Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws
Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.
U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.
Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.
“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.
“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”
The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.
The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.
Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.
Where’s the best place in America for you as an individual to legally grow marijuana?
As of early 2017, an individual can legally grow marijuana in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Hawaii.
In most states where state law allows you to legally grow marijuana plants, you’re limited to 4-6 plants total.
Anyone who’s a serious marijuana grower knows 4-6 plants total just isn’t enough.
If you grow from non-feminized seed, for example, you have to plant double the number of seeds that you intend to carry into bloom phase, because half or more of those plants could be males.
Or maybe you’re into marijuana cloning.
You maintain at least one marijuana motherplant, and take multiple cuttings to ensure a minimum number of healthy, rooted clones. You need to grow more than six plants.
But there are several states you can legally grow marijuana and have a productive, worthwhile grow op. Let’s take a look…
CALIFORNIA: Until the California legislature destroyed Prop. 215 (the landmark medical marijuana law passed by voters in 1996), medical marijuana growers in California had the best deal of all.Prop. 215 was great for growers until Senate Bill 420 came along to limit you to a maximum of six blooming plants or a maximum of 12 grow phase plants.You’d get a doctor’s recommendation and government-issued card, but once you did, and especially if you were a designated caregiver for other patients, you could legally grow dozens of cannabis plants.Read here to see how Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature ruined Prop. 215.In California, your best bet is to qualify as a medical marijuana grower.
Qualified California medical marijuana growers are allowed to have a maximum of eight ounces of cured cannabis.
Some California counties have outright bans on cannabis cultivation.
Under new medical cannabis laws, a California medical marijuana patient is only allowed 100 square feet for cultivation.
If the patient is a caregiver cultivating for a maximum of five other patients, the grower is allowed 500 square feet of cultivation space.
The California law allows a grower to be given compensation for actual out of pocket expenses related to growing.
In theory (and nobody is yet sure how the new California medical marijuana laws will be enforced), you could fit about 20 full-size cannabis plants into a 100 square foot grow op, and about 100 full-size marijuana plants into the 500 square foot space.
In Washington, D.C., for example, where voters approved the Initiative 71 marijuana law in 2014, you can only grow a total of six marijuana plants, but only three can be in bloom phase!
If you share a home with other qualified growers in D.C., the total plants per home can’t exceed 12, no matter how many people legally grow marijuana there.
If you want to get paid for your marijuana, you can’t.
Initiative 71 only allows a maximum one-ounce transaction, with no compensation provide to the cannabis grower.
And if you’re into making bubblehash, dry sift, live resins, dabs, or other “hashish,” it’s illegal in D.C. just like it is in most states where marijuana is supposedly legalized.
In Colorado, things aren’t much better for people who want to legally grow marijuana at home.
If you qualify for a medical marijuana certification, you can only grow six plants total.
If you grow for recreational use, you can grow six cannabis plants, but only three can be in bloom phase.
Possession of an ounce or less of hashish or cannabis concentrates is legal in Colorado, but anything more and you’re guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the weight.
Nor can a Colorado home marijuana grower legally sell marijuana.
In Washington State, there are two ways you can legally grow marijuana.
One is to register with the state’s medical marijuana program, which was enacted in 1998.
You have to get a doctor to certify that you suffer from one of the following conditions: cachexia, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV or AIDS, chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), seizures, or TBI (traumatic brain injury).
Registered medical marijuana patients can legally grow marijuana, but only a total of six plants.
You can legally possess a maximum of eight ounces of cannabis produced from your marijuana plants.
If the health care professional agrees that you need more marijuana than that, you might be allowed to legally grow as many as 15 marijuana plants, and possess up to 16 ounces.
If you’re a qualified medical marijuana patient who chooses not to participate in the state’s official registry of medical marijuana patients, you can only grow a total of 6 plants and possess no more than 6 ounces of marijuana.
In neighboring Oregon, your best bet to legally grow marijuana is to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program.
Oregon’s program was written with input from marijuana growers, which is why it has a smarter approach to plant numbers.
In Oregon, a qualifying patient can grow a maximum of six bloom phase medical marijuana plants, and at the same time have a maximum of 18 grow phase plants.
You can possess a maximum two pounds of medical marijuana.
If you don’t qualify for the Oregon medical marijuana program, you’re allowed to grow a maximum of four plants, and possess a maximum of eight ounces of your own homegrown marijuana.
