Hi, I’m Eljay… The following is the shocking true story of one of the world’s biggest marijuana growers and the cannabis nutrient company spawned by his covert operations in the clandestine grow rooms and fields of outdoor pot plants he tended to for decades.
In an industry where the big players try to distance themselves from the truth—that their nutrients aren’t really for growing tomatoes—and won’t so much as even stand in a garden or a grow room with one of their customers…
… One man stands apart, shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow growers, embracing the truth and peeling back the curtain to expose the good, the bad, and the ugly side of growing; and innovating the way marijuana has been grown for over 32 years now.
If you’ve grown, sold, or even just consumed marijuana, then you’ve benefited from this man’s work.
But there are some things even he won’t tell you…
And that’s why I’m writing this story.
You see, I’ve spent the last few years with Big Mike, taking studious notes about the wild and fascinating behind-the-scenes journey that took a 500 sq. foot grow room of dead little pot plants, into the $90 million dollar a year company that Advanced Nutrients is today.
After nervously revealing my notes to Big Mike, he was impressed with the amount of information I’d collected and said it was cool if I showed it to some of my Advanced Nutrients teammates—so they’d know how and why the company got its start—but asked me not to put it out there publicly.
Since some of the content is the kinda thing one might not want floating around about themselves, I completely understood.
However, after sharing it with a few of my teammates, they agreed with me that it’s a story that needs to be told. So we begged, pleaded, and practically twisted Big Mike’s arm high up on his back, until he reluctantly agreed to let me publish it.
It’s a story that involves millions of pot plants, hundreds of millions of dollars, ingenious counter surveillance techniques, a shakedown by a violent biker gang, a plane crash, a crazy and vengeful ex-girlfriend, giant busts, a manhunt by the DEA and U.S. Marshals, a kidnapping, life on the lam under seven different identities, over 50 firsts in the world of marijuana growing, and even a bizarre near death experience that is impacting the lives of millions of people across the globe.
You see, back in 2007 I was Director of I.T. for a large mortgage bank. I was also a junior operations manager and trained loan officers to sell mortgages. I enjoyed a nice amount of success in this industry.
But then things went south…
The market crashed.
Jobless, I relocated from beautiful Newport Beach, California to Nashville, Tennessee, figuring I could starve to death 42% slower there with the lower cost of living.
I did freelance video editing out of my house by day and by night I ravaged guitar strings on dark and smoky neon stages with a local rock band. Life was good. Soon after, my estranged father moved out to Nashville and we started a company together that built boutique guitar amplifier cabinets out of hardwood.
And then, one day while we were setting up shop…
… My father keeled over and died in my arms.
His death gave me a new perspective on things. I reflected on my life and what I wanted to do with it.
Realizing there was no way I wanted to go back to the whole suit and tie thing, and having always been infatuated with marijuana…and, well…pretty much everything about it, I made a decision that would change my life forever…
I packed up a U-Haul and headed back to California with only one thing in mind…
… I was going to get a medical marijuana script, learn to grow, and forge a cross in my father’s ashes that would immortalize him forever by creating a strain, and cultivating the seeds in his ashes..
For six months straight I plowed through every book I could get my hands on and researched every website I could find, until I was confident enough to get rolling on my first garden—which was only four plants in a custom aeroponics “EZ Clone Style, but bigger for flowering” machine and yielded just over a pound.
With the money I made off that pound I invested in another light. Things went on like this for a couple of years—doing a grow, reinvesting what I made, and expanding my little operation piece by piece.
Soon, I was blowing out houses in Orange County and enjoying the lifestyle that went with it. Grow, yield, profit, repeat.
I was then approached by a guy who made me a serious offer…
A “money man” came to me and said he wanted to back me on a big grow. He promised to grant me total freedom to do things exactly the way I wanted to.
Doing things my way was one of the reasons I started growing in the first place. The typical 9-to-5 soul-sucking chokehold I was in just a few years earlier was something I’d sworn off forever and wanted nothing to do with, ever again.
I was done with cubicles, staff meetings, TPS reports, and answering to office managers who only cared about productivity and saw their employees as nothing more than a number. If you’ve ever worked in an office, or even just seen the movie Office Space, you can probably relate.
So here I am with a few houses going in So Cal and this guy comes along and tells me that I can go as big as I want, do it all my way, and he’ll back me on the whole thing.
It sounded like a great opportunity.
So, I moved to Northern California and blasted out a half-million-dollar grow.
But here’s the kicker…
… The guy burned me on my end of the profits. He came up with all kinds of excuses about why he had to use the money from the grows on outlandish personal expenses that he called “growing expenses”—like the two attack dogs he picked up for $40,000.
And this went on for fourteen months!
I finally had to hawk the tools my deceased father had left me to generate enough cash to leave the operation so I could run my own little one from my house.
Here I am, running a half-million-dollar grow and I’m pawning off personal possessions that held a deep sentimental value to me, just to make ends meet. I decided to cut my losses and go back to doing my own thing.
The only problem was…
… I was broke.
Now, around this time I met a rep from Advanced Nutrients that had wanted to provide me products to try as I was one of the biggest growers at the store I shopped at in Oakland. I had also heard that Big Mike had a reputation for never turning away a medical patient or grower who was down on their luck and needed a helping hand.
So I contacted the rep, told him how badly I was struggling and asked him if there was anyway he could sponsor me with some nutrients and that I’d do anything I could to pay it back. I told him I’d take pictures of my plants, track their progress and post the results publicly…whatever he wanted. I just needed some help.
And you’ll never believe what happened…
That very same day he made the one-hour drive down to where my broke-ass eagerly sat, took me to a hydroponics store, and told me to go nuts and snag anything I wanted from the shelves.
Now, since I was running an Undercurrent System, I just grabbed the liter size bottles instead of the big multi-gallon jugs. I wasn’t looking for free handouts or to take advantage of such a kind gift, ya know. I just needed a little help gettin’ my garden going so I could pull-in a crop and feed my family.
The nutrients he donated to me turned out to be exactly what I needed to make that grow a success…they made all the difference in the world. The results completely blew my mind. The plants performed better and easier than I could have ever anticipated with hardly any dead leaves or deficiencies. They grew straight and strong without funky branching and required very little maintenance.
In fact, the yield was so explosive and crystal-covered-quality that it impacted me on a deep personal level. A fire burned inside me to tell every other grower I came across that there was an easier and better way to grow super-high quality meds.
From that one little grow I was able to turn everything around.
And then, tragedy struck…
The rep from Advanced Nutrients came down with cancer. In fact, it was so bad his doctors were at a complete loss. His life was slipping away from him and there was nothing he, nor his doctors, could do.
That’s when the owner of Advanced Nutrients, Michael Straumietis—AKA Big Mike, because he’s 6’7” and has a last name that’s a certifiable tongue twister—did some research of his own, learned about a robotic surgical system called the da Vinci Machine—of which there were only two of in the U.S.—and shelled out $88,424.57 for his rep to receive treatment with the machine and pay his bills.
The treatment was a success.
Now, I used to be director of I.T. for a big corporation and if I came to them with so much as a nosebleed, they would have told me to go screw myself, much less cut a check for eighty-eight grand to cure me of cancer if I’d had it. That’s when I knew I wanted to work for Advanced Nutrients. The amount of giving going on in the company was like nothing I’d ever seen before… I had to be a part of it.
However, once I hopped onboard, what I learned shocked me to my core…
You see, Big Mike began growing for many of the same reasons a lot of us did. Not only did he have a deep love and fascination for marijuana, but he also didn’t want to live the way he saw just about everyone else living—strangled by the ironclad grip of society’s status quo.
He flat-out refused to take orders and march around like a good little robot.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Big Mike came from a lower-middle class background and, as a child, was plagued with multiple learning disabilities—including OCD, ADD, and Dyslexia. Life wasn’t easy for young Michael.
His dad died when he was a teenager, and his mom—a nurse—was both an alcoholic and a pill-popping pharmaceutical drug addict. She recently passed away actually and, as I’m writing this, Big Mike is on his way to her funeral in Estonia.
During his teen years Mike was forced to attend Alateen—a fellowship of young people whose lives have been affected by the alcoholism of a family member.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who were born with the odds stacked against ‘em use circumstances like their poor upbringing, troubled past, and learning disabilities as an excuse for going nowhere in life.
But not Big Mike.
