Throughout the cultivation process, every grower uses their own unique technique in the way that they care for their plants. There are a ton of paths one can take to end up with a premium grade harvest. The germination stage is just one step in that process and there are also a variety of unique ways this stage can be initiated by the grower. Like most new growers, when I first started I went with one of the more popular methods using paper towels. There is no doubt plenty of growers who have had success using this technique, but I still would not recommend pursuing it unless you have a lot of time on your hands.
The paper towel method involves placing one or more cannabis seeds between a few moist paper towels and placing it in a dark area of the house. It seems that the main issue with this strategy is the fact that paper towels are very absorbent by nature and will not stay moist for a long period of time. So unless you are able to dampen the paper towels every few hours, the environment will be far to dry for the taproot to emerge. Remember that moisture and darkness are the two key environmental factors that a seed needs in order to start germination. Another reason I avoid the paper towel method is that the taproots are extremely delicate and can be exposed to potential damage when transplanted to the growing medium. Taproots are the foundation of your plant’s structure and should not be touched or exposed outside of the soil.
The number one method I have had the most success with and find the easiest is germinating directly in the soil or another preferred growing medium. It’s simplistic, but every time I have tried it with healthy seeds a stem broke the surface just 5-6 days after planting. Make sure that the seed is not too deep below the surface of the soil. This is a common mistake and for whatever reason people assume the seed should be a half inch or deeper into the dirt. Ideally, there should only be a 1/4 inch of space or a sprinkled amount of soil covering the seed. It’s important to keep a thin layer of growing medium above the plant so that moisture is still present and it also won’t take too long to break the surface once sprouted. Leave 7 days time before digging up the seed to see what is causing it not to sprout. Patience is key and checking on its status too early could damage the taproot and potentially kill your plant before it can even grow.
There is some disagreement among growers about when exactly a planted seed should be exposed to a light source. I would argue from experience that the seed will sprout just fine without any light. The optimal time to turn on the light would be right after the main stem becomes visible above the soil. This is when the plant will need UV rays in order to continue to grow more sets of leaves and stronger roots. Others have claimed using a light before the seed sprouts add heat to the process which helps speeds it up. In my opinion, if you can’t wait 4-7 days for a sprout then growing isn’t the hobby for you. Either way, the best type of light to use for the beginning of the seedling stage is CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights. They generally have the spiral design and do not generate much heat which is perfect. Young plants shouldn’t be exposed to high wattage lighting because it will be overwhelming and can drastically stunt growth. It’s best to change the light type after the seedling stage has passed and there are several sets of mature leaves and branches.
Outside of paying close attention to your plant throughout its entire lifecycle, there are two specific stages that a grower can strategically use to maximize the flavor of their harvests. They include the flushing period that makes up the last two weeks of the crop’s flowering cycle and the final step to the process, curing. It blows my mind when growers spend 5 months or more of their time and effort growing their plants but then destroy their crops flavor by failing to flush nutrients out of the buds. This causes an extremely harsh taste that will likely mask any flavor that your crop may have contained. Not only will there be no taste, but you’ll likely find yourself coughing much more than normal. People new to marijuana or occasional users may not notice any differences because they likely find any smoke to be harsh. It takes some experience to differentiate from batch to batch which still contain nutrients. Another way to tell if weed has been properly flushed outside of the taste is to look at the ashes. If they are completely black and do not contain any white coloring, that is indicative of a poor flush.
There are a few easy steps a grower can take to avoid any issues with nutrient build up. The most important thing is not to get caught up in abnormally fast growth that results from feeding the plants too much at a time or too frequently. Do not get impatient with your garden and give it the required time it needs to grow at a healthy, natural rate. Otherwise, you will be dealing with nutrient burn or best case scenario, some large plump buds that burn extremely harsh. Cannabis should be given just water for a complete two weeks at the end of its growing cycle. If you were using the correct amount of nutrients throughout the process, this is an adequate amount of time to ensure great flavor and a smooth smoke. However, if you were just boosting your plants with as many nutrients as possible, then flushing all that out will be very tricky. Cutting out a plants nutrients before the final two weeks could really impact the bud production negatively. It’s extremely important that during weeks 5-7 the plants are absorbing a lot of phosphorous so giving them just water is not a good plan.
