how to start growing weed legally

If people want to clone their own plants, he recommended they plant multiple seeds at once, label each plant, and take a cutting from each one before they flower. People can then grow the cutting from whichever plant yields the best harvest.

Wylie recommended plants should be watered when the soil is dry. Growers can test this by sticking a finger into soil about halfway between the plant and edge of the pot. If the soil is warm and dry, it’s time to water.

A clone is a cutting from a living cannabis plant, which can grow into a plant itself. The new plan has the same genetic makeup as the original plant, hence, a “clone.”

Once planted, the cannabis plant needs a ratio of about 18 hours light, 6 hours darkness to grow in what’s called the vegetative stage, which doesn’t produce flowers. How long you let the plant grow in this state depends on your space constraint, but Sundberg recommends beginners start small.

Wylie believes cuttings are easier than seeds for beginners., but as Proposition 207 is so new, he isn’t aware yet of any legal businesses in Arizona that sell cuttings.

What’s the easiest cannabis strain to grow for beginners?

Wylie said most people will likely grow indoors, in a closet or garage, for example. About 75 degrees, more or less, is an optimal temperature, he said. In a small space with stagnant air, he suggested using a fan to move air in and out. A beginner can start in a closet with a 100-watt grow light and oscillating desk fan, and it’s enough to get going, he said.

Growing from seed is a trial and error process and people should be prepared to “have a few rounds that are really disappointing” before they find that one best phenotype, he advised.

Both The Plant Stand and Dig It Gardens sell FoxFarm soils, a popular brand in the cannabis-growing community. Sundberg likes to use Nectar of the Gods, Blend #4, which he said can be found at PHX Hydro in west Phoenix.

At local supplier Phoenix Seeds & Clones , people can purchase a grow consultation ranging from $75-200, including 5 to 20 seeds. Strains offered include Gorilla Cake, Tangie Cookies and Kino Vision, a high CBD strain.

Eddie Smith, co-owner of The Plant Stand of Arizona , confirmed his south Phoenix nursery would be selling cannabis seeds in the future.

The Arizona Republic asked two experts to share their tips for beginners: Noah Wylie, master grower at The Mint Dispensary based in the East Valley, and Josh Sundberg, farmer and co-owner of Community Roots AZ in Cornville, southwest of Sedona.

“I warn people… crawl before you walk,” Wylie said. “Learn to get your plant to grow all the way to fruition, harvest it, dry it, cure it. Then you can build from there. Don’t run out and buy thousands of dollars of equipment.”

Some people use grow tents, which look like black boxes, but cannabis can really be grown most places as long as people are able to adapt to the environment, Sundberg said.

Wylie has been cultivating cannabis since 2002, when he first started growing for patient use in California. Sundberg cultivates cannabis for personal use and offers workshops for other growers.

How often should I water my plant?

People can grow plants from seeds or cuttings off an existing plant, also known as clones. Sundberg said cuttings are a gray area because it’s unclear whether a cutting that hasn’t taken root yet is counted as part of the six or 12 plants Arizonans are allowed to grow.

Ryan Jerrell, co-owner of Dig It Gardens in central Phoenix, also said his nursery plans on selling cannabis seeds in the future, as well as “starter kits” for first-time growers.

People can also purchase cannabis seeds on websites such as Leafly. Sundberg warned that quality seeds can be pricey. Seeds are also a gamble because only female plants flower, and there’s no guarantee how many female seeds are in a packet. Feminized seeds are genetically engineered to grow only female plants, but tend to cost more.

Quality of water can make a difference in the quality of flowers. It’s worth filling up a jug of distilled or purified water at one of the various water dispensers around town to use specifically for your plants, rather than use tap water, Sundberg said.

After harvesting the plant, the grower should hang the plant upside down to dry for 10 to 14 days, he continued. The stems should feel brittle when dried. After that, trim the leaves off the flowers and put the flowers in an airtight container, like a mason jar. While the flowers are consumable at this point, the flowers can be cured for a better quality.

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Where can I buy a cannabis clone?

Buyers should go with vetted sources to avoid fraudulent sellers. Sundberg recommended Canna Genetics Bank, a retailer that sells seeds from various breeders, and Neptune Seed Bank, both based in California.

Both Wylie and Sundberg said the key items you need to grow cannabis are nutrient-rich soil, water and light.

He recommended adding mulch to keep the soil cool. For a pot, the bigger the better for creating a buffering zone — five gallons is a good minimum, he said. Putting the pot in another pot or putting some sort of insulation barrier around it can also prevent the pot from directly baking in the sun.

On average, a plant takes 50 to 60 days before it’s ready to harvest, Wylie said. Once harvested, the plant needs to be dried for about 10 to 14 days. Growers then have the choice of consuming their cannabis, or curing the flowers another week or two for higher quality, he said.

Sundberg described living soil, which has active microorganisms in it, as a major game changer. Compost, mulch and worm castings can be found at the Arizona Worm Farm in Phoenix.

Phoenix Seeds & Clones also sells clones.

