Indoors or Out: How Do Cannabis Growers Decide


Utah is among those states that strictly regulate cannabis production. The state has licensed only so many growers, and those growers have to produce in order to renew their licenses. They need to get it right. Moreover, one of the first choices they must make is whether to grow indoors or out. How do they decide?

Both growing environments have their pros and cons. Whether in Utah or elsewhere, operators who hope to make a decent income growing cannabis need to consider multiple factors before setting up their operations. Some of those factors are explained below, compliments of Beehive Farmacy in Salt Lake City, UT.

Operating Costs

Anyone starting a grow operation from scratch needs to have some capital on hand. Limited capital may make the decision of where to grow much easier. In a nutshell, establishing an indoor operation costs a lot of money. You have to pay for the facility itself, whether you buy or rent. Then you need to invest in a ton of expensive growing equipment. Finally, your utility bills are going to be extremely high.

Growing outdoors is a lot cheaper right from the start. You still have to invest in some equipment, but you are not purchasing lights, climate control systems, and so forth. You are putting plants in the ground and letting nature do most of the work.

Growing Seasons

Next, operators need to consider growing seasons. Cannabis requires adequate sunshine and warm enough temperatures to grow properly. As such, a grower in the north would be limited to one crop per year. A southern grower might get two or three crops per year.

The advantage of indoor growing is that climate and seasons are not an issue. The indoor environment is tightly controlled, making it possible to grow year-round. Multiple crops can be harvested annually. In some cases, year-round growing makes up for the added costs of doing things indoors.

Plant Potency

It is easy to assume that plants grown indoors are more potent; that they have more concentrated cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This is not necessarily true. A recent post on The Weed Blog cited a grower who ran an experiment with a single mother plant  that provided two clones, one grown inside and the other out. The plant grown outside tested more potent. This grower apparently repeated the experiment multiple times and got the same results.

It could be that outdoor growing conditions lead to more potent plants because you are following a more natural process. But perhaps putting a bit of extra effort into indoor plants would yield similar results. It is not clear either way, but it is something to think about.

Company Size

Growers also need to think about company size in both the long and short terms. The reason is as simple as the fact that indoor growing requires a lot more labor. You have to pay more attention to plants. You need to tend to them more frequently. In essence, you need to hire more people to effectively manage indoor growing.

Any desire to keep the operation small would suggest growing outdoors. Yet staying small may not produce the volume you are after. It is really a balancing act.

Some cannabis growers decide to go all-in on an indoor operation. They spend the money, hire the help, and commit to growing year-round. Others stick with the old-fashioned way of doing things. They establish outdoor grows that rely more heavily on what nature does by itself. Both options are viable in a world in which cannabis is so highly demanded.