The transition away from the black market is dependent on the quality of our cannabis. Our product must be A+ to be competitive. It is illogical to expect indoor farming to sustain a national market……is there any other agricultural pursuit totally reliant on artificial climate conditions?
We really can grow better cannabis with natural light. There is a direct relationship between light spectrum/intensity and a plant’s growth rate and the complexity of cannabinoids and terpenes it produces. Essentially, sun bud has more personality. This association proves that the sun is capable of creating more quantity and higher quality cannabis at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact. As growers, most of us have not yet seen the full potential of this plant.
“Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s epigenetic qualities, when a crop is grown in a specific habitat” (Wikipedia). The influence of “culture” and “place” are significant considerations. Other artisanal crops such as wine, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops and agave rate quality based on terroir. Since artificial environments have no terroir, our indoor competitors have no incentive to subscribe to a system that will place our product significantly above theirs.
But cannabis farmers need to take advantage of hybridized or augmented environments – sort of like the best of both worlds. Crops go to market every 3 months. Climate controlled growing, drying, curing, and processing facilities will ensure a more consistent product. And the farmer can also take advantage of what nature provides, utilizing specific strategies and techniques to manipulate climatic conditions with nature’s help. Most importantly, the quality is A+ and the environmental impact of this “closed system” is minimal.
Some level of augmentation is appropriate, but it must be balanced with our terroir; our terroir AVA designation will keep us at the top of the food chain. In a stiff California cannabis market with possibly over 50,000 established farms, those who seek compliance will have to do more than just fill out the paperwork. After you are growing A+ cannabis (at any scale), you will have the competition to contend with – an elite AVA designation will help with that.
We need to position ourselves in the market by creating these American Viticultural Areas (Southern Humboldt AVA, Mateel AVA, Garberville AVA, Briceland AVA, etc.) The state has already designated Humboldt County as an AVA, however, not all areas are equal; different climate zones will produce very different products. People need to get used to the idea that cannabis land is not “flat” nor in a valley! The best olives in the world are grown on cliffs along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The best wine grapes are grown on the steepest slopes….. table grapes grow in the valley! So does rope hemp.