A s you may know, the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana across several states has enabled many consumers to become accustomed to purchasing cannabis from a dispensary. Even more intriguing though is the opportunity that legalization has created for adults and medical patients to cultivate cannabis in their own homes.
While the laws, limitations and regulations are different for each state, almost every state with some form of legalized marijuana does allow home cultivation to some extent. Even though it’s completely legal, some people do not take advantage of their right to grow cannabis due to the perception that it is too difficult, expensive or time-consuming.
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Don’t let the lack of ambition from others discourage you though. If done correctly, growing cannabis at home can be fun, simple and cost-effective! We believe everyone should have access to their own clean cannabis. That’s why we decided to bring you a comprehensive guide to growing marijuana, created specifically with beginner growers in mind.
With essential grow knowledge, you’ll learn the benefits and tips of different grow methods, how to maximize plant yields and grow times, the best harvesting, drying, curing methods and much more! Who’s ready to start their cannabis growing journey?
Part 1 – Understanding Marijuana Grow Mediums
Deep Water Culture Hydroponics
Before starting your cannabis grow, you must decide if you want an indoor growing system or an outdoor growing system. When it comes to indoor growing mediums, DWC, or deep water culture, is a type of hydroponic growing method where each plant’s roots are growing in a tub of water.
One of the main benefits of a DWC system is that it promotes faster growth. Unlike growing cannabis in soil, roots grown in DWC don’t need to expend energy to search for what the plant needs; nutrients are easily accessible by the roots.
Plants have an unlimited supply of oxygen because of added oxygen from the air stone in the reservoir. Since the plant is spending less energy finding what it needs to grow, it channels that energy to plant growth. In addition, with proper guidance and a quality set up, DWC takes less time to maintain than an average grow.
When implementing a DWC system, a bubbler bucket reservoir system is recommended.
A bubbler bucket reservoir is a simple system that suspends the plant’s roots in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The roots are submerged in the nutrient-water solution in the bucket and are then replenished, as needed.
The most important growing tip is to check on your cannabis plants daily. As with many processes, the easiest way to fix a problem is in the beginning stages! If something is wrong with your plant in a DWC system, your first step in remedying your plant should always be to change out the reservoir. It is common for root rot to occur when roots are consistently in water, therefore, it is imperative to establish a preventative routine of changing out the reservoir every seven days. Adding beneficial bacteria to the reservoir is also effective in avoiding and combating root rot.
When growing from seeds in DWC, use each reservoir port (or net cup) to vegetate, then pick the strongest looking females to continue growing.
Keeping air and water temperatures under control are also very important measures to take. Air temperature should be 75-85°F when the lights are on and will drop by 10 degrees when the lights are off. Water temperature should remain at a constant temperature at all times. Your empty portholes can be used to change out the reservoir water by using a pump, allowing you to easily inspect what’s going on inside.
A common mistake to avoid when growing with DWC is not checking the pH levels of the water. This is important for any grow! Dirty reservoirs or not using an aerator 24/7 are two additional crucial mistakes, as roots must have excessive oxygen so they don’t drown. While some people like to maintain a completely sterile reservoir with just nutrients and water and no traces of anything alive, there are some good sources of beneficial bacteria that can be added. Bad bacteria is obviously, bad, but we wanted to emphasize the possibility of bacteria that can benefit your grow. To avoid potentially harmful bacteria, be proactive about changing the reservoir water.
In addition, having too many plants in one reservoir can lead to problems such as white powdery mildew. Don’t cramp your plants, instead, we recommend growing one plant per reservoir to allow the roots to spread out and give the leaves and buds more space.
Setting up a water transfer pump for this task can speed up the process. For best results, learn how to flush your cannabis plants.
Flushing your plants by removing any nutrients and salts improves the quality and taste of your final product. By simply draining your bubbler bucket reservoir and adding plain (pH neutral) water for two-three days before harvest, the plant will use all its existing nutrients contained in the stems, leaves and buds.
Growing Cannabis with Coco Coir
Coco coir is another great growing method, especially for beginners. It provides the ease of soil gardening with the rapid growth of hydroponics by using fibrous coconut husks instead of a potting mix. Compared to just soil growing, it absorbs moisture much easier, allowing plants to take up more nutrients and retain oxygen more efficiently because of its lighter texture. It also provides a forgiving buffer by reducing shock stress when human errors are made, such as adding too many nutrients, a common mistake.
Coco is much easier to flush than DWC because you aren’t changing an entire water reservoir. In fact, watering coco coir is very versatile. You can use a flood and drain hydroponic system, which is when the nutrient system temporarily floods from beneath the plant, controlled by a pump and timer, instead of dripping from above like most hydroponic systems. You can also use the most recognized top water to waste system, which is simply taking a water pail and watering your plant until water comes out of the bottom of the pot.