Just like following a proper flushing technique it’s also super easy to correctly cure your buds. This is where a grower’s patience is really going to be tested. There is nothing like having smokeable buds lying around that you must resist breaking into. The difference between cannabis that has just finished drying and one that has been placed in jars for weeks, is night and day. You won’t gain any weight to your buds over time but the flavor and scent profile will be recognizable. I would argue that they also gain potency throughout the curing process. The buds are still maturing just like they do as you progress through the flowering period of growth. The texture and taste change and bud that has been cured always has a stronger scent. So I would bet there is going to be some maturing in the potency from my personal experience. Even if it didn’t increase the strength of the weed it is worthwhile to wait it out for 2 weeks. For the first week be sure to burp the jars for 10 minutes of open time a day. For the second and following weeks just leave the jars closed. I usually always break into my stash after 2 weeks, but if you want to wait longer, it is supposed to get even better with time.
The state of Arizona has not had much luck when it comes to passing marijuana laws. Despite their geographic location putting them close to many states that have progressive weed laws, they still only permit those with qualifying medical conditions to indulge. Nevada, California, and Colorado all allow different legal protections for those older than 21, with some minor differences in what exactly is allowed. This week on July 5th, was the deadline for The Safer Arizona Cannabis Legalization Act to submit the required amount of signatures to qualify for the ballot. Altogether they were able to collect just over 75,000 but the requirement calls for over 150,000. So this initiative missed by a long shot. This is extremely disappointing news and yet another heartbreak for those living there. Just two years back in 2016, a similar initiative had qualified for the ballot but narrowly failed to receive the popular vote. The opposition received more funding than those supporting legalization and it had a major effect. One of the largest donors was Insys Therapeutics a company that produces synthetic painkillers. The pharmaceutical companies have no shame in admitting with their large contributions that they don’t want their drugs to be replaced by something they can not sell and is also not physically addictive.
These large contributions from companies help spread a lot of misinformation about the post-legalization effects that have yet to happen in the 9 states that have legalized it. While different businesses have targeted every single state that has successfully got an initiative on a ballot, they have had very little success outside the state of Arizona recently. Within the past four years, the only other legal marijuana ballot initiative to fail was in 2014 when Florida tried to pass medical marijuana. Many attribute that failure to the high supermajority requirement of 60%. It narrowly missed it with a 57.6% approval vote. These opponents should stop wasting their money on funding the opposition and use it to innovate and react to the change in the economic environment. It should make it easier for them to do so considering people are being thrown in jail and having their future destroyed as a result of their contributions.
This year it seems it should have been easier to reach success considering as more time goes on more people seem to join the marijuana movement. The group collecting signatures, Safer Arizona, claims that the main reason they were not much able to get support was medical marijuana dispensary owners. I believe there are plenty of dispensary owners out there who might not want recreational marijuana to pass yet so that they can cash in as long as possible. However, I also know there are plenty of dispensary owners who can’t wait for legalization because that would give them the opportunity to apply for a license and expand to a larger market with an advantage of already having a location and experience. It would not be easy for dispensaries to convince patients at their stores and other people they know to keep weed illegal and have people continue to get prosecuted for possession. This ballot failure more than likely came down to the group doing a poor job of hiring volunteers or targetting the right locations for signatures. Polls nationwide have shown over 60% of the population wants weed to be legal for adults. There simply is no excuse for them to fail to meet even half the required number of signatures. Hopefully in the future, a more organized campaign can spread the word more efficiently and develop a more solid framework for the bill.
A lot of people are probably surprised by the news that Matt Barnes (a 15 year forward in the NBA) is claiming a large percentage of players regularly use cannabis. Athletes in all sports are supposed to have some sort of drug testing program in place. Not only for federally controlled substances, but performance enhancing drugs as well. Both of these pose potentially career-changing consequences for the high percentage of cannabis users currently playing. Athletes are subject to four random test throughout each NBA season. Once they complete those tests, they would be free to use cannabis as they please without worrying. The off-season is free from drug testing as well. These rules on drug testing do provide an opportunity for those who choose to indulge, and according to Matt Barnes, that number is around 85% of the basketball population.
