Cannabis data company New Frontier Data released “Growing Excellence: Seven Ways to Optimize Cannabis Cultivation in Newly Legal Markets” on Sept. 7, which highlights seven key issues that new cannabis producers should consider in order to achieve success.
“The continued activation of new legal markets will keep pushing existing cannabis producers to expand operations and draw new producers to the market,” said New Frontier Data CEO Gary Allen. “By basing their strategic plans around the seven key factors identified in this report, operators can capitalize on this massive market opportunity.”
In a press release, New Frontier Data projects that more than 27.7 million pounds of cannabis will be cultivated in the U.S. in 2030 (compared to the 7 million that was cultivated in 2020). These numbers are reflected in the total amount of cultivation, which includes plants grown indoor, in a greenhouse, or outdoor.
The New Frontier Data report states that a shift in legal cannabis available on the East coast, cultivation trends are also beginning to change. “As the legal cannabis industry transitions eastward from West Coast markets, several factors will impact how cannabis is grown in the new markets,” the report states. “Different climatic conditions will favor controlled environments over outdoor cultivation, given either the length and depth of winters in the North, or summer humidity in the South.”
Between 2022-2030, New Frontier Data suggests that California will remain on top of producing the most pounds of cannabis at 26.4 million, followed by Florida at 18.4 million, New York at 15.1 million, Illinois at 11.9 million, and numerous other states producing 10 million or less.
The report’s first point suggests the difference in temperature in summer and winter on the west and east coasts. As a result, most east coast states will rely on indoor grow facilities, whereas California remains the leader in both greenhouses and outdoor farms.
Among its other points of discussion, New Frontier Data mentions that automation will continue to grow, but requires experienced workers to manage them. The report also reviews the pros and cons of building or buying a cultivation facility, now that established markets offer the option to choose. Demand for specific products is also changing, with flower still in the lead, as of average data from 2021, but other products are also rising in popularity. “Value-added products (vapes, edibles, topicals, etc.) now account for half of all legal product sales, and consumer interest in these new products is poised for sustained growth as innovation drives increased product quality and diversity, enabling consumers to integrate cannabis into their lives in increasingly novel ways,” the report states. “While demand for flower is also growing, especially for pre-rolls, it is growing more slowly than demand for non-flower products.”
There is also a shift in resource efficiency, which remains important due to various factors. Energy costs from indoor lighting can cause stress on the electrical grid, but new LED technologies help lower electricity use. Likewise, watering through automated systems vs. hand watering can also help save water, in addition to focusing on water reclamation systems.
On the subject of water though, the report notes that climate change is a threat to many states, especially those that are experiencing a drought. “Cannabis producers must consider the looming implications of a changing climate on their operations,” the report describes. “Longer, hotter summers will add premiums on increased cooling requirements and higher energy demand to operate HVAC systems at higher levels for longer periods. Acute droughts—such as those currently being experienced in the Western U.S. states—will drive water shortages, increased water losses from evaporation, and higher costs of water from municipal or community sources.”
Finally, the report concludes that the industry success will be earned by those who adapt to the future. “While producers in new markets may enjoy a period of high margins and low competition, the most successful operators will be those who plan for where the market is going, not where it currently is.”