Stoner Education

So You Want to Start a Grow?

An in depth look at the differences in cannabis cultivation and considerations for an entrepreneur interested in participation in an upcoming industry.

To be clear this is not a post about which growing technique is better. When researching this topic we found countless blogs on what is needed to actually grow cannabis, check out the blog posts in our resources for great information on that. However, we found none of it was answering what influences cultivation techniques used in current markets. 

This post is about what considerations an entrepreneur should take to decide which operation they will want to establish. It’s about what option is better for your current environment and accessible resources. We spent time speaking with cultivators across US markets and want to share their observations and suggested considerations.

Obviously, before taking on a new business venture, market research is required. Determining the regulations that govern your local industry and available resources is the first step to establishing a solid business plan. Once conducted as a cultivator you will want to ask “what is the goal of your operation, quality or quantity?” With over a decade of legal cannabis in Washington state, we’ve learned that in order to scale up a grow operation and maintain quality, these three staples are a requirement: hard work, focused management and a dedicated team. 

Should management choose the “quality” route for their operation, then as an owner they will be evaluating every choice for their grow with “quality” in mind. That would include a  growing medium, nutrients, light source, pruning techniques, cultivar and integrated pest management. Most importantly they will want to determine how many hours they can commit to the care of this grow and the financial burden of such an operation. That will determine the size of grow operation feasible in the beginning. 

While the majority of the same considerations exist for a cannabis grow focused on quantity as there are for quality, one major difference an owner will have is the cost of the equipment and technology required for automation. That and choosing cultivars with a short grow time to high yield ratio will be necessary. Understand that this model will stress the plant but the likely aim of this owner is to be in as many shops as possible with a low price point to attract the budget buyers. We over here at T.B.C.tend to prefer the quality approach to our products. Keep following our journey to see what we mean. 😉

Finally, the most important consideration as a cultivator with aims at retail success is the amount of capital it will cost to run their desired operation. Where will the funds be sourced from? What is the expected timeline for the return on investment for those investors? What will your employees be paid? Having a solid business plan and goal for your grow operation will only be as successful as the amount of funds you can invest to see it through. This is what it takes to survive in a capitalistic society. Especially in a new industry where credit or regular banking is not an option. If you need supplies, equipment or personnel at any stage, cash will be required.

As several budtenders can attest to, you can evaluate a brands business plan and mission by their roll out onto the retail market. We’ve observed that one of the greatest tells of an operation upscaling or receiving more funding is a change of packaging. Don’t be fooled by new packaging, consumers should use a keen eye to evaluate the product and take notice of any differences since the vendor has been on the market. Did the cost to you the consumer change? Did the brand improve, maintain or decrease the quality of the product with the new packaging? Is the packaging just changing to keep up with the new label requirements or trends in their market? Being aware of this is almost second hand to most budtenders and is likely not a consideration of anyone other than true cannabis enthusiasts that follow brands. 

As a newbie to the world of weed you can be easily fooled by the infancy of the industry and conversations about all the possibilities. Yes, starting a grow snd being successful is entirely possible. However ensuring the longevity in shark infested waters and leaving room for growth is only possible when the mission and proper planning collide. Remember at the end of day weed, especially good weed will sell itself.

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