With the rise in competitive innovation in the growing wave of legalized medical and recreational marijuana, and with all the other tasks that lie before the new marijuana entrepreneur, setting up the right grow space can be a monumental challenge in and of itself. Until now, there has been little in the way of infrastructure options for such operations. The industry is looking for sustainable, cost-effective solutions to help them quickly launch and scale their operations in a growing market.
The Growth of Cannabis Grow Operations in America
Until the era of legalization, cannabis grow operations were small batch and not well-supported with standards and equipment. The current wave of grow-ops innovation really began in 1996, when California, a trend-setter, and significant because of its sheer size, legalized medical cannabis. This marked the beginning of new standards for US cultivation of a crop that was fast becoming a commercially viable commodity. With a rapidly growing legal structure and medical use market, all along the Northwest coast, from Humboldt county to Washington, fertilized, low-potency marijuana with low-commercial yield gave way to resinous, high-potency cannabis with high market value.
Ever since this turning point, growers in states with arable conditions and legal cannabis cultivation laws in place have been advancing the commercial techniques and methods for cannabis cultivation. They are innovating more and more ways to increase yield, potency, and overall quality. Medical and recreational cannabis growers are held to strict standards by the marijuana enforcement agencies for both grow room and retail shop operations. This has resulted in a need for ever more productive, cost-effective, high-quality grow operations that can meet regulatory requirements as well as provide high quality product that meets the demands of the market. With medical marijuana currently legal in 25 states, the industry is challenged to provide practical solutions and cost-effective scalability.
Grow Environment Challenges Facing Cannabis Growers
A lot of startup cannabis dispensaries fail quickly because they have little experience in the professional marijuana industry and lack knowledge of some of the key factors that influence the size and quality of a successful crop. Things like precise lighting, temperature/humidity control, pest-control and prevention, insulation and ventilation are examples of grow environment factors that can make the difference in achieving a successful harvest and a sustainable business. Understanding and providing the right grow environment is critical to a successful cannabis grow operation.
In addition, many experienced growers have mastered these standards and are looking to further expand their grow operation or are looking for ways to make them more efficient and cost-effective. Many look to not just catch up but rather stay ahead of the curve. Many growers are finding innovative ways to ease and enhance the tasks of maintaining a grow space. Every day, more growing styles and innovative tactics are being put to the test: for example, ferris-wheel-shaped contraptions that rotate plants around one center light are not uncommon in places like Holland, providing for efficient use of lighting and space.
As the cannabis industry matures, grow sites are becoming larger and more commercialized. Small grow operations, in homes and backyards, have given way to grow spaces in the 10,000 – 20,000 square feet size, which in turn are giving way to even larger scale operations that will resemble more traditional agricultural production models. Growers must move quickly to adjust in a market that is quickly sizing up for a more competitive future.
Financing the Future of Grow Operations
A big challenge to most investors and owners of cannabis grow operations can be the investment needed in equipment, land and buildings. Whether growers choose to purchase or lease land, and then complete the design and installation of appropriate grow facilities, having the capital to invest in permanent facilities is a huge challenge for many. Smaller growers find they may be locked out of growth opportunities due to the cost of setting up and scaling their operations.
Finding affordable and fast infrastructure solutions is a key step in building a successful cannabis cultivation enterprise, one that is flexible and affordable enough to function as a cost-effective solution well into the future.
Tension Fabric Structures Provide Solutions for Cannabis Grow Operations
Finding a cost effective and quality greenhouse solution is a key decision for any grower. A creative and increasingly popular solution to the challenges of housing a productive cannabis cultivation operation is the use of tension-fabric structures (TFS). Tension fabric structures are architecturally advanced, all-weather structures that use lightweight, durable aluminum and fabric materials to provide a custom-designed and sheltered indoor environment. These versatile structures can be rapidly deployed to virtually any location where the grow operations will take place. They are designed to withstand heat and cold climate conditions, and meet custom structural configuration and size requirements to fit a variety of site conditions. With a variety of available indoor environmental controls, tension fabric structures can help create an ideal grow environment. Here are some of the advantages of tension fabric structures as a home for your cannabis grow-op:
Remote Site Portability
With TFS, where you locate your grow operations is up to you. The structures are portable and configurable to almost any site. Have a remote location in the mountains, but no building? You can have a tension fabric structure designed to fit your site characteristics. Are you located in an urban area? No problem, your project will comply with all local permits and construction requirements. And, if your operation moves, your portable structure can be moved, reconfigured and redeployed in a new location in a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional building project.
Expand and Contract for Size
These versatile engineered membrane fabric structures have the ability to expand or reduce to fit the space you use, even after initial installation. Fabric walls can be installed to separate areas within the structure, and each area can be fully wired for appropriate lighting, irrigation and nutrient management systems where they are needed. And, construction of your fabric structure is fast, in most cases completed in a week or less.
Better Pest Control and Environmental Management
With pre-existing buildings that are adapted for indoor grow operations, keeping the space clean, sealed, and sterile can be difficult and costly. Most older buildings will require some retrofitting, and new traditional structures built to meet the necessary environmental standards can be expensive.
With a TFS, your grow area can be efficiently sealed off more easily than adapting a standard building warehouse space. Sealing the structure is a multi-step process. When placing the fabric covering, outside beams are covered with beam flaps to seal the exterior fabric walls. With installation of a raised pad, the fabric material can be flat barred, or fixed, to the side of the pad, then welded in place, sealing the interior environment to keep pests out and odors from escaping. The fabric structure can be made so airtight that a negative pressure environment can be obtained, if needed, keeping the air flow in one direction only, which helps maintain a sterile grow environment.
Additional insulation and liners can be used for more stringent environmental control within the structure. Air vents, fans and HVAC reduce humidity levels and keep ambient temperatures at the right level despite the heat produced from grow lights.
Since the fabric structure is portable and modular, built to the grower’s specifications, ventilation and utility lines are easy to add or remove as needed.
Versatile Financing Options
Tension fabric structures can be used for temporary, semi-permanent and permanent operations. Many clients rent or lease a fabric structure building, which helps manage cash flow and adds flexibility for scaling future operations and adjusting to changing business conditions. Leasing a fabric structure that meets all the requirements for a successful grow-op is a great financial choice for recent entrants in the cannabis field since it does not require a large investment or long-term commitment.
Allsite Fabric Structures for Cannabis Grow Operations Enclosures
The Allsite Tension Fabric Structure grow-op solution can help growers get a fast start on a long journey that is just beginning in the new and fast-changing world of cannabis cultivation. For a customized review and plan for your grow operations plans, contact Allsite Structure Rentals today.