Legally Growing Cannabis in Canada
The moment Canadian’s have been waiting for is officially here! It has now been over 2 years of legalization in Canada and we are the second nation, worldwide, to federally legalize the use, possession, and growth of recreational cannabis. Hats off to Uruguay for being the first!
This guide was created to prepare Canadian citizens for this monumental event and to provide a full walkthrough of everything you need to know about new cannabis laws! We also want to spend some time to review the different growing options available to those looking to venture into horticulture from the comfort of their own home.
Luckily growing at home was legal right away (although access to legal seeds was not available – silly Canada) and if you were prepared, you likely started the first step of growing, the germination process! Growing at home is the most effective, cost-efficient, and satisfying way to obtain your cannabis.
Growing high quality cannabis can be an intimidating task. Those that have grown before know how tricky it can be and those looking into it may feel like the task is too daunting. Do not fret growers, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to grow high quality cannabis safely and securely at home.
Let’s start this guide off by looking at the various methods you can use to grow weed at home.
Methods for Legally Growing Cannabis Indoors
The Automated Grow Box
An automated grow box is hands down the easiest way to grow your Cannabis at home. These boxes are quite literally automatic weed growing machines. Canadian Company, Grobo, first started developing grow boxes back in 2014 as a way to grow various kitchen herbs and vegetables. As they developed the product they discovered a gap in the market for a cannabis grow box. After a few years of engineering and development they began shipping the product in early in 2018.
How does a weed grow box work?
Grobo utilizes a hydroponic system, meaning there is no soil involved in the grow. Instead the roots grow into a water reservoir that is dosed with the nutrients needed to keep the plant alive.
The unit is also outfitted with sensors for nutrients levels, pH levels, temperature, and humidity. When the sensors recognize that something is not in optimal growing conditions it will automatically adjust to restore the perfect condition.
The cannabis grow box utilizes a full spectrum LED lighting system. This lighting system is also automated and is programmed to shine the right quantity and type of light on your plant at each specific stage of the plants grow cycle. To the naked eye, you may not notice a colour spectrum difference, this is so when you look at your plant, you are able to clearly see the health of it. Our lighting system and recipe programming allows the plant to grow dense, high quality nugs in optimal conditions.
Step 1: Download the Grobo App
The whole grow is conducted through here!
Step 2: Connect to Wi-Fi & Pick a Recipe
The grower simply picks a strain from the pre-set recipe list, plants the seed in a coco pod (coconut husk) to start germinating their seed.
Step 3: Drain & Fill Weekly
Grobo suggests the use of RO or Distilled water. This gives a clean slate for your unit to add the necessary nutrients without the worry of added minerals from your local water source.
Every region is different; if you choose to use tap water, you may deplete your nutrients faster then if you were to use RO or Distilled Water
Step 4: Learn Trimming Techniques!
Now that pH balancing, nutrients, lighting is all automatic. Take the time to learn how to increase your yield with these horticultural techniques.
Examples: Topping, Lollipopping, Super Cropping
Let's sum up the pro's and con's...
Convenient: Saves you time due to the lack of grow maintenance
Smell: The Grobo carbon filter reduces smell
Safety: You don’t need to worry about running electricity, mould or fire hazards
Quality: Produces very high quality cannabis
Aesthetics: Looks beautiful, doesn’t need to be hidden
Speed: Very easy to get setup and started
Low Running Cost: Energy efficient lights only add approximately $5 to your monthly energy bill
Consistent: No human error; steady dosing and continuous monitoring
Space: Fits in most room
Initial Cost: Requires a substantial initial investment
Quantity: Only allows you to grow one plant at a time
Grow Space: Limited to the inside space of Grobo for your plant to grow
Environment: Must be temperature controlled for a successful grow
A Do-it-Yourself Grow System
If you’re feeling adventurous and you are a fairly handy person, a do-it-yourself system may be the way to go. A DIY system can result in potential cost savings and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish the build. However before you dive into it there are a few factors that you’ll want to consider.
1. What will be the size of my grow?
Will your grow be based out of a bucket, a cabinet, a computer case? There are many different creative frames that you can use for your growing container, but before you select one make sure you realize that the size of the container will cap your maximum grow size.
2. Will you use a hydroponic system or a soil system?
The traditional growing medium of soil is effective. However soil is messy and dirty and if your plan is to grow indoors you may want to consider an alternative method to keep your house clean. A hydroponic system is a completely water based grow. Less dirt and soil means a lot less mess in your house.
3. What type of lighting system will you use?
The 3 most common types of lights used in grow boxes are as follows:
High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights: These lights are the standard in the cannabis industry. They’re not as energy efficient as some other options, and they do cost a bit more, but they definitely produce more light. HID lights come in different forms, like metal halide’s bluish white light used during vegetative growth and high pressure sodium (HPS) reddish-orange lights used during flowering.
