More than eight years after Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis, some state lawmakers say it’s past time to let people grow their own pot at home.
“What I often hear is conflation of large-scale illicit activity with what we are actually advocating for here, which is legalizing six-plant, noncommercial home gardens,” Kingsbury said.
Last year, the bill died in the House Appropriations Committee, which reviews budget-related measures.
For now, one place which has accepted home grow is Vermont. Of the nine US states which have fully legalized, Vermont is the only one not to allow a commercial industry. Instead, the state will allow possession and home growing, up to six plants, including two flowered females.
That’s probably a few years off though.
Allowing it, police say, enables criminals to hide in plain sight. For law-abiding growers it could invite burglaries, since their stash is worth $1,000 a pound and easy to resell. Firefighters worry about the blazing hot lightbulbs growers use and their elaborate electrical set-ups.
Cannabis is a sexed plant; the drug is the flower from the female. The hard to detect presence of a male plant can ruin the flower produced by a whole room of females. To avoid pollination, large-scale marijuana grows typically use clones instead of seeds, and Graf recommends novice growers to begin with clones as well. The wrong lighting can also be ruinous for a very expensive crop.
How to grow your own weed
For the home grower, this matters much less, and Graf says it helps someone develop their appreciation for the plant. Amid rising interest in home grows, companies have developed home grow pods controlled by smartphone apps and other more modest growing kits and accessories. With strong weed no longer hard to find, home growing is a chance for connoisseurs to grow for CBD, a chemical commonly associated with the plant’s medicinal properties, or for a plant’s terpene profile (bouquet).
The plants can attract unappetizing blights like spider mites, fungus gnats, powdery mildew and grey mold, also called bud rot. And the odor can annoy neighbors. The most vocal opponents of home growing may be the Quebec government which has said it will not allow home grow immediately, as part of an effort to legalize at its own pace.
“There’s an empowerment that comes from being able to do it yourself,” said Nichole Graf, who left New York City with her partner in 2013 to start a marijuana farm in Washington state. Growing, she said, would also be useful if the administration went after the industry and pushed the drug back to the illegal market. With her business partners, she co-authored Grow Your Own: Understanding, cultivating and enjoying cannabis, a nicely illustrated and eco-minded introduction.
T he Canadian government, which is likely to legalize cannabis nationwide this summer, said it planned to allow home grows of up to four marijuana plants, which might yield 5lb in a year to an experienced grower, and is certainly consumable by an experienced smoker.
But home growing has its pleasures. Like tomatoes or carrots, growing one’s own cannabis is cheaper than buying it, and a chance to learn something.