How to Grow Your Own Marijuana Bonsai Tree

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How to Grow Your Own Marijuana Bonsai Tree

One of the more creative ways to cultivate cannabis at home is to grow a marijuana bonsai tree.

Seriously, you can train a cannabis plant to grow into pretty much any shape you can imagine. And if you do it right, you can train your plant to look just like a real life bonsai tree. The only difference is that your bonsai tree will get you high!

Along with just being a fun way to grow, this approach to cultivating marijuana actually has a number of different benefits.

It helps you grow plants that are small and manageable but that still produce plenty of buds, it can help keep your plant healthy and disease-free, and it looks dope as sh*t.

The simplest and safest way to grow a marijuana bonsai tree is to train the plant’s branches once you’ve got a strong and healthy baby plant already growing.

To figure out how to get yourself a well-established young cannabis plant, check out our basic guide for getting started with growing at home.

What You’ll Need To Grow A Marijuana Bonsai Tree

  • Potted baby marijuana plant
  • Drill with small drill bit
  • Gardening twine or thin wire with plastic covering
  • Thin wooden stake

marijuana bonsai tree

Step 1. Drill holes in the pot

Use your drill to make a series of holes in the top edge of the pot. Later on, you’ll be running your twine or wire through these holes so be sure whatever you’ll be using can fit through the holes you’re making.

Step 2. Train the trunk

The first step to really start getting your baby cannabis plant to look like a bonsai tree is to use your small wooden stake to train the trunk to grow into the shape you want it to.

Very gently press the wooden stake down into the soil alongside the trunk of your plant. You don’t want to damage the roots, so take it easy.

Once your stake is down, you can gently bend or wrap the trunk around it.

Now run a piece of twine or wire through whatever hole is nearest to the trunk. Loop the twine or wire over the trunk and tie it into place. This will keep your trunk growing in whatever direction you’ve just positioned it.

Here’s a close look at what we’re talking about:

Step 3. Train the branches

As your cannabis plant continues to grow, you need to continue training the individual branches to grow into the bonsai shape you’re envisioning.

To do this, you’ll basically use your twine or wire, along with the holes you drilled into the top of the pot, to train the branches to grow in the direction you need them to.

Of course, it’s your design. So if you want a section to start growing taller, then don’t tie it down as much. If you want a section to grow more horizontally than tall, then that’s where you’d want to tie it down.

Step 4. Prune branches as needed

From time to time you can also prune back new growth to help keep your plant in its bonsai shape.

When you do this, you need to be very careful that you don’t accidentally snip off a main branch and end up damaging the plant.

Only trim branches that are new offshoots coming out of a primary branch. And when you snip, do it carefully and gently. We suggest using a pair of sharp scissors.

This step will not only help keep your plant looking like an awesome bonsai tree, it will also help improve air circulation. Better air flow will decrease the chance that your plant will get too humid, moldy, or that the soil will grow fungus.’

Step 5. Harvest buds

Eventually, your marijuana bonsai tree will enter the flowering phase. Keep your eye on the hair-like trichomes covering your plant’s flowers.

When the trichomes turn milky white, you can snip off the flowers.

Hang them upside down in a well-ventilated room to dry. When you can snap the stem with your fingers, it’s time to cure the buds.

To do this, place them in glass jars, seal the lid, and put the jar into a dark, dry place. Check the jars every day. If it gets too humid, take the lid off and let them air out. Then put the lid back on.

Once the buds are semi-dry but still sticky, you’re ready to light up.

As you enjoy the fruits of your cultivation labor, sit back and enjoy the beauty of your cannabis bonsai tree.

Source: TheEarthTribe

With LED grow lights becoming more affordable and providing cheaper long term running costs, many growers are choosing to use them over traditional hydroponics lighting. Often proving more effective in grow tests and giving out far less heat.

Oilpatch CEOs fear higher costs when marijuana is legal

Oilpatch CEOs fear higher costs when marijuana is legal

A technician tests a sample at SureHire, an Edmonton-based drug testing company with branches across Canada, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

A technician tests a sample at SureHire, an Edmonton-based drug testing company with branches across Canada, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, April 26, 2017.


Oilpatch CEOs fear their costs will rise when the federal government passes recently introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The issue of drug use is closely watched in the industry, where workers tend to be young and hazards include long commutes to and from remote drilling sites, wells that produce poisonous or explosive gas and exposure to heavy machinery. Many oil and gas companies have strict bans on alcohol and drugs at work.

Precision Drilling CEO Kevin Neveu, whose Calgary-based firm operates in both Canada and the United States, says his opposition to legalization is supported by his company’s experiences in Colorado after that state legalized the drug in 2014.

He said costs there have increased for employees who need drug counselling or for those who fail drug tests and must be sent home under Precision’s “zero tolerance” drug and alcohol policy.

READ MORE: Precision Drilling reports higher rig demand but lower pricing in Q1

And it’s more difficult to find new recruits, typically young men, who can pass pre-employment drug tests, he said.

“We have certainly failed more people in Colorado (for drug use) after legalization than we did before,” he said, though he was unable to give specific numbers.

“There’s a link, there’s a cause. Even during the recruitment phase where we warn them we’ll do a test, a surprising number still test positive.”

Canada’s Liberal government campaigned on a promise to legalize marijuana for recreational use, arguing prohibition does not prevent young people from using the drug. It also said too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts and legalization would help remove the criminal element linked to the drug.

But Jeff Tonken, CEO of Calgary-based natural gas producer Birchcliff Energy, agreed with Neveu that employee costs will rise if the government succeeds in legalizing recreational pot by July 1, 2018.

“It’s going to be more costly for us to police the safety of our people,” he said.

READ MORE: Calgary-based Encana to sell $625M worth of Alberta oil assets

He said workers sign an agreement when hired giving permission for random tests for drugs and alcohol consumption.

If someone fails a test, they must leave the job site, he said, but the company may still be responsible for paying for substance abuse treatment or covering a leave of absence.

SureHire Inc., an Edmonton-based drug testing company with branches across Canada, charges between $85 and $135 for a 12-panel point of collection test or a saliva drug test. A hair drug test costs $275 to $325, but costs rise if the sample is “non-negative” because it must then be sent to a lab for confirmation. Usually, the company pays.

“This is a really good time for companies to review their internal policies and procedures,” said Jason Sheehy, SureHire’s director of occupational health services.

He pointed out that medical marijuana has been available in Canada since 2001, but there still is no test to determine if someone is impaired by any drug other than alcohol — tests can only show that someone has consumed the drug at some point.

READ MORE: As marijuana legalization looms, Trudeau hints at amnesty for possession convictions

Nor can the test show when the drug was taken, he said. For example, an infrequent marijuana user’s urine sample might test positive for five to 10 days after marijuana use, but a heavy user will show positive for up to 30 days.

Enform, an oil and gas industry training and safety organization, said in a recent statement that the federal legislation fails to address the need to do further research on marijuana impairment testing technologies, nor did it cover how labour and workplace legislation can be harmonized from province to province.

“There is well-documented research to demonstrate cognitive impairments that can last for more than 24 hours and up to 20 days for chronic marijuana use,” said Enform CEO Cameron MacGillivray, calling for a legal prohibition on marijuana in or near the workplace.

Matt Pascuzzo, spokesman for federal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu, said the government will ensure Canadians’ health and safety are protected as it works with provinces and territories on measures addressing impairment at work.

Mark Salkeld, president of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, said freer access to marijuana is more likely to cause problems in his industry than in many others because of its hazards.

“You know, you don’t want guys stoned in those environments. Or even hungover,” he said.


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U.S. Government Finally Admits Marijuana Really Does Kill Cancer Cells

Once seen as a radical concept, the idea that cannabis can successfully treat cancer is being accepted by authoritative bodies.

A branch of the U.S Department of Health, the National Cancer Institute now acknowledges cannabis oil is a viable method of controlling cancer.

As reported by Amy Willis in the Metro:

“The National Cancer Institute, part of the US Department of Health, now advises that ‘cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment’ by smoking, eating it in baked products, drinking herbal teas or even spraying it under the tongue.”

Studies on the effects on cannabis oil have previously been limited to independent, underground trials which were not endorsed by the government or official health organizations, but this change could mark the beginning of funded studies, and eventually nationwide treatment.

The government site now lists the positive effects of cannabis oil in the treatment as Anti-inflammatory activity, pain relief, anti-anxiety, stress relief, anti-tumor, antiviral activity and relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis plus more.

Cannabis oil has proven itself time and again at being a succesful treatment for many conditions, and this backing by the government is a huge step in the right direction.

Willis says “Several scientific studies have suggested this in the past, and in April this year the US government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse revised their publications to suggest cannabis could shrink brain tumors by killing off cancer cells.”

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Trump indicated where he stands on medical marijuana for the first time since he took office

President Donald Trump issued his first statement on medical marijuana since he took office.

Trump on Friday signed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal government funded through September 30.

The congressionally approved bill includes a rider — the Rohrabacher – Blumenauer Amendment — that disallows the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana businesses in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, though 29 states have varying degrees of medical marijuana legalization on the books. The amendment doesn’t extend to recreational marijuana, which is legal in eight states.

Trump, who has stayed mum on the topic of marijuana since the election, finally gave an indication as to where he stands on the issue in his statement after he signed the bill:

“Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Tom Angell, the founder of Marijuana Majority, an advocacy group, told Business Insider he thinks that Trump’s statement is the federal government’s way of “asserting their right” to go after certain medical marijuana businesses if they choose to at a later date.

“[M]y read is it’s basically saying they reserve the right to do whatever they want and enforce prohibition regardless of the statutory prohibition on doing so,” Angell said, though he doesn’t think it necessarily indicates a federal crackdown on medical marijuana is coming.

