Rows of cannabis seedlings, 18 inches high and three weeks old, swayed recently in the breeze created by wall fans inside the nursery at Windhill Organics, a medical cannabis growing operation in the midcoast. Overhead, two 1,000-watt metal halide lamps cast a bright, blue-white light over the crop 18 hours a day. The temperature was around 75 degrees, the humidity 48 percent. "You're trying to simulate spring with the seedlings," said Arleigh Kraus, the owner of the business and a medical cannabis caregiver.
In a nearby room, dozens of flowering cannabis plants were lined up on racks under a blinding yellowish sun radiating from a dozen 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lamps. A dozen oscillating wall fans, along with two large dehumidifiers and mini-split heat pumps, maintain the 500-square-foot flower room at the desired artificial climate year-round. Next door, an identical flower room was being cleaned and made ready for the maturing seedlings.
But creating ideal indoor growing conditions for cannabis comes at a high cost. When commercial electric rates peaked last January, Windhill Organics was shocked with a $10,000 monthly electric bill, way above its $4,500 monthly average.
High energy-supply rates this year have hit nearly anyone who pays for power in Maine, and there's no relief in sight for 2023. But the rate surge has delivered a one-two punch to cannabis growers. Just as electric rates are shooting up, wholesale cannabis prices are plunging off a cliff. It's the worst of both worlds: Energy prices have more than doubled, while the value of the commodity has been cut in half.
To read the complete article, go to www.yahoo.com