As the cannabis industry continues to grow in Washington state and the U.S., a new Whatcom company has designed a piece of equipment that makes harvesting marijuana flowers easier.
Brothers Brian and Jesse Burnett have built the Diamond Edge Dry Trimmer, which cuts the buds from the plant at a rate of 4-7 minutes for each pound. It uses a scissor and brush design that makes 1,700 cuts a minute, said Brian Burnett. He said it will shave hours off the time it takes for someone to personally cut the buds, cutting labor expenses.
There are other dry trimmers on the market, but the Burnett brothers say they talked to growers and came up with a design they believe is more efficient. For now the Whatcom County company, Creative Harvest Solutions, is renting its machines locally and selling them online. The hope is that this is the start of a manufacturing company that employs people locally, Brian Burnett said.
The method of hand trimming versus machine trimming is something that's been debated for years in the industry, said Nick Cihlar, one of the partners of Subdued Excitement Inc. in Ferndale. Subdued Excitement grows and sells marijuana.
Early machine-trimmers gained a reputation for butchering the flowers, so hand-trimmed became a badge of quality, said Cihlar, who hasn't seen or used the Diamond Edge Dry Trimmer.
"Machine-trimmers have come a long way since then and the best of them come very close to duplicating the results of hand-trimming," Cihlar said. "In fact, there is now probably no material difference between hand and machine trimmed, at least no difference other than perception."
The marijuana industry has boomed in Washington state. Whatcom County has 62 producers and 25 retailers, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. In fiscal year 2015, the industry rung up in $260 million in sales across the state. In fiscal 2017, sales rose to nearly $1.4 billion.
Given the growth in marijuana sales in Washington and across the U.S. the Burnetts see the potential and are already working on other equipment ideas to make the industry more efficient. They originally built the Diamond Edge Dry Trimmer to help out a friend in the industry. With backgrounds in metal fabrication and machine work, the two are optimistic about what's next.
"The business is still in that early stage, but we're excited about it," Brian Burnett said. "I would love to be worldwide and hire 50 people to make harvesting equipment in Whatcom County."
Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz