Industrial weed is here. How pot farmers are using machine technology as the business grows

For decades, cannabis cultivators harvested their crop by hand, wielding garden shears in garages, farming under the cover of forests.

Before California legalized marijuana, growers often watered their gardens one plant at a time and trimmed their buds with scissors. And some of the companies trying to get a license in the state’s newly-regulated market still do.

But as cannabis becomes a commodity, the old ways are changing.

On a recent Friday morning, Simon Watson, the director of operations at the cannabis company VetsLeaf, donned a white lab coat, a baseball cap and the kind of black disposable gloves you might expect to see on a medical technician. At the company’s facility in Desert Hot Springs, a community of 28,000 just north of Palm Springs in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, twangy bluegrass music played in the background, while Watson dumped plastic bags

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