Severe Weather Everywhere
From the excessive heat warning in California (not to mention the Los Angeles drought) to the warning of severe weather in Florida, outdoor cannabis is facing concerning circumstances. Cannabis companies from Northern California to South Florida will continue confronting operational challenges this week, as a severe heatwave threatens power grids. Additionally, areas within the Northeast struggle to recover from historic flooding.
There is a ton of turmoil right now as millions of Americans are either looking for free air conditioning or just trying to stay above water (literally). Not to mention, the midwest, great lakes, and Northeast are also dealing with the Canadian wildfire smoke once again.
We would like to point out that many are struggling, but this article specifically is going to delve into the extreme weather’s effects on the average American cannabis company and their grow, as we are a cannabis company and publication.
The occurrence of severe, weather-related events across the U.S. shows how climate change is troubling for individuals and businesses alike – cannabis operators included. Cultivators are turning to shading plants, easing energy consumption during peak hours, and asking staff to work night shifts.
In Massachusetts, Mayflower Medicinals, a vertically integrated cannabis company, closed its Boston retail outlet for two days earlier this month after the air-conditioning system broke under the strain of excessive heat.
Cannabis operators in the Midwest and Northeast, meanwhile, have had to deal with other weather-related issues.
In Illinois, the National Weather Service confirmed 11 tornadoes touched down on July 12 in the Chicago area alone, including a twister near Chicago O’Hare International Airport. In Vermont, floods engulfed small towns last week, decimating thousands of homes and businesses while threatening to contaminate the water supply.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for Tuesday in parts of northwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, east-central New York and southern Vermont.
Similar weather events and ongoing electricity concerns likely will persist through the summer, officials warned. In its latest report, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation said two-thirds of North America was at risk of energy shortages this summer during periods of extremely high electricity demand.
Cannabis and the Heatwave
Many indoor marijuana growers are voracious consumers of electricity, as they rely on lights and HVAC/ humidity controls. Meanwhile outdoor growers, of course, just have to deal with the elements the best they can.
“We are in the age of climate risk and adaptation,” said Derek Smith to MJBizDaily, executive director of the Resource Innovation Institute, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit advocating climate resilience. “Cannabis operators need to invest in climate-smart practices just like the rest of agriculture. This ranges from site feasibility to placing some stages of cultivation under protection.”
Moving forward in the cannabis industry (and all other industries, too), companies will need to consider environmental factors more when making business decisions. This includes the consideration of the location of facilities and production. They will have to consider the proximity to rivers that flood as well as the proximity to water sources that may dry up or disappear.
One can imagine how challenging it could be to decide the perfect area to avoid both droughts and flooding, let alone the competition that comes with securing those spots. These are blanket concerns for any industry.
Heatwave’s Impact on Cannabis Industry
If there is an excessive heat warning today, what does that mean for crop production? The water shortages are contributing to falling hemp acreage nationwide, and hemp farmers find that things may become worse before the summer ends.
Firstly, national hemp acreage for 2023 could decrease significantly from last year, according to early analysis of licensed acreage. All in all, a severe drought lowers yield and kills crops, but a drought can stimulate secondary metabolite production. (This is a fancy term for substances manufactured by plants that make them competitive in their own environment.)
In the hottest places in the world, a little bit of drought stress combined with lots of sunlight is recognized to increase essential oils in crops. Fortunately, cannabis growers can also use drought to their advantage to increase the secondary metabolite content, or cannabinoids and terpenes, of their plants.
Matt Cyrus, a farmer in Sisters, Oregon, said cannabis thrives in hot, dry conditions. “Our experience is hemp uses about a third as much water as a hay crop,” said Cyrus, who served as president of the Deschutes County Farm Bureau.
Overall, this means that cannabis may fall into a low-supply, high-demand situation. Depending on how long the heatwave occurs, prices may rise throughout the year, but the quality of cannabis will remain– if not be a bit better.
Affordable High-Quality Cannabis
We at Passion Flower Cannabis Collective are committed to providing you the highest quality cannabis at an appropriate price, no matter the weather conditions. Not too mention, all of our flower is pesticide-free.
As we are located in the Pacific Northwest and participate in indoor growing conditions, we’re estimating that this drought shouldn’t affect us too drastically. Interested in checking out our flower and other products? Check out our website for all we have to offer. Follow us on social media to see the new products we’re launching soon, as well!