There’s only so much Netflix you can watch. Grow a pound to save money and stay sane during long bought of self-isolation from covid19. EXCLUSIVE: As police tighten the screw on cannabis farms during COVID lockdowns, a new breed of more elusive growers is on the rise. Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc. It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence. A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together. The reason that an individual
5 reasons why it’s the perfect time to start growing cannabis
Right now, all across the US, the President, state governors, and local officials are ordering everyone to go home and stay there. They’re trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which threatens to overwhelm the US healthcare system in the coming weeks.
Millions of Americans are taking mental inventory of their preferred indoor hobbies.
Trust me, Leafly’s California editor: Cannabis gardening should really be at the top of the list.
Starting a March garden benefits from perfect timing, low costs, and easy logistics. You can keep it simple, or go PhD-level deep into the hobby. And it can provide real mental health benefits.
Here’s five reasons why gardening is the way to go right now.
Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery
The timing is perfect
Let’s face it: chances are, the government has already ordered, or will order you to stay at home for the coming weeks.
You can’t spend all day fearfully checking Twitter and spinning out.
Now is literally the best time of the year to start that special houseplant you always meant to. That’s because cannabis is a fast-growing annual weed that naturally germinates in the spring and flowers in the fall in North America.
For outdoor crops, February and March are the best months to acquire and germinate cannabis seeds in order to maximize a harvest. You can nurture the plants indoors, then transplant them outside in May when the ground is warm enough and the nights are short enough. They’ll grow big and tall through the fall.
For indoor growers, starting in March means finishing as soon as June or July. That’s awesome, because you’ll have herb for the summer!
Seed season is here. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)
Save money growing exactly what you want
Everyone loves to complain about the cost of cannabis. Well, grow your own pound and save a few thousand dollars this year.
The sun is a free source of power. One fully grown outdoor cannabis plant can potentially yield a pound of dried, cured buds. That’s enough flower to keep a one-gram-per-day gardener baked for more than a year.
Your crop will be as cheap as seeds, soil, water, and patience. If and when you do need equipment, the costs will pay for themselves over future harvests.
A home garden is also the best way to ensure your cannabis is organic. You can explicitly control what you spray or don’t spray on your plants.
And only you know your favorite strain of weed. Grow a pound of that! Even better, grow two personal favorites and cross-pollinate them in early fall. Boom—a personal designer cultivar for 2021.
You don’t really have to leave your house or yard
You don’t really need to leave your house to grow a dank pound. Many folks have gardening gear lying around.
You can order seeds online and from local licensed cannabis stores. Some of those stores deliver, or offer online ordering and pickup. Gardening equipment can also generally be ordered online, including soil, cups, dirt, lights, containers, pots, nutrients, and the like.
I’m currently firing up Black Dog LED’s all-in-one, professional-grade indoor grow kit, which starts at $2,194.53 with free shipping. The kit contains everything but the seeds, down to the duct tape—so you never have to live-action role-play the film Contagion at Home Depot.
We need hobbies today
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.
We’re all going to need a bunch of hobbies while we’re dealing with self-isolation. You can’t spend all day fearfully checking Twitter and spinning out.
A bit of gardening every day is a great way to focus on the now. Focusing on the needs of others, including your plants, is a healthy, productive way to lose yourself for a bit each day.
Read gardening books like Leafly freelancer Johanna Silver’s new book Growing Weed in the Garden, and Marijuana Harvest by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. (That’s me.)
Stocking up on legal cannabis? Leafly has all your local menus
You’ll have to find a space, source supplies, and make a plan.
Make and keep a grow diary to set goals and track progress.
Join a new online community. Share your project online in forums, and get help with questions. Ed Rosenthal likes to say that cannabis isn’t addictive, but growing it can be.
The plants are different every day, and their needs change. You can name each one and give them the kind of personal attention a factory farmer never could.
Some days, the plants drink more. Other days you can almost watch them grow in real time. Pore over every detail of each seedling, making sure there’s no bugs, and they have enough light.
Now more than ever, you have the time. Plant a garden, and you will live in better rhythm with night and day, the seasons, the weather, and the soil.
Mental healthcare for the months to come
On the secret of life, French Enlightenment writer Voltaire once wrote, “Happiness lies in the cultivation of a garden.”
As I type this, over in the corner, underneath a windowsill, sit six Supreme Diesel seedlings (a mix of Jet Fuel Gelato and Sour Diesel, from Compound Genetics of Portland).
They bask in the weak winter light. Two compact fluorescent bulbs augment the sun. The seedlings’ stalks stretch to the light. Their first serrated leaves grow larger by the hour. One little girl needs help ditching her seed shell. A tiny gnat needs killing—bastard! One seed cup could use a little more soil. An hour just flies by.
Growing plants gives you something to look forward to. And, come on—we need something to look forward to right now.
When you pop new cannabis seeds, you can’t help but say a hopeful little prayer. Every gardener has a version of it, probably ever since man began agriculture.
To plant is to hope and keep faith with the cosmos. Hope for a fruitful future. Faith that it’ll happen. So many things remain beyond our control. Every gardener, no matter how agnostic, prays for sun, curses pests, and gives thanks at harvest.
Sowing seeds today is a physical, intentional way of saying: “There will be a tomorrow. The seasons will turn. The problems of now will not be forever. We will work through this. This too shall pass.”
