It is harvest time, and like many farmers, Tom Buggia's mind is on the weather this particular morning. The sun and the clouds will help determine the success of his multimillion-dollar investment in fencing, security, irrigation, and 9,000 plants individually growing in bags in a rural area near Clare.
A steady stream of overcast weather could spell disaster. "Growing cannabis is just like other types of agriculture," Buggia says, looking out over his property, "except with more bureaucracy."
"If it rains the last three weeks of September, we don't really have anything," the 64-year-old Buggia said recently. "It's the same as any other conventional farmer. If Mother Nature is not with you, you spent a lot of time doing stuff that's not going to pay off."
While the harvest season has since ended for Buggia's operation in Wise Township north of Mount Pleasant, it remains part of an expanding trend across the state of outdoor cannabis farms popping up in jurisdictions that will allow them. It is now three years after Michigan voters decided to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2018.
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