New Mexico has a medical marijuana law that was first activated in 2007.
There’s a long list of qualifying medical conditions, and if you do qualify, you’re allowed to grow 16 plants… but only four can be in bloom phase at the same time.
You’re allowed to possess six ounces of cured cannabis.
Nevada’s marijuana cultivation and possession laws are a mess.
Your best bet is to qualify for the state medical marijuana registry, but the list of qualifying medical conditions is way too short.
You’re allowed to grow a total of 12 marijuana plants that can all be in bloom at the same time, but the law adds in a stupid restriction that you can’t legally grow marijuana if you’re within 25 miles of a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
But the law says if you cultivate marijuana strains that the local medical marijuana dispensary doesn’t have, you’re allowed to grow marijuana even if you’re within 25 miles of the dispensary.
In Maine, you’re allowed to grow a large number of young seedlings and clones, but can only have six plants blooming at any one time.
In Massachusetts, you’re allowed to grow six plants total. Read here for a detailed explanation of Massachusetts marijuana growing laws.
In Michigan, qualified medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow a total of 12 marijuana plants, and they can all be in bloom at the same time.
However, you’re only allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of cured marijuana.
In Hawaii, there’s a list of 10 medical conditions that qualify you for medical marijuana status.
You’re allowed to grow seven plants, and possess four ounces of cannabis.
Alaska has legalized medical and recreational marijuana growing. You’re allowed a total of six plants, but only three can be in bloom phase.
You’re allowed to possess one ounce of cannabis.
Arizona has a medical marijuana law that allows you to grow 12 plants, but only if you’re more than 25 miles away from a state-licensed marijuana dispensary.
There are some important overall facts to note when it comes to the best states to legally grow marijuana:
In almost every state, including most of the ones mentioned in this article, there are still severe penalties for people who grow, possess, or sell marijuana without a medical marijuana qualification.
In all 50 states, police can arrest you for growing marijuana regardless of whether you’re a legal grower or not. If you’re arrested, you have to go to court to seek dismissal of the charges or to win acquittal at trial.
State marijuana laws are subject to interpretation and revision. They’re frequently changed, rescinded, altered, or otherwise tampered with by lawmakers or by legal precedents that come from court decisions.
In almost all states where you can legally grow marijuana, the laws place dumb limitations on how and if you can legally grow marijuana outdoors.
Each state has laws governing cannabis concentrates, medibles, tinctures, hashish, butane honey oil, and other cannabis products. In most cases, those products are strictly regulated and may be illegal.
Landlords, employers, courts, and others are legally allowed to discriminate against marijuana growers and users. The limited exception to this is Hawaii, which passed anti-discrimination laws. Read here for more about the Hawaii protections.
The advice in this article about where to legally grow marijuana is mainly intended for black market home marijuana growers who have less than ten lights. If you want to be a state-licensed, large-scale commercial grower, you have to have a lot of money to pay the fees and comply with the regulations.
State legalization laws favor large-scale, big-money, commercial marijuana growers.
The members of the BigBudsMag.com staff have grown cannabis in all the states on this list, other than Alaska.
Our consensus opinion is the best states to legally grow marijuana in are California, Oregon, Maine, and Michigan.
We favor Oregon, Michigan, and Maine the most, because you can legally grow marijuana there with enough plants to do motherplants, breeding, cloning, and growing multiple cannabis strains.
In Michigan there are only a handful of legal marijuana dispensaries and most of those are in Ann Arbor, so the retail price and demand for marijuana are high.
Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maine have very cold winters, so you can use your indoor grow lights to help heat your house.
Wherever you choose to legally grow marijuana, remember full legalization doesn’t exist anywhere in the United States.
Real marijuana legalization would mean you can grow marijuana as legally as you grow tomato plants.
Trump’s choice for attorney general indicated during recent Senate testimony that he’ll enforce federal marijuana law in legalized states. Read here for more details on that.
Sea of Green, or SOG, is a method of growing cannabis that forces the plants into the flowering stage when young and small. By starting the flowering phase of your marijuana plants after about two weeks of vegetative growth you can harvest many weeks earlier than you would if you grew your plants to full size.
Why Choose Sea of Green?
