Farming Cannabis Outdoors
We are the first to provide strategic insight and direction
in this lucrative new business model.
Both Bill C-45 (the proposed Cannabis Act, April 2017), and the subsequent proposed framework for cannabis regulation (Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis, November 2017) allow for outdoor growing of medical and recreational cannabis.
Health Canada’s (March 2017) Task Force Report recognized the environmental impact of the cannabis industry and indicated that outdoor production should be permitted with adequate security requirements (pg. 32). This can contribute to substantially reducing the environmental footprint of cannabis production facilities. Less reliance on high demand grow lighting, heating, cooling and humidity controls. Outdoor growing could also help reduce the costs and enable entry for smaller “craft” producers, which are a proposed class of licensing (micro-cultivation) under the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.
This forward way of thinking could create advantageous outdoor cultivation models from low density (planting with ample space between plants) farming of outdoor hybrid strains produced by clones for the “craft” growers (license micro-cultivators). It also allows for high density (plants at tighter spacing) farming where growers could plant selected outdoor strains with the goal of producing raw materials for cannabis oils. The ‘auto-flower’ strains could be utilized to produce more than one harvest per season.
Also on pg.33, under the ‘Advice to Ministers’ they suggest the regulated production of cannabis and its derivatives (e.g. edibles, concentrates) at the federal level, drawing on the good production practices of the current medical purposes system. Use licencing and production controls to encourage a diverse, competitive market that also includes small producers. Implement seed to sale tracking system to prevent diversion and enable product recalls.
This is all sounds very encouraging for farmers struggling to find the next cash crop to sustain their livelihood. Think of the tobacco farmers and the reduction of tobacco consumption, now they could have an alternative crop to produce on their lands that have good soil conditions for cannabis production. The framework might appeal to smaller and midsized corn farmers being squeezed out by large monopolies or just looking for a viable production to incorporate into their crop rotation.
Hemp is also known to produce high levels of CBD, yet farmers are required to destroy the CBD rich part of the plants because there is no authorized use. The task force recommends that changes in this sector should also occur. Encouraging news for the hemp producer where margins are tight.
All very reasonable sounding economic solutions for the agriculture industry and encouraging considerations for individuals looking for a crop to enter into the cannabis or agriculture industry.