It was during these hard times that he made a commitment to himself that neither his afflictions, his past, nor his family problems would define his future. Nor would he trade away his soul 40-hours a week at some job he hated just to squeak by each month.
So, at age nineteen, he started a lawn fertilizing company in hopes of proving to himself and to the world that just because he was dealt a less than desirable hand early in life, didn’t mean he couldn’t make something of himself.
And then, in 1983—when Mike was 23 years old—he’s approached by two friends who tell him they have a way he could earn a lot of money if he wanted to.
But here’s the thing… they wouldn’t say what it was. They did, however, want to know if he was interested. Big Mike told ‘em he was and that he was dying to find out what they were talking about. Their lips remained sealed.
… One day they took him to their home and showed him a little indoor garden they had going. Immediately, Mike was not only on board, he was hooked.
They built a 500-square-foot grow room at the shop Big Mike ran his lawn care company out of.
The anticipation for what that lovely crop would soon yield was, and still is, one of the biggest highs Mike had ever experienced.
However, the buzz was short lived…
You see, they hadn’t properly ventilated the room and the plants got cooked! Within 24 hours the entire crop was dead as Dillinger. If there was a market for tiny fried little marijuana plants they would have been in business. But unfortunately, such a market didn’t exist.
Like many of us in our community, Big Mike’s first crop was a total failure. That didn’t stop him though. Determined to figure it out, he rolled up his sleeves and got right back to work.
Now, the only magazines available at the time were Sensimilla Tips and High Times. There was no Internet like there is today. But even though there wasn’t a lot of information available at the time, Big Mike read everything he could get his hands on.
For his second crop, since he’d killed his cuttings on the first go-round—which he’d taken using the floating broth method—he had to grow from seeds. So he hunted down some killer weed, yanked the seeds out, and got busy planting.
When the second crop actually came through, he harvested it a bit prematurely and only yielded about seven pounds. So he didn’t end up making much money for all the time and hard work he’d put into it.
Still, Big Mike was determined…
At the time, he was growing these big six-footers, because that’s all anybody was growing.
However, through his research, he found some articles that said you didn’t need to grow six-foot tall plants. You could grow them any size you wanted.
So he built some tables, put his little beauties in Rockwool cubes, and grew smaller plants that yielded faster.
By now, he was starting to pull-in some decent money. And even though it wasn’t much, it gave him the confidence to both expand his little operation, and to make a decision that would not only transform his life forever, but the lives of every single grower you know today who dares to transform light, water, and nutrients into the magic that is marijuana.
Big Mike decided to dedicate his future to figuring out how to grow the absolute best marijuana possible—to take it to its true genetic potential, in terms of taste, quality, and quantity of yield.
So he sold his lawn-fertilizing business and quadrupled his efforts.
And then he made a discovery that would change everything…
… The Sea of Green method.
With the use of rolling tables, he set up an entire house just for growing. He harvested 13 pounds of killer weed, which enabled him to get a second house going.
Realizing that in upper-class neighborhoods people tend to keep to themselves, he set up the second house in an area where the lawns were neatly manicured by gardeners, au pairs drove the children to school, and everyone just sort of minded their own business in their wealthy little bubbles.
But the problem was, Big Mike was only twenty-five years old, making him much younger than the typical person who rented these kinds of million, and multi-million dollar properties.
So here’s what he did…
He set up a legitimate fake identity—meaning he used a real birth certificate, driver’s license, and passport…just under a fake name—and concocted a story about being a trust fund baby.
He researched the psychology of how rich people thought, talked, and acted, so he could blend in with his new neighbors and his trust fund story would fly.
Now, when he moved in, he didn’t do what the typical grower does and buy a bunch of guard dogs and avoid making eye contact with the neighbors.
Instead, he became friendly with ‘em—waving and saying “hi” to everyone, and offering a helping hand should they need it. That way, even though his neighbors all kept to themselves, they liked him.
The strategy worked like a charm…
And before long, Big Mike had multiple houses going—and these were big houses, like 6,000 square feet apiece—with each house being tied to a different identity.
Now, just to stay on the safe side, he moved his grows about every twelve-to-eighteen months. It was a risky business and he knew he could never be too careful.
In fact, one time he even had to a bail out early on a crop because the electric company caught onto to him and it was either get out of dodge or go to jail.
Big Mike chose to get out of dodge…
Now, since most of the houses he was growing in were rentals, sometimes he’d have to deal with owners who wanted to sell the property. In these cases he made the landlords agree to not show the property for the term of the lease.
However…sometimes the owners would break the agreement.
And when they did, he’d have to pull off a magic act and make everything disappear…
One time, right after a harvest—when all he had were some smaller plants goin’—he tore down an entire grow room without any of it actually leaving the house. He boxed it all up, tossed everything in the basement—including hundreds of cuttings—threw tarps on top and hit it with an ozone generator.
If anyone happened to descend down into the basement, it would look like a normal everyday basement and they would think the stuff sitting under the tarps was just his personal belongings, and they’d leave it alone.
Another time, he had some bigger plants goin’ and had to rip down an entire 12-light grow and pack it into a moving truck, which he’d parked in the driveway. He figured the driveway was the safest place for it, since he didn’t wanna get caught cruising around town with a grow room in tow.
Real estate agents and potential home buyers would mosey through the house, and not even notice entire grow rooms—covered by tarps and sheets—just sitting there, right under their noses.
And as soon as they leave, he’d immediately get everything back up and running again.
Now, with his indoor grow operations steadily expanding, Big Mike decided he wanted to branch out and grow outdoors as well…
… And the way he went about it was ingenious…
What happened was…
Mike’s friend showed him where some outdoor beauties were boldly making their way to the sun. And these plants were huge. So he took note of the type of soil they were growing in and then found a location with the same kinda soil to drop his own garden in.
And these plants became monsters—yielding two to three pounds per plant. It was incredible.
So here’s the genius part…
Big Mike went to the county and found out they had all these maps that classified what types of soil were in each part of the region.
The entire county had been classified for soil!
And he found out that the other counties he was growing in had these kinds of maps as well. So he scooped up the maps for each county, found classification matches for the exact soil that was producing such monstrous plants, and started digging.
By now things were really taking off, and he had to hire more guys to help man his thriving operation. So he formed a team of dedicated junior growing partners.
Here’s how he set it up…
The deal was that the junior grow partners would at first work for a flat fee. Then after two or three years he’d make them 25 percent partners. And from there they could eventually climb the ladder to becoming equal partners.
With Big Mike’s operation expanding like an out-of-control wildfire…
… He soon realized that he was spending way too much time seeking out new grow spots.
So what did he do?
He learned how to fly.
This way, he could more efficiently locate the most desirable spots for his grows.
Based on the maps he had from the county, he could fly around and sniff out the best locations to plop down his beauties, and then go in with his junior growers and do the thing he loved more than anything else in the world—grow big, green, luscious buds.
So he gets his pilot’s license, along with a little Cessna 172, an Ultralight, and a GPS unit—back when GPS’s were first coming on the market—flies around marking the points where he wants to stick his gardens, along with his entry points and the locations where his junior partners are to drop him off at; and gets busy farming a dozen fields—with 50 to 300 plants each—in four different counties.
And because of the soil—most of his gardens were on the outskirts of swamps and creek beds—his plants did so well that even during the middle of a drought they were reaching heights of eleven feet…
… Without Big Mike having to water them!
Deep down, the soil—soft, fluffy, pitch-black dirt that allowed roots to quickly and easily throw down a massive root system—retained a ton of moisture. And it was loaded with super high levels of beneficial microbial activity, so it was perfect for growing weed.
This soil literally did all the work for him.
And with the plane and Ultralight, he could just fly over his grows, see if they needed a bit of weeding or anything, and watch everything from the sky. If they were weedy he would just go in real quick at night and yank the little green intruders out under the cover of darkness.
Between the soil and his adventures through the friendly skies, Mike only needed to tend to his gardens once every four or five weeks.
And plants were growing like crazy!
The stalks on these things were six-inches thick…
He and his crew actually had to use special Japanese handsaws with razor sharp blades to hack ‘em down.
Of course there were some problems…
Like the little forest creatures that just loved trying to turn his plants into dinner. To keep the critters away he blasted the hot pepper wax and threw up the occasional camouflaged solar-powered electrical fence.
One time when he was flying over a garden he spotted a deer happily chomping away at his profits. So he circled around, came blazing down super-low to the ground, and the hungry visitor bolted for cover.
