With the legalization of marijuana, the growth of cannabis businesses has exploded with huge profits and future potentials. To raise productivity, marijuana cultivators have risked increasing energy consumption which then results in bigger carbon footprints. In regards, Greenhouse cultivation is being eyed as a potential solution to improve productivity of marijuana operations but, at the same time, enhances cost-efficiency and environmental friendliness
All considered, this article aims to demonstrate all the marijuana statistics, data and trends that show how operations are expanding their business, what are the current issues and how greenhouse cultivation becomes a future trend.
Cannabis Grow Operations Are Expanding
Revenue Change (2017-2018) – marijuana growers were asked about the change in their revenues from 2017 to 2018. The following were their answers:
- 32% of surveyed growers agreed that their revenues increased from 2017 to 2018
- On the other hand,14% saw no changes in their revenue
- 8% of the marijuana growers has reported decreased in their revenue from 2017 to 2018
- At 38%, majority of the respondents found it difficult to make a comparison of their revenues from 2017 to 2018
- 7% refused to answer the question
Cultivation License Growth (Jan 2018 – Dec 2018) – increase cultivation of licenses provided to distributors, cultivators, delivery personnel, manufacturers, dispensaries, testing and microbusinesses in the year 2018 were as follows:
- In overall, there was an increase of 7,828 licenses approved in 2018.
- The number of licenses acquired by Cultivators in Dec 2018 doubled those in Jan 2018.
- Similarly, there was a 100% increase in the number of licenses acquired by Distributors and Delivery in 2018.
- Surprisingly, growth licenses for Micro-businesses started being approved and rose to 120 licenses at the end of 2018.
- The number of license acquired by Manufactures and Dispensary increased by 45% in 2018.
- There is a merely 40% increase in the number of license acquired by Testing labs in 2018
Revenue Range (2016-2018) – the marijuana cultivators were asked about the range of their revenue from 2016 to 2018. The following were the answers:
- In fact, from 2016 to 2018, operations that reported annual revenue of above $500,000 have consistently risen.
- Surprisingly, there was a 5% increase in operations’ revenue from $5 million or above
- Similarly, operations’ revenue from $500,000 to $999,999 have increased by 2% or 3%.
- On the other hand, operations that reported annual revenue of below $500,000 have rapidly dropped.
- Noticeably, there was a significant decrease of 22% in operations’ revenue from $50,000 to $90,000 (2016-2018)
- Interestingly, small operations with the lowest revenue range (below $25,000) have increased speadily by 21% from 2016-2018
Grow Size (2016-2018) – participating cultivators were asked about the grow size of their operation area. Here is the result:
- Overall, there was a consistent rise in operations that claimed to have more than 50,000 sq ft grow size
- Considering that, there was a 143% rise in the number of operations that have more than 80,000 sq ft grow size.
- The number of operations that have grow size from 50,000 sq ft to 99,999 sq fr also increased by 67%
- On the other hand, there was a slight drop in the number of operations that have grom size below $50,000 sq ft.
Current trend: Sustainable Growing:
Marijuana grow operations were asked how much portion of their gardens is being used for organic farming. Here is the result:
- Nearly 60% of growers exclusively cultivate marijuana organically in their crop
- Around 17% of surveyed farmers allocated more than half of their crop for organic marijuana
- Only 5% of growers have less than half of their farms dedicated to organic farming.
- 8% of growers haven’t grown organically but will change in the future.
- 19% of growers do not farm organically. 11% has no plans to switch or introduce organic farming.
More Crops, More Energy Consumption
The Rise in Energy Consumption – The rising utility puts dent on the revenue for cultivators. Here are some statistics that show how marijuana industry’s utility consumption.
- In fact, it was estimated that as much as 1% of the total US energy consumption is due to cannabis production.
- For every pound of weed produced, a grower has approximately consumed around 3,000 KWH of electricity
- Comparing the electricity consumption on a square footage of an office building, the energy consumed in cultivating marijuana is 10x more energy intensive.
- To produce 1 Kg of marijuana is equivalent to the carbon emissions of 3 million cars.
- An indoor marijuana facility has the same electricity consumption as 66 homes.
Energy Use Breakdown for an Indoor Operation
- Indoor operations spends 51% of its electric consumption for ventilation, cooling and dehumidification
- Reliant on LED lights means that indoor cultivation of marijuana spends 38% of its electricity on just lighting.
