October is that magical time of the year that brings out the best in America’s favorite pastime, as well as cannabis. While the top baseball teams match up in the Fall Classic, the nation’s most delectable sun-grown cannabis will be harvested throughout a season better known as Croptober.
And just like baseball, the year’s most elite crops will be dependent on the strength of its hometown advantages.
Much like the benefit of an energized home crowd, high-grade strains become that way due to its friendly environs. Climate conditions are obviously the most important factor in growing primo buds, but isn’t the only one to take into consideration. Variables like population and legal status can be just as important as soil and water quality when it comes to choosing an area to cultivate.
As the postseason strips the league down to its most elite teams, here are our picks for the best regions in the US for growing cannabis.
Want to learn more about growing marijuana? Check out Leafly’s Growing Guide to get tips and advice from expert growers.
California’s lush, rugged northwest territory—dubbed the Emerald Triangle—is akin to the New York Yankees and their history-leading 27 championships. The region’s balmy Mediterranean climate and vast swaths of sloping mountainsides have made it a premiere growing location, akin to France’s Burgundy and its contribution to making wine.
The Triangle grows an estimated 1.7 million pounds of cannabis each year.
State regulators estimate the Triangle grows an estimated 1.7 million pounds of cannabis each year, the US’s number one domestic supplier of the crop.
Add that to California’s evolving legal framework, and you have all the elements needed to grow remarkable crops.
While California leads in outdoor cannabis production, surprise second and third places for outdoor production go to Kentucky and Tennessee.
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Ranking second in indoor cannabis production behind California, the Northwest territory proves to be a formidable rival to Oregon despite its more precipitous location on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. Areas nearby Seattle are dampened by heavy rain and lack of sunlight, leaving most growers to cultivate more indicas and early-flowering hybrids. However, towns east of the Cascade range get much better sunlight, while all parts of Washington benefit from the rich soil and abundance of fresh water.
The Evergreen State also takes Croptober quite seriously, as their farmers produced over 90,000 pounds of cured pot in October 2017 alone, resulting in the biggest single-month haul in Washington’s history.
Ranking 4th in indoor production, Oregon is a fantastic state for cultivation due to its relaxed personal cultivation laws and ease of entering the commercial industry. Naturally, the state grew way more cannabis than it even needs. Price declines have spelled trouble for many farmers, but consumers have rejoiced in $50 legal ounces, more than 80% cheaper than California bud in 2018.
The latest surplus has forced regulators to delay new cultivation applications. Lawmakers could tackle the issue by next year, however, once again making Oregon a stellar growing region for small growers as well as big businesses.
The East Coast may be notorious for low quality buds, but the Northeast can actually provide decent conditions for outdoor growing, namely Maine. Humid summers combined with a shorter fall season might not be ideal, but early-harvesting strains such as indicas or hybrids can benefit from the nurturing soil and the extremely fresh water.
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Maine is also one of the few East Coast states with legal cannabis laws. Although sales remain illegal, adults can legally grow plants, making it a rare safe haven to cultivate cannabis in the region.
Kentucky & Tennessee
Cannabis remains very illegal in these quasi-southern states, which dominated hemp production in the 20th century. Rugged forest areas, ample water, and a rebel way of life have kept Kentucky near the top of domestic cannabis production indoors and out. Tennessee and Kentucky grow a combined, estimated 4.6 million pounds of outdoor cannabis, much of it exported east. Meanwhile, the conservative states still struggle to legalize medical cannabis use.
Choice buds need lots of natural light, making the Sunshine State one of the more hospitable areas to grow in the South. Although the region suffers from high levels of heat and humidity, sativa genetics can thrive from the local rich, healthy soil. Florida is the country’s third biggest producer of indoor cannabis, and Florida’s northwest gave the world the OG Kush variant “Triangle Kush”—which became the foundation for global blockbuster Cookies.
Legally speaking, Florida isn’t nearly as allowing as the aforementioned regions, as only one man in the entire state is allowed to grow his own cannabis.