From day one, Marijuana Venture’s core mission has been to publish solid business information to folks in the cannabis community. It’s why most of our writers and contributors have real-world retail experience or college degrees in fields like horticulture or controlled environment agriculture.
Sometimes this has irritated cannabis “old timers” and traditionalists who want to stick to the old ways of doing things. They often bring up the value of artisan farming techniques and warn about the inevitable descent into “sameness” that happens when Big Ag moves in and forces out mom-and-pop operations. My view is that there is room for both in this business, just as there is in beer and wine.
However, what I have seen, particularly in Washington and Oregon, is the loss of the middle ground. Pot shops in the legal rec states have bigger selections than ever before, but it’s changed: At the high end, you have the artisan producers who hand-trim, mostly grow indoors and still get about $4 per gram wholesale (or $10 to $15 per gram at retail). At the other end, you have the mass producers who predominantly grow outdoors and sell their product for about $1 a gram wholesale (or $4 to $5 a gram retail). Gone are most of the people who sold in the middle.
In other words, figure out your strategy and focus on it!
Which gets me to my next point: If you’re on the cultivation side of the cannabis industry, you’d better make smart hires and focus on experience and efficiency. For most cultivators, the first couple of years were a rude awakening. Prices dropped fast, and the folks who learned how to grow from do-it-yourself books advertised in High Times got fired or went out of business. Today, there are a fair number of people who are qualified to run big farms who have entered the business.
Finally, one more important point I need to make is that trade shows, like cultivators, are not all created equal. Most cultivation trade shows in the cannabis industry are a waste of time and money. Trust me, I’ve been to most of them. Many of the speakers at pot shows are lacking in commercial experience or they’re focused on promoting their own company. They may use fancy words and sound good to the novice, but without a solid background in farming or a degree in commercial agriculture, they’re probably not going to have the skills or knowledge needed to effectively run a big, commercial cannabis operation. This lesson was learned the hard way in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, as many producers went bust because they took advice from folks who had no idea how to manage employees or run a commercial farming operation/greenhouse.
If you’re serious about growing cannabis commercially and you want to hear from real experts in controlled environment agriculture, then you should attend Cultivate ‘19 in Columbus, Ohio. The show is July 14-16 this year.
There will be 700 exhibitors displaying commercial greenhouses, irrigation systems, nutrients, grow lights, soil, bio-controls and everything in between. Simply put, it is the biggest horticulture industry trade show in North America and features real experts who will give you sound advice — because at its core, cannabis is a horticulture industry. For more info, go to: www.cultivate19.org.