So You Want to Be a Cannabis Farmer, Do Ya? 6 Tips to Know Before Starting a Cannabis Farm!

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starting a cannabis farm

When you learn that global sales in the cannabis industry are set to reach $33.6 billion by 2025, you may be interested in being a recipient of some of that retail revenue. While opening a cannabis store is one possible avenue, starting a cannabis farm is another one you might consider so that you can supply multiple retail locations with product.

Creating your own cannabis farm is entirely possible, but it’s not a quick or easy process. There are also many things you must know before getting one off the ground, including some of this information below:

You Need a Cultivation License

You may already be aware, but one of the first and most crucial steps toward starting a cannabis farm is gaining your cultivation license. Not everyone knows how to get a cultivation license, but it’s important to note that it can be a process that requires planning, time, plenty of financial resources at your disposal, and an understanding of the most up-to-date cannabis laws and regulations. 

Before approaching your state for a license, you must have a business strategy. This will outline your reasons for wanting a cannabis farm and whether it’s something you can turn into a profitable venture. 

Your business strategy should be in-depth, with information relating to the permits and licenses you require, safety and security of the farm, how you intend to control odor, operation procedures, and more. 

You also need to acquire suitable property for your cannabis business since licenses are tied to specific locations rather than the individuals who apply for them. Aligning yourself with experts to ensure you understand your requirements may be an excellent idea to ensure you’re entirely prepared for obtaining a license and starting your new growing operation.    

Know Your State’s Rules and Regulations

Cannabis laws are complicated, with every state taking a different approach to the 2018 bill that federally legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana. The more aware you are of your state’s legal requirements, the easier you may find it to put together a plan that allows you to start your operations in earnest. 

California has approved the largest number of licenses in the country, with over 7,500 in 2021 compared to just 54 in Illinois, 143 in Arizona, and 223 in Maine. However, even California has rules and regulations for all cannabis growers to abide by. 

The Department of Cannabis Control in California has outlined many different rules such as packaging requirements to prevent contamination, product testing, ingredients, and enforcement actions when rules are not followed. 

They also have a checklist outlining a long list of documentation you must provide, meaning that even in one of the most relaxed states regarding cannabis use, you are still required to provide as much documentation as possible to prove your business operation is one that can operate within the confines of the law and succeed. 

Understand Ideal Growing Conditions

Alongside understanding your legal requirements, knowing ideal growing conditions for cannabis can contribute to your success in this new business venture. Failure to understand how cannabis grows and thrives could see you investing heavily in something that doesn’t produce the yields you were expecting. 

There are two popular growing options, depending on your climate and where you live. You can grow your cannabis plants outside, as you would vegetables and other plants, or inside with artificial lighting. Some cannabis farms also operate with soil-less systems like aeroponics and aquaponics

Growing your cannabis outside is likely going to be the most cost-effective option and may also produce the biggest yields, depending on where you live. However, growing cannabis outside means you have to combat adverse weather conditions and pests, so control measures can be crucial. 

Marijuana prefers to grow in temperate weather between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not thrive in temperatures colder than 60 degrees or warmer than 90 degrees. While it’s growing, your watering requirements can be minimal since marijuana is a reasonably drought-resistant plant. You may only need to water it every two days, but shade covering may be necessary if it’s exposed to too much direct heat. 

Know Your Security Requirements

Cannabis is a prized crop, and there is a genuine risk that growing it as a commercial operation may pique the curiosity of opportunists living in your area. While you’re putting together a business plan to gain your cannabis farm license, don’t forget to allow for security measures that would keep your farm and employees safe. Security is a requirement of all cannabis business operations in most states, including California. 

Depending on your location, your security plan may need to include perimeter security, lighting, cameras, security personnel, and considerations for your floor plan, cash storage, transportation, and location access. 

Consider Health and Safety Protocols

As more cannabis farms are launched across the country, the cannabis industry is starting to identify many hazards that business owners will need to address. Some of these hazards include: 

  • Pesticide and fertilizer exposure

  • Grow lamp UV light exposure

  • Carbon dioxide exposure in greenhouses

  • Burn and shock risks from equipment

  • Repetitive stress injuries

  • Heat stress 

As a potential new business owner, you may like to think about personal protective equipment and programs you can put in place to protect growing, production, and retail workers. Some of these measures may include the use of respirators, gloves, eye protection, and protective clothing. 

Electricity Costs Can Be High

Large-scale indoor cannabis producers provide a high-quality raw product for many smaller cannabis product stockists, and while it can be a profitable venture, it can also be an expensive one. Electricity is one of the highest costs that indoor cannabis farm owners face. They must mimic daylight conditions inside a building spanning thousands of feet, and it can cost more than the lease of the building itself. 

According to reports, indoor marijuana cultivation operators use up to 200 times more energy than the average office building, costing tens of thousands of dollars each month. When you start running the numbers for a potential cannabis farm, it can be worth comparing the costs of indoor and outdoor farms to see which option may make the most financial sense to you. 

There’s no denying that indoor farms are the most common and popular, but you have other options at your disposal. 

The cannabis industry is growing, and many people are weighing up their options for starting their own cannabis farms. Before you consider this as a valid business move, take the time to review what the farming process looks like. It can all begin with putting a business plan in place and obtaining the appropriate licensing. 

 

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