A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California U.S., October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in California. Thomson Reuters

A federal court — the 9th circuit, which has blocked two of Trump’s high-profile executive actions — ruled last year that the amendment protects patients and providers acting in accordance with state medical marijuana laws, despite the Justice Department insisting the opposite, notes Angell.

Michael Collins, the deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in an email that Trump continues to send “mixed messages” on marijuana.

“After stating during the campaign that he was ‘100%’ in support of medical marijuana, he now issues a signing statement casting doubt on whether his Administration will adhere to a congressional rider that stops DOJ from going after medical marijuana programs,” Collins said.

“The uncertainty is deeply disconcerting for patients and providers, and we urge the Administration to clarify their intentions immediately,” Collins added.

Robert Capecchi, the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in an email that Congress is growing “increasingly comfortable” with states adopting medical and recreational marijuana policies.

“Unfortunately, spending prohibitions like these expire at the end of the fiscal year, so there is still a need for a long-term solution,” Capecchi added.

Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, told Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper during a private meeting in April that prosecuting state-legal marijuana businesses wouldn’t be a priority for the Justice Department.

Source: BusinessInsider

Sex And Marijuana

Sex and drugs are often spoken of together when discussing the taboo acts of many adolescents. Many people experiment with both sex and drugs, sometimes at the same time. Marijuana is a commonly used drug that is often used in conjunction with sex. Marijuana can have a varied impact on the brain, body, health, sex, and relationships of every individual.

Marijuana Overview

Marijuana which comes in the form dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds. The Marijuana plant is often referred to as the hemp plant. The fibers of the hemp plant are used for clothes, rope, and paper. The active ingredients of the hemp plant are the cannabinoids which contains chemicals that are used as the psychoactive drug people refer to commonly as Marijuana. The cannabinoids can slightly vary from plant to plant. Two popular breeds of cannabinoids in plants are cannabis sativa or cannabis indica. These plants grow in warm climates throughout the world. Marijuana is referred to by many names, some of which include cannabis, weed, pot, dope, ganja, dank, and herb. The psychoactive drug is used for various medical and recreational reasons. Variation in drug preparation and storage can greatly affect its level of potency. Marijuana can contain up to several hundred active chemicals. Of these many chemicals, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one credited as having the greatest effect on the user.1

There are many different methods of consuming and feeling the effects of marijuana. Most people who use cannabis grind up the dried leaves of the plant and smoke it by way of joint, pipe, bong, vaporizer. The active chemicals in marijuana can also be consumed through an edible. An edible is any form of food that is infused with the extracted chemicals from marijuana. The increasing popularity of marijuana amongst those in the United States has brought about many creative ways to intake the drug. THC extract, a concentrated form of the active chemical that can be smoked or added to various foods and drinks, has become another admired and highly effective form of marijuana consumption.1 Along with the many ways to smoke marijuana, there are also many variations in plant breed. Two of the most notable types are Indica and Sativa.2


Strains, or varied forms, of cannabis that are of the indica breed are known to cause a stronger “body-high.” Users describe this high as more of a “full-body sensation” with a “couch-lock” effect, like having no desire to move from the comfortable position on the couch.2


Strains of cannabis that are of the sativa breed are known to cause a more “uplifting and cerebral high” and are seen as “energizing and stimulating” to users. 2

Many users report that indica affects their body and sativa affects their mind, which are both explained in further detail below. There are also many hybrid strains of cannabis that incorporate both the effects of indica and sativa.2

Effects on the Brain

When a person smokes or ingests marijuana, THC and other active chemicals from the drug are absorbed through the lungs or stomach, and into the bloodstream. These chemicals are then carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The chemicals in marijuana mimic natural chemicals that are produced in the body. As a result, they activate certain brain cell receptors that release excess chemicals such as dopamine, which triggers a “high.” There are both appealing and adverse mental effects that accompany the use of marijuana.1 Marijuana can produce a variety of stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogenic effects.

Short-Term Effects

After consumed or ingested, during the “high”, some marijuana users report having altered senses such as sight and hearing. Some users report seeing brighter colors and heightened pleasure from listening to music. Others experience elevated feelings of happiness, relaxation, anxiety relief, creativity and euphoria.1 Other users report short term effects such as an altered sense of time, difficulty thinking and problem solving, impaired memory, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.3

Long-Term Effects

Although marijuana is seen as minimally addictive, it can have lasting long-term effects on a developing brain.

The active chemicals in marijuana affect brain cell receptors, which are tissues or molecules in the body that respond to chemicals in the body. These receptors and their responses play a large part in brain development.Some users that begin using marijuana as teenagers may find themselves struggling with clear thinking, memory, and learning functions in the long run.1 The short-term effects of marijuana on motivation can extend into the futures of many users if their lack of motivation leads to laziness and ultimately affects academic and career success.1 Using marijuana at exceptionally high potencies for long periods of time is associated with much higher risks. High levels of THC can cause panic attacks, similar to those produced by hallucinogenic drugs, and exposure to THC may trigger psychotic episodes in those who are already predisposed to a particular mental illness, such as schizophrenia.1 On the other hand, some users with ailing anxiety or conditions involving frequent seizures have found that the use of marijuana is calming and stabilizing in the long term.4

Effects on the Body

Similar to the mental effects, there are both appealing and adverse physical effects that accompany the use of matijuana.

Short-Term Effects

The “high” produced by marijuana causes physical changes such as reddening of the eyes, fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, dizziness, and increased appetite. Marijuana users also report a calming sensation, relief from pain, “feathery” feelings of relaxation throughout the body, increased sensitivity, and other potential remedies to physical ailments.1

Long-Term Effects

Continued use of marijuana can lead to poorer physical health as a result of the short-term effects, including lack of motivation and increased appetite. Despite its high intoxication potential, marijuana has a low dependency (or addictive) potential and low risk of organ damage or death.  There are also indications that habitual marijuana smoking may lead to the same dangers that are associated with chronic tobacco smoking, such as lung disease or lung cancer.1 However, some studies show that the effects of marijuana on the lungs are less harmful than those of continued tobacco use, and many find it a safer alternative to cigarettes.4

The medical use of marijuana is becoming increasingly popular due to its effects, which many see as controversial. Doctors have found that the effects of marijuana helped patients manage diseases such as glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and more.4 However, researchers also found that the uprising trend of marijuana use and recent legalization in some states of the Unites States have led to more frequent car accidents.3 The overall costs and benefits that the effects of marijuana can have on each individual varies.

Effects on Sexuality

For many people, part of the appeal of marijuana is its rumored aphrodisiac-like qualities. THC can elevate mood and arousal, as well as stimulate sexual activity. While this may be the case for many cannabis users, not all people who use this drug have such a positive reaction. Despite the fact that this substance has the ability to enhance mood and reduce inhibitions, much in the way that alcohol does, it may also have some undesired effects on a person’s libido. While some users feel that it greatly increases their sexual desire, others experience the opposite effect. Many report having a substantially decreased sexual drive when “stoned” or “high.” Further, it can be difficult to arouse people under the influence. Many marijuana users find that they fall somewhere in between these two extremes; that is, they are sometimes aroused and other times disappointed with marijuana’s sexual side effects.5

Effect on Sex

Users and their partners also experience a variety of reactions to using marijuana during intercourse. Some claim that it fosters a greater bond between partners, stating that marijuana facilitates a more beautiful, open connection. However, some partners find that under the influence of cannabis they tend to lose focus or internalize their thoughts; as a result, they tend to emotionally distance their partners instead of bring them closer. One reason that some people may report a heightened sense of sexuality is that marijuana often distorts users’ sense of time, thus creating the illusion of prolonged arousal and orgasm. Furthermore, some studies suggest that there is an association of marijuana use with increased rates of high risk sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections. This is due to marijuana’s ability to decrease inhibitions and make users less likely to use protection during intercourse. When using marijuana, consent for sexual activity may become unclear. Consent is seen a clear and enthusiastic “yes” and is especially important when drugs/intoxication are involved. It is advised to take precaution and use protection, such as a condom, when engaging in any sexual activity and establish a clear and comfortable form of communication when using marijuana or any drug.5

Effect on Relationships

As mentioned above, marijuana has the ability to bring people closer together or farther apart, both physically and emotionally. The use of marijuana should be discussed openly and honestly between partners. Communication is essential for the health of every relationship. If one is concerned that their partner is experiencing negative effects from marijuana, it is best that they communicate their concerns in a considerate manner. Each partner should come to a common understanding about the role that marijuana plays in their relationship and how it affects each partner in the relationship.1 For tips on communicating with your partner, check out this article on “Effective Communication.”

Effects on Fertility and Pregnancy

Marijuana has the ability to affect both male and female fertility. However, since the drug is outlawed by most societies around the world, research on the effects of cannabis have been limited. However, there have been some studies conducted that produced noteworthy correlations between marijuana use and its impact on fertility as well as fetal development.

A study conducted in 2015 by the Oxford University Press found that smoking marijuana more than once a week might lower a male’s sperm count by nearly a third.6 Specifically, the men who smoked marijuana more than once a week produced sperm counts that were 28% lower, on average, than those who smoked marijuana less frequently or not at all.

Furthermore, the research suggests that while it is still unclear as to why males’ sperm count decreases, it is possible that this decrease can be contributed to the THC interacting, and subsequently disrupting, certain receptors in the testes.7However, the researchers refrain from making the conclusion that the reduction in sperm count is solely due to the use of marijuana. They suggest that there may be other behavioral and lifestyle factors that can affect sperm count and hormonal levels, which in turn may decrease fertility.

