Legalization is growing like wildfire…
It has become legal to cultivate cannabis, or marijuana, in most states within the United States as well as in Canada for both individuals and licensed professionals alike.
While there are many requirements to be met by Health Canada, there are some states in the United States where licensing is not very strict.
For informational purposes only, we will dive into the possibility of legally growing your own medical marijuana – which basically depends on your residence. (Disclaimer: Always follow the law and do your own diligent research within your area first!)
So now, let’s take a closer inspection of both Canada and the United States.
Canada‘s Cannabis Legality
In Canada, only growers and cultivators approved by Health Canada as “licensed producers” are allowed to grow and sell dried cannabis.
However, before taking a quantum leap into cannabis cultivation, you must submit a business plan together with your license application.
The business plan must show the location of the business, and the business must meet the security requirements of Health Canada. Furthermore, your business plan must specify cost per gram and how you intend to market the product.
The license by Health Canada takes care of other rules which govern packaging, inventory, cultivation, pest control, and storage.
You can purchase the seeds from Health Canada if your application as a grower is approved.
United States‘ Cannabis Legality
America is the land of the free…but growing cannabis is not free!
Currently, there are four states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana as well as personal cannabis cultivation – with each state having its own laws and rules, so pay attention to them if your desire is to be as compliant as possible in your quest to legally grow your own cannabis.
The law for growing medical marijuana in the state of Washington requires that you limit yourself to a period of 60-day supply, which amounts to about 15 plants of cannabis producing 24 ounces of marijuana. This amount of cannabis (or less) can conveniently defend you in the event of any arrest.
Now medical patients are allowed to grow their own marijuana without a license. If you have a doctor’s recommendation, then a medical marijuana grower’s license is not needed. However, only adults over the age of 21 are permitted to cultivate cannabis, and they should not exceed 6 plants per person or 12 plants per household.
Adults who are at least 21 years old are permitted by the law to cultivate and grow cannabis. The law permits them to possess up to 8 ounces (or 4 cannabis plants) in their homes and 1 ounce in the public. However, personal growers are not required to register or get a license as long as they maintain a minimum of 4 plants in their household.
Although there are some exceptions, the major exception here is that growers should be far away from schools because possession within 1,000 feet of a school is tantamount to a jail term.
The production licenses are administered by Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Generally, Oregon has become a marijuana-friendly state.
Personal use and cultivation of cannabis in the state of California is allowed for adults of 21 years and above.
In this regard, adults are permitted to cultivate up to 6 plants per person with no more than half flowering at a time.
With doctor’s recommendation, patients are permitted to use medical marijuana in the state. Home cultivation with no specified limits is also permitted.
The state of Colorado through its Amendment 64 (or Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment) law allows personal use and growing of cannabis for adults of age 21 years and above.
Growing your own marijuana for medical use is limited to 6 plants (invariably 12 plants for each household) with no more than half flowering at a time.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana License
Despite the state you are living in that has legalized the cultivation and growth of marijuana, you still need approval from a medical doctor and, in most cases, apply for a license in order to grow marijuana.
Here is a plan of action to go about obtaining a valid license.
1. Lay down the foundation of operation.
Once you have made the decision to grow marijuana legally, you need to develop an operation plan. Also, study and know the law in the state you intend to grow your own cannabis in order to operate within the confines of the law, especially the rules set by I-502 in Washington state. Be as descriptive as possible.
2. Find the right growing location.
Get a location that fits within all of the state’s growing-facility regulations. Basically, your growth location needs to be situated 1,000 feet away from any primary or secondary school, recreation facility, children park, library, etc. Also, you can let local authorities know of your proposed growth location to see if they have any criticism beforehand.
3. Find a physician.
This step entails you to find a doctor who will authorize your application for a medical marijuana license. In most cases, your regular doctor is preferable. All you have to do is visit your doctor for evaluation. There you will explain to him/her the reasons for your application, and they, in turn, will assess whether to issue you authorization.
4. Get your money ready.
Whether you are growing marijuana for medical, recreational, personal, or business purposes, it requires funds to start. You need money to take care of startup costs such as the expenses of light, utility bill, and property maintenance. It’s better to overestimate your startup costs to cover any unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the future.
