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How To Cultivate & Distribute Cannabis Successfully

With the dawn of legalization rising from state to state, cannabis cultivation and distribution has become increasingly popular. Of course, there are a lot of nuts and bolts that go into setting things up right the first time, and maximizing your yield, while also making sure that your business is compliant with all the pertinent regulations.

While this might sound staggering at first, there are a few things you can do to speed your learning curve. This includes implementing state-of-the-art logistics software.

Choosing Between An Outdoor Or Indoor Grow Site

Different states have different regulations on where and how cannabis can be grown. This might also include things like physical barriers, and the ability to control access to the growing site.

For those choosing an outdoor grow site, things like the local climate are going to be a major factor. Though you will also need to do your research on things like animal and insect pests, weather trends, and invasive competitive plants. Any of these things can lead to inconsistencies in the end product you offer to your clients.

Indoor grow sites offer far greater control as well as security. This includes things like the ability to control humidity levels, temperature, consistently available light, ventilation, and the ability to keep away damaging pests. The ability to efficiently control light levels also translates into cost savings on utilities.

Just keep in mind that like an outdoor site, an indoor growing site will also likely have regulations that must be in place to remain compliant with your state and local ordinances.

Cannabis Soil Requirements

An individual cannabis plant has fast-growing roots and needs a minimum of 5-gallons of soil or another type of growing medium pot for each cannabis plant. A smaller volume of soil will inevitably translate to a lesser overall yield.

There are many successful cannabis operations that use special grow bags with a water-permeable lining. This allows excess water to gradually weep away from the soil, which is then collected for efficient reuse.

Soil conditions are also critical for maximizing a plant’s yield. Ideally, you want the pH to be in a range between 5.5 to 6.5, which is the cannabis plant’s preferred range in nature. Soil content is also important. Key macronutrients that a cannabis plant needs in relatively abundant supply include things like:

  • Nitrogen promotes the vigorous growth of foliage.
  • Phosphorus helps with nutrient uptake and has a profound impact on a plant’s ability to produce buds.
  • Potassium helps with a special plant process called “Osmoregulation” which helps regulate the flow of water throughout the plant. This includes the stomata which are how a plant exchanges carbon dioxide and transpires water, as well as absorbs available oxygen.
  • Calcium which provides the plant with the physical structure, while also helping in the process of taking up key nutrients from the underlying soil.
  • Magnesium plays a critical role in photosynthesis.
  • Sulfur helps maintain the proper level of soil pH.

Other trace elements that a cannabis plant needs in the soil include micronutrients like:

  • Boron
  • Chlorine
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Silicon
  • Zinc

Lighting Costs Have A Major Impact On An Indoor Grow Site’s Bottom Line

The ability to control the climate and internal conditions are what makes indoor grow sites so popular. Of course, this also means employing special grow lights. Not only do you have to make an initial upfront investment in the grow light fixture, but you also need to account for the electrical costs.

This can mean doing some math. It helps to look at the hourly wattage consumption of a lighting fixture, then also factor in what your utility company is charging you per kilowatt-hour. This will help you accurately determine your lighting costs for a single day. You can then calculate that out into weekly and monthly costs.

Choosing The Right Type Of Grow Light

There is a considerable amount of debate when it comes to the right type of grow light for a cannabis operation.

LED grow lights tend to be more energy-efficient, but you need more overall units per plant. LED is also a very one-directional light which can also lead to shading problems in the lower foliage.

High-Pressure Sodium or HPS lights are known for greater consistency for indoor grow facilities. Though they do tend to consume more power on average compared to LED.

Augmenting Your Existing Electrical

Many cannabis operations also embrace “Green” technology. Doing something as simple as adding solar panels to the exterior of your grow site can reduce your overall utility costs.

Water Recycling And Humidity Control

Cannabis plants do best with proper levels of humidity and soil moisture. An indoor grow site lets you carefully control these conditions. Being able to set up each plant with efficient drainage, and then capturing any runoff water reduces your water utility costs as well.

Addressing Security And Safety Concerns

Each state has their own security and safety regulations for indoor or outdoor cannabis grow sites. This often includes things like:

  • Implementing a comprehensive identification system for authorized personnel.
  • A security alarm system that covers every point of access, including windows, doors, access gates, and fence lines.
  • A surveillance system with an adequate storage device as well as wireless 24/7 monitoring.

Implementing Reporting Compliance Protocols

As a relatively new industry, there are many regulations associated with the growth, distribution, and sales of cannabis products. States like Alaska, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, and Oregon, as well as the District of Colombia all have specific regulations in place that must be strictly adhered to.

Failure to follow even a single one of these regulations can have significant consequences and costs for your growing cannabis business. METRC, which stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance, and represents one of the most trusted cannabis regulatory systems.

Investing In A Plant Tracking System

The health, performance, and overall yield of the plants in an operation is the foundation of any cannabis business. How your plants are doing and producing directly translates into the overall success of your operation and can even impact your ability to attract future investors.

Tracking an individual plant through every step of the process lets you analyze the data and filter it to do things like maximizing your overall yield. Even something like a 10% increase in yield for each plant in your system can have a profound impact on your bottom line, which will be represented in your financial statements.

Find An Advisor And Implement Logistics Software

There are a lot of questions that come up early in the process of setting up a cannabis operation. Compliance issues, site management, and other logistics concerns can often make the difference between success and failure in the early years. Employing logistics software and having access to experienced professionals can speed the learning curve, and increase your chances for early success.

Trellis is an inventory management software that has been customized for the cannabis industry. It was specifically designed to help operators produce a high-quality product, and efficiently streamline it to the users. It was developed in collaboration with some of the top operators in the industry, with special features to help your cannabis business at every step of development and distribution.

Yet this suite goes beyond software and important information. Trellis is a truly collaborative system that includes personal coordination and guidance. Our clients even enjoy a designated account manager to help with setup, and implementation as well as offering experienced guidance along the way.

What Does The Trellis Onboarding Process Consist Of?

There are different services your cannabis business might need depending on your stage of development. Many of our clients in the earliest stages of development appreciate the guidance Trellis provides when it comes to implementation.

When you initially reach out to us, one of our experienced team members will schedule a virtual demonstration. This step of the process will walk you through the basic functionality of the Trellis software to help you understand the short and long-term value.

This includes a site visit by our implementation team. Our specialists will visit your facility to help train your team on our software as well as configure your Trellis platform, and make sure that all the pertinent hardware is properly installed.