The race is on for startups and big businesses everywhere to develop energy-efficient and technologically advanced cannabis greenhouses. The marijuana industry is taking the world by storm now that more countries are loosening their restrictions and laws on the use and sale of medical and recreational marijuana.
There is a huge market for technology in the industry, and more and more businesses and startups are taking notice. Troy Dayton, CEO of The ArcView Group, the legal marijuana industry’s hub for investment, data and progress, explained:
“Cannabis is spurring on an ag-tech revolution.”
“This is a boom born entirely out of ending repressive laws. The market is already there, it’s just moving from the shadows into the light. That’s why you’re seeing this incredible growth and why so many people see it as a once-in-a-lifetime [business] opportunity.”
There is a huge demand for cannabis, and growers who rely on traditional growing methods are not able to increase their output to meet that demand. Better processes need to be developed.
Currently, most of the scientific and technological developments have been centered on interior cooling and lighting systems. This equipment accounts for a large portion of a marijuana grower’s cultivation expenses, so more innovation is needed to help growers ramp up their production with the use of state-of-the-art water irrigation systems and solar lights. New software is also required so that growers can run different scenarios without wasting time or product to determine optimal growing conditions.
As the world continues to become more accepting of the use of cannabis, more mainstream companies are taking note and jumping on the bandwagon. Swedish lighting manufacturing giant Heliospectra AB is shifting its focus to the marijuana industry because not only is there a high-profit potential, but there is also the opportunity to increase production and reputation without as much competition.
Many other companies like Hawthorne Gardening Co., a subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., are following suit. They want to be in a position to operate in a space where there is more cash, more demand for research and development, and where there are larger budgets for innovation. Although the focus is on the cannabis industry, all farmers could be able to benefit from the development of energy-efficient growing equipment and technology.
Dan Sutton, managing director of Tantalus Labs, said,
“Let’s assume everything that’s ever been done in cannabis cultivation is wrong. We have to build from the ground up, we have this broad realm of science that no one has been able to previously explore.”
Tantalus is currently building a 120,000-square-foot greenhouse in British Columbia, the design of which someday may be used to grow other plant types, such as tree seedlings that could be used for reforestation.
With the steady increase of growers in the cannabis industry, the landscape of the playing field is changing. Now is the opportune time for companies to get in the game if they want to become major players in this market.