The US cannabis industry had a record year in 2020 with sales topping $17.5 billion dollars. The year-end 2020 earnings represent a 46 percent increase in cannabis sales over 2019. Several factors contributed to this, including the fact that recreational marijuana is now legal in 17 states, with three more states’ legalization pending, and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana.
Factors Contributing to the Explosive Growth of the Cannabis Industry
Widespread acceptance of cannabis for both recreational and medical use has been one of the biggest factors behind its marketplace success. According to the website Flowhub.com, 68 percent of Americans support the full legalization of marijuana and 12 percent describe themselves as regular users.
Young people between 18 and 25 have always been the largest target market for marijuana, but that statistic is slowly changing. A 2019 report showed a 105 percent increase in cannabis consumption for people over age 50. The Millennial generation, born between approximately 1980 and 2000, make up the biggest percentage of both recreational and medical marijuana users at 42 and 48 percent.
Colorado and Oregon, the first two states to make recreational marijuana use legal more than 10 years ago, saw the greatest increase in number of regular users. Across all states with legalized recreational marijuana, approximately 43 percent of the population uses it at least occasionally, a huge signal of the mainstreaming of cannabis products across the country. Cannabis industry experts state that a market saturation rate of at least 50 percent would be an encouraging sign for legalization at a national level.
Challenges Facing the Individual Grower
Demand currently exceeds supply in the rapidly expanding cannabis market. For cannabis producers, keeping up with demand means being able to increase grow capacity. Expansion of course can be costly and risky. Growers should consider four market factors when deciding whether to expand operations:
- Market demand within the specific area
- Growth of the market over the past year
- Whether recreational use is currently legal or anticipated to become legal within the next year
- How much competition they face in their area
Of course, while overall sales in the cannabis industry are exploding, the only figures that matter for individual growers are their own. Growers should look at their sales volume, price point, and who their customers are when considering expansion. For example, does the grower resell their product to dispensaries that sell to individual consumers or do they sell in large bulk to raw cannabis exporters? How much effort do growers put in to sell their current supply? It is a good sign when customers are waiting for product and will buy it as soon as it becomes available versus growers putting in a lot of time to sell their inventory.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Growing
Although the Northwestern region of the United States offers ideal outdoor growing conditions for marijuana, most areas do not. Unfortunately, even growers in ideal climates face challenges that make them consider moving the operation indoors. A few of these common challenges include:
- Destruction of plants by pests and disease
- Severe weather events such as heavy wind or rain can damage or even wipe out the crop
- Excess exposure to humidity can weaken the structure and quality of cannabis plants
- The possibility of theft when plants reach maturity
Growing cannabis plants indoors removes these risks while adding the following benefits:
- Improved security and ability to grow inventory according to state and federal regulations
- Easier to establish and manage a water irrigation system indoors compared to outdoors
- Easier to monitor the pH level in soil to improve flower production
- Ability to automate and manage inventory tracking from start to finish of each growing cycle
Indoor growing is also not without its challenges. One major dilemma growers face is finding and implementing the proper lighting since the cannabis plants require hours of light each day that mimics natural sunlight in their natural environment. Because of the intense lighting needs, conditions within the greenhouse can become extremely hot and humid, leading to high oxygen levels. The solution is to find a good ventilation system to push the oxygen outdoors.
Choosing the Right Building Structure for Indoor Growing is Crucial
Here are some factors growers should look for when choosing a high-quality building structure:
- Stability and weather-resistance to keep inventory safe and protected
- Ability to modify the size of the structure in response to changing needs
- Adequate interior space to house all equipment necessary for the growing operation
- Energy efficiency to help reduce overall lighting costs
- High performing ventilation systems
Tension fabric structures available from Allsite Structure Rentals can make the ideal choice for expanding cannabis grow operations. The TFS is available in a variety of sizes to fit individual needs. For growers whose production requirements increase or vary from season to season, investing in an adaptable TFS gives them the ability to quickly expand or contract the size of the modular structure to accommodate inventory production needs. Having this flexibility means that indoor cannabis growers never need to disrupt activities to move operations or scramble for a new overhead structure.
Here are some other features and benefits growers can expect with a TFS:
- Air filtration and HVAC system-ready, with the possibility to use reverse airflow systems
- Modular structure is quickly installed, and can be enlarged or reduced in size as needed
- Allsite buildings are stable and weather-resistant, and offer several anchoring system options to adapt to the site’s characteristics
- Aluminum and alloy frame resists rust and corrosion and requires little upkeep
- Open span interior means no poles or other obstructions so that all interior space can be put to productive use
- High ceilings provide adequate space for grow boxes, irrigation systems, and overhead lighting
Allsite Structure Rentals Offers Convenience and Flexibility
While the demand for cannabis is stronger than ever, it can be difficult for growers to know what their business will look like several months or years from now. Allsite understands this, which is why we provide cannabis growers with a building lease solution to fit current needs and get up and running quickly, with the ability to make changes to the size of the structure when production requirements change.
Allsite invites anyone interested in learning more about a tension fabric structure for their cannabis operations to contact us today.