When growing cannabis with coco, good quality coco coir makes an immense difference, especially regarding root development. For beginner growers, a three-to-one coco to perlite mixture is recommended as it requires less watering frequency and holds moisture and nutrients better.
For more experienced growers, a one-to-one coco to perlite ratio is recommended as you are able to water more frequently, giving the plant more nutrient uptake and allowing more aggressive root growth.
With coco, water around the outside of the pot in early stages of growth to encourage roots to reach out and fill up the entire container.
Some common mistakes can occur when growing with coco if a grower allows the coco to get too dry, as the mixture dries quickly. Not checking the pH of the nutrient-water solution and not flushing on a consistent basis are also critical errors, as you are using more nutrients with coco and the excess residual nutrients can cause common nutrient deficiency symptoms.
It’s also very important to use Cal-Mag, or Calcium and Magnesium, in your coco growing medium. Calcium plays a direct role in a plant’s root development, nutrient uptake and protein synthesis. Magnesium is an essential part of chlorophyll production, helping your plants with photosynthesis, as well as aiding in the synthesis of sugars and proteins. Together, the correct amount of magnesium and calcium will help keep your cannabis plant healthy.
Outdoor soil growing is a common gardening technique that most people with house plants or vegetable gardens are familiar with. Using techniques such as top-fed watering, deep irrigation or wicks are all viable methods to water your plants. You can either use organic, composted soil, or store-bought soil with added liquid nutrients.
To make organic soil, you need a mixture of biolive, alfalfa meal, oyster shell for calcium, blood meal and bone meal, humic acid to keep the roots clean, and kelp. With store bought soil, use organic nutrients and start adding them about three weeks into the vegetative stage. With synthetic nutrients, you must flush them out regularly. Flood the soil with as much fresh water as it can withstand and leave it for a few minutes to allow the nutrients to be picked up, then flood it again to get the nutrients away from the plant.
Always remember, less is more with non-organic nutrients. If you are adding nutrients, a good rule-of-thumb is to add them about once a week.
A benefit to outdoor soil growing is that if you have a good base-soil built up, it’s not necessary to add nutrients throughout the plant’s life cycle. That means less work for you! It is also likely that the smell and flavor profiles of your buds will increase as well.
A common mistake when growing outdoors is overwatering. Wait to water your plants until the first three inches or so, or about knuckle depth, of soil is dry. You can gauge your soil by pulling the container it is in slightly outwards. Not checking the pH after mixing nutrients, or using nutrients too frequently are also common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
Don’t use miracle grow or other similar slow release soils. Your plants will not get the correct amount of nitrogen needed during vegetation and they will receive too much nitrogen during flowering.
Part 2: Learning Cannabis Grow and Plant Maintenance Techniques
Growers have recorded a plethora of marijuana growing techniques over the years to ensure you make the most of your crop. If you want to maximize yield and maximize the amount of light your cannabis plant receives, it is important to practice bending and securing parts of the plant, or removing parts of the plant altogether. While there are many different methods, it is important to note which ones will be the most sustainable for your growing medium.
Bending & Securing Your Cannabis Plants
Screen of Green (ScrOG)
One technique for bending and securing parts of marijuana plants is ScrOG, or Screen of Green. ScrOG is perfect for an indoor grower who is only growing a small number of plants. In places like Colorado, for example, this method is ideal as the legal growing limit is three flowering plants at a time.
ScrOG is designed to optimize the energy from a light by creating an even canopy space where bottom growth of the plant is forced upward to form a flat canopy. By spreading out the canopy and growing the plant horizontally until a few weeks into the flowering stage, more main cola budding sites will take place. The canopy of one plant can be grown as large as a four-foot canopy.
New to growing cannabis? Don’t worry, our beginner’s guide to growing marijuana will help you through the process. From seed to harvest, we have you covered with tips, tricks and step-by-step procedures.
Growing pot in florida
At present, The Sunshine State is still stuck with only a medical marijuana law. This is not surprising for a state in the deep South, but even at this time, the state’s medical marijuana program is mired with legal woes. Last May, a Tampa-based cannabis firm launched a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health challenging the constitutionality of a 2017 law that was designed to carry out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical cannabis under Florida marijuana laws. The case is still ongoing, with the Florida Supreme Court ordering a second round of arguments for October. The results of the case are expected to significantly change Florida’s marijuana industry and so far, the lower courts are in agreement with the plaintiff’s assertions.
In addition to this, Florida’s high court is also mulling whether a recreational cannabis ballot proposal can go before voters. Unfortunately, marijuana advocacy group Make It Legal Florida had to abandon its efforts for this year but vowed that they would get the initiative on the 2020 ballot.
Given this, it seems that recreational legalization is still in its nascent stages and it is not likely to see home cultivation in any form within the next few years.
