High high up in the heart Colorado Rockies, tucked snugly in a little city called Steamboat Springs, there lies a farm that grows the purest, cleanest hemp in all the lands—that farm is Garden Om, and that grower is CEO Joe Jernegan. Starting his career in the cannabis industry over a decade ago, Jernegan takes his commitment to his craft very seriously, using the principles of quality, ethicality, and consciousness to inform himself and his colleagues every step of the way. When something was created with heart, soul & presence of mind, the difference in taste and overall experience is tangible. If people cared as much about their craft and the individuals they share it with as Joe Jernegan, the world would most certainly be a better place. We couldn’t think of anyone better to craft oHHo COLORADO, because good hemp starts with good intentions—read below.
If you were a plant, what plant would you be and why?
I would definitely be the cannabis plant in its original form, before the 70 some odd years of selective breeding for fiber, seed or high THC concentration. One of our top priorities and goals at Garden Om Hemp Company is to breed the cannabis plant back to its original, unadulterated genetic forms. We believe that through selective breeding, we have lost many of the cannabinoid combinations and varieties because they were not valued by the industrial hemp or black market industries. It’s our intention to bring them back.
Who or what inspired you to join the cannabis industry?
I was exposed to cannabis at a very early age—my parents were Southern-California raised. The vibe around cannabis in our social circle was relaxed and relatively stigma free. I planted my first cannabis plant in the early 90s while living in Arkansas. I’ve always been drawn to it. The paradox of how cannabis was portrayed to the public was so different than the actual plant itself. It created this mystery around the plant and a kind of Robin Hood-like community that supported and farmed it. The fight for cannabis is a fight for logic and reason—it’s a fight against oppression and ignorance. Most of all, it’s a fight to empower ourselves and the communities we live in. It’s kept me inspired for over 28 years and I become more inspired everyday!
Favorite note or ingredient in oHHo COLORADO?
My favorite note or ingredient at oHHo is the people. Tim, James, and the team at oHHo are good people with pure intentions. That’s hard to find in today’s world, and in my opinion, invaluable when creating a product to be ingested and/or put on the skin.
How does Garden Om work to spread good vibes?
We try to keep it simple—we think the best way to spread good vibes is to educate. Fear is ignorance of the unknown. The more we can do to educate and inform, the more fear is alleviated. Teaching through our actions and not just our words.
What is your daily wellness ritual?
I strive to give myself 20 minutes every day. It can be anything from walking or meditation to running or working out, the important thing being that I give myself that time.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
There are many, but only a handful that I find myself repeating to myself and others quite a bit:
- Anyone can do well when it’s easy. The true measure of a person is their ability to keep going and perform well when things are falling apart. This translates into everything we do, from ourselves and our families to our communities and businesses.
- The problem isn’t the problem, the problem is our attitude about the problem.
What is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding hemp that you’ve encountered in your line of work?
Where to start? The demonization of the THC molecule is definitely at the heart of it all. It’s one of the most successful marketing (smear) campaigns ever and it’s based on misconceptions and lies like “Reefer Madness” instead of science, logic and value. The real madness is that cannabis has been illegal to study for the better part of a century yet it’s actually been utilized by cultures all over the world for 1000s of years. The fact that we all accept a reality where hemp is defined in no other way than an arbitrary .3% THC limit is a great example of how effective the smear campaign was. The only thing this definition of hemp accomplishes is to slow the industry to a crawl, minimize medical efficacy, and cut farmers harvests’ literally in half. It also creates a void in production, use, and research of the cannabis plant from .3%. THC to 5% THC, because everything above .3% THC is technically illegal and everything below 5% THC won’t get you high. Because there is no market, plants of such concentration are not being created, produced, or studied in this range. If that’s not an example of hiding something in plain sight, I don’t know what is.
When life gives you lemons, you…
These days I take my kids fishing…lemon goes great with trout!
Top 3 Steamboat Springs nature spots?
Yampa Rive, Hahns Peak, and Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
To you, what is the greatest virtue in good farming?
For me, the first virtues that come to mind are patience and modesty. I struggle with both at times. Farming—good farming—is by far one of the best ways to instill these virtues and many more.
What inspires you when formulating an oil? What qualities make a great oil?
My inspiration for good oil comes from our first hand experiences dealing with people. My wife and I had a garden supply store for the decade before we started hemp farming. We dealt with everyone from patients, and mom & pop farmers to dispensaries. We would often network with farmers and patients in an effort to source clean, quality extracts—it’s more difficult than you would imagine. To make a great oil you have to keep the product free of things like pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and contaminants. It’s something we should all be considering when sourcing everything we ingest, from water and food to cannabis. But this becomes paramount when you are dealing with people whose immune systems are already compromised. On top of that, if it is something they are going to smoke to ingest, then you are bypassing the body’s natural filtration mechanisms like the liver and skin and are basically depositing directly into the bloodstream. You start to realize what an amazing amount of responsibility you are taking on when you commit to providing plant extract in all forms. Whether you’re talking about water, food or cannabis, know your source!
Ultimate feel-good jam(s)?
There is no way I could list just one. Music is my church. For lack of better words, there is no easier way I know to call up spirit, or whatever you prefer to call it 🙂
I definitely have a particular jam that’s been my go to for the past 4 or so years that has managed to stay relevant to the current days and times. It’s the Tedeschi Trucks Band along with Warren Haynes and members of Los Lobos doing an incredibly energized version of the Mad Dogs and Gentleman song, “Space Captain“. Medicine comes in many forms—this is good medicine!
These days I find myself tuning in to Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, “Turn Off the News Build a Garden“. If you have kids you’re going to feel this one, no doubt.
One of my all time feel good jams is the Grateful Dead’s, “Morning Dew“, Europe ’72. Enjoy!