Ministry of Controversy

Barely Legal

Basement_smSo there’s this one plant I don’t grow in my garden.  (I don’t grow it in my basement, either.)  But I live among it.  Arcata, CA, the little town just up the road from me, is a community of 16,000 with four medical marijuana dispensaries.  The official county ordinance on medical marijuana permits up to 3 pounds of dried bud and a 100 square-foot canopy of mature female plants.  The Arcata City Council has been looking at regulating grow houses, not to close down indoor grow ops, but to prevent the electrical fires and other hazards that result from faulty set-ups.  The fire department will happily come out and inspect your indoor grow operation, they tell us, because they’d much rather prevent a fire than risk their lives putting one out.

Don’t everybody move here at once.

As a gardener, I find this totally intriguing.  Cannabis is an interesting plant because it reproduces sexually, with the girls being obviously different from the boys.  It’s a very primitive plant, botanically speaking, and a gardener’s efforts (food, light, water, pH, temperature, etc) can really influence the way the mature plant turns out.  Is it compact or lanky?  How early does it bloom?  Does it pump out resin?  How psychoactive are the cannabinoids?  In all these matters, the gardener exercises a surprising amount of control.

Here in Humboldt County, it’s time to get those seedlings started, and the garden centers are filling fat endcaps with products like ‘Basement Mix,’ a soil-free growing medium for all your indoor hydroponic needs.  Fertilizers with names like ‘Bud Fuel’ promise the most awesome–er–lilies–you’ve ever seen.  And that’s just at the regular garden centers.  We also have eleven hydroponic gardening stores (compared with about seventeen garden centers, small nurseries, or other places that sell plants), and you’d head straight to the hydro stores if you need something more than the routine Basement Mix.

Frankly, I feel kind of left out.  This one plant gets more attention than all the others. Has a bigger section of books devoted to it at the bookstore than all the rest.  Has more magazines covering it than any other single plant (not just High Times, but Cannabis Culture, Skunk, and others).  And oh, what fun they must have at those magazines.  More fun, surely, than all the other magazines devoted to horticulture put together.

Don’t believe me?  Watch.  Warning:  this is very, very silly.  (and there are more on YouTube)

Posted by on February 18, 2008 at 6:32 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.
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8 responses to “Barely Legal”

  1. Michele Owens says:

    The same is true at my local bookstore, too, Amy. A really thin selection of gardening books and then an entire section devoted to cannabis.

    My friends inform me that it grows really beautifully here, too. Only we don’t have such relaxed policemen in this part of the world.

  2. All plants can be manipulated by gardeners to flower early, grow faster, taller, produce more leaves compared to fruit etc. The difference between cannabis is that it is mostly grown indoors in an artificial environment. If you have the facilities to grow your plants in controlled environments you can make any garden variety plant do what I want just by adjusting a few factors like lighting or hormone levels. But do you really want your roses/tomatoes/lettuce or daisies doing strange things they wouldn’t normally do in nature? I’d rather eat a tomato grown naturally from my garden than one who has been manipulated into being the “biggest and tomato ever!” I am confident that home-grown veg tastes better than greenhouse varieties because the home gardener doesn’t manipulate the plant’s natural cycle and the home gardener gives the plants lots of personal love.

  3. Pam J. says:

    That video may be very very silly but it sure made me laugh. Well, it made me smirk. Or maybe snicker. Chortle? Titter? You get the idea. Thanks Amy.

  4. Reminds me of when I was researching for my PC grow box (http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/2008/01/cheap-pc-case-grow-box-for-less-than-20.html) made me think there was only one plant people grew indoors. JUst waiting for the police raid on my garage to find my strawberry plant and a couple of seedlings.

  5. gina says:

    I was clueless about the fancy pot growing operations until I saw an episode of Holmes on Homes where a renter had totally destroyed a rather nice house by using it to grow this stuff. I was amazed by all the efforts to vent the house and every room was used to grow the plants. It was incredible.

  6. Heavy Petal says:

    I can totally relate, Amy. I live in “Vansterdam” (aka Vancouver, Canada), home of “BC Bud”. I’m not sure of the statistics, but there’s something like one grow house on every block. And the hydroponic stores! There’s no way even the most naive person could believe we require 25 stores (this number from a quick Yellow Page search) to supply the legal indoor gardening needs of Vancouverites.

    But while I’m glad Canada doesn’t waste federal dollars on a futile “war on drugs,” decriminalization isn’t legalization. At least if it were legal, we could tax it, and prevent all the nasty stuff that goes with a black market. But that will never happen, because we’d really piss off the US government. Sigh.

  7. eliz says:

    That’s just like our magazine office!

  8. I went to college in Chico, and when we’d visit friends in Arcata, we’d roll the windows down driving through the mountains into Humboldt County. You could ***smell*** the pot being grown there. Thanks for the memory reminder. Smells are like that!

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