When federal cannabis legalization comes into effect some time this summer, individuals will be allowed to grow up to four plants for personal use. In the meantime, Shawn Dolter — owner of the Greenhouse in Little Rapids — is fielding a lot of questions from curious, and somewhat sheepish, would-be small-scale pot farmers.
“We’re all about do-it-yourself,” Dolter told the Corner Brook Morning Show.
“Basically, we want to make sure that they can grow the best plant possible in their own home environment.”
At the Greenhouse, a model setup for DIY pot growing — demonstrated with tomato plants, ahead of legalization — gives customers an idea of what it takes to successfully grow those one-to-four plants at home.
There are heat pads or sheets that provide some warmth to help those seeds germinate. The trays are greenhouse kits for starting seeds — the kind you might use to get a head start on your summer garden.
Lighting systems are another a key component to the setup.
“It will be illegal to grow your four plants outside. You have to grow them inside,” Dolter explained.
“What people aren’t prepared for is the amount of technology that has to go into that.”
A rig that looks something like a tent designed for sleeping while standing up is used to provide an ideal growing environment for plants. The tent — which is just over half a metre square two-by-two feet square and five feet high — is lined inside with a reflective surface meant to maximize the amount of light the plants inside receive.
As the seedlings are coming up they would get about 12 hours of light a day, Dolter said, and that would be adjusted based on the rate of growth.
The final touch is a venting system that sends the smell of growing plants outside.
“If you had been growing your own plants for several years there may be some residual smell. Not much, but enough to notice,” he said.
“Some people don’t mind that but other people do, especially when you look at your home value.”
The craft beer model
Growing plants indoors successfully does require some kind of horticultural knowledge, says Dolter.
He compares it to craft beer — sure, you can make home brew in your basement with a bucket and some tubes, but it’s probably not going to taste very good and the bottom will be full of silt. To do it well, a knowledge base is needed, a certain process should be followed, and an investment in good equipment will pay off.
Any equipment sold at the store is legal and could be used to grow other plants, not just cannabis.
But as the proposed legislation currently stands, the Greenhouse can’t start the growing process for customers — say by starting seeds and sending cannabis seedlings home with them.
Right now, the best thing Dolter can offer is information for customers who want to start plants of their own when they’re able to do so.
“We don’t want to push people into the areas where they’re doing things on their own, their crops are failing, they’re turning to people that are growing more than their four plants,” he said.
“We want people to have a good success rate with it and to ensure they’re doing it responsibly, that’s all.”