A Maryland farm is the first on the East Coast to successfully grow marijuana outdoors for legal sale, a difficult feat in this humid, variable climate. East Coast growers typically use warehouses and greenhouses, unlike their West Coast counterparts, but growing outdoors in the sun makes for a different plant. As one cannabis cultivation consultant told the Washington Post, “If you’ve ever experienced the satisfaction of a ripe, sun-grown tomato from a farmers market, then you can appreciate the difference between outdoor grown cannabis and indoor.” (Some experts disagree that there’s a big difference in quality between indoor- and outdoor-grown cannabis.)
Outdoor-grown is definitely cheaper, because you’re not paying for all the equipment needed to control for “the strength of the breezes, the pH of the water, and the wavelengths, duration and intensity of the light,” according to the Washington Post.
Mackie Barch, who owns the medical cannabis cultivation company, Culta, that operates the farm, hopes to cut costs by a third by growing outdoors. Some states have imposed restrictions on outdoor cultivation because of safety concerns, such as easy access to the plants.