In a 2018 report from New Frontier Data, cannabis cultivation in the United States accounts for 4.1 million megawatt-hours of electricity every year. For context, it’s approximately the same amount of electricity produced by the Hoover Dam in a year.
Dewey Scientific is an agriculture-tech company that strives to find eco-friendly cultivation practices for cannabis and hemp.
A Washington State University Ph.D. graduate set out to find a way to make cannabis more economically sustainable. Jordan Zager earned his Ph.D. from Washington State’s Institute of Biological Chemistry and then founded Dewey Scientific, an agriculture-tech company that strives to find eco-friendly cultivation practices for cannabis and hemp.
“At the same time, I found myself increasingly interested in the cannabis plant and the various bioactive compounds it produces (as is common with many college students),” Zager said. “This newfound interest eventually led me to pursuing a doctoral degree at Washington State University studying medicinal plants and the specialized cell types they use to produce high-value natural products.”
Zager helped launch Dewey Scientific as a platform for sustainable agriculture techniques meant to yield high productivity while maintaining premium quality standards. Dewey Scientific, headquartered in Pullman, WA, prides itself on working at the crossroads of classical breeding and molecular biology. Zager’s idea for the biotech start-up originated upon working on trichome metabolism research with Dr. Mark Lange, Ph.D.
“Dewey Scientific addresses one of the cannabis industry’s most significant pain points, which is a lack of scientific credibility. Our research, and now the services Dewey Scientific offers, further our commitment to bring standardization and transparency to cannabis cultivators and consumers alike.” – Jordan Zager, Founder, Dewey Scientific
Dr. Lange is one of the world’s leading experts on terpene biochemistry, and his mark on the cannabis biochemistry sector extends back 25 years. A mix of modern technology, evergreen problem solving, and the blooming cannabis market turned into the perfect storm, and in 2018, Dewey Scientific was founded. The acquisition of a 12,000 sq ft facility in November 2018 ended up housing the company’s biological labs and greenhouses. The amount of research conducted on-site goes toward developing genetically-stable hybrid seeds that will yield increased growth. Currently, the team is developing advanced methods for tissue culture micropropagation while tracking the biological data of the cannabis plants themselves.
“Dewey Scientific addresses one of the cannabis industry’s most significant pain points, which is a lack of scientific credibility,” Zager said. “Our research, and now the services Dewey Scientific offers, further our commitment to bring standardization and transparency to cannabis cultivators and consumers alike.”
In 2019, Dewey Scientific raised $1.25 million during a seed investment round; private investors in Washington state participated and helped the privately-funded company toward the eventual goal.
“While more established crops have benefitted from genomics and advanced breeding methods, the prohibition of cannabis has created a gap in available technology,” said Co-Founder Paul Mihalyov, Ph.D. “At Dewey Scientific, we are providing industrial cannabis farmers with the same scientific resources that are available to Washington’s other top agricultural commodities like wheat, hops, and apples.”
The company now employs more than a dozen people who spend their days flash-freezing cannabis flower, isolating live trichome cells, extracting RNA, and sequencing data in order to manage cell type-based gene regulation.