by Nigel O'Mally -
There are going to be three types of medical marijuana growing operation models, in Oklahoma, but one of them is in danger of being outlawed by state legal action. Sadly, it is the most natural and with the lowest 'overhead' cost.
The home grower patient.
The patient is currently allowed to have 6 mature plants flowering and producing medicine. If it's done using natural light, then the patient will be limited on strains of cannabis or limited to one annual harvest. Otherwise there is a significant investment needed for special lighting.
The Indoor commercial grower
This grower uses artificial lighting controls to trick plants into flowering earlier than might otherwise happen. These growers expect to yield 4 crops per year from the same square foot. The plants are usually kept smaller and compressed together.
The 'Orchard' grower.
Cannabis naturally grows all spring & summer, but starts to flower in the fall. Therefor the plants can grow over 10 foot tall, if given ample space to spread out. The 'orchard' concept allows for one outdoor crop per year.
Last July the Oklahoma Health Dept. tried to ban 'orchard' growing. In addition, they sought to add insanely expensive mandates for security systems for all indoor growers.
The Rand organization commissioned a cost analysis of models for growing medical cannabis. It's a great study, but the academic nature of it may be a bit boring for us to post it in this column.
Assuming that cannabis is grown with standards similar to tobacco farming, we can see that the home grower has to spend about as much to grow his few plants, as the commercial indoor grower, even though we aren't taking into account the labor that the home grower commits to.
In discussions with the state mental health commissioner, the biggest objection the dept. had was a fear that their agency would be expected to provide cannabis meds to the mentally ill.
But the beauty of the SQ788 language is that it provides for patients to either buy the medicine or grow their own supply. But the patient of very limited means and maybe even less mental capacity, might not be able to do an indoor growing setup would mandate.
This chart show the comparatively low cost of an outdoor natural planting cycle. If this is done, the fall 2019 cost of growing cannabis will be very low, which is good for both growers & patients. For an explanation, read the Rand Study.
The Cannabis lobby is composed of two groups. the patients & the commercial businesses. Their objectives are currently similar, but there are some clear differences. Where growers want a high commodity price, the patients who desperately need the meds are needing it to be affordable. Many of them are on fixed incomes(disability or retirement). What would help both the patients and the businesses would be a low overhead cost of doing business. And that is clearly not a priority of the Oklahoma health dept. as we can see from the unconstitutional rules they sought to impose on the sick & disabled of Oklahoma. When lawmakers and bureaucrats start treating tobacco and liquor like the much more deadly substances that they are, I will at least be less cynical about their paranoid view of cannabis medicine.