New Pot Crops

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.

4 thoughts on “New Pot Crops”

  1. “Medical” marijuana is legal -and very popular – in Michigan. The Lansing city council just voted to cap the number of dispensaries in Lansing (Pop. ~115,000) to the current number: 40(!)

  2. The legalization of medical marijuana has actually gone well beyond medical purposes in CA and other states as I see it. If big industry doesn’t get into it I suspect there will be certain industries using lobbyist and political pressure to roll back this trend towards legalization. Beer and liquor concerns can’t be very pleased on shrinking discretionary spending going to this herb and I doubt big Pharma is too happy either. I believe that MJ is the perfect recreational and medical drug for a shrinking planet. The plant is extraordinarily efficient as far as how much dosage can be created in a very small area and it is as pest resistant as the most vigorous weed. Much better for the ecology than growing grapes for wine.

  3. The American Society for Horticultural Science annual meeting this year will have a 1.5-hour set of talks entitled “Challenges and Opportunites In Medical Cannabis for the Professional Horticulturist”.

  4. There are many many great liquid fertilizers already on the market for the “hydronpics” crowd. The packaging and marketing are aimed at a specific market: males from age late teens to early thirties.

    I suspect Scott’s is aiming at a more conservative market, those who would be uncomfortable buying a wetting agent called “Wet Betty”.

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