Farmers eager to learn about medical marijuana crops and their potentially high-value returns

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

A young cannabis plant. REUTERS/Cliff DesPeaux)

A young cannabis plant. REUTERS/Cliff DesPeaux)

When it comes to cash crops, cannabis is considered one of the highest valued going.

And Dave Key, project manager of Mallot Creek Group, says many farmers are reconsidering their options when it comes to their crops due to the emerging medical marijuana market.

“The return on investment is phenomenal,” he said.

While a sharecropper can expect about $400 an acre for wheat, medical marijuana weighs in as much as $12 million.

But before a farmer can make the switch there is much to learn as far as ventilation, lighting, water and the all-important security.

Members of the Mallot Creek Group were at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show Tuesday to share their expertise in federal regulations for the new high-value growing opportunity with farmers.

Key said the type of facilities used to grow medical marijuana are similar to the large scale production facilities they have designed for swine, dairy and poultry.

And they say they can help farmers understand the recent federal regulations that changed the way medical cannabis will be accessed by individuals and produced by licensed producers.

“It was a natural transition for us into this new opportunity,” he said.

Ryan Norder of WaterToGrow said he came to the farm show to be part of Access to Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes Regulations exhibit and share his knowledge of water with potential cannabis growers.

Because water quality is vital for cannabis cultivation, he provides specialized water analysis and treatment.

“In the cannabis industry we help by treating well water or municipal water to give them pure water — to get consistencies,” he said.