The land of the free and the home of the brave. This is America.
Unfortunately, when it comes to marijuana growing, some parts of the United States have a bit more liberty than others. Alaska, Colorado, Washington DC and Oregon lead in cannabis cultivation and growth, both privately and publically, and have the most freedom when it comes to this leafy green plant.
Rules and guidelines governing your marijuana freedoms will differ depending on where you live. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations regarding personal cannabis cultivation. In order to stand in full-compliance with the law, it is imperative to research your own state laws before planting, growing and harvesting marijuana.
It’s actually quite easy to find out if your state has rules in favor of or against the use of cannabis. Here is a detailed list of all 25 states that have enacted legal medical marijuana and/or personal and private usage as well as the details concerning laws, fees, and usage amounts.
These laws are constantly changing and in flux with local, stat and federal government officials. Stay up to date. It won’t be too long, America hopes, until cannabis is fully legalized within all 50 continental states.
Legalization of marijuana outside of the USA
If you’re living outside of the U.S., rules are entirely different.
Europe, in one sense of an over-generalization, is known for its “coffee shops” and consumption of pot. Visiting Amsterdam? Most United States born minds will gravitate towards (at least) a fleeting thought of smoking a hearty and worry-free joint.
According to a recent article written by Thrillist, there are 30 countries that you can go to at any given time to smoke a joint. Some of them, like Argentina, utilize a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy where it’s totally legal to smoke in your house but punishable if you’re caught lighting up on the streets.
Similar to current U.S. rules and regulations, Australia has initiated a partial-legality, making weed consumable in certain states but not in others. But if you’re really looking to have an exciting experience, head to Cambodia where restaurants not only sell legal amounts of pot but also have multiple “Happy Restaurants” in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville that publicly offer food cooked with marijuana.
Once you’ve got a basic knowledge of the state laws under your belt you can begin exploring how to grow weed, grow cannabis outdoors, and consider where you want to grow it. But first, the legalities.
Is it legal to grow marijuana indoors and outdoors?
Yes and no. The answer to this commonly asked question differs depending on who you are and where you are currently living.
The U.S. is currently split down the middle when it comes to the topic of harvesting and cultivating marijuana.
Exactly half of the U.S. (25 states in total) have some form of marijuana regulations. Only a handful of states, however, actually allow personal cultivation of cannabis.
In the states where it is legal, while rules do differ slightly, the law states that adults (i.e. persons over 21 years of age) are allowed to cultivate “up to 6 plants per person with no more than half flowering at a time” and have restricted the growing limit to 12 plants per household. Residents of certain states may or may not need a legal license in order to grow and sell weed.
Surprisingly, the federal government is still classifying marijuana as “a highly addictive drug without medical value,” according to a recent article published by the New York Times. Unfortunately, this is how marijuana has been classified for the past 46 years.
Few changes have been made regarding marijuana policies and statutes even though it has been a popular topic of discussion in recent years. Perhaps things will change during the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
The D.E.A., however, did recently move to allow more institutions the ability to grow marijuana for research and laboratorial testing purposes. While changes regarding cannabis are small and may seem insignificant at times, progress is slowly being made.
Laws and penalties for consuming or cultivating marijuana
Despite the progress that is slowly being made there are many states that still have very strict laws against the use of and the cultivation of marijuana, both publicly and privately.
Take the state of New York, for example, a fairly progressive and democratic state (thanks to the large population of New York City). New York state still has extremely harsh laws that prohibit the use of trafficking of this “drug.”
Getting caught in both the selling or the illegal possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana can lead to up to $15,000 in fines and up to 15 years in federal prison. Trafficking this drug is even worse with up to $100,000 of punishable debts and 15 to 25 years in federal prison for a crime that is still considered a “felony.”
Growing marijuana indoors
There are many different ways to grow weed easy.
Whether you’re just beginning and are totally new to growing pot or you’ve been doing it for years, here’s a detailed overview of everything that you need to know to answer your questions on how to grow a weed plant.
Growing weed indoors has many benefits over growing cannabis outdoors. For starters, you can control the environment. Temperature, oxygen levels, humidity, the amount of light the plants receive, how much water they drink and what type of soil you put them in are all up to you. Keeping your crop indoors also means that you have a lower risk of losing it to severe changes in weather, to theft or to the local authorities.
How to grow weed indoors
There are many different variations and ways to grow cannabis indoors. The growing process is highly customized and can be personalized in many ways. But before you begin growing anything, there are four basic questions that you’ll need to consider:
- How much space will you need?
- Will you use a hydroponic system or basic potting soil?
- What kind of lighting will you use?
- Which type of seeds will you plant?
Most growers will have a specific amount of space that’s readily available to them. The amount of useable space (and your specific state regulations) will determine how many plants you are able to grow and what size of grow box, grow closet and/or grow tents you will be able to use
Grow boxes are a great option if indoor space is limited.
They’re also a quick and easy way to begin growing your own greens as the majority of them will come equipped with warming lights and complete hydroponic systems. Using a marijuana grow box also allows for a regulated growth rate and ensures that your cannabis isn’t growing at abnormally fast or uncontrollable rates. If you’re new to growing your greens, this could be a great place to start.
Hydroponic System (growing plants without soil) vs. Soil
When it comes to growing weed there are a few differences in how you can choose to grow your plants. While growing pot in organic soil is one of the most environmentally responsible and earth-friendly methods, there are definite benefits to using hydroponics.
