“We don’t grow tomatoes in warehouses”

Dan Sutton, one of Canada’s legal medical-cannabis producers, proposes using sunlight instead of Gro-Lux. His  TEDx talk emphasizes the environmental benefits, but the cost savings are likely to be the big driver in forcing the industry to adopt new growing techniques.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on ““We don’t grow tomatoes in warehouses””

  1. LED technology is bringing hydroponic lettuce to isolated communities in rural Alaska. Apparently people will pay a lot for this tasteless leaf provided it's fresh and crunchy.

  2. With seed to maturity durations as little as 62 days in indoor grows in Colorado, I'm not sure how outdoor planting can compete with six crops per year in a cold climate. Sutton's examples are not just apples-to-oranges, they're closer to apples-to-whey. I found his reasoning simplistic to the point of annoying. Mushrooms???? Oh please! Plus, hydroponics require less water than outdoor irrigation. In Mexico, for example, they are already worried about indigenous water rights if the cartels take up legal marijuana cultivation.

    Sorry, I just don't see how solar and wind-powered hydroponics aren't MUCH more carbon neutral than outdoor growing. If you have the stats to back his assertions up, I'll gladly change my mind, but it seems an absurd contention, prima facie. Add the economic incentives for six grows per year, plus the cost of land around urban centers where most of the sales will be, and it smells like complete New Age bullshit, this contention that outdoor growing is both economically and ecologically superior.

    1. Show me an indoor grow that can produce flowers for $1 per gram, and then let's talk. The electric bill for an indoor grow, all by itself, costs more than the total production cost outdoors or in greenhouses. (Using solar or wind power, if it's available, will help with the carbon footprint but not with the bottom line.)

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