With Canada ramping up for federal legalization come summertime, and more American municipalities and states passing measures in favor of full-on legalization, there hasn’t been a better time (since before Prohibition, of course) to invest in North American cannabis.
But where are the continent’s most prolific growers and farms? And where exactly should you go to start your next canna-venture?
Given the racist history behind the word “marijuana” as it pertains to the policing and demonizing of Mexican immigrants decades ago, you may have been led to believe that Mexico (which legalized medical cannabis in June 2017) is the goldmine for cannabis more than anywhere else on the continent. But that assumption is dead wrong.
Canada by far — particularly in the province of Ontario — boasts the biggest farms, with 568,000 acres operated by Canopy Growth Corporation in Smith Falls, 305,000 acres operated by 7ACRES in Kincardine, followed by 227,500 acres in Moncton, New Brunswick operated by Organigram.
The Emerald Triangle in Northern California has historically been the epicenter for illegal cannabis cultivation, due to its highly regarded Class I soil, low population density, and good annual rainfall totals. The towns of Crescent City, Eureka and Redding experience the highest rates of rainfall per year, with Napa not far behind. Despite the glitz and glamour that Southern California has on offer, the advice for investors and cultivators is: Grow north.
Meanwhile, one Southern Californian town thinks the desert can compete with and defeat the hills and valleys up north to earn a big title in cannabis growing, with Desert Hot Springs aspiring to be the best place to grow cannabis in the entire world.
One technology-oriented cannabis firm, American Green Inc., which is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, even purchased 120 acres — including the entire town of Nipton, California, with a population of just 16 residents — back in summer 2017. While the company has a monopoly over local cannabis cultivation, the newly acquired area will make for decent-sized farmland. Since California legalized recreational weed on January 1, the tiny town has since become a tourist destination for tokers.
In Oregon, the town of Williams, located about 55 miles north of the California border, has a population of 2,000, yet boasts a significantly high density of cannabis growers. More than 400 of Williams’ residents, which equals about 20 percent of the inhabitants, are authorized to grow up to 12 plants. And the neighboring towns in Josephine County, including O’Brien, Selma and Cave Junction, also have similar rates of cannabis growers.
However, the West Coast won’t likely have the advantage in the American cannabis industry for long, especially as states in New England, like Vermont and Connecticut, reconsider their stance on recreational pot.
In September 2017, Colorado-based AmeriCann received $10 million in funding to build a massive medical cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Freetown, Massachusetts, which will include a 130,000 square-foot greenhouse, laboratory and research center. This facility is expected to become one of the biggest — and if not, the biggest — cannabis grow facilities in the country.
Of course, we can’t forget about trailblazing Colorado, with the likes of Pueblo County home to Los Sueños Farms, one of the biggest open-air cannabis facilities in the entire country.
And as for outside of North America, despite the continued stigma of cannabis in those countries, the United Kingdom and Australia are among the world’s largest cannabis producers and exporters. If legalization is delayed in Canada (as has been hinted), and the American federal government continues to block progress on sensible drug policy, our entire continent could soon fall very far behind the rest of the world.