Outdoor Grow – Is It Worth It?


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  • There are many factors to consider when deciding to utilize outdoor cultivation
  • How many harvests can you expect per year in Michigan’s climate?
  • Need help finding properties for an outdoor grow?  Call us!

There are many factors to consider when making a decision about your business plan, and marijuana cultivation facility. Choosing whether or not to grow outside is a big one. Factoring in cost, grow style, and municipal regulations are just the tip of the iceberg when deciding if outdoor cultivation is right for your business.


Starting a marijuana business is never a low-cost endeavor. You have to consider your equipment costs, facility, and land costs (either owned or leased), renovations, electricity, and other utilities. When you are cultivating outside, less equipment is needed. You do not need a fully built-out facility, and you have the benefit of natural light and rainfall.

Things to consider: making sure your crop is watered (by means other than rain, when needed), and the effects the hours of daylight, or lack thereof, could have on the plants. You may also need to clear farmland.

Grow Styles

Hydro, soil, natural vs. artificial light.. there are many grow styles to consider. How you want your marijuana grown will have a huge impact on where you want to grow it. Outdoor cultivation is most likely going to utilize soil and natural light. As discussed above, this will save money on electrical costs because you will not be spending on cooling/heating your facility, or lights. You should still consider whether or not the daylight and night-time hours will affect your crop.

Availability Of Utilities

In many areas, the heavy power required to operate an indoor grow facility is not readily available. Some areas in Michigan will be waiting up to two years to have heavy power available.  Installing a sub-station can cost well over a million dollars. In areas like this, outdoor and greenhouse growing are the only feasible options, if you want to be operating within the next 12 – 24 months.


In Michigan, we have the “luxury” of getting to experience all four seasons. However, this can make outdoor cannabis cultivation tricky. If you are planning to grow outdoors, you need to consider that you won’t be getting a harvest in mid-January. You can probably count on getting 1-2 harvests from your outdoor farming, depending on the year, and what part of Michigan you’re in. This isn’t necessarily a problem. The revenue from only 1-2 harvests can be totally sustainable for your business model. You will also have the ability to grow outdoors for additional cash flow, while waiting for your indoor buildout to be completed. Outdoor cannabis cultivation can also provide the ability to have a large scale grow during the summer season at a much lower cost than your indoor harvests.

There is also the greenhouse, a hybrid option to that of building out a large facility. A greenhouse during the winter months is a great choice if you don’t want a full indoor facility. It will increase your electric and utility costs from that of a strictly outdoor grow, but may be more cost-effective than building a large industrial building on your land. You also still keep the ability to utilize natural light.

Potential Yield

Michigan’s cultivation licenses allow 500-2000 plants depending on the license class (A, B, or C). Some cities allow unlimited license stacking.  An indoor cultivator is limited by the space of their building. For example, if you have a 10,000 sf building on 3 acres in a city that doesn’t allow outdoor cultivation, you are limited to the 10,000 sf, unless you expand the building. Whereas 3 acres of farmland in a city allowing outdoor grows gives you well over 130,000 sf to work with. For more information about selecting the perfect cultivation location, we suggest you read our article about what to consider before buying

Municipal Regulations

More Michigan municipalities are embracing outdoor marijuana cultivation. A lot of these municipalities have an abundant amount of vacant land. This means you may be able to get good, farmable land, at a lower cost than you’d typically see a cannabis property. These municipalities also tend to be very favorable toward marijuana businesses. 

We monitor cities and townships coming online to outdoor cultivation and we’re listing land for outdoor grow in municipalities like Wise Township, Bangor, and more.

If you are interested in starting your own grow business, view our cultivation listings HERE

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