If there is one thing the big dogs of the cannabis industry fear more than anything, it’s that over the next few years marijuana reform – both at the state and federal level -- will include the freedom for regular citizens to grow cannabis plants at home.
Some industry executives see these home grow provisions as profit crushers.
However, cannabis advocates argue that home cultivation is a necessary component of legalization, and that greed is no excuse to exclude the right to grow.
"It is a shame that a handful of industry actors would fearmonger the issue of limited, legal home cultivation over a baseless and unsubstantiated fear over missing out on a buck,” Justin Strekal, political director at NORML, tells The Bluntness.
There has never been a showdown quite like the one between advocates working to legalize the herb and those trying to profit from it.
Weed is all industry now, and some of its so-called leaders are doing everything in their power to make cannabis a cash cow rather than a product of the people.
If You’re Against Home Grow, You’re Missing the Bigger Picture
Although some of the first states to legalize marijuana made home cultivation part of the deal, the industry now wants them left out. Just look at what's happening with home grow in New Jersey, if you want a recent example.
These operations won’t admit their opposition is about protecting profits. Many claim that prohibiting home grow is in the interest of public safety, tax revenue and eliminating the black market.
These companies believe that if the consumer is allowed to grow weed at home, they will forgo the marketplace.
But is this a legitimate concern? Home cultivation advocates don’t think so.
“I think players in the cannabis industry should not be so wary of the development of home cultivation,” Enzo Schillaci, a spokesperson from Fast Buds, a popular auto flowering seed company, tells The Bluntness.
“For sure there will be a lot of people who would like to grow on their own. But there still will be a lot of consumers who would choose the typical and easiest way. They don't want to be involved in the process of growing, and do not have space and time for that.”
Don’t believe it? Well, just look to the world of beer. It’s clear that home brewing operations haven’t threatened this multi-billion-dollar industry.
President Jimmy Carter gave Americans the freedom to brew beer at home in the 1970s. Yet, despite its legality in all 50 states, the brewing industry has continued to swell into a massive beast.
At $350 billion, the beer industry provides the country with one of the largest economic impacts. How? Well, even those dedicated home brewers are still buying copious amounts of beer on the outside.
Home cannabis cultivation won’t be much different. There’s already evidence of that. Despite home grows being legal in more than 20 states, the US cannabis market becomes more profitable every year. It is now worth $15.5 billion.
"In most states that have legalized cannabis, limited home cultivation is legal and among the small subset of consumers who choose to exercise that right, many still participate within the legal market to obtain access to a larger variety of products,” Strekal asserts.
Why Home Grow is Not a Threat to Cannabis Profits
Many cannabis advocates argue that marijuana should be treated no differently than vegetables.
People should have the right to buy cannabis from a dispensary, pharmacy, or pluck it from their backyard. And we totally agree. Cannabis consumers should have that privilege. It’s just that most wouldn’t take advantage of it.
Let’s face it, starting a home cannabis garden can be a pain.
Firstly, it’s expensive. Even the most basic home cultivation setups can cost upwards of $2,000.
It is also time consuming, and most people don’t have the proper space.
Toss in the fact that home cultivators must also contend with wafting odors and the high cost of utility bills and the prospect of growing at home can quickly become a big no, thank you!
Just ask those who have done it.
“Be prepared not to have company over for the months while its growing unless they are cool with the grow,” Edward, a 42-year-old from Kalamazoo, Michigan tells The Bluntness.
“Every time you open that tent, the house reeks. It’s easy enough to contain within the tent but you gotta love these babies a lot so containing the smell is a hard thing to do when you are watering and such. I won’t even get into the stank you’ll experience come [harvest]. I’m glad I don’t live in an apartment.”
Zach, a medical marijuana patient from Champaign, Illinois concurs. “Not having enough space or ventilation is the number one mistake for new home growers,” he said.
The difficulties of home cultivation don’t stop there. Readers of The Bluntness report challenges ranging from the threat of spider mites, moisture control, mildew, and dealing with shoddy electrical systems.
“Don't get a 1000w light in a NYC apartment complex,” cautions Tomer of New York. “You will flip the fuse every time.”
Ironically, being stoned can also lead to costly perils. “Don’t get high while filling the water tank,” Jair from the Netherlands warns. “I remember the waterfall I had running down the stairs.”
Sure, there are plenty of books, video tutorials, websites and other information presented by professional growers to help the novice become a master.
But then again, those types of resources are available for everything from changing the oil in a vehicle to replacing the thermostat in the living room. Still, most people rely on the professionals.
Home cannabis cultivation, much like home brewing, will never be a way of life that threatens to put an entire industry out of commission. Nope, most Americans don’t have any interest in becoming cannabis farmers, even though grow kits have made it a bit easier.
And if you are looking for a little motivation to grow your own, just see what The Dank Duchess had to say about getting starting with home cannabis cultivation.
"There is no data to suggest that lawful home cultivation would lead to a mass of people growing at home,” Strekal says.
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