St. Paul hemp business to offer cannabis growing classes

The classes are pricey, but the owner of Grounded Gardens says they’ll include everything Minnesotans need to get growing…legally.

ST PAUL, Minn. — When Grounded Gardens opens its new St. Paul storefront on the first day of recreational cannabis in Minnesota, it will technically still be business as usual.

“A lot of people think that we’re going to be able to start selling flower and vapes and things like that, which we are not,” said Bridgette Pinder, owner of Grounded Gardens, which has grown and produced hemp-derived CBD products since 2018.

But come Sunday, the business will be branching out in a new way.

Because it could be 2025 before she can begin growing and selling cannabis products with a retail license, Pinder is among several experienced growers who will be offering classes to help Minnesotans get growing at home.

“We are so excited,” she said. “On Sunday, we have two classes, one from 9 a.m. to noon and one from 2 to 5 p.m. They will be down here, in our new space. We will teach you how to set up a tent, we will teach you how to germinate seeds, and all the essentials that you need to get them going.” 

But it won’t come cheap. The comprehensive class costs $1,100.

Kent Erdahl: “Do you get anyone calling with a little bit of sticker shock?” 

Bridgette Pinder: “Yes, definitely. People are very surprised.”

She says that surprise tends to fade when she explains that the price tag includes roughly $800 worth of home-growing gear. 

“You’ll get the (growing) tent, the light, the fans, the monitoring system,” she said. “If you’re at work you’ll be able to see what’s going on with the humidity and the temperature and all those things.” 

Pinder says the classes also feature two follow-up sessions with master growers to ensure a successful grow, a detailed handbook from Minnesota Cannabis College and some hemp to take home.

“Attendees of our class will get to take home four hemp clones,” she said. “They are high CBD plants, and that way, they can do a practice run with the hemp plants, and get their (high THC) seeds going at the same time.”

And for those looking for the practice, but not the price tag that comes with all the equipment, there is another option.

“So, if you have all your own equipment and you just want to come learn how to grow, you pay $500,” she said. “For that, you get the classes, can come hang out with us and you’ll get seeds with that also.”

Pinder says the seeds have been a costly challenge for businesses like hers, trying to follow all the new state regulations on seed licensing.

“The seed licensing requires 500 grams of seeds to get sent in for testing, which would cost — in cannabis seeds — more than $50,000,” she said. “As a business, we can pay $10, $50, up to $100 for one seed of THC, depending on the strain, which is astronomical compared to agricultural crops. At Grounded Gardens, we’re going to have 10 seeds in a pack, and they’ll be between $150 and $200, so they’ll be about $20 a seed,” Pinder said.

And even with a successful class, she said it will take time and patience for the investment to pay off.

“What you will get from us will be feminized seeds or auto-flowering seeds,” Pinder said. “Auto-flowering are going to run quicker, they are going to have a short grow time — three to four months. They are a little easier to grow but don’t get as big. A feminized plant is going to grow a lot bigger, but will take about four to six months to grow.”

In the meantime, she says the new Grounded Gardens lounge will be a resource for those who want to learn, share and celebrate legal cannabis.

Pinder: “We’re going to do weed and seed swaps, and we will also have tables set up out front where people can bring their own flower and they can smoke out front and hang out with us.” 

Erdahl: “So it’s B.Y.O…THC?” 

Pinder: “That’s right. Come here and hang out with us.”

Pinder says the first classes coming up on Sunday are full, and Grounded Gardens is now taking reservations for the next round on Aug. 20. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Grounded Gardens will also be ground zero for a legalization day news conference held by NORML Minnesota, the nonprofit that fought for years to make legalization happen.

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