In 2003, a study from the University of Buffalo found that smoking marijuana could make sperm less fertile, even if the female is the one who is using the drug. When females smoke marijuana, their reproductive fluids or vaginal secretions may contain the chemicals from cannabis. The research suggests that when a female smokes or ingests marijuana, the THC is then present in the vagina, oviduct, and the uterus. Even if a male has not smoked but the female has, his sperm may enter her body, come in contact with the THC in her system, and subsequently be altered by the THC/sperm interaction.8

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute of the University of Washington suggests that marijuana use by females may affect their fertility by disrupting their menstrual cycle, which may result in fewer eggs being released. Furthermore, they conclude that THC has the ability to cross through the placental barrier and secrete into the breast milk of nursing mothers.9 Therefore, it is suggested that any pregnant or breastfeeding mother refrain from using marijuana. Furthermore, research shows that there may be major effects on the development and maturation of the fetal brain if a female uses marijuana during pregnancy. While these findings are not conclusive, they do point out the risks of using marijuana and its impact on both male and female fertility.9

The use of marijuana and its effects on the mind, body, sex, relationships, and health are unique to every individual. While some claim that marijuana has a positive effect on their lives, others feel as though it affects their lives negatively. It is recommended that you discuss marijuana use with your doctor before experimenting with it. They may have insight as to how it will affect you and your body based on your medical history. SexInfo Online does not endorse the use of illegal drugs but promotes safety during the use or experimentation of any substance.

Source: Sex And Marijuana


Pot legalization in Canada: Here’s what you need to know about proposed law

Pot legalization in Canada: Here’s what you need to know about proposed law


OTTAWA – Some of the highlights from the suite of bills introduced Thursday by the federal Liberal government to legalize recreational marijuana:

– Sales to be restricted to people age 18 and older, although provinces would have the jurisdiction to increase their own minimum age.

– Adults 18 and older would be allowed to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form.

Flowering marijuana plants are pictured during a tour of Tweed in Smiths Falls, Ont., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.

Flowering marijuana plants are pictured during a tour of Tweed in Smiths Falls, Ont., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.

The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

– Sales by mail or courier through a federally licensed producer would be allowed in provinces that lack a regulated retail system.

– Adults aged 18 and older would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants for each residence, with plants not to exceed one metre in height.

– Adults aged 18 and older would also be allowed to produce legal cannabis products, such as food or drinks, for personal use at home.

– At first, sales will entail only fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds and plants for cultivation. Sales of edibles will come later, once regulations for production and sale can be developed.

– Possession, production and distribution outside the legal system would remain illegal, as would imports or exports without a federal permit. Such permits will cover only limited purposes, such as medical or scientific cannabis and industrial hemp.

– Travellers entering Canada would still be subject to inspections for prohibited goods, including cannabis.

– The existing program for access to medical marijuana would continue as it currently exists.

-Regulated limit of THC in a driver’s blood stream.

-Roadside saliva test would be conducted to help determine impairment

– Driving within two hours an illegal amount of THC in the blood will be punishable by fines ranging from up to $1,000 to up to life in jail.

-Regulations will prohibit package designs that can be deemed to be appealing to young people. Cartoon characters, endorsements or images that connect cannabis with a glamorous or exciting lifestyle would also be banned.

Source: Global News


Alberta cities, province respond to federal legislation on legalizing marijuana

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Alberta cities, province respond to federal legislation on legalizing marijuana

One of the most anticipated pieces of legislation in recent memory was unveiled Thursday and Alberta cities, as well as the provincial government, are responding.

The federal Liberal government has finally launched its long-awaited effort to legalize recreational marijuana, setting in motion a host of sweeping policy changes for public safety and health across Canada.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

Alberta municipalities are very concerned about the short time frames for implementing the new laws.

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) said Thursday it has been working hard to make sure systems are in place to educate the public, restrict inappropriate use, address health and safety issues and co-ordinate law enforcement through RCMP and local police.

“The speed at which government intends to move ahead puts municipalities at risk in preventing adverse impacts in our communities,” AUMA President Lisa Holmes said. “Many of the health and safety impacts are complex and require collaboration between all three levels of government and time to address.”

The AUMA brought up challenges concerning fire and building codes to regulate growing marijuana, and business taxes for facilities that plan to produce it commercially.

“We need to ensure that the federal legislation and associated programs provide sufficient authority for municipalities to influence the sale and consumption of marijuana in their communities,” Holmes said.

Scroll down to read the AUMA’s full statement on marijuana legalization.

Alberta Liquor Store Association

“We are pleased the federal government has followed the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization’s recommendation to allow the provinces to set their own policies for the distribution and retailing of recreational marijuana,” Alberta Liquor Store Association president Ivonne Martinez said. “Ottawa’s recognition that provinces are best positioned to make these decisions will no doubt be welcomed across the country.

“Furthermore, we’re encouraged to see the government reject the task force’s recommendation to prohibit the co-location of marijuana and alcohol sales.”

Scroll down to read the Alberta Liquor Store Association’s full statement.

City of Edmonton

The City of Edmonton posted a list of facts and reminders on its website Thursday, outlining current municipal marijuana and cannabis rules and regulations.

“At this time, marijuana or cannabis dispensaries are illegal and are not licensed or permitted by the City of Edmonton.

“City staff are taking proactive measures to prepare for upcoming federal changes regarding the legalization of cannabis and the alignment with the Zoning Bylaw 12800. Municipal controls in this area are only possible if other orders of government provide that role to municipalities,” the website reads.

Visit the city’s website to learn more about the proposed changes to Zoning Bylaw 12800, which include introducing definitions to make sure Edmonton is ready for the introduction of legalization of cannabis sales and consumption, “including classifications for Cannabis Retail Sales and Cannabis Lounges.”

Edmonton city staff members have prepared draft amendments to several bylaws in anticipation of the federal legislation.

Under Edmonton’s current regulations, non-medical production, sale and use of cannabis is illegal and is not licensed or permitted.

Federal legalization could happen as early as summer 2018, but the city said it would take longer to implement legislation at the provincial and possibly the municipal level.


City of Calgary

The City of Calgary had already created a panel of experts to “ensure local considerations” were taken into account as the new legislation was being developed, the website reads.

“Certainly the city has been doing a ton of work on this in order to be ready, so it’s not catching us unawares,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

“I will say that if rumours are true that the federal government will set a federally mandated minimum age of 18 but give the provinces the opportunity to vary that, I will press the province to go higher.”

“I am convinced by the brain science that people under 21 or even 25 could do serious damage if they start becoming regular marijuana users, so I don’t want to see this on university campuses and I want to see it restricted to those who are older,” Nenshi said. “I don’t know if I’ll be successful in that, but I will press the government for that.”

Through its Land Use Bylaw, Calgary currently regulates businesses that provide medical marijuana counselling. There are restrictions on their location and all businesses require a development permit.

Council is looking at the impact of federal legalization on public health and safety, policing and social supports.

What do you think the legal minimum age to buy marijuana in Alberta should be?

Alberta government

Alberta’s justice minister addressed the federal legislation Thursday afternoon.

“As a province, we will need to take the lead on where cannabis can be sold and where it can be consumed,” Kathleen Ganley said.

She said Alberta’s three main areas of focus are: keeping marijuana away from children, keeping profits away from criminals, and protecting roads and workplaces.

“The federal government has also proposed 18 as the national minimum age for marijuana use but provinces may set their age higher. This is something we will raise as part of the engagement process we will be launching,” Ganley said.

She said topics the province will definitely seek Albertans’ input on are: minimum legal age, health and safety concerns, and keeping children safe. She noted the justice, health and finance ministries will lead the discussion.

Ganley said it’s difficult to estimate what the cost to the province will be in terms of who (which level of government) will regulate what.

Premier Rachel Notley said marijuana legalization is a very complex issue and it will be a tight timeline to get everything in place.

“We’re going to try very hard to meet those time limits, and if we don’t, we’ll have to go back and say, ‘You know what? We need more time.’”

She said she wants to speak with Albertans about the legal age and where marijuana will be sold, among other topics.

“Our government is focused on protecting kids, protecting health, protecting safety in our workplaces and our highways, and doing so in a cost-effective way,” the premier said. “It’s a very ambitious project and there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure that we get it right.”

“What is important is that we make the kinds of decisions that keep criminals out of it… and preserve public health and public safety,” Notley said. “I think it’s possible to strike that balance. The path to striking that balance is not absolutely clear yet… I think if we get it right, it can work, but I also know there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done to get there.”

Watch below: The long-awaited pot legislation has been tabled by the federal Liberals. If it becomes law, here’s what you could legally do.

Calgary 420 Cannabis Community

The Calgary 420 Cannabis Community anticipated the federal rules would be more restrictive.

“I’m glad to see I’m allowed to share with my friends or family up to 30 grams,” Keith Fagin said. “So that’s nice to see. Like alcohol, if I produce alcohol, beer, wine, I can share freely.”

He would like to see marijuana sold separately from alcohol.

“Provinces, I think, should take on the regulations like they do [with] alcohol. And I would like to see them as private businesses, but not in the liquor store. It’s a completely different intoxicant. It needs to be treated differently. You know it’s safer than alcohol — we have no recorded deaths from cannabis. With alcohol, of course, there’s deaths every day and destruction. So it does need to be separate.”

According to Fagin, the timeline is doable.

“Colorado did it in a year… and they had no one to follow — there was no Washington, there was no jurisdiction that did it except for maybe Portugal, where they decriminalized all drugs in 2001. So, if Colorado can do it from scratch inside of a year, we can certainly do it in 14, 15 months.”

