You want to start cultivating cannabis, but you’re not sure if growing weed fits your lifestyle or is even safe for you to do.
For those wondering if it’s right for you to start or continue growing cannabis, consider these important issues as you potentially make your way into the cannabis growing community.
Legal Vs. Illegal Makes A Huge Difference
It almost goes without saying that if you live where you can legally grow weed, you’re way better off than growers in prohibition states.
In legal cannabis states such as Oregon, Massachusetts and California, the official memo is that as long as you comply with marijuana laws and regulations, you can legally grow a limited number of cannabis plants.
In practice, legal compliance isn’t always a guarantee of a painless grow-op endeavor. Police still investigate and even raid marijuana grow ops in legal states. Growers may have to prove their garden is legal. Sometimes, they even have to go to a court of law to do so.
But that’s nothing compared to choosing to grow weed in an illegal state where no personal cultivation is allowed. It’s in these states that you can expect serious consequences if you’re caught growing cannabis.
When you cultivate weed illegally, you best lead a very careful life, guided and guarded by justifiable paranoia, so as to avoid detection. You should do everything possible to keep your grow op secret by following the cannabis growers’ code of silence.
I know many people — hell, I’ve been one of them — who grew marijuana in states where you could be sentenced to a mandatory five years, or up to life in prison for growing marijuana. Under the radar and (hopefully) undetected, thousands of lucky “lawbreakers” grow weed for years and never do a perp walk for illegal cultivation.
And please note, I’m not advising anyone to break the law. I’m just reporting that many people grow weed where it isn’t legal to do so.
I also want to stress to you that even in legal states, keep your grow room a secret. Cannabis plants and dried buds are worth lots of money. Your grow room is nobody’s business but yours, just like you’d keep it a secret if you had a stack of gold bullion in your house.
Grow-op security concerns can keep you awake at night. Before you start a grow room, ask yourself, do you have the mental toughness to handle the inevitable stress that comes from growing weed? And how will it impact your loved ones?
How Growing Marijuana Affects People In Your Life
The marijuana growing industry consists mostly of men who grow weed, although more women are becoming cultivators, too.
In some cases, and I’ve unfortunately seen it all too often, a certain type of macho male cannabis grower doesn’t take the safety, comfort, or peace of mind of his spouse and children into account. He wants to grow weed, and he’ll do it even if it worries or endangers his family.
Growing marijuana is a particularly big decision if there are children in the home. As anyone who’s had children knows, it’s difficult to keep a secret from them.
When you’re an indoor marijuana grower, you have a secret off-limits room that has bright, shiny lights, lush green plants, fans and other enticing gadgets.
Daddy (or Mommy) will be spending a lot of time in that room; the kiddies wonder what’s going on in there. If they get into that room, they can injure or even kill themselves (electrocution and burns are the biggest risks), or they can wreak havoc on the grow op. Or both.
If you have older children who are sophisticated enough to understand what cannabis is, they might suspect what that secret room contains. If your adolescent kids have their friends over, they too might suspect. Loose lips sink ships, and I’ve seen people busted because their children innocently told teachers, friends, or others in the community about their parents’ marijuana gardening hobby.
There are other hazards. As we discussed in an earlier article, a grower sprayed toxic chemicals on their cannabis to kill grow-op spider mites, even though his pregnant partner was living in the grow house with him.
We also must admit that a grow room is not just a magnet for law enforcement, but for rippers and blackmailers, too. You can be as stealthy as is humanly possible, yet still get into trouble. One time a nosy neighbor narked me out. Other marijuana growers have had contractors, malcontented relatives, even disgruntled exes nark them out.
And if a grow house is robbed or raided, expect serious trauma for your spouse and children.
Again, I’m not trying to discourage you from growing your own. There are oodles of great reasons to grow marijuana. But before you decide whether or not to set up a grow room, contemplate the full spectrum of potential consequences, and determine how risk averse you are.
Do You Have The Right Space?
If you’ve analyzed the risks and still want to grow weed, the next question is, do you have the room, privacy, electricity system, and overall structure so you can do it well?