And patch bandits and law enforcement were also an issue—walking-off with 30-50% of his outdoor grows. Even so, he was still able to harvest a damn nice amount of weed.
By now, it was the late 80’s…
… And Big Mike was constantly testing, tweaking, and fine-tuning the way he grew his marijuana; not realizing at the time, that he was forever changing the way the rest of us would be growing it as well.
He was on a perpetual hunt for the biggest, fattest, most potent, light-green sugar-coated buds the world had ever seen—a hunt that he’s still on today, but we’ll get to that in a minute…
After expenses and partner payouts his operation was netting him about $300,000 a year—which was a lot of money back then. He was harvesting hundreds of pounds at a time and pulling in between $3200-$3400 a pound. But no matter how much he grew, there was always more demand for ‘Big Mike Bud’ than he was able keep up with.
As business exploded, his anxiety went into overdrive. The stress wreaked havoc on his OCD and he was constantly going through bizarre counting rituals in his head and repeatedly checking things like doorknobs.
And the only thing that helped alleviate his symptoms was smoking some green. It relieved his stress, quieted the obsessive thoughts that raced through his head, and calmed the compulsive urges to act out the strange OCD rituals that were giving him a false sense of control and security.
To further ease his anxiety—and keep his ass out of jail—Big Mike began monitoring police scanners…
He read books on the subject, joined a group of scanner enthusiasts, and tuned into local and federal law enforcement frequencies—including hard-to-detect frequencies the undercover guys and the DEA were using.
Every day he spent hours monitoring and decoding the Man’s encrypted conversations—which he recorded 24/7. And anytime he went into a field he carried an ultra-sophisticated scanner he’d built with a guy from his scanner enthusiasts group.
He jotted down phone numbers from the recorded conversations, and found a guy in Washington that made a system that allowed him to eavesdrop in on the calls the officers were making to each other from their phones. This was in the early 90’s before phones used digital technology—everything was analog.
Before long, he figured out who all the local narcotics officers were…
He found out what cars they drove, what their license plate numbers were, and what they looked like.
Big Mike was watching them watch him!
And he’d often overhear them talking about his grow spots.
One time, monitoring his scanner as law enforcement infiltrated one of his gardens, he heard an officer say with astonishment, “Whoa, this is major league.”
It bummed him out that they’d busted his garden, but he felt a strange sense of pride that they’d called it “major league.” And he sure as hell was glad to know that they found it, because if he didn’t, that coulda been his ass.
Another time he overheard ‘em discussing a transponder they’d secretly planted that would alert ‘em the moment someone entered the garden. This thing could tell the difference between an animal and a human.
And since he flew over his grows on a regular basis and knew the terrain like the back of his hand, he could tell if anyone had been lurking around by the trails they’d leave.
Now, around this same time, Big Mike began to suspect his operations were being bugged…
… So, he found some guys who were ex-DEA, FBI, and RCMP officers who used to run wiretaps on people, and hired ‘em to teach him how to sweep his homes, vehicles, and businesses for bugs.
He had his operation down to a science.
But there was a big problem…
A middleman he was working with was overcharging a giant broker. In fact, the broker was so big he was scooping up more of Big Mike’s weed than all of his other buys put together. But he was being screwed-over on the prices and Mike knew it.
He had to connect with the guy or risk losing him. He’d met him a few times before, but each time his middleman was there.
So here’s what he did…
He sold his middleman some weed, and then, from a distance, scoped everything out as the drop went down between his middleman and the buyer. He then jotted down the guys license plate and shot it over to a private investigator, who—for a cool hundie—ran the plate and pulled the guy’s home number—which was unlisted.
Mike then called the guy, who said he’d been dying to buy from Mike directly. He said he’d been racking with possible ways to connect. He’d even considered jotting down a secret note on one of the bills he bought the weed with, hoping Big Mike would see it.
Now that the contact had been made, the floodgates opened. The guy took everything Big Mike and his crew could pump out.
Business was booming.
However, the heat from law enforcement was becoming a serious day-to-day issue…
Mike took counter surveillance courses; and soon, was not only monitoring the cops’ phones and radio scanners, and running surveillance from the air, but also took lessons in racecar driving—even entering a few races himself—and learned escape and evasion driving techniques in case he ever had to outrun the flashing red lights of the law.
Big Mike also understood that, because of the kind of money he was making, the possibility of being kidnapped was a reality he had to be prepared for. So he learned counter terrorism techniques and how to drive in case he was under attack or had to evade individuals who might not have had his best intentions in mind.
He learned how to ram cars, do j-turns, flip a car around, and use secret hand signals. He took classes where they executed mock attacks—actually planning simulated kidnappings and going into the field and both evading capture and seizing targets.
Now, around this time he became aware that a few of his grows were under heavy surveillance.
He was in a field, harvesting with his crew. He had his night vision goggles on, the scanner running, and two guys running counter surveillance just outside the garden.
While monitoring the scanner, he heard a dispatcher start sending out cars to the grow…
Big Mike ordered his men to jump ship.
On the scanner, a voice spat out, “They’re running, they’re running.”
The cops were closing in as he and his team scrambled to escape—everyone following Big Mike outta the garden.
He lead his guys along a creek that ran next to a cornfield, and as they were about to hop over it, he sees two men barreling towards them through the field. As he instructs his men to run the other way he hears one of the guys racing towards ‘em holler something out.
And then suddenly…
… An entire group of law enforcement officers was hot on their trail.
On a walkie-talkie Mike is warned by one of his lookouts, “They’re coming in hard. I’ve counted 20 cars so far—local police, sheriffs, and state guys. Get the hell outta there!”
Big Mike and his men were trapped inside a one square-mile area, with four county roads serving as the borders. He knew that once they crossed over one of the roads they’d have broken the perimeter and would be okay.
He cut-across the road first, didn’t see any cops, and ordered his men to get moving. Headfirst, they ran like hell through a massive cornfield, plunging into the darkness and evading capture.
From then on, his men were like, “If any shit goes down, just follow Big Mike out of the field.”
This was just one of the many close calls Big Mike and his crew would encounter.
From there he headed to Wisconsin because he had a souped-up Ultralight there that his buddy wanted, who was going to fly it back to Illinois.
Now, at this point, everyone is warning Big Mike that the police are looking for him. They even paid a visit to the farmer who’d been storing the Ultralight for him.
Mike urged his friend that even though he had 800 hours of flying experience and a pilot’s license wasn’t required to fly an Ultralight, he should get one anyway, just to be safe.
But the friend refused.
It was an extremely windy day and while making his ascent, the engine seized up. So he does what’s called the impossible turn. He doesn’t put the nose down like he should have and tries to make it back to the runway, where he crashes right in front of Big Mike, who drags him from the wreckage.
Covered in blood, with his legs twisted completely around, his beautiful blue eyes turned gray as stone as he died in Big Mike’s arms.
Mike was heartbroken.
Now, around 1995, one of Mike’s guys decided that he wanted to do his own thing.
He ends up getting caught and rats out Big Mike as part of a plea bargain for a reduced sentence—even though the guy’s grow had nothing to do with Mike. He tells the cops, “This is the guy you really want.”
He told ‘em how Big Mike had airplanes, scanners, night vision goggles, and was using all these cutting-edge growing methods that no one had ever seen before.
Now, at first, the cops thought the guy was lying because they’d never heard of anyone running such a sophisticated operation…
However, they soon realized the stories the guy was telling ‘em were true.
When Big Mike found out the guy was talking, he vacated his house, and moved a girlfriend in. He fully prepared her on how to deal with the police and taught her how to run a surveillance detection route—mapping out the danger zones for her where the cops would most likely try to survey the property from when they came for him.
Well, one day she sees a car parked in one of the danger zones…
So, she strolls up to the car and sees these two guys laying low in the front seats, which were reclined all the way back. She asks if she could help ‘em with anything.
They tell her that they’re just waiting on someone. So she leaves and drives the surveillance detection route that Big Mike had laid out for her. She goes down the street, doubles back and takes notice of all the cars that were coming in the opposite direction. Then, once out of sight, she doubles back again and watches the cars that were coming back her way, knowing that if any of ‘em were the same cars, that would’ve meant that they turned around, and were following her.
And she nailed ‘em dead to rights—she was being followed…
Local law enforcement, the U.S. Marshals, and the DEA had a manhunt going on for Big Mike…
Not only were they trailing his girlfriend around, they also started kicking in doors, as they tried to flush him out.