Alberta Motor Association

The AMA applauded the marijuana legislation for establishing “stiff new penalties for drug-impaired driving.” However, it said other issues still had to be ironed out.

In order to effectively address drug-impaired driving, the AMA is asking for clear laws, tools for law enforcement, and public education.

“Today’s legislation makes clear that governments, police services and other traffic safety partners still have a lot of work yet to do,” said Jeff Kasbrick, the AMA’s vice president of government and stakeholder relations.

“This is a complex issue that requires considerable police training and public education. We’re still waiting for the details on additional funding to make the legislation enforceable. This needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

“Although this is federal legislation, the fact is that a large burden of the responsibility around education and equipping police services with the necessary tools and training will fall to the provinces,” Kasbrick said. “We agree with the government of Alberta that we’re facing an ambitious timeline and we are committed to working together on these important issues to ensure road safety.”

Some of the highlights of the federal legislation include:

– Sales to be restricted to people age 18 and older, although provinces would have the jurisdiction to increase their own minimum age.

– Adults 18 and older would be allowed to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form.

– Sales by mail or courier through a federally licensed producer would be allowed in provinces that lack a regulated retail system.

– Adults aged 18 and older would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants for each residence, with plants not to exceed one metre in height.

– Adults aged 18 and older would also be allowed to produce legal cannabis products, such as food or drinks, for personal use at home.

– At first, sales will entail only fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds and plants for cultivation. Sales of edibles will come later, once regulations for production and sale can be

– Possession, production and distribution outside the legal system would remain illegal, as would imports or exports without a federal permit. Such permits will cover only limited purposes, such
as medical or scientific cannabis and industrial hemp.

– Travellers entering Canada would still be subject to inspections for prohibited goods, including cannabis.

– The existing program for access to medical marijuana would continue as it currently exists.

Source: Global News

How to Grow Cannabis/Weed/Marijuana in 10 Steps

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How to Grow Cannabis in 10 Steps

by Nebula Haze

Table of Contents

Introduction: How to Get to Harvest in 10 Steps

Step 1: Choose Your Place to Grow

Step 2: Choose Your Light

Step 3: Choose Your Growing Medium

Step 4: Get Cannabis-Friendly Nutrients

Step 5: Where To Get Cannabis Plants

Step 6: Germinate Your Seeds / Start Your Clones

Step 7: Vegetative Stage – Only Stems and Leaves

Step 8: Flowering Stage – Buds Start Growing!

Step 9: Harvest Your Cannabis

Step 10: Dry & Cure Your Buds Like a Professional

Your Growing Cannabis Information Kit:
Get to Harvest in 10 Steps!

Cannabis buds in hand - variety of different strainsCannabis legalization is spreading like wildfire across the US and in many countries around the world. Many people are finally allowed to legally grow their own supply of cannabis!

Are you ready to start growing?

Growing cannabis can seem like it’s complicated, but often it seems that way because you haven’t given the right information. A lot of people unintentionally make growing harder than it needs to be.

This cannabis growing guide will help you discover the best way to grow cannabis, for your unique situation.

Find a grow style for…

  • Your grow space
  • Your budget
  • Your desired yields

Growing cannabis plants is actually pretty straightforward, and almost anyone with a few extra minutes a day and a spare closet or a garden in the back yard can grow their own professional-quality buds at home.

About My History With Growing

As a California medical marijuana patient and regular toker, I started growing cannabis in my closet in 2004 under a few CFLs for about $300.

Now I grow with a much bigger setup, but I very successfully grew cannabis on a tiny shoestring budget for years before I could invest in better growing equipment.

I’ve learned that as long as I put the time into growing, I save a bundle of money compared to trying to buy, and I always have a constant safe supply of potent medical cannabis.

In 2010, I helped put together with another grower named Sirius Fourside to teach other people how to grow their own buds, too.

One of my first gardens – it cost about $300 to get started

Nebula Haze tending the garden

What does a cannabis plant need to thrive?

In order to thrive and grow, every cannabis plant needs:

  1. Light – whether you’re using sunlight or grow lights, you must understand the light needs of a cannabis plant to get the best bud quality & yields
  2. Growing Medium – the stuff your plants grow in; soil isn’t your only choice
  3. Air – a well-ventilated space with good air exchange and a slight breeze is best
  4. Temperature – Of course it’s not always possible to control the temps perfectly. A good rule of thumb for cannabis plants is if it feels way too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your plants. And just like humans, cannabis plants can die if exposed to freezing temps.
  5. Nutrients – you can buy pre-formulated nutrients that you just add to your water, or you can compost your own super soil so that it already includes all the nutrients you need
  6. Water – like all plants, cannabis needs water to survive, learn exactly what you need to know below. Is my tap water “good enough” for growing cannabis?

When growing cannabis indoors or outdoors, you will need to ensure that it gets the proper amount of all 6 of these resources.

A healthy cannabis leaf - click for closeup!

How long does it take to grow cannabis?

If you planted a cannabis seed today, when is the soonest you could be actually smoking your harvest? Probably about 8.5 weeks.

Indoor grows tend to be shorter than outdoor grows since you have more control over when the plant starts budding. Auto-flowering grows also tend to be very short. But with shorter grows, you also tend to get smaller yields. Certain strains, and certain outdoor grows can take up to 7 months or more.

On average, I’d say it takes a grower about 4 months to grow, harvest and cure their own buds.

Learn more about how long it takes to grow cannabis

A sundial shows the time - how much time does it take to grow a cannabis plant?

Don’t Make the 2 Most Common Cannabis Growing Mistakes!

  1. One of the most common mistakes by new cannsbis growers is conducting spur-of-the-moment experiments that hurt or possibly even kill their plants. Always take a second to google your idea before you try it. Luckily when it comes to growing cannabis, chances are someone has tried it already!
  2. The next most common problem new growers have is the tendency to skip crucial steps like understanding about light schedules, or why root pH levels are important for reducing nutrient deficiencies. While you can get lucky and succeed at growing weed without taking these steps, you are a lot more likely to end up with plants that are sickly or don’t produce well. Make sure you follow all the steps listed in this guide – you deserve to harvest your own top-quality bud!



Step 1: Choose Where You Will Grow (Indoors or Outdoors)

  • Indoors
  • Outdoors

Click for closeup of marijuana buds grown indoorsIndoor Growing

Growing indoors is much more private than growing outdoors and gives you more control over your grow.

An indoor cannabis grow can be surprisingly cheap to get started and maintain, especially if you plan on growing just a few plants.

Take a look at a few completed indoor grow journals to get an idea of how much you can expect to get for yields in different types of indoor setups.

You have more control over everything in an indoor growing environment, which means that indoor growers can consistently produce dank buds, but you also have more responsibility. If you don’t provide everything your plants need, they will die.

What space works best?

You can grow cannabis most anywhere with easy access to water and fresh air…

  • a spare room
  • a closet
  • garage
  • grow tent
  • extra bathroom
  • even the inside of a computer case!
    (though I recommend a Space Bucket instead 🙂

When thinking about where to grow indoors, you should also consider the temperature of your grow space (and remember your temps will likely rise once you have your grow lights running!).

A thermometer - Temperature is important when growing cannabis indoorsYoung growing cannabis plants grow fastest when temps a bit warmer, in the 70-85°F (20-30°C) range.

When plants are a bit older, in the budding/flowering stage, it’s best to keep temps slightly cooler, around 65-80°F (18-26°C) to produce buds with the best color, trichome production and smell.

Because temps are so important, it’s best to be able to have some amount of control over the temperature of your grow area. When growing indoors, your grow lights will give off heat. The more powerful your lights, generally the more heat they give off.

If you want to install a lot of bright lights in a small space, you will likely have to install an air conditioner in addition to your exhaust sytem to make sure you keep your temps in the right range.

If you’re growing just a few plants in a grow tent or box, usually you can install a fan to pull hot air away from the hot lights and out a window to keep things cool enough.

Some lights tend to cause more heat problems than others, and we’ll help you find the right lights for your space in Step 2.

The silhouette of an outdoor cannabis plant growing under the sunGrowing Outdoors is cheaper to get started since you probably don’t have to get grow lights or create an indoor grow area, though you will have to worry about privacy/stealth, possible pollination, people stealing your plants, bugs, deer and other unexpected outdoor visitors.

If you pick the right strain and live in a good environment, it will possibly be cheaper to grow outdoors, since you don’t have to provide everything for your plants. The sun will do a lot of the work for you.

Of course when you’re growing outside, it’s not always possible to control the environment perfectly. If it’s dry, you will need to water your plants. If it’s too rainy, you need to protect your plants from getting overwatered.

When it comes to temperatures, a good rule of thumb about cannabis plants is if it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your plants. And just like humans, cannabis plants can die if exposed to freezing temps.

So if you know it’s going to be extremely hot or cold where you live, you may need to take extra steps to protect your plants from the elements, like setting up a small greenhouse.


Step 2: Choose Your Grow Light – What kind of light do you need to grow cannabis successfully?

Generally speaking, when growing marijuana, More Light = More BudsThere’s lots of different grow lights for cannabis, including:

  • The Sun
  • Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Other Fluorescent Lighting (T5 / T8)
  • LED grow lights
  • Metal Halide (MH)
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS)


The Sun

When you’re growing with the sun, you need to make sure that your plants are getting at least 8+ hour of direct sunlight each day for the best results.

It’s best that your plants get direct sunlight at least from 10am-4pm, and more light is better. Because of the high light needs of the cannabis plant (it needs more light than many other types of plants), it is not well suited to growing in a window (though I’ve seen plenty of growers start their seeds in sunny windows before moving their plants to a more suitable final location).



