While a supply of cannabis isn’t really essential for most of us, let me tell you – quarantine is a lot less fun once you run out. With many of us around the world living in quarantine or under travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, now might be a good time to start learning how to grow your own cannabis. Here’s what you need to know about growing your own in Canada.
At the federal level, Canada allows residents to grow up to four cannabis plants per household (not per individual) at home. However, individual provinces have imposed further restrictions. Exceptions to Canada’s default four-plants-per-household rule are:
- British Columbia and Yukon. In addition to the four-plant restriction, any cannabis being grown at home must be kept entirely out of sight from public areas.
- Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. In these provinces, landlords are able to forbid tenants from growing cannabis in a rental property. Elsewhere, this issue can be more complicated.
- Manitoba and Quebec. Growing your own cannabis is not permitted.
- Prince Edward Island. Any cannabis you grow must be in a room that is inaccessible to minors.
- New Brunswick. Cannabis can be grown indoors, but not outdoors.
If you want to grow your own cannabis, you’ll have to buy your seeds from a legal source. Seeds can be expensive, but they’re still much cheaper than buying processed bud at a dispensary. And, if you are fortunate enough to produce so much cannabis from four plants that you exceed the personal possession limit in your area, the law requires you to destroy the extra. Health Canada recommends mixing it with water and cat litter to mask the scent, and then throwing it away with the regular garbage. They specifically recommend against burning it, for obvious reasons.
Nobody is allowed to sell cannabis that they grew themselves, either – it’s only allowed for personal use. And, if you’re growing weed for personal use, you have to grow it yourself. You can’t designate a housemate to do it for you.
How To Grow Cannabis At Home
Fortunately, cannabis is fairly easy to grow – they call it “weed” for a reason, after all. If you’re growing outside, you won’t need much. You’ll want a pot for each plant, soil and fertilizer, water, and a good location with the right amount of sunlight. Once you get the plants situated, all you have to do is water them. In about four months, they’ll be ready to harvest.
Outdoor growing is simple and cheap, but it can only be done in the warm times of the year. It’s doable, even surprisingly far north, but it leaves your plants at the mercy of the weather. So, you may prefer to grow inside instead. That’s a little more complicated. You’ll need:
- A timed lighting system. These plants need the light to follow a natural daylight cycle, or they won’t grow right. You’ll need to make sure that the lights you choose have a high enough intensity, as well as containing the correct spectrum of light. HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights are standard. Remember that when the plant switches from the growth cycle to the flowering cycle, you need to go from 16-20 hours of light per day to 12.
- An exhaust fan, preferably including a carbon filter. This serves two purposes. First, a fan is crucial to reducing the smell – I love it, you love it, but it gets tiring if you smell it all the time. Plus, you don’t want to annoy the neighbors. Second, the fan helps maintain the correct humidity level. You don’t want to have too much and end up with a mold problem!
- A dedicated space. A spare room works, but a smaller setup can fit into a closet with no issue. It’s best to use a space that is easy to clean, so avoid an area with drapes, carpet, or untreated wood. You can also buy a grow tent: a small, self-contained environment that often comes outfitted with suitable lighting and ventilation.
- An air inlet. In addition to taking the old air out, you’ll need to filter new air past the plant to make sure it has all the CO2 it needs.
- Temperature and humidity sensors. The plant needs to be kept between 21-29° during the day cycle and 14.5-21° during the night cycle. You may also want to invest in a pH meter or some test kits.
- Plant nutrients. You’ll want to make sure your plants are getting all the nutrients they need, so either start with a pre-fertilized soil mix, or buy additional nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to feed the plant. You’ll also need “micronutrients” like calcium, sulfur, zinc, boron, manganese, copper, and iron.
Growing cannabis indoors takes a bunch of equipment, but it’s still not all that difficult. Do some research into specs before you buy them. Then set your lights on a timer, check your sensors regularly, and be careful not to over-water. With any luck, the COVID outbreak will be over by the time your plants are ready to harvest, but it never hurts to plan ahead. Besides, it might be a fun hobby.