Your Quick Guide to Starting a Commercial Cannabis Grow Operation

Have you been thinking about starting your own cannabis grow operation? This is a booming industry. After all, before individuals can ask can you eat raw weed, someone needs to grow the weed.

Here’s your quick guide to starting a grow operation.

Get to Know the Cannabis Industry

Here’s where it all starts.

You need to get to know the cannabis industry. Spend time sampling products, learning markets, and studying the supply side of this relatively new market. This is vital knowledge you’ll need to jump into cannabis.

You should also consider working in the cannabis growing industry. This could give you insight into whether or not you would enjoy working in this industry.

Your Cannabis Business Plan

Now we get serious. A business plan is the core of any endeavor, but it’s even more important for an industry as legally complicated as cannabis.

Here’s what your cannabis business plan should include:

  • Company compliance with laws and regulations
  • Security
  • Waste management
  • Retail logistics
  • Testing
  • A clear description of your growing facility including expected production levels

Picking a Grow Location

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There’s a lot that goes into choosing your location. The first layer is the law. Grow operations can not be near schools, parks, transit centers, or a few other locations based on legalization prescriptions in the law.

Then you have to pick a location you can either purchase or rent, consider your logistics, and budget for the cost of buying or renting this property.

Indoor Operations

Indoor grow operations have a few advantages, but they tend to come at a higher cost. You’ll need to maintain a building, supply your plants with artificial light, and ensure their healthy growth all the while.

Indoor operations are available in more states than outdoor operations.

Outdoor Cannabis Growing

The state of Washington currently allows growers to operate outdoors. There are requirements like an obscure fencing and a semi-permeable roofing over the plants. There are also restrictions for the security, location, and use of your cannabis grow facility.

The climate in the Pacific NorthWest is ideal for cannabis production making this a great climate for producing new crops.

The Infracture You Need for a Cannabis Operation

The question: “what happens when you eat weed?” starts at your growing operation. In order to get your efforts off the ground, you need infrastructure. This includes your agricultural technology, the skilled workers that make the operation run, and recurring orders like fertilizer and seeds.

Grow Lights and Power Needs

Here’s a big overhead cost for cannabis grow operations. The ideal lighting for cannabis isn’t cheap. Quality lights designed just for the cannabis industry can cost thousands of dollars. Luckily, most of these lighting systems are modular allowing your operation to start small and grow with succes.

Security and Compliance With Cannabis Regulations


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One of the most vital things you can do is ensure your operation is in line with laws and regulations. Mistakes here lead to hefty fines and even the closure of your operation. The cannabis industry is not only more heavily regulated than others, it’s also one of the most policed.

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Staying ahead of these regulations is a must for all cannabis grow operations.


Now that you’re growing, you’ll need to start marketing. Marketing allows you to get your products into the hands of buyers.

You’ll need to consider who you’re selling to, what makes your products stand out, and how you want to advertise.

Getting Supplies

You also need to get to know the other suppliers on this side of the weed business.

You might be growing the cannabis that companies and consumers enjoy, but you need your suppliers to keep your business going. You need seeds or clones, packing and shipping materials, and other growing supplies at the very least. These are core costs of your operation and should be clearly listed in your proposed budget.


You won’t need to budget for the side effects of eating weed raw, but you will need to budget for everything else. This includes your overhead costs, supplies, and sales.

This part of your business plan should be very clearly spelled out. Research your numbers and make sure they are as accurate as possible. This will not only help you secure funding, but also help you stay afloat once you open your grow operation.