With a federal warrant out on him for cultivation, Big Mike knew he’d have to get the hell outta Dodge soon.
Even though the informant’s garden had no connection to Big Mike in anyway, and law enforcement had zero concrete evidence of his involvement, he was a full-on fugitive.
Living like a 6’7” ghost, he stayed in the same area for about a year. He completely avoided making eye contact with people, and in his mind, became invisible—which he basically was.
And the whole time he kept growing cannabis both indoors and out.
Being Wanted by Both The State and Federal Government Was Not Enough to Stop Big Mike From Growing as Much of The Highest Quality Pot That He Possibly Could…
Now, during this same time, Big Mike’s girlfriend turned batshit crazy on him…
Jealous beyond reason, she constantly accused him of looking at other woman, being attracted to other women, and trying to sleep with other women.
She’d scream and yell and tell him to leave. So he’d pack his stuff and head for the door, and then she’d threaten him that if he left, the second he was out the door she’d call the police and tell ‘em everything she knew.
In fact, she was so scared that he was going to leave her that, to gain leverage on him, she tried to follow him to his gardens so she could find out where they were at, threatened his friends that she would turn them in for growing, and pulled all kinds of twisted ploys to get to him to stay.
She wasn’t going to let him go for anything, even if it meant extorting him with the threat of a prison sentence to force him to stay.
So, Big Mike did what any good pot grower would do in this situation…
Keeping a “go-bag” packed at all times—complete with a brand new identification—he sent her off to a modeling gig in New York, left her $13,000, all the furniture in the house, and made a run for it.
So now, he’s hiding from the police, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals and a crazy ex-girlfriend…
… And he escapes to Southern California…
It’s now 1996 and he’s living and growing in a small town right off the beautiful Pacific Coast…
… But he makes a mistake…
You see, Mike made all his calls using calling cards—using only one card per call. After he’d make a call, he’d destroy the card.
He had a system where the person he was calling would be waiting at a certain time and location with a code encryption sheet Mike had created for ‘em.
But here’s where he screwed up…
He placed two calls on the same card—one to his new girlfriend and another to a guy he realized was working for the feds and trying to set him up.
Immediately realizing his mistake, he warns his girlfriend that the feds are gonna come a’knocking and instructs her on exactly what to do when she hears the hammer hit the wood.
And knock they did. But thankfully, she did as Mike had instructed her to and informs them that she has a lawyer. She was able to keep ‘em at bay for about a week.
And then Big Mike receives a call from some dude whose voice he didn’t recognize. The guy asks, “Hey, is this Mike?”
Mike says, “It is.”
“Hang on, someone wants to talk to you.”
His girlfriend hops on the phone and says, “Mike, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals came looking for you. I love you. I’ll always love you. Run as fast and far as you can and never let ‘em catch you.”
He thanked her, hung up, and promptly packed up his belongings and blew town.
Now, since he was low on cash, and needed money to grow, he sold all his furniture to the brother-in-law of a friend.
But there was a problem…
The guy had to retrieve the furniture from the house.
From Big Mike’s time spent studying counter surveillance, he knew they needed a backstory…
So he makes a fake ad—like one of those flyers you see on cork boards—and tells the guy that if the feds come around when he’s loading up the furniture, just tell ‘em that he’d contacted the seller from the ad—which had the number to a pay-as-you-go burner on it that couldn’t be tracked back to Mike.
Well, wouldn’t you know it…
As the guy’s huffing out the furniture, the U.S. Marshals pop in looking for Mike. So he just handed them the fake ad.
With law enforcement one short step behind him, Big Mike relocated about 45 minutes east to the town of Temecula, California.
Now, because he was out of money, he had to turn a crop…
So he sets up a 10-light operation and lives like a hermit while he waits patiently to reap the fruits of his labor.
However, about two weeks before harvest, a brush fire breaks out and is burning all the fields around his house. With massive winds blowing his direction, a wall of 20-foot high flames heads straight towards him.
As police and fire helicopters buzz over his house, a cop knocks on his door and tells him to evacuate…
But Big Mike decides to stay.
He packs some personal belongings into his car in case he needs to bail, and sits watching live news footage of the out-of-control fire looming over him.
And as he’s watching, he sees his house on the news…
Here he is holed up with his little green beauties, and people all across Southern California are eyeballing his house on the 5 o’clock news!
Fortunately, the fire was finally contained and Big Mike and his plants were safe.
His entire future hung on this one crop. Beyond what he was growing, he was flat broke. If the crop had failed, he’d be a penniless man on the run.
But it came through and earned him $37,500.
From talking with Mark Emery on the phone, Mike was convinced that Canada was the place to be if he wanted to grow.
So he gave $12,500 to his brother for safe keeping, and headed north to Vancouver with the rest…
When he made it over the border he felt like the weight of the world had been hoisted off his shoulders.
Now in Canada, he gets a new identity—with a new birth certificate, driver’s license, and passport—and hooks up with Mark Emery.
While searching for a place to grow, he meets a guy with some houses near Vancouver.
Big Mike looks him dead in the eye and explains that he wants to grow weed in the house…
The two forge a friendship, Mike pays him an extra $500 a month over and above the cost of rent, moves into a house, starts growing, and sells cuttings for five Canadian dollars apiece.
Next, he obtains a wholesale license and opens up a grower consulting service—enabling him to get his hands on some extra product, pull-in a bit of additional profit, and help out a few growers along the way.
He ends up talking to this hydroponic distributor. But since Big Mike doesn’t have an actual storefront for his garden center, she won’t sell to him. He’s stunned, because in America, if you have your license you can buy and sell stuff no problem.
Well, turns out the distributor owned a bunch of grow stores in the area and just didn’t want anyone competing with her stores. Fact is, she’d been downright mean to a lot of local growers and had earned herself a less than desirable name in the community.
By now, Big Mike had 13 years of growing experience under his belt and had read, and re-read, practically everything that had ever been written about growing marijuana—even though a lot of it was misleading.
Fortunately, he’s a smart dude—a card carrying member of Mensa actually with a crazy high IQ—and refused to let all the BS information that was permeating the industry hold him back.
The thing you need to understand about Big Mike is that he loves growing…
… Loves it more than anyone I’ve ever met, and I know helluva-lotta weed-lovin’ growers.
He’d sit in his gardens for hours just gazing at all the buds, in awe of their beauty. And there’s nothing in the world he loves to talk about more than growing. It’s his passion and his purpose. His obsession.
Now, another thing Big Mike really loves to do is support his fellow growers.
And the garden center allowed him to both talk weed all day and help out those like himself who grew it. He’d found nirvana.
Ok, so since he was now living under a new identity in Canada, he has to get a new pilot’s license to go with the new identity.
He immediately hits it off with his flying instructor. The guy even smuggles Mike’s personal possessions from the U.S. into Canada for him.
Mike teams up with his instructor and together they launch a business called Laughing Moon Seed Company selling seeds…
They put ads in High Times and did well with it—always making sure the customer is happy. If a customer didn’t receive their seeds, they’d send ‘em another packet. And if that packet didn’t make it, they’d send ‘em another one.
Before long the two are doing grows together and—through Mark Emery—meet a couple of older hippy dudes who are breeding and selling.
The four of ‘em get into business together growing outdoors…
Big Mike and his flying instructor manage the grows and work the fields with the two hippies.
On top of what they’re growing, Mike begins moving some weed from a few other guys who’re also growing. But the hippies get a little freaked-out by all the volume, so Mike just starts selling it all himself—about 300-400 hundred pounds a week worth—and gives his partners their cut.
Now Big Mike has the money to do some serious growing…
He builds out 200, 300, and even 500-light grows and his crew quickly expands to over two-hundred people.
Big Mike felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
The beauty of rural British Columbia would wash over him, leaving him smitten. High in those Canadian mountains, digging the dirt and working the plants, waves of gratitude would overtake him and leave a smile on his face that made its way high up to his ears.
Even though he made a lot more money from the indoor grows, there was something extra special that he loved about growing outdoors in nature.
To conceal how much equipment he was buying, he and two of his partners opened a hydroponic store. Other growers came from all around to purchase equipment. Business was flat-out booming.
Now, around this time, Big Mike’s #1 weed buyer retires, telling Mike he’d made so much money off his weed that he never has to work again and plans on spending the rest of his days just sailing the world.
To return the favor for his newfound freedom, upon cashing out, he gives Mike his buyer.
