Investing in a cannabis production facility rather of a retail storefront makes things a little easier to get started — potential producers can use more remote, out-of-the-way areas with more security, logistics, and future development benefits. Under existing state legislation, producers are prohibited from establishing grow facilities near public schools, parks, transit stations, libraries, or arcades that cater to children.
Facilities for Growing Outside
Outdoor cannabis producing facilities in Washington State must be located in an open area surrounded by a physical barrier or a sight-obscuring wall that is at least eight feet high. Growing cannabis outside of a secure, contained environment – with high fencing and semi-permeable roofing – is illegal in online dispensary Canada.
Fortunately, the climate in the Pacific Northwest is ideal for growing cannabis outdoors. In reality, certain agricultural communities in Washington and Oregon have discovered cannabis to be a simple to maintain and financially rewarding cash crop. Outdoor farmers can reap a significantly greater crop by letting their plants to grow to 10 feet tall or higher, unconstrained by artificial lighting or ceilings, because cannabis roots can multiply exponentially. Cannabis is a great cover crop because it leaves plenty of room on the surface for smaller crops like tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce to flourish while providing an extra layer of protection.
If your local climate and state regulations permit outdoor cannabis cultivation, you’ll be rewarded with a product that can only be produced with Mother Nature’s help, but as any farmer will tell you, their livelihood depends on her. Cannabis is a finicky plant that is just as sensitive to pests, harsh weather, and drought as any other cash crop. Early participants into the cannabis sector must exercise prudence when deciding whether to invest in a controlled indoor production facility or a riskier venture outdoors in such an uncertain and developing market.
Indoor Growing Environments
Indoor cannabis grow operations must be housed in a secure environment with operable windows, doors, rigid or semi-rigid walls, and a roof.
Running a profitable commercial cannabis grow company is a costly endeavor. In an indoor environment, growers have more control over humidity, available light, and pests, but keeping optimum light levels and remaining as energy-efficient as possible are important objectives for commercial cannabis production operations.
Cannabis production requires space, basic infrastructure, and soil.
Regardless of whether you’re a first-time grower or a seasoned pro, you’ll need one thing above all else: space. A 5′ by 10′ grow tent can hold a few plants, but those wishing to build a name for themselves in the cannabis industry should consider investing in a professional cannabis grow facility to assure top-quality product and consistency in output.
The most crucial factor to consider when evaluating a potential grow area is ensuring that your crops have adequate ventilation. Cannabis plants necessitate a lot of light, which often produces a lot of heat. Producers risk cooking their crop or restricting yields without sufficient ventilation and air exchange because of high humidity, heat, or oxygen. For closed greenhouse schemes, greenhouse-specific HVAC systems are available, which assist producers in programming hyper-accurate climate control systems to ensure the facility maintains perfect growing conditions.
Allow at least a 5 gallon pot for each cannabis plant when it comes to potting. Because cannabis roots grow quickly and demand a lot of space, smaller receptacles will result in lower yields. Grow bags are also frequently utilized in the cannabis sector, with trays or tarps used to catch water runoff on a permeable table.
Let the soil be the part of your cannabis growing enterprise that you chose more carefully than the others. Although the grow medium is an important part of developing any crop, the quality of the soil can have a significant impact on the final flower’s appearance. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the pH of your soil, as cannabis plants enjoy a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
While some high-end growers are transitioning to porous concrete to assist natural water recycling, using wooden pallets or plastic, gratted platforms as the floor of your grow tent to help with runoff or collect for recycling isn’t a bad idea.
Lighting and Electrical
Electricity expenses are the most significant expense for producers, frequently matching or exceeding total lease prices per month during production.
Artificial lighting, dehumidification, ventilation, air conditioning, and irrigation management systems all consume a significant amount of electricity, prompting some producers to look into energy-saving measures such as:
HPS vs. LED Grow Lights: What’s the Difference?
In the area of artificial lighting for cannabis greenhouses, there is a lot of controversy, but studies have proven that HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lamps give a more constant form of lighting for indoor grow facilities.
According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 20-year forecasts on electrical demand in the indoor cannabis cultivation business in Washington and Colorado suggest an average yearly usage of 185-300 megawatts in both states. That’s enough electricity to power almost 200,000 houses in the United States for a year.
However, no forward-thinking cannabis business owner should disregard energy-efficiency criteria in the early stages of development. In 2020, cannabis production facilities consumed an estimated 4% of Denver’s yearly energy consumption; predictions for energy consumption in states nearing legalization (such as California, Nevada, and Maine) are definitely unsustainable.
According to the Cannabis Energy Report of 2018, legal cannabis operations in the United States are predicted to utilize 162 percent more energy by 2022 than they do now.
For cannabis production facilities of any size, we recommend three enhancements that are future-proofed:
Invest in solar energy.
