing season is very short and in that timeframe you’re also dealing with high humidity. The cold nights are sometimes unforgiving, and the pests can be relentless. It is also extremely important to farm strains that are mold resistant or it’s going to ruin your entire crop.