Gregory D. Thomas, Esq.
In the past several months, I have received a number inquiries about the
possibility of starting greenhouse grow operations inside and outside
of Colorado. While most of these inquirers were already set on a greenhouse
cultivation operation versus an outdoor or warehouse facility, it was
clear that very few of these prospective operators had given serious thought
to the type of grow option or greenhouse they should choose.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a cultivation facility,
including cost, return on investment, location, local ordinances, efficiency,
and quality of product, to name a few. Greenhouses may not be the perfect
solution, but they can satisfy many of these considerations.
According to an article in the
Marijuana Business Daily, many marijuana growers believe a high-quality crop can be grown in a
greenhouse; one as good can be cultivated in an indoor illuminated operation.
Dutch greenhouses apparently dominate the industry because of their emphasis
on sophistication and quality. They focus on hygiene control, air-tightness
(to maintain high CO2 levels), and brightness (the more light, the greater the yield). Greenhouse
operations that hold these traits are typically the most cost-efficient
facilities, especially operations that produce high-grade product year
round. Additionally, it is believed the demand for high-grade product
will increase with a more competitive market as lower quality marijuana
products are pushed out.
However, high-tech greenhouses do not come cheap. The cost of a Dutch facility
can be 20%-40% higher than a conventional facility and delivery lead times
are longer. Operational costs can be higher for a high-tech facility as
well, whether you are growing in a humid, seasonal state such as Maryland,
or a relatively uniform, dry climate, such as Colorado or Arizona. On
the bright side of the expense equation, an operator can achieve a positive
return on investment in about a year depending on the location of the facility.
The size of a greenhouse depends on how much yield an operator wants to
achieve. A general rule is that one ton of product can be produced annually
in a 10,000 square foot facility, not including support areas for potting,
trimming, packaging, etc. Of course, no greenhouse, large or small, high-tech
or otherwise, makes sense if the local jurisdiction will not allow it.
So, before you decide on that sophisticated Dutch greenhouse facility,
check with the local licensing authority, determine whether you will grow
mid-grade or high-quality product, consider how large of an operation
you want, and make sure you have sufficient time and money to make it
For additional consultation on the above or related matters, please
contact an experienced Marijuana business professional at Feldman Nagel, LLC.