Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on marijuana cultivation merchants complying with environmental regulations. It adds to high cost and compliance problems for the growers. Let’s look into what makes up the cost and how it can be reduced.
What are the environmental challenges as a result of cannabis cultivation?
Cannabis is fast becoming one of the country’s most valuable cash crops. However, it poses certain challenges to the environment which are ‘disproportionately large’ considering the size of the area under cultivation. Some of the major issues faced are:
• Cannabis being a ‘water-hungry’ crop can affect groundwater table.
• Pesticides used will cause chemical pollution.
• Will adversely affect the sensitive ecosystems.
• Solid waste disposal problems.
• Pressure on natural resources.
Regulatory Compliance in this regard.
In simple words, along with the financial report, the cultivators have to submit a Report on what are the effects of cultivation on the environment and how they to plan to protect the environment. For the preparation of this Report, cultivators sought the help of consultants. After proper analysis, the consultant will in adherence with regulations formulate the report. The Report will state:
• Growing and processing operations,
• Environmental findings,
• Steps that will be taken to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
What are the problems faced by marijuana cultivators in this regard?
In this entire process of compliance, cultivators face the following problems:
1. Strict laws: States and municipalities across the country are issuing stiffer requirements, especially in the use and management of pesticides, energy, water, and waste.
2. High cost: The regulations are ever-changing. Thus, creating a financial burden and uncertainty for growers operating on tight margins.
3. Pressure on small growers: Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, said it’s typical for small cultivators to spend $40,000-$60,000 on environmental analysis and impact reports.
4. Selection of consultants: It is very difficult to select the right consultant who provides the best of the services in adherence to laws without any mess. It gets more difficult to find the right consultants when the concerned laws are constantly changing. Plus, the cost of consultants varies immensely for the same service causing more confusion.
How can the cultivators save on cost?
Small growers in an area can form cooperatives and share the costs of environmental analysis and reporting. This approach can yield significant savings.
Operating in an area in which reports have already been provided:
In California, some counties provide environmental-impact reports, so one way a cultivator can lower costs is to operate in one of those jurisdictions.
Cautious selection of consultants:
Because regulations governing cannabis industry is constantly changing, consultants are scrambling to keep up to date. A consultant who is well informed about the laws i.e. financial as well as environmental can ensure adherence to them at a reasonable cost to be selected.