5. Meet all requirements.
Before you begin your application, ensure the following items are prepared:
– Criminal background checks
– Government-issued identification
– Financial statement of the money invested in the business
– Copies of recent tax returns and bank statements
– Medical history
6. Apply for a license.
Now you will fill out the paperwork. As soon as you receive doctor’s authorization, you are required to fill out a form and register for a registry of approved patients. You may be able to scan the paperwork as well as the doctor’s authorization and submit them online, or you may have to submit the paperwork in person (as with the case in San Diego). You can ask the doctor or find your state’s requirement online.
7. Pay the fee.
Some states require you to pay a fee in order to obtain a license. The time and the way to pay varies from state to state. However, instructions are available on your registration paperwork, and the license fee ranges from $10 to $200.
8. Wait for your card.
It takes days to review your paperwork before your card arrives through the mail. In some states, such as California, some hospitals in charge of medical marijuana screenings can issue you a card immediately upon your arrival.
9. Buy your marijuana seeds.
This is a remaining component you have to do before you begin growing your own cannabis. You have the right to purchase the marijuana seeds from a licensed dispensary or online as soon as your card arrives. In some states, you are expected to show your current identification card together with your doctor’s authorization before you can purchase the cannabis seeds.
Steps to Growing Cannabis
After having familiarized yourself with the various states that approve the growing of medical cannabis and the laws inherent in them, it would be worthwhile to know all that is involved in growing your own cannabis without much hassles.
Actually, growing marijuana legally for medical purpose is pretty simple and straightforward. If you can commit a few minutes a day and spare a garden or your little closet in your home, then you are ready to produce high-quality buds for personal beneficial use.
There are just 10 steps that you need to take. Let’s begin going over each one.
Step 1: Choose Where to Grow the Cannabis
You can choose to grow your marijuana either indoor or outdoor.
Indoor Growth – This obviously offers more privacy and control over your cannabis cultivation. Indoor cannabis growth has proven to be more affordable and easy to start and run, especially for those who want to cultivate a few marijuana plants. Indoor growers have the capacity to produce marijuana buds on a consistent basis, but it comes with great responsibility of providing everything the plant needs to avoid the death of the plant.
Cannabis can be grown almost anywhere there are fresh air and easy access to water. Places such as a garage, growing tent, extra bathroom, closet, and spare room are all ideal. One of the major environmental factors to consider for a successful indoor grow is temperature. A warmer temperature in the range of 20–30 degrees Celsius favors young-growing cannabis plants, making them grow faster.
When the plants are aging (in the flowering/budding stage), the temperature should be a bit cooler, within the range of 18–26 degrees Celsius in order to produce buds with better smell and color. Therefore, get a well-ventilated spare room with a few windows and a pot of potting soil together with a couple of fluorescent lamps.
Outdoor Growth – Growing cannabis plants outdoor is quite cheaper to commence since you probably won’t need to create the ideal indoor growth area with all the plant’s requirements. All you have to worry about are privacy, possible pollination, and even people stealing your cannabis plants.
If you can choose the right strain and live in an environmentally-friendly residence, then growing your plants outdoor will be cheaper for you considering the fact that the outdoor will already provide almost everything needed by the plant – including the sun.
Step 2: Choose the Grow Light
More light invariably brings in more buds when growing cannabis. What kind of light do you need to successfully grow your cannabis plants?
For outdoor growth, the sun is perfect, considering that the plants are getting a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight each day for optimum results.
For indoor growth, as a beginner, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs are the best because they are affordable and easily available. Even though they do not possess the power of dedicated grow lights, they will serve well for a beginner.
Another fluorescent lighting like LED (light-emitting diode) grow lights can work really well for growing marijuana but are highly expensive. When buying one, ensure you purchase it from a reputable company as there are untrusted LED sellers out there.
Choose your indoor-light source based on your financial muscle.
Step 3: Choose the Growing Medium
Each growing medium has its care and watering needs. There are many growing media, but we will limit them to two for beginner’s ease.
Soil Mix: This is made up of composted soil that offers simple growing experience or the popular FFOF (Fox Farm Ocean Forest) potting soil, which already contains adequate nutrients to last for the first one month of the plant’s life. Just purchase any of them based on your starting cost.
Soilless Mix: If you are going for this option, then Coco Coir, Vermiculite, and even Perlite are all good. A mix of Coco Coir with Perlite is a suited choice for beginners because it’s easy, cheap, less problematic, and sturdy enough to hold water well.
Step 4: Choose the Nutrient
Whether you choose to grow your cannabis in soil or soilless medium, you need nutrients to sustain the growth of the plant.
