IRVING PARK – The Irving Park Company has become one of the first physical stores in the United States to sell cannabis seeds and offer genetic testing of the plants to people who want to grow weed at home for medicinal use.
Tom Wilson and Dan Ainsazian opened MoneyTree Genetics, 4017 W. Irving Park Road, in Nov. The store is a one-stop-shop for people who want to buy weed seeds, test their plants and learn about growing cannabis at home.
Wilson said genetic testing allows people to see how potent their plant is and learn about cannabinoids and terpenes. It can also help identify harmful plant diseases and parasites, so people can understand why their plant is sick, Siad said.
“Genetic testing also adds some credibility to people who shop at dispensaries and read their packages and who want to confirm whether they really got what they paid for,” Wilson said.
This is another major part of the business: helping people actually grow healthy cannabis plants.
Obtaining the company’s seeds from breeders and growers with detailed genetic documentation helps prevent pathogens and pests from entering home gardens or major planting centers in the Midwest, Wilson said.
“This way we don’t infect markets in the cannabis world from one region to another,” Wilson said.
Owners also help clients learn how to grow cannabis and how to navigate state laws, Wilson said, “to educate them about what they can and cannot do with a medical card.”
Ainsazian and Wilson got into the seed business after The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration has relaxed its rules about the sale of hemp seeds last year.
While the work may be new – Illinois has only allowed it in recent years Medical cannabis patients To grow up to five plants for personal use under certain conditions Wilson’s love of growing plants goes back years.
Wilson grew up in Irving Park and is known for having a green thumb. He said he would bring back all kinds of plants from the brink of death to his family and friends.
“Gardening has always been in my blood,” he said.
Wilson started getting tips from High Times magazine on how to grow cannabis. Wilson said he moved to California to hone his skills and help run a cannabis farm.
Wilson said cannabis varieties have different levels of potency, effects, and yields, as well as different aromas and tastes.
“It’s very similar to wine, which is another area I loved while living in California. The two are nearly identical in terms of different flavor profiles, regions, and note characteristics,” Wilson said. “It’s definitely side by side.”
Since opening the store, Wilson has enjoyed in-depth conversations with customers about flowering times, ideal growing conditions, and whether a seed strain can withstand certain environmental challenges such as excess moisture or cold.
Some clients are already well-informed and know exactly what they want, Wilson said, but others are often growing cannabis at home for the first time.
“I think the oldest person we walked into was an 82-year-old woman to buy seeds that I planned to put in flower pots on the porch of my retirement home this spring,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t think people would think of growing it on their porches in retirement homes. But here we are.”
The interior of the store features cannabis culture-themed art and photos by various artists, some of which are for sale.
Since this artwork is being sold or retired, Wilson said, the owners want to work with local artists to display and sell their artwork on consignment.
“We wanted the interior to feel unique in its own way, perhaps a lot like the seed shop in Amsterdam, where the first model for this type of business ever began,” Wilson said. “We curated all the artwork ourselves from multiple suppliers and artists, to create things and bring them to us. Everything is hemp-themed. We’ve also been collecting memorabilia for many years.”
The shop is open from 10am to 8pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 6pm on Sundays.