Marijuana is rarely on the table whenever discussions of climate change are underway. However, as the world grapples with the effects of decades of greenhouse emissions and runaway climate change, cannabis growers will find that they have to adapt.
It is essentially the same issue that has disrupted agricultural-based industries such as wine: shifting weather patterns coupled with climate change are making regions that have previously the perfect conditions for cultivating inhospitable. In the next couple of years, marijuana growers in the country may have to change where and how they grow cannabis if they wish to remain competitive.
This could include switching to shorter growing cycles to ensure your plants mature and flower before any floods, fires or early freezes strike. It may also involve switching to different strains of cannabis because the planet heats up and makes it difficult for certain strains to flourish.
For instance, a scientific study recently published in “Earth and Space Science” journal revealed that parts of Colorado are experiencing aridification due to changes in stream flows caused by climate change. These regions will lose one-half their snow by 2028 and will look more like Arizona in the coming decades.
Researchers behind the study say that while Colorado isn’t turning into a desert any time soon, they expect to see increasing aridity moving forward. In states that have vibrant hemp and marijuana sectors, this change in climate could affect how cultivators grow the two plant varieties in the future.
Runaway climate change is already starting to affect America’s wine industry. In 2021, an independent organization of journalists and scientists called Climate Central noted that shifts in weather patterns would soon make some wine regions too warm and dry to cultivate certain grape varieties.
The New Jersey-based organization states that growing season temperatures have increased by 2.0°F since 1970, forcing vineyards that produce chardonnay to switch to merlot grapes.
Players in the cannabis sector could be making such choices themselves in the next couple of years. The northeast is experiencing shorter and warmer summers, making it difficult for growers to make predictions for the coming seasons, said director of cultivation Lauren Frontier.
Last July, her cannabis cultivation operation received four times the amount of rain it normally gets in a whole year. She is now considering cannabis strains whose genetics allow them to withstand heavy rain and high humidity.
She is also considering shorter-term genetics such as autoflowers. Cannabis is an extremely adaptable plant that can thrive in any location, Fortier declares. Collaboration between farmers and breeders will help them develop strains and cultivation methods that can withstand shifting weather patterns and climate change so that sector actors such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) can continue to meet the needs of their clients without compromising quality or raising prices excessively in a bid to recover the extra costs brought by climate change.
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