THREE A LIGHT GURU
STORY BY JULIE WINSEL
WHEN JOSHUA HAUPT was diagnosed with epilepsy at 14, he was left uncertain about how his life would look. Additionally, the side effects of his prescribed medications didn’t seem safe or beneficial long term. “A lot of them came with a lot of very unfortunate side effects,” Haupt says, which he said included liver damage, hair loss, and weight gain, among others. “You’d rather gamble with having a seizure than deal with all these other side effects,” he says.
Concerned that his liver would be shot by age 30, he looked into alternative treatments, including cannabis. “Naturally cannabis is one that your buddies in high school smoke anyway, so I was trying to see, hey, if this could help me, this would be great,” he says. “It ended up having a pretty positive effect for me.” He says he found success with the CBDs found in cannabis, which can help balance the neurons and electrons in the brain and the endo- cannabinoid system. He tried cannabis as treatment, finding that his seizures reduced dramatically and eventually weaning himself completely off his seizure medication in his early 20s.
While he first started medicating with the “schwag” that everyone else did in high school,” he eventually started growing his own plants, secretly in his parents’ garden, and from that time he was hooked on cultivating plants that worked best for his needs and even started developing his own techniques.
Haupt and his team have honed in their skill to produce three pounds of product per grow light, referred to as their Three A Light (the title of his book) technique. He said that this definitely didn’t develop overnight.
“The Three A Light technique I learned through doing it wrong,” he says. “Like anything else in life, some of your best teachers can be your mistakes.” They worked through the mistakes, starting with half of a pound produced per light (using the traditional 1,000 watt bulb), then becoming more efficient, building up to one pound per light.
“We thought that was the cream of the crop for a long time,” he says. But they found that they could build up to three per light by changing their feeding schedule and developing their own line of nutrients. “We developed Success Nutrients because we had such a conglomerate of nutrient lines that we used,” Haupt says. “And we wouldn’t use the level they recommended, we’d use what we knew the plants needed.” He said there wasn’t a line of nutrients that was developed just for cannabis, so building his own line, he knew, would be more beneficial in the long run.
Haupt also says that they developed Success Nutrients while writing his book, Three A Light, when he realized he didn’t want to endorse products he didn’t fully believe in.
“I couldn’t use the other nutrient lines because they were packed full of food coloring,” he says. He was also concerned with how diluted other lines tended to be, where the claims on the bottle of what it contained weren’t entirely true. “It was an integrity thing; we didn’t want to endorse other companies that were being dishonest or misleading to the end user.
The nutrients and his controversial “schwazzing” technique are two of the secrets to his success. The schwazzing process involves trimming the plant, removing its leaves and other foliage to concentrate the plants’ energy and sugar elsewhere while also exposing the whole plant to more light.
This is done twice: first when the plant goes in to flowering and then again about three weeks later as buds are starting to form. Because it can be such a shock to the plant to lose those leaves, those new to the technique are wary that their plants will not recover.
“It’s such an extreme method to do to your plants, a lot of people are completely afraid to do that,” he said. “Just like when you go to work out at the gym, you’re going to stretch your body, but at the end of the day it’s going to create more strength for you.” For full success with this process, you must compensate by giving your plants the right nutrients so that they can grow to their full potential.
He says that they also have moved beyond the traditional 1,000-watt bulb to a double ended bulb to increase flower production. This bulb is still high- pressure sodium, but hits about 1,150 watts.
You can find the full details of the schwazzing process and nutrient amount recommendations to properly yield three pounds per light in Haupt’s book, Three A Light.
Three A Light was born out of a need for a how-to manual for growing cannabis. “There wasn’t anything out there that taught you how to grow cannabis from A to Z,” Haupt says. “It didn’t exist. If you wanted to grow cannabis, you had to grab one book that was written by a botanist and you wouldn’t understand 80 percent of the terminology in there, and then you had another book that was written by a different botanist, so you wouldn’t understand 80 percent of that terminology, and then you can piece together a couple articles from High Times and then you would give it a shot. But you were still left to your own best guess every step of the way.” Instead, he wanted to create a guide that was simple and followed each step to building successful grows. With Three A Light, he did just that, taking two and a half years to build a one-stop-shop book for beginning growers.
MEDICINE MAN TECHNOLOGIES
Beyond the book, Haupt also owns Superfarm and Tree House, which act as “the proof in the pudding” when someone, who is interested in setting up their own grow production, visits to learn the techniques. Haupt also works as a consultant for Medicine Man Technologies, a Colorado-based firm, showing potential growers how they could be successful, then pairing them with Medicine Man’s team to design their grow site.
Medicine Man Technologies has partnered with Haupt and the Three A Light team to bring success to their clients. They promote Success Nutrients, but also advise clients from the foundations of their grow sites.
They opened their doors in 2014, founded by Andy Williams and Brett Roper, going public as a company in early 2016. They offer advising on everything from applications and licensing to cultivation technologies, facility design, training services, and guidance for dispensaries.
HIS BUSINESS CULTURE
Haupt also attributes his success to the people he surrounds himself with, sticking with a “no A-hole policy.”
“A lot of times the culture can make or break a company,” he said. “If you have a lot of people who are excited to come to work each day, that defines your culture, so we’re trying to do that with cannabis.”
He said he doesn’t want people who are sad more than they’re happy, because that can completely change the culture of a company. “Our culture is everything,” he says.
“The faux pas with business is, you know, to hire your friends, you never want to do that,” he says. “But that’s how I’ve built things; by hiring my friends.” He says there are, of course, times where there are challenges with hiring his friends, but “other times, I’m like, man, this is the way to do it, there’s no other way to do it,” he says, adding that he wants to help people be successful and that it’s important that those he hires have that mentality.
He says he also started sharing his secrets to help people find their success and do well for themselves. It’s more than just a business goal, “that’s my life goal,” he says. “We’re never going to deviate from that one. We want people to do as well for themselves as possible; that’s why I’ve been able to share this knowledge and help them at their facilities.”
He said that, through this, he hopes to get cannabis out there to other markets. “Let’s face it,” he says, “at the end of the day, if you have another kid diagnosed with epilepsy at age 12 or age 6 and that kid doesn’t need to go through the gamut of all the other different medications when this is the clear solution out there.”
While cannabis is currently being researched and developed for extended use in medical spaces, it is not yet FDA approved, a fact that Haupt thinks will mark a major success in the cannabis world.