As of Oct. 17, recreational marijuana is legal in Canada, and the food and beverage industry is jumping at the chance to infuse the substance into their products. According to CBC News, there is a growing number of fruit and vegetable farmers that are switching over to cannabis or adding it to their crop production.
Producers have reported that they might not be able to supply the demand of cannabis to retailers by the legalization date. However, cannabis producers are buying out greenhouses that were meant for produce.
According to CBC News, greenhouses are ideal for marijuana growth as the natural light helps to grow high-quality crops with lower energy costs. Meanwhile, structures can be built quickly and can expand easily.
While some growers are concerned that cannabis crops may lead to a shortage of vegetables, estimates show that there's a 2 percent increase in the amount of acreage that will come for vegetable production this year, CBC News reports. In fact, Canada already produces more greenhouse-grown vegetables than needed for the domestic market. Exports are primarily sent to the United States.
Profits are the main reason produce growers are turning to cannabis. CBC News reports that growers can earn upwards of 40 times as much per acre as they do with vegetables. However, since the industry is able to pay workers more, vegetable growers could lose workers.
Meanwhile, small towns are feeling the pressure from cannabis growers that want to build greenhouses. Towns are struggling to upgrade hydro, water and natural gas services to keep pace with greenhouse construction.