With the move to green energy, many communities have felt left behind. In towns like Merritt, where coal extraction was once the primary resource, another sort of green is creating a buzz.
Thanks to the legalization and the growth of the cannabis industry, small towns that once predominantly relied upon the extraction of natural resources, like Merritt in BC, can continue to diversify their local industries by growing cannabis. There is plenty of room in the still growing market, especially for licensed producers and cultivators intent on creating quality cannabis goods for a market whose supply has yet to meet demand.
What it Takes to Nurture a Growing Operation
To take advantage of the booming cannabis market, small towns will need to ensure they have the following.
To create a successful growing operation, it is important that there is a secure infrastructure to support the growing process. Cultivation facilities require access to plenty of water and energy. It’s crucial that any towns considering allowing cultivation are able to ensure that the town’s ability to access water and energy are not hampered by the needs of a potential grow operation. Towns that are isolated may not be a good fit unless they have robust infrastructure connecting them to large amounts of water and energy. Plus, it will be necessary to have access to safe roadways for transporting harvests to LPs.
Towns with empty industrial complexes may be able to repurpose those complexes for growing cannabis. In Smith Falls, a Hershey Chocolate facility was turned into a cannabis production facility. Meanwhile, empty Heinz Ketchup buildings in Leamington have also been converted. In the later town, land prices have risen because of the repurposing.
Cultivation operations rely on a lot of people to ensure that each plant is carefully cared for. After all, every single plant must be tended and tracked throughout its growing cycle. It can be difficult finding workers to man greenhouses. However, in places where there is higher unemployment, greenhouse work, which is considered unskilled labor for the most part, may help create more jobs. Other locations may need to seek temporary workers to help ensure there are enough people tending and harvesting plants. If not, the whole operation could end in low quality plants that don’t meet Health Canada regulations.
In order to ensure that the cannabis is properly grown and tended and that all regulatory requirements are being met, any town interested in becoming involved in cultivation will need to have individuals with cannabis industry knowledge in order to ensure they get a fair shake. Whether it’s selling agricultural land or just repurposing industrial or corporate complexes, someone with knowledge of cannabis industry operations can help ensure the town is not taken advantage of.
A growing operation can be expensive to get off the ground. Especially since it is a time-consuming process that requires significant investment before any payout. For localities interested in creating the space for growing operations, this could be a significant way to make money. However, for localities interested in beginning their own growing operations, it will be necessary to seek capital to fund the operation. To be competitive in the cannabis industry, some towns may even offer tax abatements to draw industry interest.
Stocks are soaring high, and small towns don’t have to get left behind. There’s a place in the green rush for everyone! With vision and planning, towns that have agricultural lands or space for production facilities may be able to entice cannabis companies to take up residence and further boost the local economies.