Buying and selling abandoned greenhouses didn’t sound like much fun until a certain green herb needed more room to grow.
Salinas Valley, perfectly situated to serve cannabis growers who serve the Bay Area and Southern California, has just the right climate, a nice long growing season and lots of old greenhouse yearning to be useful again.
Many experts concur that greenhouse cultivation, which began in the 13th century, is half as expensive as growing under artificial light and minimizes external threats to crops. Pot growers say the can turn over four or five crops a year with very little energy cost, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The mostly empty greenhouses in the Salinas-Monterey area where flowers, fruits and vegetables once flourished now have multimillion-dollar price tags.
Monterey County’s land rush was sparked when authorities recently adopted strict cultivation ordinances, banning outdoor marijuana growing. By pushing pot growers into existing greenhouses, authorities can more easily monitor it and, more importantly, tax it.
With California’s passage of Prop 64, legalizing recreational marijuana, many millions of dollars will now flow into the state’s coffers and weed will become just another crop grown by agricultural corporations and wealthy ganjapreneurs.
“Everybody is buying greenhouse space,” said Jeff, a grower who did not want his family name used. “They’re buying these old, dilapidated greenhouses and spending $100 or $200 a square foot to build these elaborate facilities.”
Growing the Bosso G, Holy Grail, Gorilla Glue and Suzy Q strains in his greenhouse, Jeff says, is no different than raising any other crop.
“It’s like buying from a lettuce company,” he said. “We grow a bed, see if we like it, and if we like it, we’ll take cuttings off that bed—it’s just farming.”
Meanwhile, one realtor, Chuck Allen, told the LA Times that he’s earning commissions that are larger than most people’s annual salary.
“It’s kinda fun, actually,” said Allen, 76, who works for Keller Williams. “A year ago, I didn’t even know what [pot plants] looked like. I thought they were Christmas trees.”
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