Solar power is becoming more economical, particularly at bigger and more significant sizes. Colorado has more than tripled its renewable energy since 2010, owing to the early successes and high energy expenses of its early recreational cannabis business. By 2020, the state will have generated more than 30% of its electricity from reusable and renewable sources.
In a cannabis-heavy environment, The city of Boulder, Colorado, has developed a licensing system that requires growers to use energy monitoring equipment as well as pay a tax for carbon emissions, adopt renewable energy sources, or buy energy credits.
Some small firms in Denver are experimenting with a novel method of lowering carbon emissions: capturing carbon dioxide produced during beer brewing and recycling it for use in cannabis operations.
The legalization of marijuana is expected to encourage innovation and more widespread adoption of energy-saving technologies in general.
Collect rainwater and recycle water
Some cannabis producers are investing in closed-circuit desalination (CCD) and reverse osmosis water systems, which have already proven to be successful in the UK brewing business. These CCD systems can recover up to 97 percent of wastewater while purifying incoming municipal water sources, lowering water demand and saving money on disposal fees.
Smaller farmers in rainy climates like Oregon and Washington are putting money into rainwater collection and storage to save money on irrigation. Outdoor growers and those who rely on rainwater capture without long-term storage solutions will not see much benefit from a recyclable water investment because a single cannabis plant can use up to 22.7 liters of water per day and many cannabis outdoor growing seasons conflict with periods of low precipitation.
Commercial and large-scale rainwater collecting and storage operations are now in place around the world, despite the fact that the industry is still on the cusp of widespread adoption. In Tokyo, Japan, more than 750 buildings are equipped with long-term rainwater collecting and storage for landscaping purposes. Investing in early rainwater adoption solutions would be beneficial to frugal cannabis growers who want to prevent future irrigation expenditures and shortages due to droughts or supply demands.
Consider a Cannabis-Producing Greenhouse that is Energy-Efficient.
According to Confluence Denver, growers that use an energy-efficient greenhouse facility save around half the money compared to those who grow in a warehouse. It’s critical to choose a viable, long-term grow facility early on in the life of your recreational or medical cannabis business. According to recent research, there is a direct link between the sustainable building and operations standard and profit margins on large-scale facilities, suggesting that larger producers and distributors may be in a more strategically advantageous market position if federal legalization occurs.
There are currently private projects looking into the most cost-effective ways to grow and distribute recreational cannabis in the United States. Due to the “behind closed doors” nature of the cannabis sector from a historical perspective, an effort to evaluate the cannabis industry’s LED lighting requirements and aid increase efficiency estimates the best and most valuable strategies for optimization are not yet public. However, early reports from first-generation growers in Colorado and Washington suggest that those who invested in sustainable energy solutions reaped the greatest benefits from sales in the first fiscal year of legalization, while those who grew in indoor warehouses accounted for roughly one-third of the industry’s first year of legal energy consumption.
It’s difficult to argue for any indoor grow option outside of a covered, regulated greenhouse facility, especially given Colorado’s limits on outdoor cannabis growth.
Cannabis Production Security and Compliance
Security and compliance with state regulations are key to success in the recreational cannabis market, which is expected to be worth $61 billion by 2021—more than $30 billion more than expected. Producers must account for a very valuable cash crop as well as the cash-only aspect of the present, state-regulated recreational cannabis sector. Growers of all sizes should look at complete and advanced cannabis security solutions because their employees are also at risk. Since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, certain security and compliance services have grown by more than 400 percent.
All cannabis licensees in Washington are required by state law to have the following basic security solutions:
The authorized person’s full legal name and photograph are included in the comprehensive identification system.
Non-employee, non-customer visitors must wear an identity badge and keep a record of their arrival, departure, and reason for visit for three years.
All points of entry and perimeter windows are covered by a security alarm system. Motion detectors, pressure switches, duress and panic buttons, and hold-up alarms are all recommended by the state, though they are not needed.
A full surveillance system that includes a storage device and is compatible with the internet protocol (IP). A minimum resolution of 640 x 470 pixels, a recording rate of 10 frames per second, and 24-hour continuous operation are among the technical criteria. To avoid tampering or theft, the storage device must also be secured on-premises using a strong box or locked cabinet. All video surveillance footage must be kept for 45 days and made available upon request to law enforcement or state licensing agencies.
All POS areas, perimeter entrances/exits, grow facilities, processing rooms, and distribution areas should be within view of video surveillance cameras to ensure an easy and unobstructed view of anyone coming or departing the premises. Furthermore, prior to transit to another licensed facility, all cannabis products must be quarantined for 24 hours in a confined storage space.
From seed to sale, cannabis growers and licensees must follow a precise product tracking system. State standards vary by jurisdiction, but most future recreational markets are expected to follow Washington and Colorado’s lead.