One of the easiest and inexpensive nutrient systems that work great for beginners is Dyna-Gro. It can be used as half-strength Coco Coir, water, soil, and any other growing medium and does not build up salt in your growing medium.
Use the growing-container during the vegetative period and the blooming-container at the flowering stage. The instructions on the containers are quite simple.
Step 5: Source the Cannabis Plant
Just like the laws guiding the use of cannabis vary from one state to another in the US, so is the laws guiding the purchase of cannabis seeds.
Actually, it is safer and more reliable to purchase cannabis seeds online from a trusted seed bank…as long as it is coming from outside the US or overseas. Note: Sending seeds from one place to the other IN the US is unlawful.
Here are two online sites you should source your cannabis seeds from. These online providers are reliable as well as have received a lot of positive reviews from customers online.
All you have to do is to visit their website and order the particular strain or breed of your choice, then make payment, and you will have it shipped to you within a few days. The major benefit of using these two online options (highlighted above) is that they maintain uniformity in strength and quality.
STEP 6: Germinate the Cannabis Seeds
Generally speaking, one of the simplest, popular, and cheapest ways to germinate cannabis for beginners is by the paper-towel method. All you need items:
– Paper towels
– Cannabis seeds
– 2 plates
– Where to plant sprouted seeds
Take the following procedure to germinate the seeds.
1. Place the seeds on a moistened paper towel, fold it, and place it on a plate.
2. Cover the plate with another plate to keep moisture within and check it often to see if the seeds have sprouted.
3. Make a little hole in the moist growing medium and gently place the sprouted seed root down into the hole, cover it in a loose manner.
4. Place CFL bulbs about 4 inches away and keep lights on for 24 hours. Two smooth-seedling leaves will emerge at this stage.
5. Keep moving the CFL bulbs to maintain distance. The vegetative stage will commence with the emergence of the first two adult leaves.
Step 7: Create the First Sprout
This is the vegetative stage with the presence of the first set of leaves.
At this stage, you should water your plants regularly at least five times daily. If you are feeding your plants with extra nutrients, begin at half strength.
On the other hand, only feed nutrients at full strength when the leaves of the plants are turning from lime green to yellow.
Provide 18–24 hours light daily in the vegetative stage while growing indoors and direct sunlight of up to 6 hours if growing outdoors.
Step 8: Grow the Plant Big and Strong
This is the budding stage and will last until harvest. In this stage, you will perform these functions.
Switch to 12-12 light schedule: You must provide 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness daily to get the plants to begin flowering usually by putting your lights on a timer for indoor arrangement. For outdoor growing, your plants start budding some months after winter. You can use the timer on your phone to monitor this.
On or before two weeks after initiating the 12-12 light schedule, your cannabis plants will reveal their gender. Male plants will start to grow pollen sacs without white hairs, while the female plants will start to grow white hairs at the apex of branch joints.
At this stage, you should do away with male plants as soon as they grow pollen sacs in order to allow the female ones to produce more buds, flowers, and seeds.
Remember to maintain low temperature of 18–26 degrees Celsius in order to produce buds with better smell and color.
Step 9: Harvest the Weed
You can initiate harvesting of your weed immediately after the following two conditions are obvious:
It is time to harvest!
Start harvesting when about 70% of the hairs have changed color (to get the highest THC levels).
How do you harvest your weed?
Get a strong pair of scissors, cut the plant down in the easiest way possible and trim all the fat buds.
Step 10: Dry and Cure the Newly Harvested Buds
After harvesting, hang the weeds upside-down in a little dark place with enough ventilation in order to dry effectively. Remember to dry slowly and naturally.
An evidence that the buds have been dried is that the thin stems will snap while the thick stems will bend a bit.
It’s time to cure your buds!
Put the buds in firmly-closed jars in a dark place and fill the jars to about 3/4 of the way full. Open the jars for a few minutes every day for the first two weeks to get fresh air, plus to release any moisture contained. Then repeat the treatment for another two weeks while opening the lid once every week instead of daily.
Most experienced growers will tell you that it is better to cure your weed for at least one month in order to increase its potency, then keep your weed in a cool and dry space for a long-term storage.
Remember, ensure you are familiar with the limits of your state’s cannabis laws. Just because you have received your medical marijuana card does not mean you have guarantee to possess marijuana and consume it anyhow you like. Be warned!