However…the buyer only wanted the weed that came directly from Big Mike’s grows. All the brokered bud Mike brought him was a no-go, even though it was great stuff.
He Only Wanted The Best of The Best…The Absolute 100% AAA Weed With Off-The-Charts Potency And Deliciously Sweet Taste…The Lime Green, Sugar-Coated Bud That Came Directly From Big Mike’s Gardens…The Stuff That No One Else Was Growing…
So Mike got busy to meet the demand.
He had multiple outdoor grows going, seven houses, some barns, and even a working gold mine…
The gold mine was an F grant—property that had been bestowed to people by the Queen of England from when Canada hooked up with the United Kingdom—which basically made it like its own little country—something the government couldn’t touch.
But before long the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began busting a large number of the grows. They knew Big Mike was in charge of the operation, but didn’t know his real name. They knew him as Tom Newman—his alias. Or by Jefferson, a little nickname he’d concocted that pretty much everyone knew him by.
Through a paid agreement with the most violent biker gang in the province, “Jefferson” was receiving classified information on ongoing criminal investigations—who’s going down, who’s talking, that sorta thing.
But soon, the guy with the intel stopped showing up, so Big Mike stopped paying—figuring the dude probably just didn’t have any new information to give him.
And then one day, this huge guy—a collector for the biker gang—barges into the hydro store demanding money…
Big Mike tells him that he ain’t payin’… that the agreement was money for information, not money for nothing.
The collector blows out, and then a month later, another guy shows up. And this guy’s gotta gun and a bullet-proof vest on.
Again, Mike says he ain’t paying.
And then…another dude shows up. And then another.
Finally, Big Mike demands to speak to the guy who’s in charge, and that he wants to do it in a public place.
The meeting is a go and is set up at a local restaurant. From his training in counter surveillance, Mike knows that if you want the upper-hand, you always wanna arrive early—before the other guy does.
So Big Mike drops anchor at the meeting location five hours early, scopes everything out, stations 22 of his men on the inside, along with three men with fully-trained attack dogs he’d imported from Germany, on the outside.
Having to show up in such force made Big Mike feel like he’d failed…
He always felt that if he ever put himself in a situation where violence was a real possibility, that somewhere along the line he’d dropped the ball.
But what could he do?
These bikers were known for their brutality and feared by anyone who heard the thunderous war cry of their hogs coming. Mike was used to dealing with people who were mellow—hippies and nature lovers…tree huggers—non-violent types.
It’s not like he was dealing hard drugs. He was a pot grower and wasn’t used to run-ins with guys like these. But he felt he had no other choice then to be well fully prepared should anything go down.
When the meeting began, he and his partner explained to the bikers that they broke their end of the deal and that now all they were doing was just shaking ‘em down—extorting them.
The bikers reluctantly backed off and that whole headache was a wrap.
And Then…Big Mike Did Something That Would Change Our Community Forever…
You see, he was never happy with the nutrients he was getting.
And from his years of research, and trial and error in the trenches, he knew he could formulate something better.
So Mike began designing his own nutrients…
… And the results were mind-blowing.
Soon, other growers took to using his nutrients, and were also blown-away. They urged Big Mike to start a nutrient business.
And he did…
He Launched Advanced Nutrients—The First Marijuana-Only Nutrient Line…
This not only ensured his plants received nothing but the absolute best nutrients possible, it also enabled him to do one of his favorite things in the entire world—help other growers.
Plus, it kept him at the forefront of the science of marijuana growing in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Along with his two partners, he set up shop and never looked back.
Now, around this same time, Big Mike found out about a meeting that the DEA and RCMP were having at a local hotel…
So he had people who worked at the hotel go into the meeting room and do a little snooping around for him—gathering intel.
The hotel workers came back and reported that there was a giant pyramid on a board, with all these pictures of suspects on it, and Big Mike’s mug was sitting smack dab at the top of the pyramid.
Now, he already knew he was being watched, but he had mouths to feed.
So he just let the feds do their thing while he did his.
Big Mike Was Going 240 Miles an Hour With His Hair On Fire And Didn’t Give Two-Shits That He Was About To Go Flying Off a Cliff...
In hindsight, he realized that if he were smart, he would have just retired. But his love of growing, the two hundred mouths he had to feed, and the adrenaline and money that was pouring in, wouldn’t let him.
He was a man on a mission and nothing was going to stop him.
So he kept running hard…
… Until finally, sane thinking got the best of him, and he sat down with his partners and said, “Listen, the way we’re running right now, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to get busted, it’s only a matter of when we’re going to get busted. We need to be prepared.”
He hired a powerhouse team of attorneys and prepped ‘em for what he knew was coming. He even had ‘em put on a seminar for his crew. The lawyers told them what to do and how to act should anything go down.
By now, members of his organization were dropping like flies. The clank of handcuffs could be heard across all of British Columbia.
The feds were systematically picking apart the entire organization.
Mike wasn’t discouraged though.
He married a woman he’d fallen in love with, was skyrocketing his risky business to the moon, and couldn’t have been happier. He even told his new wife everything about him—including his real name. He trusted her and felt it was the right thing to do.
And guess what she does?
She completely drops the ball and blabs to a few of her friends that Mike isn’t who he says he is. It soon gets back to the police that he’s living under an assumed name.
So, one day he receives a call from his lawyer alerting him that there’s a problem with his citizenship application. Big Mike tells his lawyer that he flat-out knows he’s about to be arrested.
He then explains to his wife, “Listen…this is the time when I normally would run. But I’m in love with you, and I want to be with you. Are you going to stand by me through thick and thin?”
She said, “Absolutely.”
So Big Mike prepares her mentally for what was about to go down—step by step.
And then one day on his way to the gym…
… He gets pulled over and arrested.
He’s denied bail on the basis that he’s a flight risk.
They raid the house he lives in with his wife, rip her wedding ring right off her finger—arguing that it came from drug proceeds—and interrogate and physiologically abuse her, until finally, she caves.
While in jail, Big Mike goes to the eye doctor for a medical procedure…he had corneal transplants and thought one of the stitches had popped lose.
Hands and legs shackled like a serial killer, donning a big red jumpsuit, and escorted by armed jail guards, he’s trotted through a busy medical building. Mothers clutched their children in fear, trying to protect them from the big scary monster.
All he could think was…
“I’m not a murderer, I’m a pot grower”
Eleven days into a three-month jail stint, an officer hauls Mike into a meeting. Not to try to drag a confession outta him—because he knew that wasn’t gonna happen—but to inform him that, “You’re supposed to be released tomorrow, but I got news for you buddy. Today we busted all your partners. In fact, just like you, their asses are sittin’ in jail right now and will be going away for a long, long time.”
In the morning, Mike is loaded into a paddy wagon and taken to court.
And who’s he chained up with in the wagon?
His two partners.
They tell him that two garbage trucks caged ‘em in, swat teams jumped out with machine guns pointed at their heads, shoved ‘em on the ground and raided the Advanced Nutrients office. It was like something out of a movie.
They even pointed guns at the secretaries and made ‘em all lie on the floor.
By 2001, at the height of his growing operation, Big Mike had 1,496 thousand-watt lights going at one time, plus over a hundred lights for mother plants and cuttings, as well as numerous large-scale outdoor grows.
His crew was two hundred men strong—growers, trimmers, construction workers, electricians, air-conditioning guys, runners…the works.
And now, it was all coming to an end.
The Canadian Government froze his bank accounts, seized over $1 million in assets, confiscated both business and personal records, and completely disrupted both his personal finances and the finances of Advanced Nutrients.
But since they had no case to stand on—no proof that Big Mike actually grew anything—the charges were dropped and his property was returned.
However, Advanced Nutrients was over $1 million in debt. And with the company only pulling in $2 million a year, Advanced Nutrients was in deep trouble.
Mike was unable to run the hydroponic store and nutrient business while he sat in jail…
… And the bust was very public.
Growers were nervous…
They were scared to do business with the store—worried that they’d end up on the Man’s radar and, ultimately, in jail
Fortunately, for some reason the feds hadn’t seized the inventory of grow equipment and nutrients. So Mike, his brother John, and his partners travelled from store to store, selling their nutrients and building the company.
They trudged forward and just kept selling and selling. And slowly, the business grew.
And when medical marijuana became legal in British Columbia, Big Mike opened the first commercial dispensary in BC. However, it only stayed open for two months before being shut down.
