Under Canada’s medical cannabis program, cultivators were required to grow their ganja indoors, in tightly regulated facilities where every interaction with a plant is recorded on video. The strict laws on these grows were intended to ensure that marijuana remained free of mold and other contaminants, as well as to help deter theft of valuable crops. The government’s decision to also allow outdoor grows comes too late in the season to allow businesses to begin planting pot outside this year, but will give them time to break ground on such farms before next spring.
Government officials have said that allowing these outdoor grows will make it easier for new cultivation companies to quickly begin producing product.
The government’s decision drew criticism from many existing cannabis firms, who have been investing billions of dollars on new indoor cultivation facilities compliant with the country’s original marijuana cultivation regulations.
The council pressed the Canadian Senate to amend the legalization bill to prohibit outdoor production, arguing that outdoor pot plants could easily be stolen and diverted to the black market. Bruce Linton, head of Canopy Growth, warned that thieves could use drones to pluck buds from cannabis plants, even if they were surrounded by fences.
Earlier this year, Health Canada said that they were investigating the security risks posed by outdoor cultivation, as well as possible methods to prevent the pungent aroma of weed harvests from disturbing cultivators’ neighbors. Deepak Anand, vice president of consultancy firm Cannabis Compliance, said that he expects that the government’s rules for outdoor farms will likely mirror the restrictions on indoor grows.