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.
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.
How to grow your own weed
“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.
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).
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.
More than one-third of respondents reported that it was harder to meet up in person with people they grew with, or to obtain cannabis through personal social networks or their usual dealer. Yet fewer than one in ten reported that it was harder to get hold of cannabis seeds, growing equipment, or other supplies like fertilisers.
Three-quarters of respondents report that they grow cannabis because they get pleasure from doing so. Nearly half report that they are growing for their own medical use. And while 15% report growing to supply others with cannabis for medical use and 15% supply others for recreational use, our growers are not acting as drug dealers: only 4% reported selling cannabis for profit.
Cannabis policy has since been changing around the world. An ever-growing list of countries has legalised it, in some form, for medical use. A number have changed their laws so that cannabis possession (and, in some cases, cultivation for personal use) is no longer a criminal offence. Most significantly, Canada, Uruguay and various US states have legalised not only medical but recreational use too.
Keeping up with cannabis
Gary Potter has previously received funding from the British Academy/Leverhulme small grants scheme.
It is hard to measure this accurately, but the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit estimated that by 2012, 80% of the cannabis used in the UK was grown here – up from 30% in the late 1990s. It is probably well over 90% now.
Back in the days when “skunk” was mainly associated with Pepé Le Pew and hydroponics was a way of improving cucumbers, most of the UK’s cannabis supply was imported from places such as Morocco and Lebanon. This changed in the past two or three decades in the UK and many other countries as organised criminal gangs set up growing operations closer to home.
But in recent years, cannabis has undergone another major shift. A sizeable share of demand is now met by small-scale growers, mainly supplying themselves and friends and acquaintances. This has become possible for various reasons, including improvements to growing technology, new strains more suited to indoor growing, and the wealth of information and expertise on the internet. As such, many cannabis users no longer depend on traditional drug dealers.
Lancaster University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.
Durban Poison. Perhaps better suited to South East and South West regions in order to finish in time. This is another proven outdoor photoperiod feminised strain which grows well outdoors. Durban Poison seeds are part of the Dutch Outdoor seed collection. This is well worth browsing, all the strains in this collection grow well at Dutch (and similar) latitudes.
Since that point, however, only a handful of patients have been able to secure NHS prescriptions for medical cannabis. Private prescriptions can be made but these are too expensive for most people.
April often heralds the start of Spring for many in the UK. Mini heatwaves in April are not unknown, though over-ambitious outdoor growers should note that snow fall and frosts are still commonplace for several weeks to come. Spring flowers are making the most of the longer daylight hours and warmer daily maximum temperatures.
Growers in Scotland and the far north will be mindful of the first winter frosts arriving. Mold and bud rot are a constant threat and there are no guarantees of successful harvests at this late stage in the season. Strain selection is particularly important for outdoor growers in countries with UK-like weather.
What are the best cannabis seeds for the UK climate?
• Day length May 1st: 15 hours
• Average temperature: 8–16°C
Preparing the soil in your plot is one of the typical March activities. You may want to remove weeds and add some soil, compost or well rotted manure. If you add fresh manure, do it at the end of the previous growing season so it has time to be broken down by the soil over winter (otherwise it could burn the roots of your seedlings)
Many UK outdoor growers ignore January and February. But the good long reaching views and lack of leaves on trees, undergrowth and bushes can make this a great time to go scouting for possible future grow locations.
What’s the legal status of growing cannabis in the UK?
October usually marks the end of the growing season unless the country has got lucky with a rare ‘Indian summer’ (which means a particularly warm Autumn/Fall). October weather is often cold, wet and windy.
Especially in the north, wet and windy weather is already becoming more and more common place. Many that grow cannabis in the UK find September and October to be the most critical months.