Many people who play sports for fun like myself would be likely to say that consumption before a game made it much more easy to focus and get caught up in the moment of a big play. Many professional basketball players are using it for different purposes, like relieving the physical wear and tear on their bodies. It is a much safer and enjoyable alternative to alcohol, and that’s another primary reason for use among athletes. For Matt Barnes, he admitted to using it before games and that in his best games he had been under its influence. Being retired gives him the freedom to say these things, and it makes you wonder how many other guys are blazing before they arrive at the arena. It shouldn’t matter at all whether they decide to or not, as long as long as it’s not negatively affecting their performance. An athletes consistently demonstrated ability is what should determine their playing time on the floor, as long as their not abusing performance-enhancing drugs. Cannabis is not like traditional performance-enhancing drugs that boost muscle growth and are made in a lab. However, like any drug, it affects people differently and if some players indulged before a game, it could be a disaster. It should be the player’s judgment call, not the leagues on what substances to use. With marijuana legal in 8 states and medical marijuana legal in a majority of the rest, the prohibited status in the NBA is becoming more questionable. The actions of some of their players are sometimes 100 percent legal where they live or are traveling to. Use of alcohol and prescription pills remain allowed but are decreasing in popularity.
Using cannabis while strict testing and rules are in place, speaks volumes about how beneficial it is to those in the league. Some fans, as well as the sports media, will view a violation of marijuana rules as a big deal. More importantly, it will be viewed as unprofessional by the coaches and results in some serious consequences for repeated offenses. The first time a player is caught failing a test, they must simply complete a substance abuse course. After that though, they face hefty fines and larger game suspensions for each violation of the rule. It is also likely with the insane competition that a pretty good athlete can be lost about among all the other options who lack a marijuana record. The time has come for the NBA to catch up to the public’s opinion, as well as the laws being passed across the country that are legalizing and decriminalizing the plant. Studies have shown how opioid abuse has gone down in states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana and there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen within the league.
Since the new year has began, I personally have already had to switch dispensaries that I was using due to the new medical marijuana regulations coming into effect. Starting December 15th of last year, the state began accepting applications for the various types of businesses including: cultivation, processing, transportation, and retail shops. Retail dispensaries that were operating for years without any problems with local ordinances are now receiving letters ordering them to shut down until they are approved for a new license. According to the Detroit Free Press, over 200 dispensaries in the state have been sent these cease and desist letters.
While the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs claims that the availability of medicine will be unaffected for patients, there are other consequences to this move. Although profitable, opening a dispensary demands an enormous amount of overhead and variable costs. All of these business owners who had invested money in both their property as well as the medicine they had in stock, are going to lose patients during the temporary to permanent closure. This is not right, and if they didn’t want them operating they shouldn’t have ever been given permission. Yes they technically were unregulated businesses, but that was how the system had forced them to operate for years under the protection of local ordinances. Some of these businesses in the past had even gone the lengths of relocating in order to comply with the ridiculous zoning requirements imposed by the city of Detroit. Even playing by the rules doesn’t always guarantee protection of your business in this industry. This transition period of awarding licenses to applicants is supposed to end in June, but at it’s current pace many in the industry are expecting delays.
There are many different opinions on whether this regulation is a good thing for the cannabis community or not. The regulation establishes new taxes for those using it for medical purposes. It also will make a system to track a plants progress from seed form to sale and ensure all products are only produced by licensed commercial cultivators. Personally, I think regulation is not a good thing and it should be left to the already existing large community of cultivators who produce much higher quality cannabis on a small scale. The patient- caregiver system that was established in 2008 when medical cannabis passed in Michigan, is still the backbone of the industry. Dispensaries that are currently existing get their medicine from caregivers or patients, not some 3000 plant facility that machine trims commercial quality bud. It seems inevitable that with regulation small time grows will be undercut by those growing on a large scale.
