Cannabis Cultivation: Indoor, Outdoor or Both?

Cannabis farm

Indoor grow or Outdoor grow – Which model should I use for my cannabis business? This question certainly comes up frequently in the cannabis industry and often provokes a debate among professionals, hobbyists, and experts worldwide. When it comes to cannabis, there’s no such thing as the “best” way to grow. There are many factors that play a role in which growing method you’ll prefer, and consumers will often choose a particular product based on their own preference or desired experience. So, if you’re wondering whether you should pursue an indoor grow, outdoor grow, or maybe even both types of growing at your site, Cannabis License Experts is here to tell you what you’ll need to know.

There are many great benefits to growing indoors. By keeping cultivation inside a clean, safe, and secure building, growers have complete control of the production process and environmental conditions. This includes the growing substrate, light, temperature, humidity, and air circulation. With conditions exactly how you want them, plants are more likely to grow to maturity and be pristine. Furthermore, some cannabis strains may be better equipped for indoor growth where conditions are monitored heavily. So, you can take advantage of these types of strains and produce large yields of healthy plants. Another benefit of growing indoors is that you can grow at any time of the year. We all know how long and harsh Canadian winters can be, so this point is extremely important for the success of your cannabis business.

One can expect to yield up to four crops indoors, and harvest year-round once full maturity is achieved. Contrast this with only one crop outdoors, assuming optimal weather conditions even allow for it!

Another factor is the cost of the land itself. Prime fertile farmland with arable soil is expensive real estate, commanding a premium. But this isn’t a factor with an indoor grow. Land for an indoor operation will be less expensive and easier to find, and lends greater flexibility in terms of more locations.

While an indoor grow operation can seem appealing, there are a few drawbacks to consider. First, the start-up cost of an indoor grow (land aside) can be extremely steep, depending on the size and complexity of your site. You will certainly need capital reserves to get your facility up and running. Second, if contaminants or toxins enter one of your grow rooms, it may be difficult to detect and eliminate whatever it may be. This could result in you having to destroy the entire batch/lot. Lastly, there are no natural predators indoors (e.g. ants, ladybugs, and wasps) to keep mites away. Therefore, pests can flourish, and growers will often need to use pesticides on their plants (not desirable)!

For those who love to be in the great outdoors, cannabis cultivation outside is definitely for you! Growing cannabis outdoors is the most natural and least expensive way to cultivate. All you need is a plot of land, sunlight, and some good soil. Plants grown outdoors with natural sunlight will grow to their full genetic potential and will have a full and natural terpene profile. This is a major reason why some consumers prefer cannabis that was grown outdoors. Also, growing outdoors is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. Much less energy is required (no lights, no cooling/heating) and nutrients can be regenerated and recycled.

Similar to growing indoors, there are a few drawbacks when it comes to growing cannabis outdoors. Plants grown outside are exposed to the elements all year long. This includes the environment, weather, pests, and animals, which can have a very big effect on the final cannabis flowers. There is also a chance the entire crop could be completely destroyed by these elements. Also, the spring and summers are short in Canada – forcing outdoor growers to work around the climate and seasons, and ensure work is conducted quickly and efficiently.

As you can see, each type of grow has its pros and cons. If you just can’t choose between indoor and outdoor growing, you may want to consider doing both! Health Canada permits applicants to pursue both types of operations at one licensed site. Keep in mind, only cultivation, propagation and harvesting can be conducted outdoors. Ancillary activities such as trimming, drying and milling must be done indoors.

Both personal and business considerations should be weighed when choosing between an indoor grow, an outdoor grow, or both. Ultimately, no matter what kind of setup you choose, it’s important to stay informed and educated, and have a solid plan in place so that your cannabis business can succeed!

How we can help you

At Cannabis License Experts, we provide you with the guidance to plan your indoor or outdoor cannabis business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate licence for your operations. As the Canadian cannabis industry develops, more and more licensed producers will be needed to meet the demands of consumers.

Cannabis License Experts offers support from day one of starting your cannabis business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, and more.

Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan for your edibles business to help get your products on store shelves.

Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your cannabis business to meet federal or provincial regulations.

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