1st Massachusetts farmers moving toward approval to grow marijuana outdoors
10/5/17 – Sheffield – Farmer Ted Dobson stands in one of the fields of Equinox Farm, an organic market garden. Dobson is one of a number of farmers in Massachusetts hoping to get into the nascent recreational marijuana industry. (The Republican file photo)
So far, all the marijuana sold in Massachusetts’ legal market has been grown indoors. But that could change.
The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the first two provisional licenses for companies that plan to grow marijuana outdoors in the Berkshires. The licenses went to Theory Wellness and BCWC, both medical marijuana companies that are also growing indoors.
Brandon Pollock, CEO of Theory Wellness, said the company is partnering with Sheffield farmer Ted Dobson to start a pilot program to test whether marijuana can grow outdoors in Massachusetts.
“Part of the legislative mandate is to have farmers participate. Until now, no farmers have,” Pollock said. “We’re hoping to help everyone in that respect and show that it can be done.”
Pollock notes that this would be the first time marijuana would be grown outdoors to supply the legal cannabis market on the East Coast. “We hope to have the first outdoor farm up and running in a matter of months,” he said.
Theory Wellness operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Bridgewater and Great Barrington. It sells to the recreational market in Great Barrington and has applied for a license to sell in Chicopee. The company grows its marijuana indoors in Bridgewater.
1st Massachusetts farmers moving toward approval to grow marijuana outdoors 10/5/17 – Sheffield – Farmer Ted Dobson stands in one of the fields of Equinox Farm, an organic market garden. Dobson
So You Want to Grow Cannabis at Home in Massachusetts
Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis in 2016, but it took more than two years before retailers across the state could begin legal sales. Even today, fewer than a dozen adult-use shops operate in the Bay State.
But the Massachusetts cannabis law also contains a section that allows for folks to grow their own cannabis at home—and that provision kicked in immediately as the new law took effect. Whether you’re wanting to avoid long dispensary lines or are just curious about flexing your green thumb, here’s what you need to know if you want to grow cannabis at home.
No Green Thumb? No Problem
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Who Can Grow?
Are you an adult 21 and over? You can grow up to six plants in your home. Married? Living in sin? Got a couple roommates? A household that consists of more than one 21+ adult is allowed to grow up to 12 plants. But that’s it! No more, regardless of how many grad students you can stuff in an old Victorian.
Where Can You Grow?
If you own your home, you’re good. For those who rent, keep in mind that landlords can set their own policies and may legally restrict cannabis cultivation. Check your lease to see if anything is written, and if you’re unsure, ask your landlord.
Whether indoors or out, your grow space needs to be protected with a lock or some sort of security device. Also, you need to keep your plants out of sight. State law says plants may not be visible from a public place without the use of “binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.”
At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts.
While these restrictions may induce eyerolls, breaking the state’s home cultivation law could cost you. In addition of a fine up to $300, you could lose your plants—so keep them locked up and out of sight!
For growers just starting out, growing indoors is a popular choice. You can designate a small grow space in your home, add some locks, and ensure that nobody can see them from outside.
If you’re dedicated to growing outdoors during the warmer months, we can help with that, too. Plan to find a space that is more discreet than where you keep your prize rose bushes.
How Do I Start?
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Sure, you can head down to your local grow store (more on that in a future article) or even online and stock up on lights, fans, and a grow tent… but what about the plants themselves?
At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts. Neither state-licensed cannabis retailers nor anyone else can legally sell them. Under state law, however, gifting is allowed. So if you know someone who is already growing, perhaps you can persuade them to clip you off a clone.
If that doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt to ask around. Groups of local home growers often set up trades to exchange seeds and diversify the strains they grow. Check to see if your local grow store has any information, or look on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram for cannabis seed or plant exchanges.
There are also online outlets that advertise cannabis seeds. These businesses are generally based in other countries and operate in a gray area of the law.
What Can I Do With What I Grow?
Enjoy it! You are welcome to smoke, vape, cook, make tinctures, or do pretty much whatever you want with your harvest—with just a few exceptions.
First, extraction. The law prohibits the production of “cannabis-based extracts or concentrates at home by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.” This is meant to prevent home-extraction using volatile compounds such as butane, which can be incredibly dangerous if used incorrectly.
You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too!
If you’re all about concentrates, there are plenty of other options to explore. Try making hash by hand, pressing rosin, or even whipping up a batch of bubble hash.
If you’re feeling generous, you can also gift your stash. While you can’t legally sell anything you harvest, state law says you can gift up to an ounce of cannabis flower at a time to other adults 21 and older.
And remember: You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too. It’s a great opportunity to pay it forward as a home grower while plants are still hard to come by.
Whether you want to avoid long dispensary lines or are just curious about flexing your green thumb, here’s what you need to know to grow cannabis at home.