Beginners often start small indoor grows with CFL bulbs, since they’re cheap and easy to get a hold of, though they lack the power of dedicated grow lights. In fact, growing with CFLS is what I did my first grow.


Other Fluorescent Lighting

These lights are traditionally made for plants that need lower light intensity than cannabis. If you do get other fluorescent lighting, I recommend sticking with a High-Output T5  lights since the high-output T5 bulbs are the brightest grow lamps in this group. Even so, I generally recommend changing to stronger grow lights for the cannabis flowering stage unless you do major plant training (to keep plants very short) since these lights have a short light brightness range and must be kept very close to the tops of your plants.


LED grow lights

LED grow lights for growing cannabis

LEDs are more powerful than CFLs and other fluorescent lighting, but they are also much more expensive. In fact, currently LEDs are probably the most expensive type of grow light you can buy.

LED grow lights can work great for growing cannabis, but there are lots of unscrupulous LED sellers out there trying to make a quick buck, so you need to make sure you buy LEDs from a company that you can trust.

Each LED model is different, and needs to be kept a different distance away from your plants. It can sometimes be hard to find any “standard” advice about growing with LEDs unless you find a dedicated cannabis LED grower and follow everything they do using the same model of light. However, there are some brands which are well-tested and trusted by cannabis growers!


Metal Halide (MH) & High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

Click for more information about HPS grow light

Also known as “HID” lights, MH/HPS grow lights (like the combination light pictured to the right) are the “golden standard” for growing cannabis indoors. They are surprisingly cheap to buy and set up, especially considering how incredibly powerful they are.

HID lights work very well for growing cannabis, and produce consistently good results indoors. However, the higher wattage HID lights tend to run hot and can leave a big mark on your electricity bill, so you want to make sure you’re getting the exact right lights for your space – you don’t want to be paying for more light than you really need.

That being said, the smaller MH/HPS grow lights are actually really well suited to a small grow and don’t produce nearly as much heat as their bigger cousins. Check out a grow under a 250W HPS in a 2’x4’x5′ tent. I didn’t even use an exhaust!

See a grow we did with 2 plants under a 600W HID grow light. Learn more about HID grow lights.

Get a detailed breakdown of all the different types of cannabis grow lights

Hint: Still feeling stuck? Choose your grow type based on your starting cost…


Step 3: Choose Your Growing Medium

Each growing medium that you can use has different care and watering requirements.

Young cannabis seedling growing in rich soil in a person's hands

These are the most common grow mediums:

  • Soil – grow in organic composted super soil for the easiest growing experience, or start with the popular Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil mix (FFOF already contains enough nutrients to last the first month of your young plant’s life)
  • Soilless Mix – anything besides soil including coco coir, perlite, vermiculite, etc (all soilless mixes are technically considered hydroponic growing since there’s no soil)
  • Lots of bubbles make cannabis roots happy in hydroponicsDirectly in Water / Hydroponics – Get some of the fastest growth and biggest yields possible, especially when combined with HID grow lights – these days I personally grow using a top-fed DWC system
  • Less Common Types of Hydro – Some people grow with plant roots suspended in misted air (aeroponics) or in a tank with fish (aquaponics), but these are relative less common for cannabis growers.

What’s the Best Soil? Your absolute best option would be to compost your own soil (or purchase composted soil) which gets incredible taste results but does take a little more work (or money if you buy it).

For those of us who prefer pre-made mixes, I recommend starting with the popular Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil (often referred to as FFOF) since it’s already supplemented with plenty of nutrients that work very well for young cannabis plants. It’s a rich yet still somewhat airy soil that is made for plants just like cannabis and has been used by growers for years.

If you have limited soil options, choose an organic potting mix which is usually available in some form in every garden section. As long as you use good cannabis nutrients (more on that below), a regular organic potting mix will work just fine.

Common cannabis-friendly potting mix brands in the US:

  • Fox Farms Ocean Forest Soil (best)
  • Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil (good)
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mix (okay)
  • Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix (worst) – If you say you’re growing in Miracle-Gro soil, a lot of cannabis growers will wag their fingers at you. In addition to poor drainage, regular Miracle-Gro soil contains slow-release Nitrogen which is good for vegetative plants but bad for bud growth in the flowering stage, and you can’t really rinse it out. Too much Nitrogen in the flowering stage can lower yields as well as possibly add a green or chemical “taste” to buds. However if you’re going to use Miracle-Gro, their Organic Choice Potting Mix doesn’t have slow-release nutrients, which makes it a better option for growing cannabis than their standard version. It still drains poorly even with perlite, but if you’re desperate it does the job and you can get good results if you use good nutrients. The truth is that many growers have made it to harvest over the years with Miracle-Gro and even though it’s definitely not optimal, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Pick up a bag of perlite (found in the garden section of Home Depot or Walmart) to help soil drain better. Perlite looks like little white rocks and should be mixed in so you have about 70% soil and 30% perlite.

Get a bag of perlite on Amazon

What type of pot should I use for soil or soilless growing mediums?

Composted super soil is rich with all the stuff your cannabis plants loveIf you’re having a tough time deciding on a grow medium, you might want to think about starting with a mix of coco coir and perlite. It’s easy and low-maintenance. That’s how I got started growing (with CFLs as grow lights). Growing with coco coir can be a good choice for beginners because it’s cheap, holds water well, and doesn’t have as many of the problems associated with soil (bugs, root problems, etc). Yet since it’s hand-watered, it’s intuitive and has a lot of the ease of soil growing.

I’ve heard many people recommend against growing cannabis hydroponically for your first time because it’s “too complicated,” yet I’ve seen growers succeed at every grow type even on their very first grow. If you really want to grow hydroponically, I recommend you don’t waste your time doing something else first. If you’re passionate about hydroponic growing and do your research before you get started, there’s no reason you won’t be able to do incredibly well your first time. Read our bubbleponics tutorial to see how co-creator Sirius got started growing cannabis with top-fed DWC on his very first grow.

Learn more about different grow types here


Step 4: Choose Your Nutrients

Soil growers – unless you’ve growing with composted super soil, you will need to get cannabis nutrients made for soil to make sure your plants produce at their best. Even if you started with an amended soil like FFOF, you will still need to start adding nutrients once you reach the flowering/budding stage as cannabis plants are heavy feeders and your plants will have already used up most of the nutrients in the soil by the time budding begins.

Soilless & Hydroponic growers – If you are growing in any medium besides soil, like a soilless mix or directly in water, you will want to get cannabis nutrients specifically made for hydroponics. Some nutrients are even more specific, like Canna Coco is formulated to work best growing weed in Coco Coir. For hydronic grows, I highly recommend the General Hydroponics Nutrient Trio – here’s the cannabis-friendly GH trio nutrient schedule I use with my cannabis plants.

One nutrient system to rule them all…

Dyna-Gro "Grow" is a proven cannabis nutrient optionLooking for a suggestion? One of the simplest (yet inexpensive) nutrient systems that works extremely well for beginning cannabis growers is Dyna-Gro (GrowBloom)

Dyna-Gro can be used at half-strength in soil, water, coco coir, or any growing medium and works amazing well for growing cannabis. It does not build up salt in your growing medium like many other inexpensive fertilizers, and it will never clog your hydroponic system.

Just use the “Grow” bottle during the Vegetative stage and the “Bloom” bottle during the Flowering stage. You can actually follow the instructions on the bottle. It’s super simple.

Like all nutrient systems, avoid starting at full strength or it can burn your plants! Learn more about nutrient burn. Only raise the dosage if you notice that your lower leaves are turning yellow and falling off (except in the last 2-4 weeks before harvest, when yellowing lower leaves is a natural part of the budding process)

Learn more about cannabis-friendly nutrient systems

Is my tap water “good enough” for growing cannabis?

Before I address pH, let’s talk about the “hardness” of your water. How much extra “stuff” (like minerals and/or impurities) is contained in your regular tap water? You can contact your local water supplier for more information (ask for a “municipal water report”), or you can test the PPM of your water at home. Generally as long as your water has less than 200-300 PPM (parts per millions) of extra stuff, it should be okay to use it for growing. If you are worried about the quality of your tap water, you can choose to use purified or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, but you may then need to add extra Cal-Mag and possibly a few other supplements to help make up for the random minerals and nutrients that are normally found in tap water. I’ve personally always grown with straight tap water (in a big city in California with a natural PPM around 370, which is pretty high), and I’ve never had a problem. However, some places have very hard water, or tap water with unacceptable impurities, and growers in these areas will likely need to use purified water to get the best results.


Step 4B: Nutrients, continued: The Importance of Root pH

It’s important to maintain the pH of your root environment to prevent nutrient problems.

The easiest way to do that is to test the pH of your water before you water your plants or add water to your reservoir.

There are certain types of grows (such as when growing cannabis in organic composted super soil) where you don’t need to test your pH unless you run into problems. This is because with a properly composted super soil, you actually have microbial life living in the soil that will take care of the pH and hand-deliver the nutrients to the roots for you. However, this is a rare exception to the pH testing rule, and almost all growers need to regularly test and maintain pH for a successful grow. If you’re not growing in super soil that you have amended and composted yourself, testing and maintaining pH is a MUST.

Some growers will always get lucky and successfully grow weed without testing the pH of their water, but most people who don’t test for pH will start seeing signs of nutrient deficiencies and other nutrient problems.

If the pH at the plant roots is too high or too low, your plants won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly

Even if plants do fine in the vegetative stage, cannabis plants tend to be more picky and prone to problems in the flowering/budding stage. Many growers have written in to tell me they got all the way to the flowering stage without testing pH, then were surprised that they start running into nutrient problems as soon as the plants start budding. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, it’s important to get in the habit of testing pH right from the beginning!

