How will your business operate on a daily basis? What budget is needed and what procedures do employees need to follow?
There are five key steps to starting a business as a grower in the legal cannabis industry: planning, licensing, production and supply chain, business operations, and opening your cultivation site for business. Let’s take a closer look at each step.
It’s an extremely competitive process, and you only get one chance to get it right. Invest wisely.
4. Business Operations
If you want to become a grower in the legal cannabis industry but don’t want to own a grow facility, there are many types of grower jobs to choose from. Salaries typically range from $12 per hour for entry-level trimmers to $150,000 or more for master growers who have cannabis experience and PhDs.
Importantly, you need a solid business plan to help secure investors, win a cultivation license from your state, and obtain the necessary permits and permissions from the local municipality where your business will operate.
How to Start a Business as a Grower
Passion for the industry and experience growing at home are not enough to start a successful marijuana grow operation. You need a team of experienced experts, local support from your community, strong financial models, and more.
Assistant growers typically have a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, botany, or a physical science. They must have knowledge of strains, lighting, irrigation, fertilizer, growing technologies, and more. Assistant growers typically earn $30,000 or more.
Instead of needing to go through the process of setting up your own space and investing in the operational costs of owning a growing company of your own right out of the gate, you can partner up with a cultivation business that is already in place. This is a particularly wonderful step for people who don’t have the educational background that we spoke of, but who still hope to obtain a cultivation license at some point in the future.
Something very important to keep in mind is that dispensary owners are likely not looking for growers who require extensive training. Rather than hiring novice-level cannabis cultivators, It is far more efficient and appealing for the owner of a dispensary to hire growers who already know the tricks of their trade.
Obtain a Marijuana Grower’s License
Whether it’s something you are doing by choice or a move you have to make to get where you want to be in the long run, it doesn’t hurt to consider starting out in a more entry-level position. This is especially true if you have little to no experience handling cannabis in the first place!
No matter what your path to becoming a grower for a dispensary looks like, you’ll get to where you want to be someday. As long as you stay committed and devote yourself to your trade, your dreams of becoming a grower will manifest soon.
Qualities Dispensaries Look for in a Grower
February 28, 2020
Independent testing labs have sprung up to help growers to meet the requirements, but like the wider cannabis industry, they face growing pains. “At the moment it’s a bit like the Wild West, with different rules in different places,” says Andrew James, marketing director of Ellutia in Ely, UK, which makes chemical analysis equipment for the cannabis industry, among other markets. “It can be hard to know what to test for, how to test and where to do it.”
In the United Kingdom, for example, strict rules concerning THC levels in medical cannabis mean that labs can find it difficult to get the sample analytical standards that they need for comparing products. The licences required to handle the standards are the same as those needed by a lab doing research on the drug itself. “It’s ludicrous that analytical standards are so tightly controlled,” says James. “The cannabis products are treated the same as a kilo of cocaine.”
Many of his postgraduate students, he says, receive job offers from cannabis companies before they have even completed their studies. Zheng will begin teaching a cannabis production class for undergraduates at the University of Guelph in January 2020, and several colleges in North America already offer courses designed to provide skilled workers to the industry. In April, the first 24 students graduated from an 8-month cannabis production course at Niagara College Canada in Niagara-on-the-Lake. That course, intended for students who already have a diploma or degree in plant science, focuses on how to grow cannabis and the surrounding regulations. Bill MacDonald, a plant scientist and the programme’s coordinator, says that the graduates were snapped up by industry.
Besides the challenges of growing a sufficient amount of high-quality cannabis for a rapidly growing market, cannabis companies have to deal with something that illegal growers do not — government regulation.
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The large-scale, controlled environment enables Organigram to conduct systematic, controlled trials and to produce huge amounts of data — with 5 cycles of growth per year in each of the growing rooms, it can generate more than 250 generations’ worth of growing data each year, says Purcell. The company can use those data to determine what works best for the plants, and then replicate those conditions at scale. “That’s the big difference with the black market,” he says. “When you scale up, you have to take a data-driven approach.”
A student inspects a cannabis plant at Niagara College Canada’s teaching laboratory in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. Credit: Niagara College