- Water pumping, drying, and CO2 injection only account for small portions of electricity consumption which are 3%, 1%, 2% regardingly.
Water and Electricity Consumption
Annual Water Consumption in Colorado (2014-2016) The graph shows annual water consumption in Colorado of three scenarios: low (for small operations), medium (for medium operations), large (for large operations).
- Overall, there was a significant increase in water consumption of all grow facilities in Colorado (2014-2016)
- Compared with the water consumption in 2014, large facilities had consumed 20% more water in 2016.
- For the medium scenario, there was a 17% rise in annual water consumption from 2014 to 2016.
- For the low scenario, there was a slight increase in annual water consumption by 9% from 2014 to 2016.
- Overall, there was a noticeably rise in electricity consumption of all grow facilities in Colorado (2014-2016)
- Compared with electricity consumption in 2014, large grow facilities consumed 20% more electricity in 2016.
- For medium scenario, there was a 17% increase in electricity consumption from 2014 to 2016
- Small facilities also slightly consumed 9% more electricity in 2018, compared with 2014.
Greenhouse Cultivation Is The New Solution
As energy consumption seems to be a huge barrier to grow operations’ expansion plan, Greenhouse cultivation is viewed as a potential grow model for the future because it can significantly reduce production cost but at the same time enhance production volume. What’s more? – it also reduces environmental footprints, tremendously!
1. Enhances Cost-Efficiency
Production cost and Production Volume of Aurora's Greenhouse Facility
The charts above show how greenhouse grow model performed after being applied in Aurora’s facility. (Source: Aurora Cannabis Inc, 2019).
- Nearly 96% of production cost was cut down after greenhouse model was applied.
- Nearly 43% increase in kilograms produced was generated after greenhouse model was applied
Comparison of three grow facilities in Colorado
The charts above indicate the production rate and electricity consumption of three grow facilities in Colorado (Source: resourceinnovation.org)
- The production rate of greenhouse facilities is only 9% less than the producion cost of the anonymous indoor facilities.
- On the ottherhand, greenhouse facilities can save up to 80% electricity consumption, compared with the other two indoor facilities.
2. Reduces Environmental Footprints
- Given the charts above, greenhouse farming is more eco-friendly than indoor farming
- For every gram of marijuana produced, greenhouse grow model consumes 26% less power than indoor grow model.
- Indoor cultivation releases 42% more carbon emision than greenhouse cultivation.
The Race To Greenhouse Cultivation
Big Cannabis Companies Are Investing In Greenhouse – investments of huge marijuana companies on greenhouse cultivation
- Growers are investing more and more on the greenhouse model of cultivation of marijuana.
- In 2014, Tweed Farms in Ontario allocated 350,000 square feet of land for greenhouse cultivation, which is 15 times the size of White House.
- In 2008, Aurora set up a greenhouse farm more than double this size at 800,000 square feet.
- A year later, in 2019, AmeriCann Inc. in Massachusetts dedicated 1 million square feet to greenhouse farming.
- In 2020 – MYM Nutraceuticals in Quebec built a 1.5 million square feet greenhouse.
- At this rate, it is expected that other big companies will be expanding their greenhouse facilities as well.
What's More In The Future?
What’s More in the future? – cultivators will further invest in ethical farming using solar power and recycling water and using rainwater.
- In 2020, in support for the movement to cut on carbon footprints, Colorado is expected to have more than 30% of its electricity sourced out from renewable fuel.
- The local water table is also being saved by recycling 97% of the state’s wastewater using the CCD system of water recovery process.
Just like in other industries, the cannabis industry has seen its share of ups and down in the last five years. However, as discussed overall, the industry is growing, thriving and has a very positive future. With the continuous rise of the cannabis industry, more and more farmers are switching to the greenhouse model of farming in order to further increase their productivity and profitability. The cannabis industry is promoting ethical farming of marijuana. This growing movement in cannabis production is being accepted and endorsed by a huge number of passionate marijuana advocates. Greenhouse cultivation plays a central role in all of these as this method of farming is very cost effective, energy efficient, and produces the least carbon footprints. For cannabis entrepreneurs or those who are planning to start their business in marijuana cultivation, now is the best time to switch to 100% Greenhouse cultivation for your crops.
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