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How Cannabis Tech Can Help Build a Better Cup of Coffee

In the hills near Santa Barbara, something funky is growing. No, it’s not the newest strain of bubba kush. It’s coffee, sprouting farther north than it should be. Coffee belongs in the tropics—it doesn’t like cold snaps. But here at Frinj Coffee, a special variety called geisha flourishes.

And it’s about to get a whole lot more special—thanks, actually, to cannabis. Front Range Biosciences, which produces marijuana plants free of viruses and bacteria, is branching out into other crops like coffee, today announcing it would provide Frinj more than 3 million plants (technically known as “rooted cuttings”) over the next four years. Using this “clean stock” technology, Southern California could soon be green with coffee engineered in the lab to be healthy and productive. It’s just another odd way the booming cannabis industry is having downstream effects on other crops—starting with coffee, and possibly following up with crops like bananas and sugar and hops.

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