Fluorescent grow lights continue their popularity in hobbyist grower circles because they’re easy, cooler (to the touch, that is) and cheaper—much cheaper. These bulbs do not emit enough light for flowering and are often used just for germination.
Light emitting diode (LED) lights can be specially designed for indoor growing in a growbox or other container. These LED light fixtures and towers are uber-energy-efficient, but that efficiency will cost you—these bulbs are not cheap. In fact, they can cost 10 times as much as an HID lighting system. The upside is that LED bulbs do last much longer, use less electricity, and put off much less heat.
4. How much time are you willing to commit?
Once you’ve started your grow there will be lots of monotonous and repetitive tasks you’ll need to do in order to grow. Home growing cannabis with a makeshift growing system requires maintenance, mixing, measuring, cleaning and recording results.
5. What is your knowledge level? How much research are you willing to do?
From start to finish, you will be doing a lot of research. A great place to start is with pH levels of water, nutrients, how and when to feed your plant, troubleshooting horticultural issues and adjusting your light cycles. There are so many components to growing cannabis successfully and you will be responsible for all of them!
Cost: Can be fairly inexpensive
Satisfaction: Feeling of accomplishment upon completion
Dangerous: Can be a potential mould or fire hazard
Time Consuming: Requires lots of consistent and monotonous work
Ugly: They are usually eye sores that need to be hidden
Bright: Light leak would have to be contained
Stinky: It will smell quite strong unless you purchase an expensive Carbon Filter + Fan Combo
Inconsistent: It’s very difficult to have consistent grows with human operated systems
Quality: It’s much more difficult to get high quality grows
Additional Rules to Know About Home Growing Cannabis in Canada
What exactly does the federal 4 plant limit mean?
The four plant rule is an interesting way to put a cap on legal grows as this can lead to quite a wide range of overall household yields. Originally the government tried to limit the growth of the plant to one meter but eventually dropped that rule meaning that the 4 plants can be of any size.
It’s important to remember that legal cannabis growing limit is a per household limit and not a per person limit. This rule stands regardless of the number of people living within the house. It’s also important to remember that as a grower you have the responsibility to safely cultivate your cannabis and keep it out of the hands of minors. If you have minors or pets in your house or are worried about minors or pets being able to potentially access your cannabis you should preemptively consider how your are going to secure your grow. This may be done by growing in a locked room or growing within a grow box that has locking capabilities.
My province is saying that I won’t be able to grow?
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the home grow law. The Federal government has stated that “The Cannabis Act will permit adults to cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants per household (not per person).” However some provinces (such as Quebec) have said that growing will not be permitted. Essentially it’s a conflict between the Federal and Provincial government and it could end up being an issue that the courts will have to settle.
What can’t I do with Cannabis?
- Drive while high
- Go to work impaired
- Have more than 30g on me at any time
- Travel internationally (Whether you are leaving or entering Canada it is illegal to take cannabis across the border)
What Kind of Cannabis Should I Grow?
Now that you’ve picked out a system to grow with it’s time to pick a strain, buy a seed and start growing. According to Leafly there are over 2,500 different strains that all have different attributes. However, with names like Cinderella 99, Great White Shark and Grandaddy Purps it can be a little tricky to tell exactly what you’re getting.
Considerations When Picking a Seed/Strain
Ensure your seed is feminized - A feminized seed is a seed that has been treated by the breeder to ensure that it produces a female plant. It’s important to make sure that you’re growing a female plant, as male plants will not flower and will not produce any buds for you.
Indica, Sativa or Hybrid - An Indica strain will generally be more physically and mentally relaxing and is typically used for nights in. Sativa strains are more uplifting and are generally associated more with activities or social events. Hybrids are simply a mix of the two.
Consider an Autoflower - An autoflower is a type of cannabis that has been mixed with ruderalis that enters flowering mode based on time and not changes to it’s light. These strains often finish quicker then a traditional photoperiod dependant strain. We do not recommend Autos for Grobo.
Where to Buy Seeds
Licensed Producers: Will be selling seeds legally for recreational growing as of October 17th
Seed Bank: You can find seed banks online and order seeds. Technically they sell the seeds as souvenirs. This will be true even after October 17th. They won’t legally be selling the seeds with the intent of having them being used for grows. They are still technically souvenirs.
Breeder: The actual grower and researcher of each strain
Each Cannabis grow is unique, there are many systems you can grow it in, strains you can choose from and many ways to consume it when you’re done. Regardless of the choices that you make the experience of nurturing a plant from seed to harvest is a priceless experience.