Meet the Gangster-Free Weed Growers Who Hide in Plain Sight
EXCLUSIVE: As police tighten the screw on cannabis farms during COVID lockdowns, a new breed of more elusive growers is on the rise.
Damo and Neil both have day jobs. Damo works in an office and Neil is a mechanic. But for the last eight years they’ve been cultivating large amounts of cannabis, hidden in plain sight, next to some of the busiest motorways in England.
The pair use Google Maps and a 4K camera drone to seek out ideal sites, usually in lightly forested “no man’s land” zones between motorway junctions, where most people have no reason to ever step foot in.
They are part of a rising online community of “guerrilla growers” cultivating cannabis on thousands of secret, open-air sites across the UK. For many it’s a more appealing alternative to growing indoors under artificial lights, or buying weed from a black market tainted by organised crime and exploitation.
Damo and Neil, who are using pseudonyms for fear of being identified, are willing to live with the risk of going to jail for cultivating a Class B drug because they think the country’s ban on the plant is backward, and they don’t like buying weed from dealers.
“There is a sense of adventure involved in doing this,” Damo says. “But the main motivation is a big fuck you to prohibition: to those who uphold it, and those who benefit from it.
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Neil agrees. “The best thing for us is to be able to ditch the dealer and grow our own supply. Doing it ourselves we keep fit, we know where our weed comes from and what was used in growing it.”
They first got involved via the online guerrilla growing scene, where members share tips, grow diaries and “my plant’s bigger than your plant” photos of their crops. Damo says there are between 1,000 and 3,000 active guerrilla growers in Britain.
Damo and Neil grow around 100 plants, distributed among five sites around England’s south east, harvesting around 40 ounces of organic, gangster-free weed a year. What they don’t vacuum-seal to use over the next 12 months themselves – both men are big tokers – they give out to friends for free and use to make bubble hash and oil.
But these plants aren’t the battery chicken style tiddlers found growing under indoor lights for quick profits. They are tall, bushy plants averaging 9ft, and sometimes 15ft high, grown using cannabis seeds designed specifically for an English climate that, due to global warming, is growing less English every year. This Spring was the sunniest on record and they had to make weekly forays out to their plots with hundreds of litres of water to stop them drying out.
Harvesting the plants in September and October is the riskiest part, because that is when they end up driving around with transit vans stuffed with bundles of freshly cropped weed. Most of their grows are near motorways, so they reap their harvest under cover of being road maintenance workers, with high-vis jackets and an official looking white van, usually at night.
“Hi-vis is the new stealth,” says Neil. “People do not bat an eyelid. They just see a bloke walking down the hard shoulder of a motorway with a hard hat. Both vans we use are kitted out with flashing lights and fitted with highway maintenance signs. When we are doing our shit, police don’t even look twice.”
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The process takes around eight months from start to finish, from finding grow sites in February, planting in April, feeding the plants nutrients such as “fish blood and bone, super manure and chicken shit pellets”, to harvesting in September or October.
“The most important things for us are security, sun, soil, and a bonus is a local water source,” says Damo. “You need to find somewhere that no person has any reason to go to, or would want to go to, or would find it extremely difficult to get to. Strangely enough, there are plenty of places just like that to be found, even in 2020 in the UK.”
They’ve had grow sites near motorway verges and major junctions, near railway lines, quarries, ley-lines between large countryside fields and openings in vast areas of woodland. “The plot needs to give the plants at least six hours of direct sun per day, preferably more. So south facing with a big open sky is ideal. You have to balance being open to let in sun but being hidden enough not to be seen”, says Damo.
They use drones for plot hunting and mid-season plot check-ups. It means they don’t have to hike into the plot and get scratched up by thorns and brambles and avoid leaving a trail. “The drones give us such good detail we can check the health of plants, even spot mould or the onset of flowering, from our eye in the sky,” says Damo.
He says the drones also act as a good cover as to why they’re out and about in the first place. “Flying our machines over our beautiful ganja plots and getting stunning footage back, while standing a mile away smoking a spliff and drinking coffee. We love it.” Cannabis seeds are legal to possess in the UK and are easily bought. They use online stores such as the Real Gorilla Seed Company, which specialises in seeds for outdoor grows.
As with indoor grows, some get found by the authorities. This year one of their plots was found by railway security near the Eurostar train track and destroyed by British Transport Police.
Outdoor grows are harder for police to find because they are not situated in built up areas and are less prone to attracting attention. So far this year the only reported police discoveries of guerrilla grows include 750 plants found in woodland near Mansfield in September and 50 plants found in a small woodland clearing near Lowestoft in May.
But it’s not just the police or random members of the public they need to take into account, it’s also “rippers” – professional cannabis plant snatchers who often use drones and Google Maps themselves to hunt down the rising number of illegal outdoor grows popping up across the British countryside.
“Rippers will steal your harvest,” says Damo. “They will wait for buds to be ready and harvest them before you have a chance to. They know all about guerrilla growing, and are actively out there looking for plots in order to rip them.” Damo and Neil usually lose one or two sites to rippers or police each year.
Cultivation of Cannabis
Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.
The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a ‘trafficking’ offence, which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.
POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.
Penalties available for cultivation of cannabis
The severity of the penalty applied in relation to cultivation of cannabis will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The prosecution consider the size of the operation, the individual’s role in said operation & certain mitigating factors. The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences outlines the range of sentences available for cultivation of cannabis cases:
Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.
Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.
There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.
If you have been arrested or charged for a drugs offence call or email Release for free and confidential advice.