Even if the right amounts of nutrients are present, your cannabis plants simply cannot absorb them if the pH isn’t in the correct range.

It’s actually really easy, quick, and cheap to learn how to check and adjust the pH of your water, and there are “pH test kits” specifically made for this purpose.

After you get the hang of it, checking and adjusting the pH and will take you less than 5 minutes each time you water your plants. And your results (monster yields with huge buds and healthy plants) speak for themselves.

Soil: Maintain 6.0 – 7.0 pH
Hydroponics: Maintain 5.5 – 6.5 pH

Getting the pH exactly right isn’t nearly as important as checking regularly and making sure it stays within these ranges.

Click here for more information on pH testing.


Step 5: Get Your Cannabis Plants (& Choose Your Strain)

For those growers lucky enough to know other cannabis growers in real life, getting plants is usually pretty simple. Many cannabis collectives and dispensaries will happily sell you clones or seeds. A great advantage of purchasing clones or seeds from a trusted source is that you know you can trust the genetics you are receiving.

Starting with seeds vs clones

Yet many people do not know any other growers in real life. For these soon-to-be growers, the best option may be to purchase cannabis seeds online from a breeder or seed bank.

Surprising Fact: No one in the US has ever gone to jail or prison from simply ordering cannabis seeds online from overseas.

If you are considering this for the first time, you may be surprised to learn that, because of the way the laws about customs work in America, it is actually reliable and safe to buy your cannabis seeds online from a reputable seed bank as long as you get it from outside the US (sending seeds from one place to another in the US can get you in big trouble though!).

Learn more about safety precautions when ordering seeds online

Get Seeds – View a list of tested & trusted seed vendors:

Get Clones – You need to know someone with live female cannabis plants if you want to get clones. Many cannabis dispensaries and collectives will sell clones to prospective growers, or you might know someone who can give you a clone. Learn how to make your own cannabis clones!


Choose the Right Cannabis Strain

Trustworthy Breeders

13 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Growing


Step 6: How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

(skip this step if you started with clones)

If you have already a rooted clone (a live cannabis plant) please skip right to Step 7.

There are many methods for cannabis seed germination.

Personally I think one of the easiest ways to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it directly in a specialized starter cube like a Rapid Rooter.

Just keep starter cubes moist (but not soaking) and warm. Seedlings should pop in a few days to a week.

So far Rapid Rooters have given me the best germination rates of any method, almost 100%. They work with any growing medium, too – once the seedling has emerged, you can stick the cube directly into your growing medium or hydroponic system.

Learn more about germinating seeds via Rapid Rooter

Another popular way to germinate seeds is via the paper towel method.

Paper Towel Method:

You will need…

  • Cannabis seeds
  • 2 plates
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • A place to plant sprouted seeds


Click to learn more about how to germinate marijuana seeds

NOTE: If seedlings seem to be “stretching” upwards or growing very tall, usually it’s because they want more light.

Step 7: Vegetative Stage – Grow Your Plant Big and Strong

Once your plant grows the first “regular” set of leaves, it’s pretty much officially in the vegetative stage. How long is the vegetative stage?

Cannabis plants keep getting bigger and bigger with long days (vegetative stage), and start making buds when they get long nights (flowering stage).

Young healthy cannabis plants in the vegetative stageYoung growing cannabis plants grow fastest when temps a bit warmer than a comfortable room temperature, around 70-85°F (20-30°C). But as long as it doesn’t get freezing cold or burning hot, your plants should be able to grow in a wide range of temperatures.

How often do I water my cannabis plants?

In this stage, your plant will focus ONLY on getting big and strong, like a kid before hitting puberty. Buds and flowers are not part of the plant’s vocabulary yet.

If you’re feeding your plant with additional nutrients, start at half strength as it can be easy to burn your young cannabis plants. Bring to 3/4 strength one plant starts growing vigorously.

Only feed nutrients at full strength if plant is showing signs that it needs more nutrients (lower leaves are turning lime green, then yellow, then falling off – the first sign of a nitrogen deficiency, the most common type of deficiency if the plant is not getting enough nutrients).

At this stage, you can’t tell if one of your cannabis plants is  going to be a boy or a girl yet. Wait, why do I care if my plant is a boy or a girl?

Cannabis plants in the vegetative stage (vegetating plants only grow stems and leaves, no buds)


  • Give plants 18-24 hours/light a day in the vegetative stage when growing indoors.
  • If growing outdoors, try to make sure you plant gets strong, direct light for most of the day, at least from 10am-4pm, and more if possible.

The size your plant gets in this stage will have a huge impact on the final size of your plant.

How do I control how my cannabis plants grow during the vegetative stage?

Indoor growers – When do I switch my plant from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage?

How can I tell when the vegging stage ends?

What do I do if I run into problems?


Step 8: Flowering Stage

This is the stage where your plants start making buds. This stage will last until harvest!

During this stage you will need to…

  • Change to 12-12 Light Schedule
  • Identify Gender of Cannabis Plants
  • Get Rid of any Males

We’re getting to the exciting part.

Most strains of cannabis begin this stage once they’re getting at least 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness a night.


  • Indoors, you must change to a 12-12 light schedule, with 12 hours of light & 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day (usually accomplished by putting your lights on a timer) to get your cannabis to start flowering (making buds). When should I change my light schedule to 12-12?
  • Outdoors, your weed will naturally start flowering when the days get short enough, usually a few months before winter.

The flowering stage is where your plant goes through “puberty” and basically reveals whether they are a boy or a girl.

Unfortunately, for regular seeds, half your plants will end up female and half will end up male. That’s why a lot of growers prefer starting with clones or buying feminized seeds – all the resulting plants will grow into females.

For most cannabis farmers, we’re only looking for females, as female plants are the only ones that make buds. Male plants just make pollen sacs (balls) that cannot be used for smoking.

A week or two after you initiate the 12-12 light schedule (or naturally in the wild), your plants will reveal their gender…

Female plants start growing wispy white hairs at the tops of branch joints. These are the pistils of her flowers/calyxes. You’ll get bunches of these calyxes growing on top of each other to make buds, and each calyx will have a few white hairs coming out of it. This is great news, that means this plant will eventually grow beautiful weed with buds/flowers/ganja that you can smoke.

Female cannabis pre-flowers - these wispy white hairs are pistils, the first sign that this marijuana plant is a girl

Male plants start growing balls/pollen sacs with no white hairs/pistils. Unfortunately, most male plants do not develop psychoactive properties like girls do in their flowers. Plus, male plants can pollinate (“impregnate”) your female plants and cause them to make less buds and more seeds. Therefore most serious cannabis growers choose to remove and dispose of male plants as soon as they show their balls.

Identify male cannabis plants by their balls (male pollen sacs) which grow at the "V" where the stems meet the "trunk"

Note: The sturdy green growths are not pistils, they are always there on both boy and girl plants. When looking for gender, you’re specifically looking for white wispy hairs (pistils).

Learn more: Is my plant a boy or a girl?

Ok, so you’ve gotten rid of your male plants. Your female plants will be growing more and more white hairs and before you know it, actual buds/flowers/trees are forming.

Woo hoo!

Now that you’re fully in the flowering stage, it’s best to keep temps slightly cooler, around 65-80°F (18-26°C) to produce buds with the best color, trichome production and smell. Learn more about what you need to do in the flowering stage to produce top-shelf buds.

How to Increase THC Levels

How to Increase Overall Bud Quality and Appearance

It’s important to pay close attention to your cannabis plants during the Flowering stage. This is because in this stage your plant is much more likely to suffer from nutrient problems, as they’re focusing all their energy on growing buds.

What Determines Yields?

“Flushing” Your Plants Before Harvest

Flowering cannabis plant


Step 9: Harvest Your Weed

When to Harvest Weed? Is She Ready For Harvest?

  1. Wait until your buds stop growing new, white hairs. By this point your buds should be fragrant (the whole grow room or area will likely smell strongly as cannabis), plump and ‘filled out’.
  2. Wait until at least 40% of the white hairs have changed color (darkened) and are curling in. This marks the beginning of the harvest window. Buds harvested now will have more of a speedy effect and are not at full potency.
  3. Harvest when 50-70% of the hairs have darkened for highest THC levels
  4. Harvest when 80-90% of the hairs have darkened for more a couchlock, anti-anxiety effect (some of the THC has turned into the more relaxing CBN)

The hardest part of growing cannabis for many new growers is waiting for the right time to harvest.

Some of my last Aurora Indica harvestThere are additional cannabis harvest methods which are much more precise  – such as using trichomes to know when to harvest your buds.

Learn exactly when to harvest your cannabis (with tons of pictures and explanations)

I sometimes get asked how to harvest weed… (i.e. cut it down from the plant)

Just get a sturdy pair of scissors and cut the plant down in the most convenient way possible. Seriously…that’s it!


Step 10: Dry and Cure Your Newly Harvested Buds

After you have cut off and trimmed all of your glittery, beautiful fat buds, you will want to hang them upside down in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation so that they can dry out.

Learn how to dry and cure you buds like a professional, every time

Dry buds slowly for best results, and check often for mold or overdrying. You’ve worked way too hard to lose your crop now.

Click for closeup of marijuana buds in curing jarsAfter your cannabis buds have dried (thin stems snap, but the thicker stems are still a bit bendy), it’s time to start curing them so they’re smooth, taste good, smell good, and have the best effects.

To cure your buds, put them in a tightly-closed quart-sized mason jars in a cool dark place. Fill each jar loosely about 3/4 of the way full.

For the first 2 weeks of curing, open the jars once a day for several seconds to get fresh air in your jars and release any moisture.

