If there’s one message that Michael Camplin, Sales Manager for GGS Structures, has when it comes to making investments in structures and components for greenhouse cannabis production, it’s this: don’t be thrifty.
“You need to have deep pockets. The long-term profit potential for your crop is so high that it’s important to invest in good systems,” Camplin says.
It also helps if you’re already growing crops in a greenhouse, as opposed to someone who has yet to venture into greenhouse production but wants to do so to take advantage of the opportunities cannabis provides.
“If you already have a facility in place, it will save you a lot of time,” Camplin says. “Not only should you already know how to use automation equipment, but you will also most likely have a good relationship with current suppliers, which goes a long way in terms of knowing who you can trust.”
Camplin says that many suppliers are trying to take advantage of this new industry, adding high mark-ups and substandard product or old technology.
Camplin recently participated in a webinar presented by Greenhouse Canada on the cannabis profit opportunities for greenhouse growers.
So where do you go from here? Camplin suggests beginning with a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Within each of these categories, evaluate where you rank in the following criteria.
• Existing horticultural knowledge and experience
• Already have a greenhouse structure that can be retrofitted for cannabis growing
• Existing supplier relationships
• May not have the capital to cover costs of becoming a licensed grower.
• Cannabis is a completely different market than traditional horticulture with differing customer needs. Growers need to learn the business.
• The cannabis market is in its infancy, so there is more opportunity for profit at this stage.
• We are just starting to see the end of prohibition. This is the best time to build a cannabis brand.
• Take advantage of all the benefits of growing in a greenhouse versus an indoor facility (e.g., using natural sunlight to reduce energy usage)
• Big competition is coming.
• Increased government growing regulations can be costly to keep up with (e.g., odor control, security requirements, etc.).