It’s the Gold Rush all over again in California, except this time the prize is cannabis. With the passage of Proposition 64, passed by the California state legislature in November 2016, speculators have invaded California at a speed similar to whiteflies on gerberas. Prop. 64 legalizes adult recreational use of marijuana and includes provisions for cultivation, provided local jurisdictions sign off. In passing the law, California joined the ranks of eight states and Washington, D.C. that have legalized recreational marijuana. In total, 29 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam have legalized medical marijuana.
In Colorado, Massachusetts and Oregon, cannabis cultivation has fueled a real estate boom in dilapidated warehouses, unused factories and abandoned self-storage operations, the kinds of properties that easily retrofit to growing facilities. Despite the multimillion dollar renovation price, cannabis growers like these spaces because they’re private, easy to secure and adapt readily to climate control. But flower farmers know that energy costs quickly add up in enclosed production settings, and even with careful retrofits, the original structures weren’t meant for high humidity, which can lead to expensive mold remediation.