He then headed over to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) so he could get their help running in-depth testing on cannabis.
BCIT had the license to run tests, and BC Research—the research arm of UBC— did the analyses.
Mike grew multiple strains of weed and supplied them with root, stalk, leaf, and bud samples during all the different weeks of the vegetative and flowering stages.
He took note of what the plants were up-taking, and then, from the data received from the samples, formulated his nutrient line based on what was getting the best results.
Furthermore, Mike spent thousands of hours going to the UBC’s reference library and devouring every book, paper, report, study, and magazine on plant research he could get his paws on.
He invested a fortune on research books. These books were expensive. For one book alone—on humic acids—he shelled out $3,300…for one book!
He even dug up obscure cannabis research papers from Russia done in the 1920’s and 30’s—some as early as 1904—had it translated to English and studied it relentlessly.
Big Mike was a research machine…
He discovered all these different things you can do with plants that no one else in the industry knew about.
On top of the tests he was running with UBC and BCIT, Mike obsessively performed endless tests of his own.
Running his own R&D, he tested and tested and tested and slowly figured out the things that optimize the growth of cannabis and can escalate it to its true genetic potential.
He also sought out the best scientists in the world. He went to obscure conferences and made friends with these guys. Some of ‘em had spent 40 years doing nothing but plant research. The wealth of knowledge they had was immense. Now, some of the stuff didn’t work on marijuana, but a lot of it did.
Mike was in heaven…he was uncovering the unknown secrets to growing the absolute best cannabis possible. His knowledge of growing to this point had been far beyond extensive—it was mammoth. But now he was able to take things to a whole-nother level…
…A level the world had not yet seen.
Big Mike published some of his findings, which revealed gaping holes in many of the nutrients on the market.
Soon, other nutrient companies built their own lines based on Mike’s research. He didn’t care though; he wanted to give his research away freely so the cultivation of marijuana could evolve.
And then, early one morning in 2004, Mike was spending some quality time with his daughter, like he did every morning. They ate breakfast, played, had meaningful conversations in toddler gibberish, and read storybooks together.
All of a sudden, he hears loud voices from outside yelling, “Michael Straumietis, get out here!”
He peers out the window and sees Canadian Royal Mounted Police officers standing at the front gate of his property…
He opens the front door and is immediately handcuffed, dragged away from his child, hurled into the back of a car, and informed that he was being taken to the border.
Because of his bust four years earlier—when the feds failed to build a case against him for growing—they decided to just kidnap him and boot him outta the country.
Fortunately, his housekeeper was there to stay with his daughter until his wife got home.
Big Mike told the officers that they couldn’t just take him out of the country because it was illegal and that what they were doing was actually kidnapping him, making them no better than any other criminal.
He demanded to be taken to a judge, because the law states that’s what they have to do.
He pleaded that because he had a young Canadian daughter to care for, taking him out of the country would be detrimental to her welfare, and that the law states that they have to put the best interest of the Canadian child first.
The officers informed him that he would not be able to see a judge, and would be taken straight to the border.
And that’s exactly what they did…
About fifty yards from the border, they stop and a plain-clothes RCMP officer gives ‘em a pep talk. Being watched by their peers, they drive Mike right up to the line, then pause for a moment and stare at each other, just like Thelma and Louise did before they flew off that cliff into the Grand Canyon.
One officer asked the other, “Should we really do this?”
Before answering, he just sat there for a moment—realizing that what they were doing was wrong—and then after a long pause says, “Yeah, we have to.”
Mike was then taken over the border, into the United States, and handed over to U.S. border agents—separated from his family, friends, home, and business.
At first he was devastated…
But if Big Mike had learned one thing through the years of dealing with the ups and downs that come with being a full-time grower, it was that feeling sorry for himself wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
He saw two roads ahead of him…
One, where he could let the circumstances destroy him.
And the other, where he would transform the situation into rocket fuel for bigger and better things. And that’s the road he decided to take, the one with the rocket fuel.
He relocated his family to Washington for a few months and then to sunny Southern California. He doubled-up his efforts, networked like a mad man, and learned everything he could about business, marketing, and making an impact on the world.
He worked harder, longer, and smarter—devouring books and courses like sumo wrestlers devour sushi.
He resolved that he would use this experience—along with every seemingly negative thing that had ever happened to him in his life—to empower the lives of other growers.
And today, Big Mike firmly believes that being forced out of Canada by the RCMP was one of the best things that ever happened to him—it’s what enabled him to catapult Advanced Nutrients to where it is today.
Napoleon Hill once said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” And Big Mike believes that nothing could be closer to the truth. He knows that our greatest gifts arise from the ashes of our toughest challenges.
Now, there were still lots of obstacles in front of him. But once he got it in his gut that nothing was going to stand in his way, challenges became something he ate for breakfast and passed through his system by noon.
Over The Next Few Years Big Mike Took Advanced Nutrients From a $5 Million a Year Company to a Company That Does Over $90 Million a Year in 87 Countries Worldwide…
He became the technical advisor for the hit TV series Weeds and on the films Leaves of Grass and Pineapple Express. And Advanced Nutrients has been featured on the shows CSI and The Closer; on networks like Showtime, TNT, CBS, and CNN; as well as in Playboy, Reuters, and Forbes.
He even developed a team of over 23 PhD’s to engineer precision nutrients that would not only optimize quality and flavor, but would produce clean-burning medical grade marijuana, free of heavy metals. And Big Mike became the first person to yield over two pounds per 1000-watt light and teach growers how to consistently do the same. Growers used to struggle to turnout even one pound per light. But Mike changed all that. He was Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile all over again.
In fact, since its inception, Advanced Nutrients has achieved, invented, and brought over 50 firsts to the world of marijuana growing, including…
• First and still the only Hydroponics Nutrient Company to have a National Government License to grow Cannabis for research purposes.
• First company to produce Cannabis Specific Hydroponics Nutrients.
• First Hydroponics Nutrient Company to publicly announce they manufacture Cannabis Specific Hydroponics Nutrients 15 years ago.
• First Hydroponics Company to Donate Equipment & Nutrients to Help Medical Marijuana Patients.
• First to do testing on Cannabis Plants taking daily and weekly tissue samples from Buds, Leaves, Stems, and Roots.
• Invented the Perfect Room, completely sealed grow rooms with no outside ventilation for the hydroponics community with total environmental controls including CO2.
• First and only Hydroponics Nutrient Company to release proprietary Cannabis tissue sampling data showing the Macro, Secondary, and Micro Nutrient uptake of Cannabis to help the hydroponics nutrient industry make safer products by showing how to reduce heavy metal toxicity.
• Invented the first beneficial enzyme product for hydroponics.
• Invented Hydroponics Feeding Charts
• Invented the Hydroponics Nutrient Calculator
• Invented the Commercial Cannabis Calculator
• First to Invent Carbohydrate Supplements for hydroponics.
• First to Invent hydroponic Root Zone Enhancers.
• Invented Beneficial Bacteria Product for hydroponics.
• Invented Beneficial Fungi Product for hydroponics.
• First and still the only company to manufacture in house their own Beneficial Bacteria & Fungus for hydroponics.
• First and only company to manufacture recombinant Beneficial Bacteria & Fungus for hydroponics.
• Invented Beneficial Bacteria & Fungus food for hydroponics use.
• First and still the only hydroponics company to have an all-out “real” PhD Staffed Cannabis research team.
• First Hydroponics Nutrients Company to Write & Publish White Papers on Cannabis and Hydroponics.
• Invented pH Perfect technology, hydroponics only pH self adjusting pH line of base nutrients and supplements so you won’t have to balance or adjust your nutrients’ pH ever again.
• First to invent and use beneficial microbes to balance and maintain pH.
• First to use 100% chelated micronutrients giving you full protection over an ultra wide pH range.
• First to use chelated macronutrients.
• First to use chelated Secondary Nutrients.
• First to combine Humic & Fulvic acids in hydroponics nutrients.
• First to invent hydroponics product that delays genetic degrading in senescence.
• First to invent and use Taste and Terpene Enhancers.
• Invented first clean Organic Base Nutrient that can be used with drip emitters.
• First and still the only hydroponics nutrient company to use 100% chelated micro nutrients in Organic Base Nutrients certified by CDFA, California Department of Food and Agriculture, the most stringent organic certification in the world.
• First to bring Square Wave Technology used in digital ballasts to hydroponics.
