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The Costs and Revenues of Growing Weed

Marijuana is the largest cash crop in North America. Because of the success of legalization and decriminalization efforts throughout the last decade, marijuana has soared to an unprecedented level of popularity. Ongoing research into the plant reveals the vast economic and medicinal benefits this plant holds. This new knowledge is why so many people are taking an active interest in the cultivation of marijuana seeds. Everyone hopes to produce their product for personal use, if not commercial resale.

Reasons People Grow Marijuana

The reasons people grow marijuana seeds, from California to New York, are many. Some people raise their own because they’re tired of paying retail prices for weed on the legal or black markets. The markup on legal marijuana is the “highest” in states where legalization efforts have been underway the longest. For example, California dispensaries charge an average price of $300.00 for an ounce of legal weed. That same weed costs just $220.00 on the black market in Florida or Texas. That’s thirty percent – or about 8 grams – more product for the same price.

Saving money is not the only reason that people grow marijuana. Growing marijuana for personal use gives medical patients access to exotic and high-quality strains that might not be available at their local dispensary. Even dispensaries in Colorado, where weed has been legal for over 5 years, cannot stock every option on the store shelves. It likewise saves them from having to deal with a black-market dealer.

Perhaps the biggest reason that marijuana cultivation has become so popular is its profitability. A growing space that is well-designed and operated equally well has the potential to produce several thousand dollars of revenue with just a few plants. Some growers manage their cannabis operations to provide a continuous harvest throughout the year. Whether they choose this route depends upon their method of cultivation.


Outdoor Growing

Outdoor growing is by far the cheapest option. If a grower throws a few seeds to the wind and allows the plants to grow naturally with little or no attention, even these can produce around 5 ounces of quality marijuana. With the cost of a single high-quality seed being around $10.00 each, and marijuana retailing around $10.00 a gram, that means that a $50.00 experiment with zero work effort might yield around a $3,000.00 profit.

The demand for high-quality marijuana is so high that good weed is green gold. Profitability and potential output both increase in relationship to the amount of time, effort, and money the grower invests. Growers can expect to expend more energy and effort than cash as they invest in getting their new growing operations off the ground. They don’t care. The great thing about this model is that it allows new growers the time they need in which to learn their craft. It is a labor of love, and the startup costs are low. A beginner’s setup for growing outdoor weed is available from Amazon for as little as $55.00.

A basic 2-4 plant outdoor amateur grow operation requires an investment of approximately $57.00:

(3) Bags potting soil: $18.00

(3) 15-gallon planters: $9.00

(3) High-quality seeds: $30.00

That’s all it costs to provide your first plants ever with perfect conditions to reach their maximum potential output. Under optimal conditions, an outdoor marijuana plant might produce up to 18 ounces of high-quality marijuana. What that means for the grower from a business perspective is that behind the horticulture is a good-looking ledger. The economic fruit of a first-time operation consisting of just three plants might be as high as $15,000.00.

Many people only dream about monetizing their hobbies, but can you imagine making an extra $15,000.00 for something you did for three months in your spare time? These are the real and working scenarios of many who previously have tried their hand at marijuana cultivation.

For best results, germinate seeds indoors before planting, and outdoor plants should have at least six feet of space in between them. Germinating seeds early in the marijuana season make them more likely to flourish.

Choosing to grow marijuana outdoors is a good option for new growers seeking to cultivate for personal use only because essentially, the outdoors provides everything marijuana needs for free.


Growing Marijuana Indoors

Much to the surprise of most first-timers, the cost of growing marijuana indoors isn’t as high as they expected. The only materials required for indoor growing are soils, lights, pots, and a small fan. For small operations of just a few plants, a carbon filter is unnecessary to control the scent. The CFL lights used for smaller growing spaces are available for as little as $45.00 from Amazon.

People interested in marijuana cultivation recall hearing about indoor growing operations that were discovered by the authorities because of a sharp spike in their property’s electric bill. First-time growers can rest easy. The electricity used by a single grow light for a startup operation of only a few plants will not draw enough additional power to raise any red flags on an electric bill. Any notable increase in operating a single growing lamp for a few months could just as readily be because the property owner purchased a treadmill or home theatre system.

The full cost of a 3-plant starter kit for indoor marijuana growing is $88.00

(1) 125-watt CFL grow light: $25.00

(3) Bags potting soil: $18.00

(2) 1-gallon planters: $3.00

(3) High-quality seeds: $30.00

(1) Small fan: $12.00

With indoor growing, not everybody wants to start small. Some marijuana enthusiasts like to begin, not with a starter kit, but with a setup that will probably last them a lifetime. A high-quality professional setup sells for the same price as an ounce of retail marijuana at some legal dispensaries.

The full cost of a high-quality professional indoor marijuana growing system is $308.00, not including seeds.

(1) 600-watt HPS bulb: $55.00

(1) 600-watt HPS ballast: $51.00

(1) 600-watt reflector: $25.00

(1) 500 cubic meter fan: $30.00

(1) 600-watt reflector: $25.00

(1) 500 cubic meter fan: $30.00

(1) 500 cubic meter carbon filter: $60.00

(1) Time switch: $7.00

(10) 2-gallon pots: $10.00

(3) Bags soil: $15.00

A high-quality bag of seed costs approximately $80.00.

