Washington State Cannabis Regulators Will Now Have Teams to Enforce Canopy Limits

New Canopy Limits

Starting this month on November 1, 2017, our favorite enforcement agency is rolling out a new department! The Washington State LCB (Liquor and Cannabis Board) has developed a whole new team to crack down on none other than—canopy. Yup, seems pretty mundane, right? It’s a little more involved than it appears. So, let’s breakdown what this means for licensees.

Canopy is how Washington State decided to tier their licenses and limit excessive cannabis production. Without getting too crazy, there’s three tiers with the largest housing up to 30,000 ft2 of canopy and the smallest up to 2,000 ft2. To most this doesn’t seem like a big deal, and to most indoor producers, it won’t be. Indoor facilities are centered around the footprint of lamps. Because of the lamp footprint, growers try to keep the canopy of their plants level—hence the frequent use of trellising. As far as these officers go, measuring the canopies of indoor grows will almost always be a waste of time because upgrades to an environment are more permanent and difficult to hide. Everything is under surveillance and visits to indoor facilities are much more common because of their convenient city location.

Targeting Outdoor Facilities

Outdoor facilities, on the other hand, are most definitely the target of this new regulation team. With plants positioned to grow full season, it’s nearly impossible to fully anticipate the final canopy achieved before harvest. If a farmer planted a canopy of 20,000 ft2 in June, you could easily finish with 100,000 ft2 by harvest. How they’ll even go about measuring the outdoor plants canopy will be a feat in and of itself. Unlike indoor canopies, where the surface of the canopy is often level and limited artificial light penetration make the square footage easy to measure, outdoor plants pose a completely different challenge. By harvest, cannabis plants grown outdoors are often the size of small apple trees (>=8-10 feet) and yield as much as 5-10 pounds per plant. With a more parabolic growth shape, these giant bushes have nugs just as large and dense on the sides and near the ground as they do reaching toward the sky. Taking a snapshot from straight above doesn’t even begin to appropriately represent the canopy relative to their indoor counterparts.

Whether these teams will serve to be good or not doesn’t really matter, they are here to stay. I do believe they’ll help to slow or hinder the people who excessively push the boundaries and put many others at risk because of it. In turn, honest farmers will have a more equitable bid in the market. At a time when the federal government is making up excuses to attack any and all, this is ultimately one more safeguard to thwart their involvement. So if you work in a 502 production facility, get ready for some frequent visitors!

Washington State Canopy Limits
Washington State Canopy Limits