If your buds feel moist when you check on them, leave the tops of the jars off until the outsides of the buds feel dry to the touch. Moist buds is what causes mold!

Special products like “Boveda 62% Humidipaks” will make curing a lot easier, as they will naturally regulate the humidity in your jars.

Glitter bud in hand - click for closeup of this picture!After your cannabis has been curing for at least 2 weeks, and they haven’t felt wet every time you’ve checked the jars for at least a week, you can start opening the lid once a week instead of once a day.

Some people only cure their bud for 1-2 weeks total while other cure their bud for 30 days or more. Because you need to open the jar regularly, you can always sample some as it’s curing to get a feel for whether it’s done or not.

I personally think that cannabis tends to be more potent if you cure it for at least a month.

Curing for longer than 6 months doesn’t do anything, and cannabis can become less potent over time as THC turns to CBN. Keep your harvest in a cool, dry, airtight space for long-term storage.

Read the complete drying and curing tutorial – no more guesswork!


That’s it! 10 Simple Steps And You’ve Got Your Very First Cannabis Harvest!



About the Author: Nebula Haze

In response to the need for more tutorials aimed at new growers, Nebula co-founded in 2010 with fellow grower Sirius Fourside.

Since then, Nebula has published dozens of growing articles in print and online, stars in several online video lessons, and continues to dedicate herself to serving the needs of the medical marijuana growing community.

“My mission is to show other medical marijuana patients how easy and fun it can be to grow pounds of killer weed out of your closet.”

Source: Grow Weed Easy

Why buying pot has never been easier

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Why buying pot has never been easier

Inside Canada’s completely out of control marijuana business

Photograph by Sarah Palmer; Photographs by Della Rollins

Photographs by Della Rollins and Claudette Carracedo

At the very least, nobody can accuse Canada Bliss Herbals of trying to conceal what it’s selling. The sign outside the company’s newest store (its third location, in the heart of Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood) features a red Maple Leaf—with a green marijuana plant smack in the middle. “Living life in wellness,” the slogan reads.

Walk through the door, and any lingering doubt about what’s for sale goes up in smoke.

Much like a jewellery store, a glass display case features a wide selection of wares: freshly picked bud, divvied up by the gram and sealed in tiny plastic baggies. A black chalkboard lists every aromatic variety, from “Organic Love Potion” to “Redwood Kush” to “Rock Star Bubba.” One of the latest additions to CBH’s menu, “Opium Kush,” comes highly recommended. “I just tried that last night,” one employee, standing behind the display case, tells a customer. “I really enjoyed it.”

Cannabis oils and edibles are also in stock. The toffee shortbread cookie, for “pain relief and relaxing,” even lists the calorie count (121).

At first glance, there is nothing unique about this particular marijuana shop. Although it may come as a surprise to some, dozens of similar dispensaries have operated—in open defiance of the law—for many years, mostly in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, where early advocates of medicinal marijuana blazed the initial trail. Illegal cannabis dispensaries have become so commonplace in Vancouver (there are now close to 110, a higher tally than Tim Hortons outlets) that city council is attempting to bring them into the fold, choosing to license and regulate rather than raid and arrest.

But in the months since Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won the October election—in part, on a platform to legalize weed after nearly a century of prohibition—other parts of the country, especially Toronto, have witnessed a surge in storefront dispensaries as so-called “ganja-preneurs” try to stake their claim in a soon-to-be-sanctioned racket worth billions of legitimate dollars. The Kensington Market district alone has 14. All told, Toronto boasts four dozen dispensaries and counting, each one cashing in on the legislative grey zone created by the Prime Minister’s promise—yet to be implemented—of transforming the marijuana trade into a regulated, taxable industry. (Although there is no official count of Canadian dispensaries, the number is believed to be above 200, from Chilliwack, B.C. to Guelph, Ont., to Cole Harbour, N.S.)

“This ‘in-between period’ is a concerning period,” says Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy, who chairs his city’s drug strategy implementation panel. “You have a vacuum, and many entrepreneurs are seeking to fill that vacuum illegally without fear of reprisal.” Simply put, Cressy says, everyone is waiting for Ottawa to unveil its master pot plan (a process that still hasn’t been assigned a definitive timeline) while pretending the Criminal Code doesn’t exist. “There is very little we can do,” he says. “Until we have a new federal piece of legislation, we’re in this position.”

Marijuana is pictured in a vending machine at the BC Pain Society in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday August 29, 2014. The society, which sells marijuana and supplies, is the first of its kind to integrate gift cards to be used at one of their 3 marijuana dispensing vending machines. (Ben Nelms/CP)

Marijuana is pictured in a vending machine at the BC Pain Society in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday August 29, 2014. (Ben Nelms/CP)

Some of the new stores, which claim to be medicinal, are barely even pretending to cater to “patients.” British Columbia’s long-standing medical dispensaries are no more legal than the latest batch, but they at least require somewhat concrete evidence of a person’s ailment, whether it’s an actual prescription or a letter of diagnosis from a doctor. Many of the newcomers are not nearly as strict. At some stores, an empty pill bottle is confirmation enough of a sickness. At others, a sworn statement from the customer will do, as long as it is signed by a notary public (who has no real idea if the person is telling the truth).

At Canada Bliss Herbals, a Maclean’s reporter paid $50 for a “doctor consultation,” which turned out to be a meeting, via Skype, with a licensed practical nurse in Surrey, B.C. When the reporter explained that he suffered from severe lower back pain, the nurse said he could become a member of CBH, and immediately purchase any product, on the grounds that “you’re self-medicating and you’re doing it under your own guidance.” No prescription required. No actual proof.

A few minutes later, the reporter walked out of the shop with two grams of marijuana; one was $9, the other $14. Minus the credit-card machine—and the warning label stuck to the baggie: “Keep out of reach of children”—it was a fairly typical drug deal.

With legalization looming, does it really matter that some dispensaries already appear to be selling recreational weed to any adult who wants it? And can you blame them, considering the obvious legal void that now exists? “The genie is out of the bottle,” says Kirk Tousaw, a Vancouver Island lawyer who has spent his career challenging the constitutionality of Canada’s marijuana laws. “The reality on the streets, the reality on the ground, has outstripped where we are legislatively, and the government is playing catch-up.”

And not nearly fast enough, says Benedikt Fischer, a senior researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Legalizing marijuana could prove to be one of the most dizzying social changes the country has ever seen, and it is critical that the government figure out, sooner rather than later, who will be allowed to sell it, how the market will be enforced, and what safeguards will be adopted to keep the drug away from teenagers. Equally important is a coherent strategy on how to fight the inevitable increase in cannabis-impaired driving.

“We’ve been in this weird transition for some time now, and quite frankly, it makes a mockery of good law and regulation,” Fischer says. “It’s why we really need to get to work and define where we’re going and what the new reality is. We have to come out of this lawless kind of state where everyone does what they want and no one knows what the rules are.”

A protester lights a joint during a 4-20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, April 20, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

A protester lights a joint during a 4-20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, April 20, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick, CP)

Indeed, the rules have never been hazier. Officially, marijuana remains a controlled substance, which means it’s still a crime to grow, sell or possess. But medicinal marijuana is legal, with an important caveat: a patient with a valid prescription must obtain the drug, via registered mail, from one of Health Canada’s approved growers. At last count, more than 50,000 people do just that, receiving their doctor-approved weed from one of 30 licensed producers (LPs).

That distribution system is now bracing for a potential explosion, with Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair tapped to oversee a task force that will examine the best way to “legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana in a careful and orderly way.” The Prime Minister himself has said it’s unfair that hundreds of thousands of Canadians carry criminal records because of simple cannabis possession, specifically pointing to the example of his late brother, Michel, who was charged with marijuana possession shortly before his 1998 death in an avalanche.

Exactly what the Liberals’ weed plan will look like is anyone’s guess at this point, as is the timeline. Blair has yet to announce the members of his task force, and no deadline has been assigned to their consultations. It will likely be at least a year, if not more, before any specific legislation is revealed. In the meantime, though, this much is certain: would-be players from all walks of industry are jockeying for position in a lucrative market believed to be worth $5 billion, if not more.

Licensed producers insist they are best equipped to provide the legal recreational supply, citing their state-of-the-art facilities and strict growing regulations. (In January, the industry group that represents LPs called on Ottawa to crack down on the ever-expanding dispensaries, whose products come from “unknown sources with no quality control.”) Major drug store chains have also entered the fray, arguing they should be the ones to handle retail sales. Others, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, say it should be liquor stores doing the selling.

The dispensaries, as always, are pushing the issue—with action, not words. Forever on the fringe of the law, traditional dispensaries insist they provide crucial access to patients, and should remain in business as part of a legalized recreational framework. In February, a Federal Court judge seemed to bolster that claim, ruling that medicinal users should have the right to grow their own stash (or assign someone else to grow it for them.)

“I think there is a place for dispensaries whether they are in the Liberals’ plan or not, because I don’t think they’re going away,” says Tousaw, one of the lawyers on the case. “Absent some sort of massive, almost police-state tactics, it is going to be awfully hard to shut them all down as a practical matter.”

Look no further than Vancouver. After tolerating dispensaries for two decades, the city has recently moved toward a regulatory regime that requires stores to pay a licensing fee ($1,000 for non-profit compassion clubs, $30,000 for everyone else). Though still illegal, businesses will be allowed to remain open if they meet certain criteria, including being 300 m from a school. In the meantime, the Vancouver Police Department says it will continue its policy of investigating only those dispensaries accused of selling to minors or posing a public safety threat. Since 2013, Vancouver police have executed just 11 dispensary-related search warrants.

