- 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’s a lot to consider when making decisions 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 any marijuana business isn’t 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’re cultivating outside you need less equipment, you don’t need a fully built-out facility, and you have the potential benefit of natural light and rainfall.
Things to consider: making sure your crop is watered by other means when needed and the effects the hours of daylight or lack thereof could have on the plants. You may also need to clear farmland.
Hydro, soil, natural vs. artificial light, the list goes on. How you want your marijuana grown will have a huge impact on where you want to grow it. Outdoor cultivation is more than likely going to utilize soil and natural light. As discussed above, this will save money on electrical costs because you won’t be spending for cooling/heating your facility or lights, but you have to consider whether or not the daylight hours or nighttime 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 get the power they need brought to their site. 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’re 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 may be totally sustainable for your business model. If it’s not, having the ability to grow outdoors could give you additional cash flow while waiting for your indoor buildout to be completed, or just give you 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 good 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.
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 over 130,000 sf to work with.
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.