Advantages of Indoor Growing

Growing marijuana indoors means simulating the conditions in which they would typically thrive outside. Outdoor conditions in North America are not always ideal for marijuana strains that originate in far different climates. The great thing about growing marijuana indoors is the ability to give plants a year of correctly simulated outdoor weather. It’s not every year that conditions are ideal outdoors for marijuana cultivation, but it can be when you grow indoors.

Pot plants thrive with abundant light. Indoor grow lights are an effective means of producing high yields. The best way to understand the costs and revenues of growing marijuana indoors is in terms of the amount of marijuana produced per watt of light.

An experienced marijuana grower can produce a weed/light ratio of around 1 gram of marijuana per watt of light. A professional indoor growing system is an outstanding investment. Once the grower is familiar with using it, they can expect it to produce. Many plants produce as much as a pound and a half. Also, you got to grow your favorite strain. The best part is that it only costs about the same as a single ounce from a licensed dispensary.

The moral of the story is that it pays significantly to grow weed. It pays even more when you use a professional indoor growing system. There is no other product on the market that can produce $6000.00 a year for only $350.00, but a well operated indoor growing system can do just that.


The Dark Side of Green Gold

At a glance, the cost/revenue ratio of marijuana growing might seem like a farmer’s heaven and a businessman’s dream. All it takes after the upstart cost of a few lights and fans is dirt, water, and seeds. Still, it would be remiss and utterly irresponsible for any discussion of marijuana revenues not to include the highest potential cost of all: getting caught.

An unfortunate reality of the world in which we live is racism. It’s no secret to most marijuana users that this transcendent human problem is present throughout society, particularly in law enforcement. Marijuana tends to bring people of many colors together, and the police are aware of this.

It makes tremendous sense for those operating on the down-low to see the world as others do. Always scrutinize everything you do as if you saw it through someone else’s eyes. Familiarity breeds contempt, even if it is with one’s self. It is naive to ignore how your habits and social encounters impact your reputation. Properties with a high percentage of multi-racial occupants and traffic are frequently the target of law enforcement sting operations.

Each marijuana grower needs to become well-versed in the laws and regulations regarding marijuana activity in their state and local jurisdiction. Marijuana laws vary by state. Find them in plain language on websites such as marijuanalaws.com and norml.org. Marijuana laws view possession of ounces of marijuana as possession with intent. Possession of pounds of weed is evidence of trafficking.

Marijuana growers must become familiar with their local culture and its attitudes towards marijuana. A technically legal substance may lack actual acceptance within the community. The reverse is likewise true. In some states, locals accept the use of cannabis that is not yet legal. Webehigh.org is a fabulous resource for both growers and buyers alike to understand the social and statutory tolerance of marijuana in nearly every city in the world, based on first-hand written reports from actual marijuana users.

Basic Rules for Selling Weed


1)      Keep the Flow of Traffic Steady

There is a reason most successful weed dealers take the time to smoke with their clients: it slows down the traffic. Nothing tells police that an illegal commodity is for sale at an address that routinely has a high number of frequent visitors that don’t stay long. It is far better to space out regular customers than to serve a lot of them in a short period.

2)      Only Serve People You Know

If someone doesn’t trust you, don’t give them service. You should never sell to a person unless you’ve been to their house and met their family. The quickest way to get caught is by dealing with strangers.

3)      Pay Attention to Your Clients

Weed dealers have an unprecedented opportunity to know what’s going on in their customers’ lives, and they should all take full advantage of it, even if only for pragmatic reasons. If one of your regular customers abruptly stops buying, be the first to reach out to them find out what’s going on. If one of your customers has legal problems, know about it before they tell you.

4)      Be Armed

No matter how much you trust them, everyone that you sell to should understand that you have at least one firearm in your possession. The intent here is not to intimidate, but to project strength. The unfortunate reality of most marijuana growers is that unlike other farmers, they do not have the luxury of calling the police. It is up to marijuana growers to protect themselves.

5)      Keep an Attorney on Retainer

The best thing that successful marijuana growers can do to insulate and protect themselves is to keep an attorney on retainer. This advice is essential for growers dealing in pounds rather than ounces.

6)      Don’t Tell Your Business

If you are manufacturing marijuana for sale in a prohibition state, you literally should tell no one. When the authorities discover marijuana plants growing somewhere, the only way they can get enough evidence to gain a conviction is by pitting witnesses against one another in separate interviews. There is no need to incriminate yourself. If you don’t tell anyone you’re growing, then nobody can say to the police you were cultivating anything.


The potential revenue from even the smallest and lowest maintenance growing operation far outweighs the cost because the sheer demand for marijuana is that high. Cultivating a plant is not difficult or expensive, especially when you start with an easy-to-grow feminized strain. Growing cannabis is far more challenging in terms of the social and legal risks associated with its sale and production. By following the basic guidelines for careful cultivation and resale, first-time American seed growers will find that their beginning experience with growing marijuana is a pleasant and bountiful one.


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