September Newsletter: Water Conservation as California Regulates

Each month, we publish a newsletter discussing a trending topic within the cannabis industry and how it shapes Surna’s philosophy. To be one of the first to receive this information, be sure to sign up for our email list.

September 29, 2015

Each month, we publish a newsletter discussing a trending topic within the cannabis industry and how it shapes Surna’s philosophy. To be one of the first to receive this information, be sure to sign up for our email list.

Regulations Improve Legalization

After nearly 20 years of a non-regulated medical market, California recently took a major step towards creating a fully state-regulated medical marijuana market. With the end of the legislative session approaching, the California State Legislature passed a trio of bills (AB 266, AB 243 & SB 643) to regulate the medical market in the state. These bills are still awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, but are expected to become law.

Some of the most talked about regulations include:

  • Clearly defining what is legal

  • Creating 17 different types of licenses – 10 of which are for cultivation

  • Mandatory testing for potency and purity

  • Allowing businesses to operate as for-profit

  • Banning vertical integration

  • Limits on water use for growers

  • Requirements for both state and local licenses in order to operate a business

  • Allowance of delivery services when tied to a dispensary

At $1.3 billion, the market in California is already the largest cannabis market in the US, accounting for 49% of the total market in 2014.  Once regulated, the influence from such a large market, has the potential to shape how marijuana is grown across existing legalized states. Colorado and Washington have led the landscape of innovation, but California will bring it all to a scale that has not been tapped into previously.

One of the most exciting aspects of the proposed California regulations is that cannabis will, for the most part,be treated like any other agricultural crop, with the few exceptions of tracking, testing and labelling, of course.

The most interesting regulation, from Surna’s point of view, is the limit on water usage for grow operations. Given the drought conditions facing the state and the fact that a single cannabis plant can consume up to 6 gallons of water a day, it was inevitable that some rules about water use would also find their way into the regulations. This is a much needed consideration that many states have ignored altogether to date. The amount of resources put into growing cannabis needs to be considered for both environmental and competitive reasons.

At Surna, we are dedicated to creating better technology for cannabis growers. While we often talk about the energy efficiency of our systems, they are also capable of conserving water. Our dehumidifiers, air handlers and reflectors are all capable of collecting condensate, which can then be reused to water plants. While plants may need to be watered up to six gallons a day, they do not actually retain all of this water. Some studies show that only one percent of all the water a plant absorbs is used for plant growth, the rest is transpired into the air, resulting in humidity. With our system, it is possible to collect the transpired water for reuse and only consume as much water as plants need to grow, allowing indoor grows to be more water efficient than outdoor or greenhouse gardens.

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