• Invented only Organic Enzyme product for hydroponics.
• First to find, identify, and use a Non-Ionic Surfactant that stimulates the growth of Cannabis in Hydroponic Base Nutrients.
• First to identify and use a new class of pH buffering technologies.
• First to create patented engineered hydroponic fertilizer programs.
• First to have Cannabis Grower support both toll-free and online.
• First and only company to offer a 100% performance guarantee.
• First to use hot water manufacturing for superior dissolving of all liquid products.
• First to use multiple stage and element filtering of all products.
• First to use potassium silicate in hydroponics nutrients.
• First Hydroponics Company to use bloom cofactors, and other specialty plant extracts components that stimulate growth to get you bigger yields.
• First to use ultra-purified reverse osmosis water for manufacturing products. Most hydroponics nutrient companies still use tap water to manufacture their products.
• First to use standardized reverse osmosis water “tuning” in all manufacturing facilities and labs. This enables all water used to manufacture and test which is exactly the same anywhere in the world and is the same technology used by Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, and Red Bull to ensure you always get the same consistent product.
• First to use hormone-producing microbes in hydroponics.
• First to offer varietal nutrient mixture ratio and formulation videos.
• First to create hydroponics products that stimulate plant immune systems.
• First to invent symbiotic synthetic-organic hybrid fertilizers.
• First to do complete competitive product analysis and testing.
• First to offer a total system that takes care of your entire Cannabis plant from birth to senescence.
• First to use vitamins in hydroponics nutrients.
• First to use amino acids in bloom boosters.
• First to identify the specific ratios of macro, secondary, and micro-nutrients for Sativa & Indica Cannabis plants.
• First to have perfectly balanced cations and anion based Hydroponics Base Nutrients for Cannabis that controls the pH in your growing medium.
In 2003, Big Mike supplied nutrients to Dr. Elsaholy—from the University of Mississippi—who runs extensive testing on genetics, yield size, and THC levels.
Using Advanced Nutrients’ 2003 second generation of nutrients—Advanced Nutrients is currently on its eighth generation of nutrients, BTW—Dr. Elsaholy, was able to increase bud weight by over 21% and THC levels by over 40%, as compared to when using other nutrients.
These are the kinds of results growers are achieving when they nourish their plants with Advanced Nutrients.
Like many of us in our community, Big Mike loves nothing more than gazing at big juicy colas in one of his gardens, enjoying a fatty with friends, and continuing his quest for the perfect bud and taking marijuana to its true genetic potential.
But it almost all came to an end on August 30th, 2011…
While undergoing an operation, Big Mike completely flat-lined—he died.
He recalls being in some kind of futuristic oval-shaped room, seeing a bright light and being surrounded 360 degrees by these black towers that looked like some kind of medical equipment from the future—like something out of a Star Wars movie. The equipment was nothing like what they had in the hospital he was at—or at any present-day hospital for that matter.
He felt some kind of deep understanding that he was receiving lessons he was supposed to take back with him to this side of the grass.
Fortunately, the doctors were finally able to revive him.
After they brought him back, he noticed something strange. It was as if a part of him died right there on the table and never came back. One day it was there, holding him back from being of maximal use to his fellow man, and the next day—“POOF!”—it was gone.
Something inside of him had shifted—had been transformed. And because of this inner-transformation—a sort of personal evolution brought forth by death itself, if you will—Mike’s been spending more time than ever focused on positively impacting the lives of others.
The old-self that he left on that surgical table was replaced with a sincere desire to serve his fellow man to the absolute best of his abilities.
Now, he’ll be the last one to tell you he’s filled with nothing but altruistic tendencies…because that’s not how it is. Like all of us, he likes scarfing down his piece of the pie; he just wants to make sure everyone else gets to enjoy a yummy piece of pie as well.
Big Mike and Advanced Nutrients have always been well known for their philanthropy work. But lately, it’s like that giving part of him has been injected with large doses of powerful steroids and committed itself to making this crazy world we live in a better place—no matter what the cost.
And because of this, Advanced Nutrients…
- Donates nutrients to a charitable program called Archie’s Acres that helps ease the pain and suffering of injured war veterans.
- Gives away millions of dollars worth of nutrients to assist the sick, needy, and dying people of the world.
- Constructs classrooms in Uganda.
- Lends seed money to people in developing countries who dream of starting a small business but simply can’t afford to do so.
- Donates heavily to MPP—the Marijuana Policy Project—and has for many years.
- Built a growroom for CannaMoms, so children who suffer from conditions such as epilepsy and cancer can get the medicine they need.
- Is spearheading MMJ Bulgaria to legalize Medical Marijuana in the country of Bulgaria.
Big Mike is also the founder of “Holiday Heroes”—a program that brings people and businesses together to feed thousands of Bulgarian families each year. In fact, this past Christmas, Holiday Heroes fed over 20,000 needy people.
He even launched a political party named New Bulgaria that’s working hard to root out corruption from within the Bulgarian Judicial System, turn the economy around, and help the impoverished citizens of Bulgaria live the kind of prosperous and empowering life they deserve.
Mike originally went to Bulgaria because the Bulgarian Academy of Science was letting go a lot of their scientists. They simply didn’t have the funding they needed and he thought it would be a great opportunity to set up an R&D branch of Advanced Nutrients over there.
So he teamed up with some scientists, received one of only three licenses in the world from a national government to legally grow cannabis for research purposes, and dove in headfirst…
He soon became captivated by the culture, the people, and the natural beauty of Bulgaria, and knew he wanted to make it his home.
However, his blissful state of deep admiration soon turned to heartbreak as he witnessed horrific conditions he just couldn’t understand. Bulgaria is one of the most corrupt countries in the EU. Its economy, education, and healthcare systems are among the worst in Eastern Europe.
And, you see, a lot of people don’t know this, but Big Mike is of Eastern European blood. His mother was born in Estonia and his father was born in Latvia.
While both parents were fortunate enough to escape their communist countries, other members of the family weren’t so lucky.
The family was torn apart and, until the Wall came down, there was no communication between those who’d escaped, and those who hadn’t…
Growing up, Mike heard the horror stories about what happened to his parents and loved ones as they were forced to endure life under communist rule. These stories broke his heart. The powerlessness he felt being unable to do anything to help out his family members who were still going through it is a feeling he’ll never forget.
And then, when the Iron Curtain finally came down, Mike, along with his mother and brother, traveled to Estonia and were able to reunite with their lost family. He witnessed first hand as Estonia—once ravaged by communism—ascended from the ashes of impoverishment and rose to greatness.
So years later, once in Bulgaria, he couldn’t help but wonder…
Why had Bulgaria not risen to greatness like Estonia had?
Why had it not moved forward like other European countries?
Big Mike was outraged to see what his Bulgarian scientists, friends, as well as their families and loved ones, were being forced to endure. He was angered not only at the way Bulgarians were being treated by their own government, but that nothing was being done to change things.
Now, while it’s true Big Mike is a businessman by day, in his heart he’s a family man, and hopes to soon start and raise a family in Bulgaria.
However, he can’t begin to fathom the thought of bringing children into this world and having them live in Bulgaria the way it is now. He doesn’t want his children, or any children, to have to suffer from the oppression that the Bulgarian government inflicts upon its innocent citizens every day.
Upon further investigation, it became clear to him that the corrupt government is nothing more than a sinister criminal organization that steals from the very citizens it is supposed to serve. These guys make the biker gang that tried to shake him down in BC look like a bunch of Mother Teresas in leather jackets.
Now, unlike other countries—where people generally enter into politics after they’ve made money and want to give something back to their country—in Bulgaria, the oligarchs and members of Parliament get into politics for one reason—to get wealthy off its citizens.
Enraged by what he’d discovered, Big Mike made the decision to dedicate himself to flipping the current political structure on its ear and rebuilding Bulgaria from the ground up…
Having been in business for himself for over 35 years, Mike’s spent over 103,000 hours of studying and putting-in work as a business owner— mostly in the areas of marketing and science. Because of this, he’s been blessed with the unique opportunity to completely transform and improve the way we grow our weed from the bottom up. And today, the growing industry and the luscious green pot we produce has been forever changed.
Now he is taking those same skills and applying them to Bulgaria.
First, he launched the charity organization Holiday Heroes to feed the hungry people of Bulgaria. And when he did, the resistance that was thrown at him was unrelenting.
Government agencies and even the Bulgarian Red Cross tried to shut it down!
