Now that the recreational use of cannabis is legal in Ontario, every household can grow up to 4 plants. As a result, thousands of people are rushing to grow their own cannabis. However, like most hobbies, there is a high failure rate. Before you dive head first into what could be either an exciting project or a complete disaster, be sure to consider all the facts.
Here are the top obstacles to growing your own cannabis.
1. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions PLUS A Huge Learning Curve
The decision to grow your own cannabis is just the first decision of many. You will have to choose which strain to grow. Different strains produce different results. Some are more suited to beginners, others are selected for their effects. Here, in Ontario there is a dismal lack of choice as well as a severe shortage of legal seeds. Once – and if – you even get past this hurdle, the real decision making starts. You will have to choose what medium to grow in, whether to grow outdoors or indoors and which lighting to choose. Will you build your own unit or purchase a grow tent? PH management is essential, and so you will have to purchase the proper testing kits. Cannabis is a voracious feeder (it grows like a weed – hence the nickname) so you will have to choose which nutrients to feed them. Pest and mold control is also something to think about as is ventilation. You will have to first research to determine your best growing situation then research each of the items listed above.
It’s easy to see why so many people get lost in the research phase. They end up spending so much time researching that they get paralyzed by choice and never actually start growing, for months or even years. (Read this article – insert text link here) to learn more about the 8 decisions to make before growing your household cannabis plants.)
2. Time Commitment
Growing cannabis has been likened to raising children. It’s a daily commitment and you get out what you put in! It takes patience, forethought, restraint, and attention to detail. Be prepared to spend countless hours tending to your cannabis plants as they grow from seedlings to mature plants ready for harvest. Like so many other hobbies and responsibilities, some people become passionately in love with their hobby, while most people are not prepared for this. As an analogy, just look at how many families who bring dogs into their home end up battling over who must walk the dog because the daily responsibility of caring for the family pet can be demanding at times. Possibly the main reason for the failure to stick it out is that the majority of the time will be spent at the beginning of the cycle – when most beginner growers lack confidence. This is when you will encounter the pain of failure as oftentimes seedlings get off to a strong start, resulting in joy and pride for the new grower, then wither and die for no apparent reason. For those (if any) that get through this difficult stage, you must pinch the new growth at precise times, check lighting constantly and make sure molds, disease and insects do not attack the vulnerable seedling. It’s very similar to welcoming a new baby into the family – a 24/7 responsibility in the beginning. However, where there’s a will there’s a way! I have a friend who fashioned a nursery out of a cooler so he could take his baby pot plant to the cottage with him every weekend.
3. Children and Pets
Cannabis can be a pleasant experience for people but for dogs and cats, both of whom are very sensitive to THC, it will almost certainly require a visit to the vet. That is according to University of Alberta animal science instructor Connie Varnhagen. “Dogs have so many more cannabinoid receptors in their brain and throughout their body. They can die from the overdose. People get high; dogs get poisoned,” she said. The same appears true for children. There have been numerous studies which suggest that cannabis can cause problems in developing brains. Many experts even feel that the legal age of 19 should be increased as brains are still developing at that age. If you have children and/or pets, it is important to keep the area you use to grow your plants strictly off limits.
4.Target for Burglary
One thing is for certain when growing cannabis, as the plants get closer to harvest, they get smellier. Couple that with the fact that a large plant can yield 500 grams of dried flower, which at $10 a gram (the going rate for legal, taxed marijuana), means that a single successful plant, as it nears harvest, can be worth somewhere in the range of $5,000. All a thief has to do is follow their nose to a fast heist! When it comes to theft, it’s not just strangers that you have to watch out for. Your burglar just may be someone you trust! That is what happened to a friend of mine. He had grown several large plants that were almost ready for harvest. He and his wife went on a much needed weekend getaway and trusted his babysitter with his three children. When they returned, the kids were playing on the lawn, unsupervised. He soon discovered that the babysitter had vanished – along with his plants.
5. You Must Give Up a Part Of Your Home
A big thing to remember with cannabis plants is that they need to flower to produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that gets people high) and other medicinal cannabinoids. In order to do that, they need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of total darkness a day. So the best place to grow marijuana is in a room in the basement or any rarely used area of the home with a locked door so light doesn’t inadvertently get in when the plants are “sleeping.” If you live in a small home or condo, this may be an impossible undertaking.
It’s been almost a year since legalization and there are still many unanswered questions and misconceptions when it comes to insurance. However, one thing is for sure, both the law and your insurance policy dictate that the seeds, clones or plants must be purchased from a legal source – meaning, if you did not purchase the marijuana for cultivation from a legal source, and can provide receipts, your home insurance policy will not respond in the event of a loss. This can be a huge barrier to entry especially in the province of Ontario where legal seeds are still quite hard to find. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who bought seed from legal retailers. However, complicating matters is the fact that as long as no money changes hands, there’s nothing illegal about an adult being given plants or seeds in a province where home grows are legal. Another insurance concern to consider is the number of plants you choose to grow. According to the Co-operators Insurance, your “…four plants are treated the same as any other legal plant on your property and are covered under your Home insurance policy. If you illegally exceed the number of plants allowed in your province or territory, your claim may be denied entirely.” Another issue to be aware of: household members who smoke cannabis aren’t eligible for Co-operator’s non-smoker discount.
