L’Eagle has served as a model cannabis business since 2010, as a responsible cultivator and distributor of marijuana for medical patients and adult consumers. By paying attention to details and not cutting corners, L’Eagle has positioned itself as a pioneer on the cutting edge of the organically cultivated cannabis movement. Clean cannabis isn’t just a phrase at L’Eagle, it is the principle that guides every decision.
Colorado’s historic 2012 voter approval of Amendment 64 , and the subsequent wave of successful legalization efforts across America has been incredibly encouraging from the standpoint of reforming policy and the creation of a new industry. However, we have a long way to go in terms of implementing responsible business practices to ensure all commercially available cannabis products live up to top standards for health, safety and quality. L’Eagle is intent on raising the bar for Colorado’s cannabis industry.
Ray Paz been with L’Eagle since 2015. Prior to this, he was employed for 15 years as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer first with the USDA, and then with Customs and Border Protection, where he was tasked with keeping foreign plant pests and Agricultural Disease from entering into the United States. After a long tenure on the regulatory side of Agriculture, Ray decided that he wanted to return to the cultivation side, which led him to apply at L’Eagle Services. Ray was drawn to L’Eagle as they were a smaller Mom-and-Pop shop, and they are commited to growing clean cannabis with sustainable practices.
Ray has a Bachelor in Crop Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with a concentration in Hydroponic Vegetable Production. He also took interest in courses pertaining to sustainable and organic farming practices. While attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Ray visited a small half acre greenhouse called Slo Grown Produce, which was owned by a Cal Poly alumnus. Ray’s first cultivation job was at Slo Grown Produce, and he worked there for five years as the production manager, overseeing everything from seed to harvest.
“L’Eagle is confident that both consumer education and industry best practices will start to see value in clean, pesticide-free cultivation in the coming years,” explains Amy Andrle, Co-Owner of L’Eagle Services. “As the newness of marijuana legalization wears off, the market will differentiate—think alcohol with wines, spirits and craft brews, or even food with emphasis on locally sourced. We do what we can to find our peers in the industry and spread the importance of clean cannabis. A rising tide raises all ships, after all.”
One of the first steps in that process is finding alternatives to using pesticides during cultivation.
Although cannabis is an easy plant to grow, it is vulnerable to certain pests and diseases. Unfortunately, it is an industry where cost-cutting through pesticide use is still lucrative for many producers. Pesticide-free practices are not likely to become widespread until consumer demand for clean cannabis products increases—that is why L’Eagle works hard to educate people about what, how and why pesticides are used, as well as how those residual pesticides may affect them.
L’Eagle believes that once more cannabis consumers are aware of the types of chemicals their preferred products contain, they will seek out premium, pesticide-free products like those found at L’Eagle.
“The same battle is also being fought on a more public scale in the food industry. It is all about knowing what you are putting in your body—whether you are smoking it, ingesting it or inhaling it,” Ms. Andrle says. “Why not have the same expectations of your cannabis as your produce?”
The use of pesticides during cannabis cultivation is a public health issue that extends beyond just those who are consuming the products. Employees in a grow operation are exposed to those chemicals firsthand, as well as the general public due to the chemicals running off into sewers. When you think about cultivation in this context, it is easy to see why natural methods are an important choice for everyone.
L’Eagle implements a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system using a combination of organic methods to keep pests in check. By using preventative measures such as deploying beneficial predatory insects, as well as vigilant monitoring and using natural remedies when needed, L’Eagle can yield high-quality cannabis from every grow cycle while avoiding potentially harmful synthetic pesticide use.
Purity is another guiding principle for L’Eagle. We take great care during the cultivation, curing and packaging processes to ensure every product on the shelves lives up to our standards.
In addition to championing natural, organic, sustainable cultivation methods, L’Eagle allows all flower to cure for at least three to six months. This far surpasses the industry standard of less than a month. Long-curing allows plant matter and chlorophyll to dissipate, resulting in a cleaner and purer product. It also evens out the moisture content, enhancing taste and potency. Long-curing costs more for grow operations, but it is a vital step for L’Eagle.
“We cure our product for three to six months, similar to the aging process for wine,” says John Andrle, Co-Owner of L’Eagle Services. “Curing is a lost art in Colorado, and in a market saturated with assembly-line grows, we love being able to offer a more thoughtful approach to producing the highest quality cannabis. It is worth it because we know discerning consumers appreciate it.”
L’Eagle has been long-curing its cannabis for years, and has fine-tuned the process to a near science. For instance, the shop has a strain right now called “Grape Ape” that has been aged for 12 months. The strain’s name is a nod to the curing process, which is analogous to the aging process for wine or scotch.
“Anybody can pull a grape and smash it down and make a wine that gets you drunk, but without the aging process, that wine will not have the depth, aromas or flavors that make high-quality wine so enjoyable. The same thing applies to cannabis,” Ms. Andrle explains. “It is such a unique and distinct plant with countless strains and variations. We should always do our best to capture its unique essence.”