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Cannabis Farming in Nevada

By Last updated on February 8, 2021No Comments

Recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Nevada in 2017, allowing adults 21 and older to purchase and consume cannabis. Nevada residents can legally possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis edibles, flower, or topicals, and 3.5 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Adults can grow up to six plants per person and up to 12 plants per household but only if they reside more than 25 miles from a licensed state dispensary.

Growing weed

Cannabis farming remains pretty labor-intensive and relatively specialized. A lot of it requires intense hours and significant skill sets.

Weed farming has such a unique historical context. Cannabis was grown extensively in the US in the form of hemp, but the psychoactive marijuana farming side of the industry as we know it grew up on the black market. It is difficult to usher a black market industry into a regulatory system designed to address corn or wheat.

There are three major ways to grow cannabis. Indoors, outdoors, and a greenhouse. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of growing weed indoors

  • High-quality weed: Although it is more resource-intensive than growing outdoors, you can control every aspect of your environment and what you put in your plant, so growing indoors will allow you to dial in your setup to grow some primo weed.
  • Adaptability: Live in an apartment or a small house? You can grow weed practically anywhere indoors as long as the plant is not exposed to light when it is supposed to go through the night cycle.
  • Multiple harvests: Unlike outdoor growing, you are not tied to the sun and the seasons. You can let your plants get as big as you want, flip them into flower, harvest, and then start another batch right away. You can grow whenever you want, even straight through winter.
  • Privacy and security: Even in legal states, you may want to conceal your crop from judgmental neighbors and definitely from potential thieves. Growing indoors allows you to grow discreetly behind a locked door.

Benefits of growing weed outdoors

  • Low costs: Relying on the power of the sun, you will not need to spend a ton of money on an outdoor grow. You will need some soil, fertilizer, seeds, or clones, and maybe a small greenhouse to get them started. You will not need to pay for electricity for lights, AC units, or dehumidifiers, and you can even collect rainwater.
  • Big yields: Without ceilings to worry about, you can let your plants get as big and tall as you want, as long as they are manageable. One plant can potentially yield between a half-pound and full-pound of dried weed if left to grow to its full potential.
  • Environmentally friendly: Indoor grows can be wasteful, using a ton of electricity to power all those lights, fans, and other equipment. The sun and the wind are free!
  • It is fun and relaxing: Do not underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening. It is relaxing and rewarding to spend some time outside working with living organisms. There is also an added value of smoking something you grew yourself.

Benefits of growing greenhouse weed

  • Lighting Control: Supplemental lighting allows the grower to extend the hours of daylight and to improve the quality of light on overcast days. This will give you more control over the vegetative state of your plants.
  • Energy Conservation: The ability to control light and keep the climate stable will allow for year-round cultivation just like indoor growing. But growing with a greenhouse is a lot more inexpensive than growing indoors, and you will save a lot of money on electricity costs. Even if you need to supplement light in a greenhouse, it will still be cheaper than the energy needed to power an indoor operation.
  • Weather and Climate Control: Controlling your greenhouse climate is essential to producing a quality product. Some greenhouses have windows or paneling that can be opened or removed to either allow for wind circulation and to cool plants, or to trap in heat. Greenhouses also provide cover for your plants, as heavy rains can damage them and cause them to rot if too much moisture is trapped inside the buds. Some can also have dehumidifiers, heaters, air conditioners, and fans, all of which will also regulate the climate.
  • Manipulating Life Cycles: A common practice among greenhouse farmers is to deprive plants of light during the late summer season. By cutting off the amount of light a cannabis plant gets before the end of the season, you can trick it into flowering early. This will allow you to pull a crop early, which is key if you live in a climate that gets cold and wet early in the fall. If you want to continue growing cannabis through the fall and winter, you will have to lean more heavily on supplemental lighting and heaters.

Nevada marijuana growing laws

Cannabis cultivation is only allowed in Nevada if patients or adult consumers live over 25 miles away from their closest dispensary. Nevada’s statute appears to uphold the right of patients to continue growing if a dispensary opens closer to their home, so long as when they began cultivating there no dispensary was within 25 miles of them.

The biggest difference between cultivation for medical patients and other adult cannabis consumers is the number of plants they can grow. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants (mature and immature), while non-medical consumers are limited to six plants per person (up to 12 per household). All cultivation must not be visible from a public place and must take place “within a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area that is equipped with a lock or other security device.”

Laws for a licensed weed farm

A licensed weed farm, also known as a cultivation facility is an entity licensed to:

  • Cultivate
  • Process and package marijuana
  • Have marijuana tested by a testing facility
  • Sell marijuana to retail marijuana stores, product manufacturing facilities, and other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers.

To purchase a Nevada marijuana cultivation license a one-time application fee of $5,000 is required as well as a $30,000 annual fee.

Quality control

Each cultivation facility should have a quality control unit that is responsible for checking containers, packaging, and the product in general. The hygiene of the facility should always be upheld as well as have a proper building in accordance with the administrative code 453A.606.

Cannabis compliance board

Cannabis compliance board

The 2019 legislative session created the Cannabis Compliance Board. Like the Gaming Control Board, it will function as the industry’s regulatory authority.

Nevada has contracted Metrc as the mandatory regulatory tracking system. Metrc is a seed-to-sale marijuana tracking system that uses serialized tags attached to every plant and labels attached to wholesale packages to track marijuana inventory. Each tag is attached to a plant to facilitate tracking through different stages of growth, as well as the drying and curing processes, and eventual retail sale.

In addition to the above fees and requirements, each marijuana establishment is strictly regulated. All marijuana produced and sold in the state of Nevada must be strictly accounted for. The facility must track all marijuana produced from seed or clone all the way to the consumer.

Each facility must enact strict policies to ensure that all marijuana distributed to patients and retail customers is accounted for to ensure that none of it is entering the illegal stream of commerce. Each facility must also utilize strict security measures including alarms and real-time monitoring systems in order to track the marijuana.

In short, cannabis establishments will be subject to complex regulations and any violation will result in a loss of the establishment’s license or potential criminal prosecution.