In this episode of A Tech Moment, we hear from Jill Ellsworth, Founder & CEO of Willow Industries about her crop-saving technology called WillowPure.
Quality is everything in cannabis cultivation and sales, especially regarding the safety and cleanliness of products on the shelf. Entire crops are susceptible to contaminants such as bacteria and mold, which put businesses at risk of losing valuable product sales or failing state cannabis regulations. How can cultivators ensure their crops are free of these contaminants before selling them to consumers?
Willow Industries is dedicated to the cause for clean cannabis. Jill Ellsworth, founder, and CEO of the Denver-based company harnessed the power of ozone technology for creating contaminant-free cannabis without negotiating quality. As a previous entrepreneur in the food and beverage industries, Ellsworth wants to help cannabis cultivators offer high-quality, clean cannabis that they can be proud of.
“As I was leaving those businesses, I started looking at cannabis,” shares Ellsworth. “And what I was finding was that there were no regulations like what I was used to seeing in the beverage world… In the juice world, we had to make sure that our juices didn’t contain contaminants. I wanted to start a company that was going to focus on consumer safety.”
Ellsworth knew that cannabis cultivators lose money and reputation when contaminants are discovered right before (or even after) sales. Cultivators everywhere risk selling contaminated products to consumers, failing state-regulated tests, or throwing out entire crops because they don’t have a way to effectively test for or remove microbes. Other cannabis cleaning methods can reduce product quality by further contaminating the plant with chemicals or stripping it of quality components, like terpenes.
So, in 2016, Ellsworth created WillowPure, the first portable cannabis cleaning technology system that uses ozone gas to clean cannabis products of harmful microbials. Ellsworth hopes Willow Industries will create a standard for cannabis cleanliness and become the go-to method for removing microbes from cannabis plants.
HOW WILLOWPURE WORKS
Ozone cleaning technology is already being used in the agriculture, food, and plant markets. Ellsworth now introduces the same antimicrobial cleaning properties of ozone to cannabis flowers and trim. While destroying the harmful molecules commonly found in cannabis, ozone gas leaves the plant’s chemical profile, including terpenes, intact and unharmed.
“We use ozone gas as the material to degrade microbial contamination,” Ellsworth explains.” We developed a proprietary chamber that pulls in oxygen, concentrates that, converts it to ozone and then ozone floods the chamber. The product can be used to clean flower, trim, kief, edible ingredients, and tools.”
WillowPure’s patent-pending ozone technology rids cannabis products of contaminants including:
- E. Coli
WillowPure’s lock and seal technology prevents large amounts of ozone gas from escaping, keeping users safe. All ozone gas degrades back to oxygen within 10 minutes of the cleaning cycle’s end. Safety locks on the machine won’t release until gases return to safe levels. OSHA and FDA measures recommend that proper safety equipment such as gloves and protective gear be worn when operating WillowPure machines.
THE BENEFITS OF CLEAN CANNABIS
WillowPure allows cultivators to grow with confidence. Not only can they maximize harvest product and profit, but they can advertise with the WillowPure logo to ensure consumers of top quality, clean cannabis. WillowPure growers will also have a “cleaner” insurance policy due to less product contamination and loss.
Having completed over 2,000 quality studies with cultivators, Willow Industries ensures that cannabis cleaned with WillowPure technology complies with state regulations regarding contamination and product cleanliness. “You could be using this type of technology preventatively rather than reactively if you by chance fail a test,” says Ellsworth.
The WillowPure system is safe and easy to use. It’s a simple plug-and-play system, with built-in timers and settings. Cultivators just plug in the machine, allow it to warm up for 15 minutes, spread cannabis flower or trim on its trays, close the door and press a button to start. Everything else is automated.
LOOKING AHEAD WITH JILL ELLSWORTH AND WILLOW INDUSTRIES
Willow Industries currently operates in 10 states but is looking forward to a future of growth. As more states legalize and regulate cannabis, WillowPure hopes to be at the center of providing clean cannabis to consumers. Ellsworth plans to eventually work Willow Industries into the Canada cannabis market while continuing to improve on the company’s cannabis cleaning technology.
“What we have right now is great, and it works, but we are continuing to innovate within our system to make it a little more user-friendly in terms of the software at the backend, fitting into the entire supply chain, and then continuing to grow the company in a lot of the bigger markets,” Ellsworth shares.
Willow Industries will undoubtedly remain at the forefront in cannabis-cleaning technology as the market continues to grow. The company commits to offering safe, clean cannabis products to consumers and is determined to help cultivators maximize the quality of their products. For more details and studies on WillowPure technology, check out the Willow Industries website.