Benefits of using a hydroponic system
- Control the amount of nutrients that your plants are getting on a day-to-day basis.
- Safer to use and provides a lower risk of your plants being exposed to harmful elements like mold spores and parasite eggs that are easily hidden in outdoor soils.
- Larger production of cannabis in shorter amounts of time.
- Quick and easy use, maintain, and cleanup. No dirt is involved or required.
Lighting is the next decision that you’ll have to make.
Investing in a good grow light is essential to the life and health of your plants. While there are many types of grow lights that you could use, most growers have success with either a full spectrum LED light or a High Intensity Discharge (HID) light.
While both options for grow lights are good ones, full spectrum LED lights are by far the most popular choice among cannabis growers at the moment. While they will cost you more money up front, it’s no doubt that they pay themselves off rather quickly.
Among the many benefits of using a full spectrum LED light, the two benefits that seem to have the greatest impact for growing are the fact that they emit a broad spectrum of light that is essential to growing plants (420 nm – 750 nm) and also that they don’t give off heat while warming which tends to burn the plants and stunt or even prevent their growth.
Choosing which strains and types of seeds that you want to grow can be more complicated and involved than most people think. Having a general knowledge of the difference between the two main types of strains, Sativa and Indica, is a necessary place to begin.
After that you’ll have to decide whether you want a regular or feminized and autoflowering strain. Autoflowering strains are higher in THC while feminized strains are higher in CBD. Most types of marijuana seeds are readily available for purchase online.
Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable and legit source. Choose wisely! It’s no lie that good genetics and a healthy cannabis plant make a world of difference in the size, frequency and quality of your harvest.
Harvesting and curing marijuana
Finally, the part you’ve all been waiting for! If growing is the hardest part, harvesting is the most rewarding part.
Harvesting the plants at the appropriate time has a bit of a science behind it. Harvesting too soon means you’ll miss out on some of the goodness of THC crystals before they’re “ripe” and harvesting too late means you’ll miss out on the goodness because they’ve begun to dry up.
A magnifying glass is essential to examine the trichomes (tiny hairs) of each plant for readiness. To do this you’ll need to cut into each brand individually at the base of the stem and separate the stems for drying so that the plants are not touching.
They’ll dry quicker this way. Hang the plants upside down, by the stems, to dry. Depending on the temperature, air circulation and humidity in the room, the drying process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. You’ll know that the the stems are ready when they snap (as opposed to bending) beneath the gentle touch of your fingers.
Once your flowers are dry they are ready to smoke. Some, however, prefer to cure the plants first. To do this you’ll want to put the buds in an airtight glass jar, like a mason jar, and let it sit anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month, opening it to “breathe” for 10 to 20 minutes two times per day.
Aerating the buds for short periods of time each day activates the terpenes and flavonoids and brings them to maturity without overwhelming them with oxygen, which degrades the THC.
For more information on harvesting and curing marijuana, check out this detailed harvesting guide.
How to grow weed outdoors
When considering how to grow weed outside, you have to think a bit differently than you would if you were growing it inside.
Allowing weed to grow outdoors in a natural environment can be an incredibly inspiring and rewarding process.
Marijuana flourishes in an outdoor environment if certain factors, like geographic location and temperature, are in place. Sometimes, experts say, marijuana that is grown in the great outdoors is even more flavorful and plentiful than its indoor-grown cousins.
When growing pot outdoors, it is important to consider the following factors:
1. Geographical location.
2. Away from public. Where you’ll locate the plant in terms of its ability to procure and receive natural sunlight, rain, shade and protection from natural elements like wind. You’ll also want to make sure that your plant is not easily visible.
Regardless of whether or not it is legal for you to grow pot in your state, onlookers and passersby will want to help themselves to your fine flourishing crops if it’s in plain sight. I mean, wouldn’t you?
3. Which types of seeds and strains you’ll use.
4. The natural elements and creatures that go to work against plants (animals, bugs, insects, etc.) and try to feed off of your crop.
Growing cannabis outdoor versus indoor is becoming less and less common, however, it is actually a great way to keep producing some of the best batches and crops of cannabis. There are, and will always be, some things that the earth can do better than any mimicked device or contraption can.
Healthy cannabis plants require frequent ventilation and fresh air to grow. While some strains of marijuana are more aromatic than others, they all have a distinct and rather pungent smell. Depending on where you’re growing your cannabis, you might not want the entire neighborhood in on your secret.
Carbon filters and ionizers
This is a great way to cleanse and purify the air of strong smells, harmful chemicals and naturally-occurring pollutants that are damaging to you and to your plants. Cleansing the air with one of these devices for a few hours before you prepare to crack the doors and ventilate the area is a great way to keep marijuana odor under control.
The temperature and humidity of the grow room is, like ventilation, an extremely important factor in the health and life of your cannabis. Most marijuana plants thrive at daily temperatures of 70°F – 83°F (21.1°C – 28.3°C) and 10 to 15 degrees lower temperatures at night. Growing weed outdoors makes it harder for you to regulate these temps without special equipment, but it can be done.
For more information on growing pot/marijuana
If you’re wanting to dive into weed growing and discover how to grow marijuana there are a number of different approaches that you could take.
Keeping up-to-date on the latest articles and research forums regarding marijuana usage and growing techniques is also a good place to start.
More and more research is being put out for public use every single day. Regardless of where you’re beginning, we wish you the best with your growing endeavors. Stay safe and roll on.
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