People said it just wasn’t possible. And now, never before in the history of Bulgaria have so many national companies, celebrities, and local businessmen united together for such a great cause.
And then, on the eve of the Parliamentary Elections for the 42nd National Assembly, while receiving a humanitarian award, Big Mike delivered a speech that had such a profound impact on the audience, countless Bulgarian business representatives, journalists, and ceremony guests applauded him, praised him, and urged him to continue working hard for a new Bulgaria.
Big Mike—who has no political aspirations of his own or interest in holding a position in cabinet—is an organizer. And as an organizer, it’s his responsibility to create power for others to use.
So he took his skills as an organizer and initiated a movement called Political Change Now which grew to over 220,000 social media followers in Bulgaria—each committed to making Bulgaria the powerfully united country it should be; with strong healthcare, great education, real pensions, valuable social programs, a rock-solid business development program, and an effective and transparent judicial system whose hands aren’t tied by criminal government.
And then on June 14th of 2013, Political Change Now became the launching pad for the official political party, New Bulgaria.
New Bulgaria is working hard to turn Bulgaria into the healthy, productive, and prosperous nation it deserves to be. And Big Mike’s passion, enthusiasm, and sincere desire to empower its citizens has been touching the hearts and minds of people in every corner of Bulgaria and, most importantly, is inspiring the action necessary for the profound change the country so badly needs.
Today, Big Mike spends his time between Bulgaria and the United States.
Now, because of the giant stir his political efforts are causing in Bulgaria, and the enemies he’s making—corrupt members of government who will do anything to get their way and won’t hesitate to use extreme force and violence to take down anyone who stands in front of them—Big Mike’s life is in constant danger.
When in Bulgaria, he’s escorted by a heavily armed Special Forces security team—24/7—wherever he goes. They even guard him in his sleep.
It must be funny, taking bong rips surrounded by men in bulletproof vests, who speak broken English, are armed to the teeth, and have more black belts than toes and fingers.
Now, it’s not an ideal way to live, and I’m sure it must get old. But knowing that he’s creating such profound changes in a country that needs it like a dying man needs water, he’s willing to pay the price of being baby-sat by buffed-out dudes with bald heads and automatic weapons.
It’s all about going the extra mile…or thousand miles…
And sometimes in life going that extra mile can be like slogging up a muddy hill with two hundred pounds on your back and flip-flops on your feet that are six sizes too big.
Ya know, I’ve seen some people in the grow forums talk smack about Big Mike…
But these people don’t know him.
Many of them are just shills on the payroll of his competitors. Others are trolls who prefer to spend their time on forums bashing others instead of making something of their life. It’s easier to point the finger at others than it is at yourself.
Mike’s been growing longer than many of these haters have been alive, and has easily harvested more in one grow than they have since the day their tiny little baby heads first popped outta their mama.
One thing is undeniable…
Everyone understands that Advanced Nutrients is the best. There’s simply no disputing it.
They are the #1 selling cannabis nutrient in the world, period. They spend more time and money on research and development than any other company.
With 8 out of 10 cannabis cup winners using Advanced Nutrients, they’re behind more cannabis cup wins than every other company put together.
As growers, we all take hits from time to time…no pun intended.
And Big Mike takes the hits with us, and often for us.
He understands what we go through because he’s gone through it himself. He knows what it’s like to live in fear of having your door kicked in. He’s been ripped off by thieves and busted by cops. He’s had crops fail.
He knows what it’s like to have your entire life riding on a single grow.
When he was a wanted man living in Temecula, had that crop not come through, he never would’ve made it to Canada. That crop had to come in…it had to.
Big Mike understands how we feel—he’s lived it.
He knows what keeps us up at night. It’s the very same thing that’s kept him up at night—for decades.
He knows all about getting your doors kicked in; about thieves, diseases, pests, wrong pH, issues with grow room conditions—including temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, etc—equipment and timer failure, and all the other variables that can cause a crop to completely bottom out.
He thinks about this stuff all the time. He thinks about the guy who’s dishing out the money—paying $100 for a bottle of his nutrients. It better work—it absolutely has to, has to, has to work—or he ain’t puttin’ it out there.
People think that growing weed is easy money. But just like you and me, Big Mike knows that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Growing weed is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do in your life. And it’s a risky business. It’s not for the weak, meek, or lazy.
Big Mike is in the trenches with us.
And for over a decade now, Advanced Nutrients has been the only nutrient company that’s peeled back its curtains and been 100% open and honest about what its nutrients are used for.
Even today, as the growing and use of marijuana becomes accepted by more people and laws are changing in our favor, the other nutrient companies won’t say, “We’re for pot growers.” They say, “Oh no, our stuff is for growing tomatoes and roses with. If people use it for pot, that’s not its intended use, but okay, maybe some people do use it for pot. We wouldn’t know anything about that if they did, though.”
They say this while posting record profits they pull-in directly from our community.
Big Mike doesn’t do that…
He’s admitted what his nutrients are for right from the start.
He’s never once tried to conceal it.
I’ve heard people say that Advanced Nutrients is capitalizing off the patients’ backs.
Well, I say let’s call it like it is…
Advanced Nutrients is moving the industry forward and helping people grow the absolute best marijuana possible. But it is a business. And to be a business you have to profit.
And it’s this profit that allows Advanced Nutrients to do so many of the things that support, legitimize, and empower our community. Without the profits, there could be no help.
Big Mike stands shoulder to shoulder with us while the other nutrients companies turn their backs on us, and deny the true intentions of their products. Sure, they’ll take our money, but they don’t give back to our community, won’t admit what their products are for, and wouldn’t be caught dead in one of our gardens.
Mike has had his doors kicked in by the U.S. Marshals, the RCMP, and the DEA…
He’s been persecuted, harassed, and criticized at every stop.
Mike didn’t sit around one day and go, “Gee, I want to make a bunch of money off growers’ backs.”
What he did say was, “I wanna grow the most absolute bomb pot that I possibly can and help others do the same, so we can all enjoy some seriously delicious mind-blowing weed and profit together.”
Big Mike is a grower, advocate, and medical marijuana patient.
In fact, he’s had three corneal transplants. Without smoking marijuana his inner ocular eye pressure is 18/24—24 is super high. It’s borderline glaucoma. Smoking weed dropped his eye pressure down to 8/9.
It’s also the only thing that eases the nagging symptoms of his OCD.
Big Mike takes what he learns, not just from the two to three hours a day he spends reading and studying, but from the experience of his life—his trials, aggravations, and research—and from the millions of dollars he’s spent on evolving the way cannabis is grown, and freely shares it with our community and the world at large.
He’s been unfairly discriminated against for telling the truth about our community…
His products have been blackballed by hypocritical distributors who actually sent out an opinion letter written by lawyers that warned if you buy from Advanced Nutrients, you could be arrested by the federal government.
Hydrofarm, Sunlight Supply, Botanicare, and Larry Brooks from General Hydroponics have continuously run smear campaigns against Big Mike and Advanced Nutrients.
Because Mike isn’t afraid to admit what his nutrients are for.
And yeah, the guy’s made mistakes, a ton of ‘em.
But mistakes are how you learn.
Like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Mike’s actually made a lot of mistakes for us, so that you and I don’t have to.
I can honestly say I would not be growing weed today if it wasn’t for Big Mike, and I know a lot of other growers feel the same way.
If you’ve grown, sold, or even just consumed marijuana, you’ve benefited from Big Mike’s innovations.
It’s good to have people like him in our community, who are honest about who they are, willing to admit their flaws and mistakes, take a stand for what they believe in, and lend a hand to a fellow grower in need.
It’s no secret that Advanced Nutrients is the best on the market.
It’s no secret that they treat their customers better than any other company in our industry.
It’s no secret that they are not only changing the future of marijuana growing, but are committed to making the world a better place in the process.
There were some things about Big Mike and Advanced Nutrients that I thought you should know. So that’s why I wrote this for you. I wanted you know the real truth about the man and his company.
P.S. Here’s a little update: I just spoke with Big Mike and he’s happy with how this story turned out. In fact, he’s so happy with it he’s going to do something I’ve been trying to get him to do for a long time—write a book about his life. He already has a name for it: Marijuana Don. I know a lot of people will be dying to read it. Hell, everyone who knows the big guy has been begging him to write a book for years. I’m just stoked to be the one to finally convince him write the damn thing already. So keep an eye out for Marijuana Don in near future.