Smrita Choubey left her corporate job to follow in the footsteps of her family in India by bringing together farming and traditional healing. So, she jumped into New Jersey’s budding cannabis industry.

But she didn’t want to be one of the big indoor growers who “use as much electricity as a whole town.” She wanted to grow her weed outside on a Warren County farm, using the sun and rain. That was five years ago.

Choubey has been held up fighting for local and state permits to grow cannabis outdoors — a method of weed production that farmers and researchers say creates less environmental pollution and uses significantly less energy.

One year into the legal cannabis industry, there are still no outdoor cannabis farms in New Jersey. In an industry where barriers to entry are already notoriously high, Choubey said there are few people willing to spend the time and money to try to get permission to cultivate outdoors, despite its sustainability and benefits to the environment. “We’re the only ones — because it’s so hard,” Choubey said.