The New Frontier of Agriculture

In 1996, California, the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis consumption, kickstarted a trend of cannabis legislation throughout the rest of the United States. As of April 2021, 15 states have legalized cannabis and are producing, distributing, and consuming cannabis to a certain extent. From a business perspective, the new era of the cannabis industry attracts opportunities for capitalizing on untapped markets; and from a farming/growing perspective comes a developing demand. Growing demand for cannabis products will also set quality standards that growers strive to meet for their equipment and final product.

In 2020, the estimated market size value for U.S. cannabis exceeded $8 billion and by 2027 the market could increase five times that amount. Research has shown recreational segments trending to pushing the majority of sales in the future and outgain the medicinal side of the market, even though there are more states that only allow medical consumption. Nonetheless, both segments will be a mainstay in society as recreational is already outpacing projections and medicinal is accepted for treating a variety of health issues from fighting cancer to mental health.   

The last few years have seen an uptick in large publicly traded companies vying for market share. It’s rather early to tell what player will have the competitive edge but there is already a trend for consumer product executives, especially in branding and marketing, to pursue new endeavors in the space and mainly join the already existing cannabis companies. Besides the corporations, it should also be noted that the U.S. government and its states are profiting off of the cannabis boom, with a sales tax percentage to fund other programs. While it’s still in the early stages, following the steps states like California have taken regarding cannabis make sense from a business standpoint for both the private and public sectors.  

Looking at the growers’ direction we see presumably illegal operations begin to legitimize themselves. Both indoor and outdoor greenhouses have their pros and cons and growers must recognize the most suitable option for their plant’s needs. There are lots of issues to be on the lookout for when it comes to plant health and cultivation including water, improper nutrients, and energy. Given this is a new market, there are thousands of new growers out there and as the market stabilizes the expectation is that those who keep a high-quality plant first, the systemic approach will remain in the game.  

Avoiding harmful biological agents is a major stressor to the plant. Bad usage of this can lead to a lot of issues like pH stress where they cannot absorb the nutrients to live. Another source of issues can stem from water and untreated water will reduce yield because of containments. Perhaps the most issue for plant health is nutrient absorption or deficiency. Having a balance of nutrients is key to a successful yield and a great way to achieve this is through a probiotic irrigation system. Also, this issue would result in poor pH levels. Throughout the cultivation process, it’s best practice to ensure proper upkeep and maintain a standard for the plant and its health. In the United States, as more and more states legalize cannabis, a standard approach to growth will be expected.