By Steve Elliott
About four months after planting, Colorado's first modern legal outdoor marijuana crop is reaching maturity.
Much of the legal marijuana sold in the state is grown indoors under lights, but the niche occupied by outdoor sun-grown marijuana seems secure; some consumers prefer organic, outdoor cannabis. Outdoor growers usually can only harvest one crop a year, compared to three or four harvests indoors under lights, but outdoor plants typically have a higher yield.
Each plant in Colorado, even outdoors, is tagged with an RFID chip, allowing growers and state regulators to track its path from seed to sale, reports Live Trading News. The plants are weighed after being cut down, again after being trimmed, and again when packaged for sale.
Ryan Griego owns one of the largest outdoor grows in the state, based on a 40-acre compound patrolled by guards and watched by wireless security cameras, reports Trevor Hughes of USA Today. Each three-foot, bushy plant is worth $4,000 to $6,000, depending on yield.
Griego's 12-man crew will be harvesting at least $4 million worth of marijuana, and he's just one of hundreds of licensed growers across the state. He owns two marijuana stores, operating under the Cannasseur name, selling both recreational and medical marijuana in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.