Cannabis Warehouse vs. Greenhouse: (Pros & Cons)

Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs joined APX Construction Group in June of 2020 specializing in interior design, marketing, event planning, and business development.
  • The cannabis industry is booming and this past August, the state of Minnesota saw the legalization of the plant. Cannabis is associated with plenty of positive health benefits, making it an easy alternative to traditional medications with unfavorable side effects. Plus, most cannabis users simply enjoy the relaxed euphoric feeling that comes with consuming it.

    Simply put: Now that it’s legal, there’s an immediate increase in demand for cannabis statewide.

    Are you ready to join the field and get started on opening a dispensary?

    Designing your warehouse and more? Let us walk you through the ins and outs.

    As a soon-to-be cannabis manufacturer, you may be wondering whether you should invest in a cannabis warehouse or a cannabis greenhouse. Below we’ll outline what each type of grow facility entails as well as their pros and cons.

    Indoor Grow Operations Explained

    Whether it’s a cannabis warehouse or greenhouse, we’re talking about an indoor grow operation. What makes a facility an “indoor grow” is the fact that it offers protection from the outdoor elements as well as the ability to control the environment in which the cannabis is grown. 

    Generally speaking, an indoor grow directly correlates to better quality control. For example, a cannabis greenhouse or warehouse allows growers to cultivate cannabis year-round and up to three times the harvest of a traditional outdoor grow operation — often more, depending on the size of the space. 

    Indoor grows are also typically broken down into categories as there are several options for each facility’s structure, such as:

    • Sealed greenhouses
    • Hybrid greenhouses
    • Single warehouses
    • Multi-tier warehouses

    In the exact order of categories, there’s a transition from using natural outdoor air to using dehumidification technology, as well as transparent to opaque roofing systems and vertical tiered rack cultivation (or, vertical farming).

    Cannabis Warehouse vs Cannabis Greenhouse

    When deciding where and how to grow your cannabis crops, there are several factors you’ll need to take into consideration such as:

    • State regulations
    • Local laws
    • Budget
    • Strain varieties

    Greenhouses have long been a popular, natural, and efficient method for growing cannabis — as well as other types of crops — warehouses have become a necessity. This is due to several reasons, including:

    • Laws against cannabis cultivation
    • Regulations regarding the control of indoor odors
    • The high potential for theft
    • The need for more cultivation space

    So, which type of indoor facility is more suitable for you? Here’s a quick breakdown:

    Cannabis Greenhouses

    A cannabis greenhouse is an indoor growing structure that’s made primarily of glass and other transparent materials. The transparency is what allows the plants to grow using natural sunlight while reducing their exposure to outdoor elements.

    The pros:

    • Limits the impact of unwanted outdoor elements
    • Significantly reduces energy costs
    • Eco-friendly
    • Fewer restrictions regarding plant height and yield
    • Provides for year-round cultivation minus warehousing costs

    The cons:

    • Greenhouses have naturally lower ceilings, which can limit the usable cultivation space
    • Because the indoor environment of a greenhouse is smaller, instances of contamination will spread quicker
    • Outside elements are still a factor as temperature and sunlight play an integral role in cannabis growth
    • They’re still susceptible to pests which may require the use of pesticides
    • The upfront costs are higher as greenhouse cultivation isn’t as easy for industry beginners with minimal financial resources

    Cannabis Warehouses

    A cannabis warehouse is a completely enclosed facility. Being completely enclosed is what allowed cannabis warehouses to protect the cannabis plants from any and all external elements. The environment within these warehouses is closely monitored and controlled, which allows virtually all cannabis varieties to flourish — regardless of the region.

    The pros:

    • Complete control over the growth environment for year-round crop cultivation 
    • Plants are more protected from pests, cross-pollination, and contamination
    • There’s more privacy as the walls of cannabis warehouse facilities are not transparent
    • They’re more secure, leaving less potential for the
    • They provide more space — vertically and horizontally — allowing for much higher yields

    The cons:

    • Higher operating costs — cannabis warehouses typically depend on artificial lights either all year round or partially, which contributes significantly to energy costs
    • High ongoing costs. In addition to operating costs, most cannabis warehouses are leased and require a certain level of security making the ongoing costs consistently higher

    Which Type of Grow Operation Is Right For You?

    If you’re choosing between a cannabis warehouse and a cannabis greenhouse for your grow businesses, you’ll want to make the choice based on the following concerns:

    • Climate: Greenhouses can protect your crops from the elements but not the temperature. They’re also susceptible to long periods of overcast skies, meaning you would have to supplement the environment with indoor lighting. Cannabis warehouses come with 100% controlled indoor environments, meaning you won’t have to worry about the weather forecast or changing temperatures.
    • Your budget: Warehouses are more expensive to build, lease, and operate whereas greenhouses have more affordable ongoing costs. 
    • Strain type: Experienced cannabis growers know that the various strains out there will react differently to their growth environments. Sensitive strains are much more suitable for warehouse growth while the heartier and “sun-loving” strains thrive in greenhouses.
    • The local laws: Depending on where you live — state and municipality — there will likely be certain restrictions regarding the growing processes. For example, emissions, crop security, size, location of the facility, etc. In most cases, the cannabis warehouses have the advantages as they’re not only controlled environments but they’re “out of sight” as they don’t utilize transparent walls. You’ll need to check with your local government or state government to determine your limitations regarding any cannabis growing restrictions.
    • Indoor environment control: Both cannabis warehouse and greenhouse operations rely on indoor environments that are closely monitored. You need to ensure that your cannabis crops are growing in optimal temperatures and humidity conditions — which is arguably much easier to do with a warehouse facility. Greenhouses are more vulnerable to outdoor conditions, meaning it may take a bit more effort to regulate their indoor conditions, especially during the colder months.

    Build Your Minnesota Cannabis Warehouse With Our Help

    If you’re a grower in need of a cannabis warehouse, APX Construction Group can help you design the perfect facility for your grow operation with scale in mind. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our industrial and warehouse construction services and to get started on your cannabis warehouse design.

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