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Want to Grow Outdoors? Know The Laws!

October 12, 2016

Every professional grower looks for ways to continually improve their product, while also cutting down on the expenses needed to grow the best crop possible. Growing outdoors has obvious benefits, such as reducing both the amount of electricity needed and the number of hazards that indoor growing can pose.

But cultivators will face strict regulations and other legal considerations if they want to start or move a grow operation outdoors.

State-by-state regulations

As with all things cannabis-related, states vary in their approach to regulations about growing outdoors. Some states, like Hawaii, explicitly ban open-air outdoor growing—although that may change with upcoming ballot initiatives.

Many states permit growing outdoors, with the requirement that it be in “an enclosed locked facility.” This can include a greenhouse with the right adjustments: The structure generally should have adequate security and fencing, plants should not be able to be seen from outside, there can be no detectable odors, and the building must be accessed only by those who are licensed.

Most states draft their regulations without making distinctions about indoor and outdoor growing; however, this means that local jurisdictions can alter the rules. Since these jurisdictions are free to regulate, it may mean bans on commercial outdoor growing or on open-air growing.

There is also a growing number of states that have permitted true open-air growing. For example, California and Oregon currently have several counties that permit these types of cannabis farms.

Other legal concerns

Even if your state allows outdoor growing, there are still many other legal concerns:

  • Licensing: Make sure the license holder is the person whose name is on the agreement to rent, lease or own the property.
  • Addressing security concerns: Open-air growing means that there is obviously more risk of people knowing that you grow, and this could pose major security risks. Having a plan to deal with these concerns prior to the move will help with the license application and protect your crops.
  • Staying within growth limits: Open-air growing does not necessarily mean that there aren’t limitations on the maximum number of plants.
  • Zoning restrictions: Even if outdoor gardens are permitted, many regulations may prohibit growing in residential areas or close to schools.
  • Water usage rights: Several counties are currently dealing with this issue. Knowing the source of your water can help avoid penalties in the future.

Also don’t forget to update any state filings that indicate the location of your grow operation. Many states not only require the initial paperwork to list the site but also may require inspections and additional fees when establishing a new location.

Many states and local jurisdictions will address the issue with proposed bills in the next election cycle, which could either permit outdoor growing or put a ban in place. As with any regulations that concern cultivators, always review state, city and county regulations as a resource to determine the exact specifications needed. Also, stay current on regulations that could effect grow operations.


By: Devon Landis
Cannabis Cultivation Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on grow practices. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cultivation consultant for specific compliance and cultivation advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.



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