To help the community members to get to know each other better I’m doing a series of interviews with the founding members of the community. The first interview is with Tasia Mercadente who runs Santiago & Dunbar Extracts:
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Tasia Kelly Mercadante. I smoked weed for the first time with my older cousin when I was 12. I consistently smoked from the age of 13 and sold from the age of 14. I never thought I would turn it into a legal profession. I’ve always loved flower and smoke flower more than I dab or eat edibles.
I have mainly focused on THC and CBD extractions in order to help people battle the side effects of radiation therapy by using a combination of tinctures and capsules. I make extractions that include CBD and THC with my THC extraction as high as 80%. I usually start with 1000 mg of CBD in vegetable glycerin or coconut oil added to coat the stomach and I slowly increase the CBD content.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I got my start in the industry by sheer luck. I met an investor who wanted to get into the industry, but had no industry knowledge. I traded my knowledge for his investment and a percentage split of the company as well the right to start subsidiary companies under the parent company. After zoning and a build out it’s been about a year of perpetual harvest without any major problems; we get great test results and beautiful flower by using expensive nutrients. I passed most of the growing responsibilities onto other employees so I can focus on the extractions; I still supervise day-to-day, which includes everything from managing disgruntled employees to resolving employee conflicts.
What can you tell us your grow operation and your extraction process?
The grow operation itself is only 5000 ft.² minus the lab. The build out on the next facility will be triple that size. I will definitely be changing some things. For instance the lights right now are at a thousand watts with hood. We grow in Canna Coco, using the Heavy 16 nutrient line and and flip boxes to get the most money out of my ballasts. I’m a tomboy and my father is a very good electrician, so I take after him. For extractions, I have a closed loop CO2 system that recycles the butane from one tank to another. I also don’t mind open-blasting and have had low butane-residual test results because my purge ovens are always set to 90.4 C, which is my magic number. I hold and release pressure for a few seconds up to three times. As most of you know, you get out what you put in. Every strain can be different: it can crumble or it can shatter. I also do distillation and use a rotary evaporator to clear everything as much as possible, especially any hash that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
What strains do you grow and how did you select those?
- Girl Scout cookies
- Girl Scout cookies thin mint
- Gods gift, indica
- Orange crush (Cinderella 99 was its former name), straight sativa
My largest yielding strain is Skywalker, a hybrid indica that is a derivative of Bubba Kush. It brings me back to high school every time I smoke it: happy, hungry and sleepy. I’m growing eight new strains from seed into moms currently but I don’t want to name names because I don’t know which ones are going to make it. The Skywalker Bubba is my blessing and it was brought to me from Southern California. I selected all these strains because I wanted a marketable variety of indicas, sativas and hybrids.
Who are your mentors and inspiration in the cannabis industry?
My mentors in the cannabis industry - I guess we’ll start at the beginning: Tommy Chung, Mark Emery and George Jung. Currently my inspirations are the lesser-known Chubbs, Burner, and my personal favorite Brett Maverick and Archie who are no longer together but I still follow their work consistently.
What are your hobbies and interests to relax after work?
I love to play music. I drum better than I play any other instrument. I enjoy hobby singing in a band called Doc Holliday, I’ve always been a Halo player and my Xbox live name is blondeshatter , which I think is appropriate. My Instagram is Tasiakelle. I know more than most girls about cars, mostly fast German tuners. I used to be pretty good at snowboarding but I haven’t gone in a while.
Thanks for taking the time to let us know more about you @tasiakelle! If any other community members are interested in participating in this interview series, please drop me a private message.