The dispensary that I choose to visit now for my concentrate and edible needs, is much larger then other collectives I had been a member at. The inventory selection is much larger as well as a higher number of employees working. Larger dispensaries seems to be the trend as the number of operating dispensaries continues to be squeezed by the state government. To this day it remains a risky business plan to enter the “not quite regulated” medical marijuana industry in Michigan. For those looking to get into the trade, it would be best to apply for one of the new licenses and then wait before trying to set up shop during this uncertain time.
Sports have been an interest of mine my entire life. Mostly as a result of being encouraged to stay active from a young age. Competing athletically has always been very enjoyable for me and I was a part of numerous sports teams throughout high school including baseball, cross country, and basketball. Taking sports seriously and putting hours in every day to improve your skills is awesome and rewarding, but at the same time it can be too time consuming. Once high school ended, I gave up my athletic career to study business management and begin working to cover my financial responsibilities. It wasn’t until I was working my way through college I discovered disc golf, and I couldn’t believe I had never paid any attention to it before.
I was introduced from a coworker who had constantly been talking about how he recently got into frisbee golf and how it’s pretty much the most chill sport ever. The laid back pace was compared to regular golf but he said it’s superior because it requires much less patience and skill while being nearly as rewarding. He offered that we hit up one of the local courses sometime so I could see what it was all about. I didn’t have my own disc set at the time, so I took responsibility of supplying the weed for the day instead.
It didn’t take more then a few holes to get in a groove and expand my range with the disc. Everybody has played frisbee at some point in there life but the discs for disc golf are much smaller in diameter and heavier then traditional frisbees. After adjusting to the learning curve, I became addicted to the sport rather quickly. It’s just the perfect sport for smoking because it’s slow paced and there isn’t any running or strenuous activity, only some walking. In addition, most courses are secluded in the woods and are perfect for lighting up without drawing a bunch of attention. These courses were built with smokers in mind! Although you shouldn’t really have to hide your marijuana use from all the other stoners that are on the course doing the same thing.
I believe that playing disc golf is so enjoyable for me personally because it combines 3 of my favorite things in life into one activity. Being out in nature, smoking weed, and competing with friends are usually all separate activities. But to be able experience them all in one great activity is always something to look forward to. There is just this certain peaceful vibe that you can’t get out on the court or baseball diamond. It’s the simplicity of taking turns throwing a disc into the chained basket. There are no complex rules or thinking required, it’s just all throwing technique. When you have to focus on a million things, using marijuana isn’t always the best route. However with disc golf it’s the opposite and you might even find yourself forgetting the score. Nowadays I probably play disc golf more than I do any other sport. I never thought that being a part of the cannabis culture would result in me discovering a new favorite activity. It’s just one of the million things that I’ve realized go hand in hand with cannabis.
There is more than one reason why I believe this question should be addressed. However, there is one significant factor that led to the writing of this article. That would be the legalization of cannabis in the state of California. This means an additional 40 million people will be subject to different laws then the rest of us living in the same country. There is far more momentum from this passage then the 4 states before them. I really believe it’s going to be hard to ignore the countries most populous state make it clear we need reform in our laws. On top of that, at the same time Nevada, Massachusetts. and Maine all legalized it in similar manners that allowed the sale of it in many forms. That means 8 states allow at least possession of personal amounts and recreational shops to open in the states. Tax revenue will be collected from each one of these states although that will take a year or longer in the states that passed laws this past November.
All these positive changes that have taken place recently are still facing the same old powerful opponents that stand to lose tons of money if marijuana is allowed to be used and sold. I think it’s very clear that we will win as more and more people become aware of why exactly marijuana was even made illegal and how wrong it is to continue this war. It’s more of a matter of when this will happen. The DEA are dragging there feet harder then ever and have refused to even reschedule the drug to a lower category in their nonsense hierarchy of drugs. They do not want to lose their easiest target and the largest source of their funding and arrests. There really isn’t as much of a drug problem once you remove marijuana because that’s the key component to all their operations and their way of justifying thousands of jobs. Taking this all into consideration I say the chances it becomes legal for all 50 states this year is not very good. I hate to not be optimistic but we are still erasing the stigma to this day that 80 years of prohibition has caused and it may take a little more then this year and a big state decision to change federal law. Once they start seeing all the tax revenue coming from California in the years to come they may change their thinking.