Even with the Federal government repeatedly issuing threats and raiding the state-legalized medical marijuana industry, the industry is seeing fantastic growth nationwide. One area that is benefitting is the hydroponics sector where plants are grown indoors. LED grow lights, air conditioning systems and nutrient supply systems are key parts of these home grow systems, used to tightly control the environmental conditions in which your plants grow.
In many areas of the US it just isn’t possible to grow cannabis year-round. Alaska is one of nine states where it is legal for people to cultivate their own plants, and in that state there is a short growing season due to its high latitude and long winter. Growing indoors under LED grow lights in Alaska, as with many of the northern Lower 48 is the only way that users can get a fresh supply throughout the year. This is one of the reasons that indoor cannabis cultivation equipment is positioned for strong growth in the coming years.
Let’s drill down to some home cultivation industry facts.
Key facts about the medical marijuana industry
Globally the medical marijuana industry is believed to be worth $11.4 billion (2015 figures) and is set to grow by 17.1% annually over the next five years.
Nationwide the marijuana industry – both recreational and medical use – is worth as much as $7.7bn and is set for 25% growth year on year. Some industry analysts believe that the cannabis industry will grow to $30 billion by 2021.
While it is legal to grow cannabis in 17 states, in nine of these it is legal to cultivate your own at home. The law varies considerably from state to state, but in some it makes sense to grow under LED grow lights to make sure security and that minors cannot access the plants.
One piece of research looked at the hydroponics sector, and discovered that, “the medical and recreational marijuana boom in certain states has also fuelled rising interest in hydroponic growing methods, encouraging consumers and businesses with relevant documentation to enter this nascent industry and buy hydroponic growing equipment. As a result, industry revenue has grown an annualized 4.4% to $689.7 million over the five years to 2017”.
Where the farm grown cannabis industry in quite easy to measure, it is far harder to measure the home growing sector – except through DEA seizure rates, as High Times reported! The international marijuana magazine concluded, “Over three decades of eradication activity has failed to curtail the domestic cultivation industry, and it is so decentralized now that it cannot be controlled by law enforcement… How many growers are there? It is hard to estimate from this data, but it is safe to say that their will to grow is strong, persistent and resistant to federal and state efforts to use criminal law to stop them.”
Those growers, often faced with sky-high energy prices are increasingly going over to LED grow lights due to the energy savings involved. A marijuana industry news website, MJ Biz Magazine stated, “LED products are more costly to buy and install, but they also consume up to 75% less electricity than HID technology, according to some experts.”
Confusing medical marijuana laws
Cannabis laws in the US remain contradictory and confusing. Someone with multiple sclerosis who is under state law legally growing their own marijuana to combat their cramps could still be busted by the DEA and thrown in prison for having a home supply of medicine. A survey of 1,544 doctors in 12 specialties who lived in 48 states across the US found that 69% of them were in support of more liberal medical marijuana laws. Americans for Safe Access of Medical Marijuana’s website reported, “The medical community is clearly saying they support using marijuana as a potential treatment option for any number of medical problems,” said WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael W. Smith”
When the Federal government comes round to the fact that marijuana is a medicine and that it cannot stop the double-digit growth of the industry, and legalization finally takes place, only then will it be clear how big the home cultivation sector is. While we know it has not been stopped by the DEA over the years, and that there are signs of strong growth, it is very hard to get a clear view for the simple reason that to avoid arrest people just aren’t shouting about what they have bought and why for fear of a long spell in a distinctly unpleasant residence.