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Medical marijuana in greenhouses: weigh-in on the debate


February 12, 2014
By Leigh Coulter GGS

Feb. 12, 2014 — As marijuana production and use continues to top news stories, what does the greenhouse community think of these new
marijuana trends? Read the latest blog from the Today's Grower blog site of GGS.

(This blog is reprinted with permission from the Today's 
Grower blog site of GGS.)

Feb. 12, 2014 — As marijuana production and use continues to top news stories, I am
curious to know what the greenhouse community thinks of these new
marijuana trends.

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Top Marijuana Growing Topics

1. Ganjapreneurs:

I first read this term in an article written by Heesun Wee for CNBC.com, titled "How legal marijuana could be the next great American industry."

And I have to wonder if it will be a new buzzword destined for the next Oxford Dictionary update as more and more venture capitalists look to capitalize on what is being referred to as the modern day Gold Rush, or "Green Rush" as Ms. Wee points out.

Greenhouse growers are certainly entrepreneurial of spirit and the agricultural technological advancements within the greenhouse industry are a perfect fit for improved production, environmental control, and large scale efficient marijuana growing operations.

• How do I start a marijuana greenhouse operation?

• What are the best growing systems for cannabis?

• What kinds of benches are best for a commercial marijuana greenhouse?

• What lights are best for marijuana production?

• How can I set up an efficient marijuana irrigation system?

These are all questions that GGS has been answering Ganjapreneurs as this new market joins traditional agricultural growers with business investors excited by a new high growth (pardon the pun) market.

2. Medical Marijuana only vs. Legal Recreational Cannabis:

Medical cannabis certainly has been the easier pill to swallow (or should I say joint to puff) for most government bodies.

Growing regulations are stricter with medical marijuana growing facilities requiring them to adhere to the GMP guidelines of the pharmaceutical industry. Recreational marijuana growing will likely be regulated under FDA standards and follow similar guidelines to tobacco and alcohol.

Marijuana greenhouses licensed for growing recreational marijuana will likely have less restrictions and potentially less capital investment requirements.

But medical marijuana licensed greenhouses may be able to get the first to market advantage, and will likely be capable of rapidly increasing cannabis production when recreational marijuana boundaries are removed even further.

3. The Marijuana Legal State vs. The Federal Illegal Conundrum
. Uruguay made it easy for their citizens as the first country to fully legalize growing and usage of marijuana, putting restrictions on quantity rather than the purpose for which the weed is being used.

Canada made a sweeping federal decision – changing the rules for which marijuana can be grown and distributed for medical reasons while maintaining a resistance to recreational marijuana.

But the United States is deeply conflicted, as legally licensed operators in marijuana liberal states like Colorado and Washington still run the risk of federal imprisonment.

With more and more of the 50 states opening up to some level of marijuana production how long will it be before the US federal government changes its position on cannabis growing?

4. Does marijuana production belong in agriculture:

As federal and state governments continue to tussle over legalities, municipal governments have now begun to flex their muscles, regulating zoning of marijuana growing operations.

Delta, a district municipality in British Columbia, prohibits the production of medical marijuana in residential areas and city council is drafting amendments to civic zoning regulations in order to prohibit all aspects of the marijuana industry, including growing cannabis, storage/sale of medical marijuana, and any manufacturing and testing of marijuana within its boundaries.

The Mayor of Delta, Lois Jackson calls marijuana production an inappropriate use of agricultural land. [source: delta-optimist.com].

But marijuana is after all a plant, and marijuana grows very well in a greenhouse, so where else does it belong if not a part of agriculture?

On the other hand, cities like Toronto (formerly known locally as "The Big Smoke" ) have opened doors for marijuana entrepreneurs looking to grow marijuana in warehouses under LED lights.

So it looks like Toronto is in the marijuana market to keep its Big Smoke nickname.

Click here for the original blog posted at Today's Grower of GGS.

To comment on this reprinted blog, please email greenhouse@annexweb.com. We'd like to know how you feel on this growing issue for the industry.


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