Growing marijuana outdoors represents a great business opportunity.
When you think of weed-growing operations, you typically think of greenhouses and warehouses. Before that it was keeping a towel pushed under the closet door so the police (and, more importantly, mom) couldn’t see the purplish glow of the grow light emanating from under it.
How far we’ve come.
Since legalization of recreational cannabis last year, the Canadian government has moved quickly to make outdoor marijuana farming an attractive option for entrepreneurs. So far, the 13 legal pot farms in Canada make up less than 10 percent of the grow licenses, but those numbers are expected to increase.
A Growing Market
According to the report in The Star, outdoor growers are praising the new opportunity because it allows them to cultivate their product much more cheaply than using traditional indoor growing facilities or greenhouses.
The CEO of one company said the cost per gram of cannabis grown outdoors is 20 cents, vs $1 in a greenhouse or $2 for an indoor facility. Growing outside saves companies on lighting, water, heating, and cooling. Some outdoor growers are even applying for the ability to label their product as organic and free of pesticides.
There are risks to outside growth as well, however. For one, Canada’s year-round climate isn’t nearly as friendly to weed-growing as, say, California’s. Early frost, no rain, or wide swings in temperatures can affect the crop, as can pests, theft, or pesticides from nearby farms.
Make Sure You’re Doing Everything Right
If you are not yet in the cannabis business in Canada, it’s still early. New growers, distributors, and retailers are constantly entering the market. But it’s important to remember that this is an extremely tightly regulated industry. Any errors you make will likely cost you big time in terms of money and bureaucratic inefficiency.
All types of cultivation licenses – standard, micro-cultivation, and nursery – allow for outdoor growth. You will also need a license from the Canada Revenue Agency. And you will not just be dealing with the federal government. Each provincial and territorial government is able to set its own restrictions in the cannabis industry as well.
Working with an experienced business attorney who understands the cannabis industry will be essential. Make sure your attorney understands all the issues regarding licensing and taxation, in addition to contracts, employment issues, and incorporation.