Veteran Cannabis Cultivator Ben Burkhardt Launches Sunlight Green Systems

Feb 18, 2016, 15:39 ET from Sunlight Green Systems

DENVER, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Industry grow leader Ben Burkhardt announced today the launch of Sunlight Green Systems (SGS). SGS is a collective group of experienced grow aggregators that provide equity and fee-based services for commercial marijuana cultivation facilities in states with legal cannabis operations.

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Burkhardt began honing his craft in the medical marijuana industry after California Proposition 215 created the first legal passageway to the plant in 1996. During this period, Burkhardt witnessed the quality of life improvement cannabis provided a family member and others, which led him to develop a strong interest in the plant and its medicinal benefits. By 1998, he had joined the adolescent medical marijuana industry and was cultivating for the Berkeley Patients Group, the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States. From the industry's inception, Burkhardt has been on the forefront of medical marijuana.

Burkhardt said, "There is a growing number of organizations out there focused on license application consulting within the 23 states and Washington, D.C., where they are being processed; however, SGS is primarily focused in the area of cultivation. We are a turn-key operation that partners with growers to provide expertise on per day yield analysis, lighting, water filtration, employee training, security, flower canopy management, and many other cultivation-based services."

Burkhardt began his foray into the Colorado medical marijuana market in 2009 with a 5,000 square foot grow facility and a 3,000 square foot store called Broadway Wellness. After one year of operation he expanded the business model and began building out the largest grow facility in the industry as well as developing a chain of distribution outlets to move the massive amounts of product. He financed the growth of the business with its own cash flows and a $1,000,000 investment to build out the growth and working capital. Burkhardt developed his own model for market analysis to best determine where the most demand for a new store would be and utilized it to identify opportunities. He was able to make several acquisitions of distressed locations, businesses where the owners did not have the cultivation and operational knowledge to be run profitable cannabis businesses. His ability to turn these stores around and the rate and scale at which he did it was astounding.

Between 2011 and 2014, LivWell expanded to twelve retail locations, employing 500 staff with a state-of-the-art grow facility of 120,000 square feet that could produce over 20,000 pounds of dried flower annually at an efficient rate of $564 per pound (cost of goods sold). In just a few years, his business went from a small start up to commanding approximately 12% of the volume of the Colorado market with tens of millions in sales; becoming the largest and most productive recreational commercial cannabis business in the world. In addition, he created an infused product division and developed products and technologies including edibles, vapor pens, topicals, sublinguals, CBD-specific treatments.

Burkhardt navigated the business through the burgeoning Colorado medical marijuana industry adapting to major regulatory and policy shifts like the Cole Memo, House Bill 1284 Vertical Integration, Pesticide regulation, and most importantly the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2013.

SGS Senior Advisor Patrick Baskette said, "As an industry professional, Ben was far ahead of many rule changes and worked with policymakers to shape good public policy, all the while positioning LivWell to capitalize on the changes. It's this real-world knowledge and the deep industry understanding that makes SGS a strong partner for licensed growers needing that extra help to master a very complex business model."

With nearly two decades of experience, Burkhardt's development of efficient standard operating procedures and best practices was also claimed revolutionary by his industry peers. He instituted the industry's use of the Fertigator, a computer automated fertilization system that reduced the costs to feed plants by over 80 percent. He implemented an automated drip irrigation system that reduced employment costs significantly throughout the facility. Burkhardt was also the first to use a commercial automated transplant machine, further boosting efficiencies, while implementing revolutionary organic pest management and preventative maintenance. His attention was also drawn to employee work safety practices, so he worked with OSHA and state regulators to ensure a safer work environment at the first large scale grow facility. Along those same lines, Burkhardt worked with Denver Fire to develop a safe extraction facility, which was one of the first in the city of Denver to use hydrocarbon extraction.

"From start-up to fully functioning, we have the ability to insert our team and immediately begin to enhance your existing systems of operations. Our services include:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Real estate siting
  • Cultivation strategy
  • Production consulting
  • Inventory tracking
  • Financial services (partnerships, acquisitions, private funding)
  • Construction (build-out)
  • Turn-key staffing (agronomists, botanists, harvesters)
  • Security (indoor, outdoor, transportation, banking)
  • Employee safety (OSHA)
  • Capital equipment analysis
  • Facility design
  • Staff recruitment
  • Employee training
  • Dispensary plans (site locating, build-out, security, training, cashiering)

SGS will help integrate regulatory compliance protocols for a solid cultivation model. We will help maximize your yield, lower product costs and increases profitability. And we will develop efficient management systems for maximized workflow, Burkhardt said.

Other areas of SGS crop growth expertise includes:

  • Product processing (infusion, oils, buds, age groups, diseases)
  • Seeds and genetics
  • Strain selection
  • Soil selection and nutrient amending
  • Irrigation systems
  • Vegetative stock requirements
  • Perpetual harvest and workflow
  • Environmental controls
  • Integrated (organic) pest management
  • Closed-loop soil recycling and composting

With two decades of large scale commercial cultivation experience, SGS can help licensed growers into a highly profitable commercial (organic) cultivation business.

Burkhardt concluded, "We provide ongoing support with data analysis and grow objectives to adapt and thrive, never ignoring the constant changes in state and federal laws."

For more information on Sunlight Green Systems visit  or call 844-SG-SYSTEMS.

About Sunlight Green Systems
Sunlight Green Systems (SGS) is an experienced primary grow aggregator that provides both equity and fee-based services for commercial marijuana cultivation facilities in states with legal cannabis operations. SGS specializes in indoor/outdoor grow design, operations, assessments, regulatory compliance, staffing, security and training. We can also assist in optimizing applications for state-permitted cultivation, production and retail-dispensing storefronts. SGS thrives on providing sustainable methods for organic cultivation to ensure the highest quality, medical grade cannabis on the market today.

SOURCE Sunlight Green Systems