- Overview of Florida Marijuana Laws
- History of Marijuana in Florida
- Illegal cannabis
- Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Florida
- FAQs about marijuana legalization in Florida
Overview of Florida Marijuana Laws
Home cultivation of both recreational and medical marijuana is illegal under Florida marijuana laws. In fact, the state’s law enforcement even established a number of programs and efforts to pursue illegal cultivation.
- Possession – Possession or delivery of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $1000. Meanwhile, anything more than 20 grams is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5000.
- Sale – Selling 25 pounds or less is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. Fines and prison sentences increase with the amount of marijuana.
- Cultivation – Growing marijuana falls under “manufacture” and is usually treated as a third degree felony if there are less than 25 plants. However, felony charges get more serious as the number of plants increase:
- 25 to 300 plants – up to 15 years and a maximum fine of $10000
- 300 to 2000 plants – 3 to 15 years and a maximum fine of $25000
- 2000 to 10,000 plants – 7 to 30 years and a maximum fine of $50000
If the offense takes place within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified areas, it is a felony punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 15 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
History of Marijuana in Florida
Being one of the southernmost states in the US, it’s not surprising that Florida had such a turbulent history with marijuana, even though it is not native to the state. During the prohibition in the 1930s, the first commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, Harry J. Anslinger, used a number of gruesome crimes in his propaganda against marijuana. In a particularly bloody murder case in Tampa, Anslinger blamed marijuana for driving a certain Victor Licata into a killing spree. However, Licata’s medical records revealed that his mental illness and not marijuana was responsible for his actions.
Nevertheless, Anslinger continued to use such violent offenses, which were later on discredited, to turn the public’s opinion against cannabis, calling it names such as “the devil weed”. He was also instrumental in Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
Despite the federal government’s war on drugs, Florida saw a resurgence of weed in the 60s and 70s. Around this time, marijuana was being smuggled into cities like Miami by the ton from places like Jamaica. Florida’s cannabis gray market boomed, fueled by smuggling and homegrown weed. In fact, the “Gainesville Green” strain became one of the most sought after due to its potency.
Florida’s illegal weed trade just kept on getting worse through the 80s. So much so that Everglades City, a small fishing town west of Miami became one of the most notorious dropoff points of marijuana from Colombia. It was also one of the hardest hit by the federal government’s War on Drugs.
Finally, in the 90s, a landmark case involving home cultivation significantly contributed to the efforts to legalize medical marijuana. That year, the Jenks in Panama Beach were busted for growing medical marijuana for their AIDS symptoms. Thankfully, they were able to appeal their conviction and were acquitted the next year. In 1999, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a “medical necessity” could be used as a defense in some marijuana cases. This became an important precedent that came at a time when the medical community was already calling for serious studies into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
A number of Florida cities were already mulling decriminalization in ‘00s but it took a decade before any significant changes were made to Florida marijuana laws. In 2013-2014, an initiative to legalize medical cannabis, known as Amendment 2, lost with a narrow margin. However, around this time, Gov. Rick Scott also signed into law the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act”. Also known as Senate Bill 1030, it permitted the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil extracted from the Charlotte’s Web strain.
Finally, in 2016, Gov. Scott signed House Bill 307 which expands the Right to Try Act to include medical cannabis. In the same year, Amendment 2 was once more put to a vote and won 71.3% to 28.7%. However, the law did make home cultivation legal for patients and caregivers. In between 2015 to 2019, a number of cities and counties also approved their own decriminalization ordinances.
Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Florida
How do Florida marijuana laws compare with those in other US states? Check out our post on Marijuana Growing Laws in the United States.
FAQs about marijuana legalization in Florida
No, adult-use cannabis is still illegal in Florida. However, a number of counties have already lowered penalties for simple possession.
None. Home cultivation of recreational cannabis is not allowed in Florida.
Yes, medical cannabis is already legal in Florida.
None. Home cultivation of medical cannabis is not allowed in Florida.
Two bills on recreational marijuana legalization were introduced earlier this year: SB 1860 and HB 1389. However, the legislature adjourned its session in March, leaving both bills dead in committee. Likewise, the effort to put legalization on the ballot for this year also failed.
Residents are not allowed to cultivate marijuana, whether recreational or medical, at home in Florida.
Only adult workers employed by a licensed marijuana production entity may legally cultivate cannabis in Florida.
At present, there are three petitions seeking to make recreational marijuana legal in Florida. However, only one is pushing for the right of adults 21 and older to grow their own cannabis at home. The two other proposals are reportedly backed by big cannabis corporations that are looking to monopolize Florida’s adult-use market. While it is clear that recreational marijuana is on the horizon within a few years, it may be in the form of a proposal propelled by corporate money and is thus not likely to include home cultivation.
Medical marijuana is already legal in the Sunshine State. However, medical and recreational home cultivation is still illegal under Florida marijuana laws