Chris Pieser: Chameleon Grow Systems
Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people; they have a vision and they dedicate their careers to chasing it and making it happen. But then there are entrepreneurs like Chris Pieser, founder of Chameleon Plasma Grow Lighting, who take that dedication to another level. His vision extends past a simple business model and dives deep into the question, How do we make stronger medicine? It’s minds like Chris’ that are really making that ripple effect we are beginning to see vibrate across the country. It’s people like him who you better watch out for!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
I joined this industry as a direct result of a life-long passion for the benefits that cannabis brings to me. I suffer from migraines and this is the only medicine that helps with this condition. I have all the prescribed medications, but they make me feel worse than the condition itself. A friend gave me a CBD-dense extract and with a single puff on a Vape Pen… the migraine was 90% gone and after a second puff, it was GONE! That’s just magic; I couldn’t live a full and productive life without it.
What were you doing before?
I have been an entertainment show producer for 35 years, which has been the foundation of my contribution to the horticulture lighting industry. I understood the issues with legacy HID technology and so I set out to build a better mousetrap and I did just that. I built the brightest LED Grow Light on the planet in 2007. This light was able to do some really neat tricks. You could program Plant Performance Profiles in your computer that could change colors with a very simple program. It was a great concept, but way too expensive and it still didn’t have enough power so I stepped back to evaluate further. Fast forward a few years later to when we discovered Plasma; that was the turning point for us as Plasma Grow Lighting. We invented a product that has 95% perfect sunlight in a box. Plants respond very well to this light source and we are very pleased with all of the validations we have amassed since we began plant testing. By the way, we missed getting the patent on LED Grow Lighting by two months, that’s how long we have been wrestling with this project and how far out in front of the curve we are.
We invented a product that has 95% perfect sunlight in a box.
Tell us about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
California started it all. We realized it was the beginning of the green rush and wanted to be part of the solution. We felt that our contribution to this industry, our Plasma Grow Lighting, was going to be an easy sell, but that was not the case; there were so many LED lies out there that had tainted the early adopters. It has been a long road to acceptance where many growers are not willing to take chances and are happy with the performance of their current legacy grow lighting. Although, it is only a matter of time before growers will be faced with the decision as all incandescent and HID lighting are on their way out. It is already being phased out in the European Union, the USA is not far behind.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
We are focused on Light Nutrition. It is the missing link to make a perfect grow scenario as all plant processes begin and end with light. The proper spectrum of light increases photosynthesis and allows more nutrient & CO2 uptake resulting in healthier plants that are more disease and pest resistant. We have done extensive third party comparison testing and have proven that cannabis grown under Chameleon Plasma Grow Lighting produces 10% to 13% more total assayable cannabinoids.
To further illustrate, please equate light-nutrition to human-nutrition. HPS grow lighting produces only 24% of the proper light spectrum for plants whereas Plasma Grow Lighting produces 95% of the proper light spectrum for plants. If you were receiving only 24% of the perfect human nutrition (like an HPS produces) you would surely not be able to thrive as well as if you were receiving 95% perfect human nutrition like Plasma produces. Another analogy would be this: If you got a 95% on an academic test versus a 24%, it would make the difference between a set of proud parents and a hold on your allowance money. 🙂
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
If you were to ask me about my work ethic, I would say that I am relentless in the pursuit of perfection. I will not rest until our product is as perfect as I can possibly make it. When you see this instrument, you will be able to see the attention to detail. We build rugged perfection!
Tell me about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
Sorry, but my career has gone exactly as planned. I am capable of exceptional focus and will not accept failure. There is always a solution to every problem if you work hard enough to discover it. Again, I’m relentless…
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
Lighting Up Profits: Understanding Greenhouse Lighting by Erik Runkle is a fantastic resource for (new and seasoned) growers. Erik is one of our many mentors and has been generous enough to proof the technical information we post on our website. Although this book is written for the professional greenhouse grower, it is an excellent resource for residential growers as well and is a “must read” if you are serious about your craft.
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
We have designed and built the only 500w Plasma Grow Light on the planet and are about ready to offer our latest achievement with our own LED product. We will be the only company on the market with a 680nm red chip, which is the most important wavelength in the Plant Action Spectrum (PAR). We are setting the pace for innovative products! Plasma Grow Lighting is currently 95% perfect sunlight (within PAR); adding three wavelengths of Red-LED’s to our Plasma will bring that perfect sunlight percentage to 100% (My parents would be very proud). Since I grew up struggling with Dyslexia & ADD, I was never considered to be a ‘good’ student; it was very difficult to memorize the school curriculum. I am what is called an Autodidact; simply speaking it means that I am “self-taught.” I respect scholars for their ability to assimilate information and I wonder what I would have made of that particular skill, but I don’t look back! I am an innovation machine and am exceptionally proud of my accomplishments.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My father told me not to take on partners in business… That nugget has served me very well! My company is privately funded and I am the sole proprietor which allows me to move quickly with innovations. Another personality trait I got from my father is the ability to adapt; he was exceptionally good at this. I called him a ‘chameleon’ and I honored him with the name of my company, Chameleon Plasma Grow Lighting. Thanks Dad!
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
Our government is not about “the people” and you should temper your enthusiasm regarding legislation. I was devastated when Florida (where I live) lost the vote last November. 58% of our state voted yes, but we needed 60% for it to pass. We had an outsider come in with $5 million to buy our politicians and smear the campaign. That outsider is now going to succeed in bringing casinos into Florida as a result of his ‘financial’ support of our governor. It’s an unfortunate truth, but our government system is ONLY about big business. Think about it! Gambling is good and cannabis is bad? Really!? Politicians cannot be trusted. Period.
Gambling is good and cannabis is bad? Really!?
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversations about the ‘green rush’ is going?
My take on cannabis prohibition is this: Our government can’t stop the movement, they couldn’t stop alcohol and they won’t be able to stop cannabis. Eventually, we will prevail; the Green Rush is just the beginning. The tide of public opinion is changing and it is an incredible feeling. I long for the day when I can treat my condition without the paranoia of prosecution.