While the national cannabis market has changed drastically since 2012, when Washington state and Colorado first legalized adult-use cannabis sales, at least one thing hasn’t changed: The industry is very much still amidst a significant boom, with no signs of slowing.
According to the most recent State of the Industry report from our sister magazine, Cannabis Business Times, greenhouse production is trending upward, increasing 4% from 2016 to today. But cannabis cultivators are shifting away from indoor/warehouse operations. Indoor operations once were a standard for cannabis production: 80% of research participants reported growing indoors in 2016, the first year of this study. That number has dropped by 21 percentage points during the past three years — with 59% of cultivators reporting growing indoors this year.
The number of growers who cultivate in greenhouses seems to be on a slight rise compared to prior years: 38% of 2019 research participants stated they grow in a greenhouse, up four percentage points from 2016.
And cultivators are planning to expand in the coming years. This year, 85% of cultivators studied indicated plans to expand their operation’s square footage for growing cannabis. In 2018 and 2017, that figure was 77% and in 2016, 71% of participants indicated any expansion plans.
In 2017, the average square footage that cultivators said they planned to add in the next two years was 22,300 sq. ft. In 2018, that figure increased to 27,400 sq. ft. This year, the average is 39,700 sq. ft., growing by 12,300 sq. ft. compared with the previous year and by nearly 18,000 sq. ft. compared to 2017.
In addition, nearly a quarter of participants (23%) plan to add 80,000 sq. ft. or more for growing cannabis in the next two years.