Wylie said that after switching to the 12 hours light, 12 hours darkness stage, it takes about 50 to 60 days until it’s time to harvest. People can additionally purchase an inexpensive jeweler’s loupe if they want to look at the trichomes, or crystals, on the flowers. The plant will be ready to harvest when the majority of the trichome caps turn from translucent to milky-looking and about 10% of the caps turn an amber color. The plant can still be harvested a little earlier or later, however.

Date: September 15, 2021 Read time: 6 minutes.

Medical marijuana patients 18 years and older will be able to grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home starting October 1, 2021, with a cap of 12 total plants per household. All adults over age 21 will be able to grow under the same rules starting July 1, 2023. Plants must be grown indoors and must not be visible from the street. People who choose to grow their own plants must do so in their primary residence and where individuals under 21 can not access the plants.

“It can burn down houses and apartment buildings, between the lights and dehumidifiers needed to run all of this, it pulls a lot of power,” Anderson said. “That’s I think another reason the state of Virginia didn’t go huge. Four plants is plenty. It makes it so people can do it safely.”

The Virginia Apartment Management Association is warning renters to proceed with caution. VAMA Executive Director Patrick McCloud said some leases have language banning substances considered illegal under state and federal law. He said that could cause problems since Congress has yet to address marijuana prohibition nationally. McCloud said tenants should check with management before getting started with home cultivation.

Another concern for Katz is preventing a boom in illegal sales while people are in the process of growing, since recreational stores can’t open yet.

Due to the federal prohibition on pot, Pedini said it’s illegal to have seeds mailed to you and to cross state lines after purchasing them elsewhere.

While Virginians can legally grow outdoors if they follow state regulations, Anderson recommends growing indoors.

“People have to read the fine print”

Anderson said it typically takes about six months to get from seed to smoke. He said first-time growers should consider taking a class to avoid trial and error.

“People have to read the fine print. We’re going to do our best to educate people but we’re not going to not enforce the law,” Katz said.

“I can tell you with absolute certainty that we are not going to create a task force to address homegrown marijuana plants. That’s not in the best interest of public safety or our community,” Katz said.

In the 2022 session, Pedini wants lawmakers to create a legal avenue at the state level.

“The most immediate option for retail sales is to do so through the existing medical operators. This is what most states that have enacted adult use legalization do,” Pedini said. “Virginia still has a chance to go down that path but that wasn’t something that was enacted this year.”

While Virginians are allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public, Anderson said lawmakers set no clear limits on how much pot can be kept in a private residence.

Happy Trees Agricultural Supply in Richmond is stocking up on lights, soil and nutrients to help Virginians start growing their own marijuana.

Cody Anderson, a cannabis cultivation coach, said growing at home is a safer alternative for those concerned about toxins in black market products.

“I’m the last person you would’ve thought would’ve tried cannabis but I was desperate.” Netzel said. “It was a choice I had to make and at that time I was like, I don’t want to break the law so I sought out people who wanted to change the law.”

Tamara Netzel, a medical marijuana patient and the founder of Cruel Consequences, said trying to navigate the new law has been a challenge.

“Everything you need…except the seeds”

Netzel started using cannabis after her prescribed medication for Multiple Sclerosis made her liver go into failure. For months after that, she suffered from chronic pain and became depressed.

But there’s a catch. There’s no legal way to buy the seeds.

Anderson cautioned that the power needed to grow indoors is significant and potentially a fire hazard if not done properly.

“There was no appetite from some to allow dispensaries to do that because the rationale is they didn’t want them to have a leg up on the business of recreational marijuana,” Herring said. “Honestly, I lost on that one.”

House Democratic Leader Charniele Herring, who sponsored the bill, said she supported moving forward with that option in 2021 but she said the idea was shot down by others in her party.

Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz, who was speaking on behalf of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said there are several regulations people need to follow to stay out of trouble.

Katz said, to be in compliance, they needs to be out of public view and out of reach of children. Plus, each plant needs to be labelled with the owners name, state identification number and a disclaimer that they are for personal use only.

How to get from seed to smoke.

“I’m going to give it a try but I am afraid of messing up because the law is so complicated,” Netzel said.

“Right now, you can have three plants and be in compliance and also have 300 pounds of marijuana in your house and, under Virginia law, you’re solid,” Katz said.

“We have everything you need, except the seeds, to grow your four plants,” said Happy Trees Co-Founder Josiah Ickes. “We’re expecting a huge boom in sales.”

“You have to have control over heat and humidity, especially in Virginia,” Anderson said. “If you’re comfortable in an environment as a human, the plants are going to be comfortable as well.”

Anderson said there are also quality considerations that make indoor growth more desirable for beginners.

“You have to be careful when you’re ingesting it to make sure it doesn’t have mold on it. That can make you really sick,” Anderson said.

“You can start for as little as $150 bucks or you can get weird with it and spend as much as you want,” said Co-Founder Christopher Haynie.

As the Commonwealth enters new territory, many Virginians are wondering how to get started. Amid confusion, law enforcement and landlords are warning people to proceed with caution.