Just back from the national OFA Floriculture short course and trade show in Columbus, Ohio. There was quite a buzz (!) over the July cover story of the industry mag GrowerTalks:
Maybe, if there’s a variegated form…
GrowerTalks is NOT High Times. Commercial floriculture is a very, very conservative industry. Many family businesses. New petunia cultivars and seed-sowing technologies are the usual fodder for feature stories. But as a publication reaching out to people who grow plants under glass (or plastic) for a living, GrowerTalks has brought up a good point. As article author Jennifer Zurko points out, there are now 16 states where medical marijuana is legal, and many more have it under consideration. The average margin on wholesale bedding plant production is around 1.3. My guess is marijuana might do a little better than that. “Legal” sales in California are projected at $1.3 billion for this year. The entire U.S. Floriculture industry (wholesale value) is worth $4.3 billion currently.
Floriculturists are the preeminent controlled-environment specialists. Example: a grower takes an Easter Lily through 24 weeks of vernalization and bench production from bulb to buds, maintain a 2.6:1 plant:pot height ratio, and hits what is essentially a 5-day market window that changes yearly. Marijuana would be a comparative walk in the park.
Jennifer does a great job describing the caveats and issues, both technical and moral. Not least of which is that marijuana is, of course, illegal in the eyes of the federal government. But someone’s going to grow it. Heck, Scott’s Miracle Grow is already working on water-soluble fertilizer specific to the crop.