The main problems associated with growing cannabis that could cause a claim are:
• An electrical fire caused by grow lights
• Target for burglary
• Water damage and mold
• Personal liability if a guest is injured under the influence of marijuana grown on the premises.
There are even more implications if you own a condo or rent your dwelling. The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations is asking the federal government to prohibit all marijuana growing in rented dwellings. Considerations include: whether pollution or molds exclusions might apply and if they need any modification; any exclusions in current policies relating to marijuana use; and coverage related to rental properties and condominiums. According to Michael Teitelbaum, a partner with Hughes Amys LLP, “… the concern is that renters can create electrical safety hazards and damage to their units in buildings through molds. Similarly, in condominiums, concern is about damage to units and common elements due to moisture from the marijuana plants that can create molds in walls, ceilings and floors and damaged window seals. Disproportionate use of utilities such as electricity and water, if they are not sub-metered, create fire hazards by people drying marijuana in stoves and odor from the plants wafting into other people’s unit can be bothersome.”
Insurance companies are still figuring out the ins-and-outs of underwriting the risks associated with growing cannabis at home. As time goes on these policies will likely become more standardized, but until then it is strongly recommended to disclose your plants and verify that your home grow-op doesn’t void your insurance.
7. Poor Yields, No Yields, Substandard Quality
There are so many factors that can result in poor yields and inferior quality. One of the many problems is that hydroponic growing is harder than it looks, mainly because controlling nutrients in water is more difficult than in soil. For that reason many novices switch midway to soil – often with disastrous effects. Another issue is similar to a New Year’s resolution;, people are quick to make commitments and even quicker to forget them. As mentioned before, growing cannabis requires a substantial commitment in time. Growing your cannabis outside can also result in disaster, especially in Ontario’s climate. Because the plants are at the mercy of nature, they may get too much wind or not enough ventilation, pests, not enough moisture or sun, and an early frost can kill off all your season’s work before it is harvested. Other factors which result in poor or no yields include getting light cycles wrong, improper sexing (often times, novices don’t know how to identify and get rid of the male plants), poor PH levels, improper pruning, and failure to provide moisture control.
8. Social Stigma
Our society accepts alcohol consumption now but it took a long time to get here. Most people, when asked, still frown upon the use of cannabis. Canada made marijuana illegal almost 100 years ago and despite recreational cannabis being legal, the stigma lives on. The majority of Canadian pot users still would not tell people they get high, according to an exclusive survey for Global News by Ipsos Reid. If you wouldn’t want your friends, relatives or colleagues knowing you smoke pot, it may be a wise idea to not grow it.
Smoking your own home-grown bud can be one of the most gratifying experiences but, just like making your own wine or beer, most people either fail the first time or give it up for some reason or the other. For those of you who would rather not go through the exercise, there is a innovative new business in Ontario that will take over the burden of growing your cannabis for you. Green Grow Farms is a 65,000 square foot horticultural facility built on 13 acres in southern Ontario. This facility is made up of individual Green Suites. These individual Green Suites can be leased by you as a home away from home for your four plants. You hold the lease. You can sell it. You can transfer it. You can even will it. Each Green Suite is 5’ x 5’ x 8’ and can grow up to four cannabis plants, three times a year. That’s 12 plants every 12 months.
Green Grow Farms offers a safe, secure, and reliable home away from home for your four cannabis plants. The concept is similar to a “make your own wine” or “brew your own beer” facility. You could even think of it as a boarding home for your plants. Experts will tend your plants 24/7 while you sit home and dream of good times to come!
The savings and the quality are substantial. Your plants have their own Green Suite where they are tended from seedlings to harvest. Not only do you get top quality, premium cannabis, you also save your dwelling or property from all the potential problems. “We provide a hands off/eyes on approach, meaning we do all the growing and maintenance while you sit back and watch. Every Green Suite is equipped with a live 24/7 camera feed so you can view your plants any time you want.” says CEO and Founder, Ivan Lloyd.
This hands free approach to growing personal marijuana is good news for the 4.9 million Canadian adults who spent 5.7 billion dollars on medical and recreational cannabis last year as they could expect to enjoy premium product at considerable savings with this service.
As can be expected, this premium personal concierge service is in high demand. Ivan expects the first farm’s units to sell out soon, based on pre-launch enquiries. ( Read this article to learn more about renting a Green Suite.) To reserve your Green Suite visit www.GreenGrowFarms.com