You can set up a small grow chamber, grow tent or grow closet and grow one or two SCROG plants in an apartment or house and it won’t take up more than 4–10 square feet.
I’ve seen SCROG marijuana growing and other small indoor grow op setups in tiny apartments, garages and basements. As long as grow lights and electrical appliances don’t overload your electrical system (which can happen easily in an apartment, especially if you’re running high-intensity discharge, a.k.a HID grow lights), a wee garden can feed your weed need.
A far more ideal indoor growing situation is to use a spare bedroom, basement or other enclosed area that gives you 70 square feet or more of growing space. You also need enough space in which to store grow supplies. That way you can run at least one 1000-watt professional grow light and grow 3–6 big plants per crop cycle. The annual yield from a one-light grow op if you grow year-round, and especially if you SCROG your marijuana plants, would be about seven pounds of homegrown buds per year.
Just remember that your grow room/grow tent/grow chamber/grow closet is going to be stinky, bright and noisy. It’s going to suck down a lot of electricity and be totally different than any other room in your home.
If you want to be safe, you won’t be hosting dinner parties, slumber parties or football Sundays in your house when you’re running a grow op of any size.
And if you live in a duplex or certain kinds of apartment complexes, it will be tricky if not impossible to keep your grow op a secret, unless you use professional odor control devices such as carbon scrubbers.
Check out the below YouTube video from Grateful Grower, which shows you in detail how to set up a cannabis grow room, plus things he wishes he’d known when he was a new grower.
Ready For An Intense Hobby?
If you can handle the risks and secrecy of growing cannabis (there are still risks and a need for secrecy, even in the most legalized states), and you have the space to grow weed, there is still a catalogue of things to consider before you set up your grow op.
Marijuana isn’t really a weed, even though we call it “weed.” In fact, growing cannabis is like growing orchids or bonsai trees — it takes expertise, quality nutrients, reverse osmosis water, specialized lighting, controlled climate, and lots of tender loving care to grow connoisseur bud.
Marijuana grow rooms are labor-intensive. You need at least an hour per day in your grow room. During some seasonal tasks, such as transplanting, trimming and harvesting, you’ll need way more than an hour per day. It becomes almost a full-time job.
Do you have the time to grow weed?
Moreover, ask yourself if you have the energy, interest and attentiveness to be a good gardener. Plants are living organisms, and just like you would if you have an aquarium or pets, you want to pay close attention to your plants and do your best for them.
There’s a learning curve when you grow weed. It takes at least two years of constant growing before you’ve mastered the skills you need to start a marijuana crop from seed or clone and successfully, reliably get it to harvest.
If you’re the kind of person who starts projects and then loses interest in them, if you travel a lot, if you have many hobbies or endeavors that account for little mental space for yet another one, marijuana growing might not be for you.
Finally, one simple but very important question: Do you have a green thumb? I’ve seen people work their butts off trying to grow fine cannabis, investing in expensive hydroponics equipment, reading grow book after grow book, watching grow videos — and fail. Time after time, they fail. It’s like there’s some hidden cosmic quarrel between them and the plant kingdom that blocks their success.
On the other hand, I’ve seen people who easily rescue dying plants. They’re plant whisperers. They don’t just have a green thumb — they have a green aura. Their plants love them, their buds are huge.
Also note that there’s a financial start-up cost of at least $600 (and that’s for the smallest, bare-bones, most rudimentary indoor grow op) plus ongoing costs. If you intend to grow weed in a full-size grow room, your start-up cost could easily be a thousand dollars or more. There are many costs associated with growing marijuana, not limited to the installation of a reverse osmosis system. The costs add up.
Of course, these start-up costs are immediately recouped when you harvest your first pounds!
To sum it all up, there’s no denying that growing cannabis is a wonderful hobby or career. I’ve risked my life and freedom to grow weed, and even though I got busted, I’ve never regretted it. But before you start a grow room, make sure you have the time, space, energy, interest, privacy and security to do it well. If you can safely grow, I hope you will.