“There is a misconception out there that the police have the authority to shut these businesses down,” says Const. Brian Montague, a spokesman for the force. “That is not the case. The Criminal Code gives the police the authority to arrest people, detain people, to seize evidence, to bring someone to court, but it doesn’t give us the ability to board up a business and shut it down. It is the city that regulates land usage.”

Criminal investigations are also very costly and time-consuming, Montague says, and the department must always weigh how best to deploy finite resources. Last year, when a local anti-marijuana activist complained that the cops are “failing in their duty to maintain law and order” by not shuttering every dispensary in Vancouver, the force examined how long it actually takes to conduct a single dispensary investigation. The answer? 560 hours of police time, or the equivalent of one officer working full-time for three months. “We have to prioritize,” Montague says.

Throw in the added uncertainty triggered by the Liberals’ marijuana pledge, and the blurry line between legal and illegal is essentially non-existent.

“I’ve never experienced a situation like this where there are pending changes to the law coming, and even before the laws are changed people are stepping ahead of the new regulations,” says Saskatoon police Chief Clive Weighill, who is also president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. “This is a real precedent-setter in Canada.”

Weighill says police in most parts of the country are continuing to enforce the law as it stands; in recent months, dispensaries have been targeted in Halifax, Nanaimo, B.C., and his home city of Saskatoon. But his association has also publicly urged the Trudeau government to remind Canadians that marijuana remains illegal—and to release any details it can about the pending regulatory regime.

“If the citizens of our country are saying we want to move to a legalized framework, then let’s do that,” says Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, which represents Canada’s 41,000 frontline officers. “But let’s create the rules and make sure everyone understands what they are. Now, it’s inconsistent.”

Just ask Dana Larsen. A vocal cannabis activist who operates a Vancouver dispensary (and who ran for B.C.’s NDP leadership in 2011), Larsen spent much of April on a cross-country tour, giving away hundreds of thousands of marijuana seeds to anyone willing to grow the plants in public. He was arrested only once: at a stop in Calgary. After a night in jail, Larsen was released on bail conditions, including one that prohibits him from possessing any drug without a prescription—unless he’s on the job.

“I run a marijuana dispensary, so at work I’m allowed to possess and use and buy and sell illegal drugs, but not anywhere else,” he says, highlighting the obvious irony. “All the dispensaries in Canada are illegal, as are all the seed banks and all the massive marijuana rallies. The marijuana movement is actually Canada’s largest-ever civil disobedience campaign in terms of how many hundreds of businesses are openly defying the law and how many municipalities are allowing that to happen. These laws are still on the books, but you wouldn’t know it.”

Especially, for example, if you walk into the B.C. Pain Society in Vancouver—the first medicinal dispensary to sell its weed in a vending machine. “We are not technically illegal; we are 100 per cent illegal,” says owner Chuck Varabioff. “I don’t bulls–t anyone. What I am doing, according to the Criminal Code is illegal, but I am willing to take that chance, because I am helping people.”

If this is the final stage of the disobedience campaign, it is driven as much by profit as ideology. Even if most dispensaries are shut out of the legalized world—in favour of liquor control boards, for example, or Shoppers Drug Mart—there is still plenty of green to be made in the interim.

“We want to be a national brand,” says Don Briere, one of B.C.’s most recognized dispensary owners. The 64-year-old is most remembered for the headlines he garnered in 1999, when the RCMP busted up what was then the largest illegal grow-op in the province. Freed from prison long ago, Briere is now the driving force behind Weeds Glass and Gifts, a chain of dispensaries that has recently expanded to Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, with plans to open up storefront franchises in Montreal and Halifax.

Don Briere, the owner of the Weeds Glass and Gifts chain, is seen here at the Burrard and Davie location in Vancouver on January 13, 2015. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/CP)

Don Briere, the owner of the Weeds Glass and Gifts chain, is seen here at the Burrard and Davie location in Vancouver on January 13, 2015. (John Lehmann, The Globe and Mail, CP)

Few have pushed the cannabis envelope further than Briere. In previous media interviews, he has said he would sell recreational marijuana at his supposedly medicinal dispensaries, essentially daring police to arrest him. But he insists to Maclean’s that his stores are preparing for the eventual recreational market, not jumping ahead. “We would be happy to sell recreational but we’re not doing it,” he says. “We’re trying to co-operate with everybody. We’re trying to show that we’re responsible people.” (Weeds is one of the shops that requires only a pill bottle, and matching ID, before selling to a customer.)

Briere says he expects to sell upwards of $7 million worth of cannabis this year, with a profit margin of 16 per cent. “Business is very good,” he says. “But the market in Vancouver is saturated.”

Like Briere, Ryan Williams also sees dollars signs in Toronto, where the city has no dispensary by-laws in place, and where the police, like those in Vancouver, are operating on a “complaint-generated” basis. Williams, 31, launched his first Canada Bliss Herbals in Vancouver last April; his two Toronto locations opened earlier this year, with two more on the way in May. “We are still in that grey area on the verge of legalization,” he says. “I wanted to be a little bit ahead of the curve.”

At first, Williams insisted that every customer needs a letter of diagnosis from a doctor in order to become a member of his club. When Maclean’s explained how that certainly wasn’t the case when its reporter dropped by to sign up—that, in fact, it took nothing more than a verbal declaration that he was “self-medicating”—Williams remained adamant his store is in the medicinal marijuana business, not the recreational one.

“I know that we run a tighter ship than a lot of these other places,” he says. “I know one particular chain of dispensaries, I’m not going to mention any names, if you just have a pill bottle with your name on it then they’ll sell to you. There are ones where you can just walk in and they’ll sell you a joint on the spot. That’s not the case with us. We do our homework to make sure that somebody’s got a diagnosis, that they’re actually medicating for something.”

Of course, that distinction makes no real difference. Medicinal or not, Canada Bliss Herbals is still illegal—like every other dispensary. The real question is: When marijuana does become legal, at some point, is this how the landscape should look?

“Even somebody who believes in legalization, like myself, doesn’t believe for one second that it should be an entrepreneurial opportunity for corner stores across the city to sell pot,” says Cressy, the Toronto councillor. “We have failed if we do that.”

Not surprisingly, Kirk Tousaw disagrees. People concerned about the proliferation of illegal dispensaries need ask themselves one question, he says. “Does that same person become concerned every time they pass a liquor store or a bar or a place where tobacco is being sold?” he asks. “I doubt it. And yet cannabis is dramatically safer than alcohol as a social substance, dramatically safer than tobacco as something you smoke. So if you’re concerned about cannabis but not those other substances, then I think you’ve got to take a look in the mirror and maybe understand that your concerns aren’t based in reality.”

As for the real intentions of certain dispensaries, some of the old-school operators are the first to say that not all are created equal. Dieter MacPherson, executive director of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, one of the country’s oldest dispensaries, says although full legalization “can’t come soon enough,” sellers who are clearly in the recreational market should not hide behind a medicinal veil. “If someone is interested in selling recreational marijuana, and they’re willing to stand by their scruples and break a bad law,” he says, “they should do it loudly and proudly.”

Says Tousaw: “I think the time has come for these pioneers to say: ‘Look, we think cannabis is perfectly fine to sell and we’re going to sell it to any adult that walks in our doors.’ You know what? I would defend that in court in a heartbeat.”

For now, court is the furthest thing from Ryan Williams’s mind. He is focused on his expansion plans, including the half-dozen franchisees who have signed up to join him in the Greater Toronto Area. “I think it’s in the public’s best interest for the dispensaries to be the business model that [the government] rolls it out on,” he says. “At the end of the day, though, I’ve come to accept the fact that: ‘Who knows?’ We could end up getting put out of business, or it could go in our favour and we’re all going to be billionaires.”


How to Legally Invest in Marijuana Companies

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How to Legally Invest in Marijuana Companies

How to get rich off weed1:48

Score one for the stoners: The pot industry is poised to be gigantic as more states embrace legalization. And, if you want to get in on the ground floor, several advocates say now is the right time to bet big on marijuana.

“Overall public opinion of marijuana has changed,” said Dan Humiston, president of the International Cannabis Association. “The stance has just softened. With time as the population ages, a lot of the generations that were really opposed to it are being replaced with the generations that are comfortable with it.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cannabis industry had a market capitalization of $3 billion as of April. There’s currently more than 50 publicly traded pot-related companies. Twenty-four states have legalized medical marijuana, and recreational use for adults has been approved in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C.

Related: Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom

With more companies going public every day, the still illegal industry is growing rapidly. New Frontier Financials, a big data shop that focuses on the marijuana industry, estimates that the industry will reach $15.2 billion by 2020. At least seven states are expected to have marijuana legalization initiatives on their 2016 ballots.

Image: marijuana industry growing
In this photo taken on January 13, young plants stand under grow lamps at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Washington. Washington’s second-in-the-nation legal marijuana market opened last summer to a dearth of weed. Elaine Thompson / AP

Humiston believes that as more states come on board, the hysteria that was overvaluing companies has died down, so prices are more realistic.

It also helps that the stigma of being in the weed business is quickly fading away thanks to celebrities like Tommy Chong creating their own weed brands and high profile investors like Peter Thiel, said media and public relations expert Cheryl Shuman. In January, the PayPal co-founder’s Founders Fund took a minority stake in Seattle’s Privateer Holdings. The company runs a medical marijuana growing operation in Canada and a pot review site called, among other marijuana-related businesses.

Related: Peter Thiel’s fund buys into marijuana business

“Investors want to see if an influencer, a trendsetter, a cutting edge individual gets involved,” explained Shuman—who calls herself the Martha Stewart of marijuana. “Now I’m getting 10 calls a week.”

Source: NBC NEWS