GROWING MARIJUANA UNDER CANADA'S NEW RECREATIONAL LAWS
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By Michelle Moore
Canadians interested in growing their own marijuana plants will soon be able to, provided their province of residence and their landlord allow it.
Canada's recreational marijuana laws are set to change on October 17, and in all provinces and territories with the exception of Alberta, Quebec, and Nunavut, it will be legal to grow up to 4 marijuana plants per household.
While Nunavut has not banned growing plants at home outright, the government remains to make a final decision. British Columbia permits it as long as the plants are out of public sight.
In New Brunswick, any plants grown outdoors must be behind an enclosed fence at least 1.52 metres tall. If growing indoors in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, plants must be kept in a separate and locked space.
For all other provinces and territories where it is permitted, plants must be kept out of reach of children and pets. Landlords (if applicable) do have the right to make an amendment to an existing lease to disallow the growth or smoking of marijuana on their property.
According to The Cannabis Encyclopedia, growing marijuana can take anywhere from 2 and a half months to 5 months from seed to harvest. Each plant can produce a minimum of one ounce or 28 grams however several factors affect the yield including strain, nutrients and lighting.
Under new laws, some provinces and territories will sell seeds and seedlings in addition to the flowers, commonly known as buds. However, while many governments are allowing the growth of marijuana at home, none have produced any literature or brochure to guide people through it.
This can be important because indoor growing operations or grow-ops often rely on a lot of artificial lighting, whether Fluorescents, CFL's or LED's. Usually in a bedroom closet or a specially-built box, many lightbulbs in a small space can present a fire hazard.
Even small grow-ops can require a lot of lighting. For instance, it is suggested that each plant have about 150 watt of lighting. If using CFL's that can mean 4 40watt lightbulbs per plant.
A government approved 4 plant system could mean a 2 foot deep by 2 foot wide by 4 foot tall space with 16 light bulbs inside. For that reason, fans and ventilation are key to preventing the build up of heat and lessen the risk of fire.
Even if those types of precautions are taken, many unknowns remain. For instance, when marijuana is ready for harvest the buds must be dried and then cured. If the process is not done correctly, mold can grow on the buds.
In addition to not providing the guidance necessary to prevent such risks, the current laws do not accurately reflect the realities of growing marijuana, leaving much up to guesswork.
Only female marijuana plants grow flowers, or buds that can be smoked. When starting marijuana plants, unless the seeds are guaranteed female one has to look out for signs in the first stages of growth to separate males from females or none will produce buds.
If one intends to have 4 female plants, chances are they would have to start at least 8 seeds, hoping for half of them to be female. But if they do so are they in violation of the law for those first few weeks until the plants that present as male are destroyed?
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