The great marijuana greenhouse debate

"Just before the election I read an article about California pot growers paying millions of dollars for old greenhouses in the Salinas Valley," writes Leigh Coulter of GGS Structures. "After the results of the US marijuana elections greenhouse property values are likely increasing in eastern states like Massachusetts and Maine as much as they are in the West.

"To recap the 2016 US election results for marijuana: California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine, legalized recreational marijuana increasing the projected annual marijuana crop values by billions of dollars. Additionally Florida has expanded their medical marijuana program and North Dakota and Arkansas joined the rising worldwide trend for establishing legal medical marijuana programs.

"All over the country greenhouse growers who are considering cannabis as a viable legal crop as well as existing indoor cannabis growers are paying attention to the potential for growing marijuana in a greenhouse. In the United States there are now 29 states in total with legal marijuana, either medical or for adult recreational enjoyment, and growing marijuana in a greenhouse is viable in every single state.

"Without a doubt greenhouse construction for marijuana cultivation is on the rise, gone are the days of small basement growers; this is the rise of commercial cannabis production. With legalization, marijuana growers have newfound opportunities to capitalize on proven agricultural technical innovations, processes, greenhouse structures, and equipment. There is a rush for many growers and investors to get in on the ground floor. Wise capital expenditures for cannabis in the early days can yield a quick return on investment, and this is fueling the need to build greenhouses or large-scale indoor cannabis cultivation facilities as quickly as possible.

"When considering buying and improving upon an old greenhouse vs building new greenhouse there are typically 3 main motivations: cheaper, quicker to get to production, and easier for someone not well versed in construction. But if money, speed, and lack of construction knowledge are not the issue, it is almost always better to design and build a new greenhouse specific for your individual needs.

"Buying an existing greenhouse generally means there is no additional permitting, power sources, land and water use requirements. You may or may not need a building permit for the structural changes and equipment modifications. Eliminating these construction requirements is a big plus for growers considering purchasing an established greenhouse structure.

"Having said that, not all existing greenhouses are created equal, and often a buyer will discover too late that the investment in time and money to renovate an existing greenhouse proved to be far greater than it would have been to have built from scratch.

"While an existing structure is often enticing when considering speed to planting it is often not in fact the fastest route to a quality cannabis crop. Older greenhouses may not be equipped with the newest technology, or the most efficient layout for cannabis cultivation. But while some greenhouse manufacturers will claim that a marijuana greenhouse is uniquely custom, it is possible to retrofit a quality greenhouse structure with the necessary equipment for growing marijuana."

Read the full article here.

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