Of course, since the FDA doesn't regulate hemp, it’s quite difficult for investors to figure out how to legally design these grow rooms. Let’s go over a few pro tips to keep in mind if you’re interested in building a proper commercial grow facility.
Use Common Sense When Placing Rooms
When laying out your floor plan, please consider how far your employees will have to walk from place to place. This may sound simple but reducing the time employees travel significantly increases your productivity. A smoother workflow also makes it easier to comply with state traceability laws that track your plants at various stages of development.
Just as an example, consider putting your drying & curing stations near the rooms where people must trim. Alternatively, it’s a good idea to put clone rooms close by mother rooms to improve the cloning process.
Divide to Conquer: The Importance of Separating Rooms
Unfortunately, many strains of hemp are particularly susceptible to diseases, fungi, and molds. In addition to investing in good ventilation systems, cultivation experts always recommend sealing off all areas of your operation with sturdy walls.
People who build facilities with one large open area are just asking for trouble. Mold can quickly spread from plant to plant; before you know it, an outbreak could ruin your entire crop. With well-partitioned rooms, however, you significantly reduce the risk of losing everything, even in the event of a mold outbreak.
Safety First: Complying with State Security Laws
Another feature to consider when setting up a commercial grow room is security compliance. Without meeting your home state’s security regulations, there’s little chance of surviving in the cannabis marketplace for very long. Not only will enhanced security measures improve your company’s respectability with governments and consumers, but it will also help your employees feel comfortable working in this new industry.
A few standard security practices now becoming commonplace in the industry include:
- A thorough alarm system by windows and entryways
- ID system that uses scanning devices and official employee cards
- Surveillance cameras that record sensitive areas 24/7
Light, Temperature and Ventilation Considerations
The most significant expenses you’ll face as a professional grow facility owner will always be energy related. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering all the power lighting systems, temperature controls, irrigation technologies, automated systems, and dehumidifiers necessary to grow optimal cannabis.
“When growing hemp indoors, you want to provide abundant light to your plants, but not overdo it,” said Daniel Taylor, a hemp cultivator with Industrial Hemp Farms. “Proper lighting is one of the most important factors that will determine your yields. Stronger lights will lead to higher production,” he added.
Temperature and airflow are also critical according to Taylor. “Temperature is also a huge issue when it comes to growing plants. A useful rule of thumb to consider is: If it’s comfortable for you, it’s comfortable for your plants. In addition, your grow room must be adequately ventilated. A gentle rustle hitting the leaves indirectly is ideal.”
Before building your grow facility, it’s a good idea to brainstorm ways to bring your energy expenditure down while maintaining your desired production levels. A few energy-saving suggestions that have already been tried out include:
- Installing solar panels
- Purchasing purification systems to recirculate water
- Hydroponic growing systems rather than soil
- Use of LED lights rather than fluorescent
- Using devices to gather natural rainwater
Reading the Fine Print
No matter how dedicated you are to your hemp or cannabis ventures, it’s impossible not to feel a tad overwhelmed entering this new industry. Since there are no clear federal guidelines on how to build or operate cannabis facilities, each state has different legal standards governing grow rooms. Failure to comply with these rules could instantly take you out of the competition.
There are many consulting firms to help you achieve your long-term goals. When asked about the ideal consulting firm, Taylor added: “For consulting services, one should look for a team that can help with the following issues -among others:”
- Legal and tax issues
- Consulting on technical and operational plans
- Management for crops, plants, warehouses, and processing
- Technological surveillance and protection of proprietary plant strains
- Certification process and advice for obtaining necessary permits
- Import/Export management