The Sea of Green method is a Dutch concept and is all about using space efficiently and is particularly useful if you are limited with the space available in your grow room (although it is also often used in large operations and greenhouse grows as well). By switching the cannabis plants’ lighting to 12/12 early (to force flowering) it is possible to fit several plants in the space normally taken up by one plant. Even though the yield of each individual plant is smaller, the accumulated yield per square metre will be greater.
Time is also an important factor to consider when deciding whether to use the Sea of Green method. Some marijuana strains can spend well over 10 weeks vegetating so by putting your marijuana plants into flower after only two weeks you will get more harvests per year. This is ideal for larger operations where a constant supply is necessary.
When growing BIG marijuana under artificial grow lights it is important to use the light in the most efficient way possible. Not just because you’re paying for its electricity; but because you will want to get the most from your plants too. Most grow room setups involve lighting your plants from above but doing this means that the plants shade out their own bases and the lower sections of the plant do not receive as much light as the tops. By packing the plants together a canopy of buds is formed, making best use of the light. If you are using one big HPS grow lights then you only have the option of lighting from above, using a number of HPS grow lights or better still energy saving full spectrum LED grow lights then you still have the option of lighting from the corners.
The Sea Of Green method is particularly useful if you have a quantity of cuttings available from cloned marijuana. This method saves you money on buying seeds and can ensure the quality and gender of the young plants. Although Sea Of Green doesn’t generally require any pruning, once a canopy has formed some growers like to clean up the branches underneath to concentrate the plants’ energy towards the main bud and improve air flow beneath the canopy. These cuttings can be cloned and will provide the next batch of SOG plants, making a self perpetuating system.
How to use the Sea of Green method
There are no special skills required to use the Sea of Green method. Once you understand the concept, carrying out an SOG grow is simplicity itself. In fact, with the absence of any training or pruning requirements, SOG is one of the easiest ways to grow weed.
Here is a simple Sea of Green step-by-step guide:
Buy some fast growing marijuana seeds good for Sea of Green;
Germinate your seeds or take cuttings from another plant to make marijuana clones;
Choose your hydroponic grow system;
Plant your babies out at around 1 plant per square foot (30cm X 30cm);
Choose your grow lights and then grow under 18-24 hours light until they have reached approximately 10-12 inches in height (25-30cm);
Switch the lighting to 12/12 to instigate marijuana flowering after around two to three weeks;
When a dense canopy of buds has formed trim any branches beneath them to save energy going to these instead of the buds, you can use these for clones if done right;
Harvest your marijuana when ready.
Some growers will start plants on 12/12 when they are only 6 inches high, others pack them more or less densely. Exact requirements will vary from strain to strain and grow room to grow room. If you use this guide as a starting point you will be able to make adjustments based on your own experience.
Which seed strain – Are all marijuana strains suitable for S.O.G?
The short answer is no. Typically indica seed varieties, with their naturally squat stature and single main kolas are most suited to S.O.G methods. Some sativas may work but they are generally too ‘leggy’ to fully benefit from SOG systems. We would recommend Old World Indicas, Kush strains, God Bud and Northern Lights. Also try some of the more specialized feminized dwarf strains such as Buddha Red Dwarf Autoflowering Feminized and Royal Queen Royal Dwarf Autoflowering Feminized.
Cannabis, like many plants, can be grown in more than one way. Most people think of roots growing in soil, but hydroponics offers the ability to work in smaller spaces with more control over your green’s food source. If you’re looking for flavor and forgiveness in the occasional mistake, take up the traditional soil method. Of course, any experienced grower will have a preference with first-hand accounts of why they stick with their technique. If you’re looking to plant a marijuana seed and help it grow, there are a few things you should consider before planning things out.
Cannabis plants prefer rich soil that allows for maximum drainage, in fact, many growers switch out soil for perline to increase drainage. Nutrient rich materials like earthworm castings or manure can be added to improve the health of your greens and make sure the crop gets everything it needs. Plants absorb nutrients from soil, so during the flowering stage it’s important to use just the right kind and amount of nutrients to maximize your yields and prevent any a nutrient deficiency. Even with the best soil you will still need to supplement some nutrients to maximize your results.
Can be more forgiving for inattentive growers
Growing in soil is easier than some types of hydroponic growing
Better flavor in the end
It takes up a lot of space
It is usually more expensive
Problems take longer to become evident and be recovered
Doesn’t produce as high of a volume of nutrients than hydroponics do
Hydroponics is growing cannabis by using any growing medium other than soil. These alternatives (which are often combined) include gravel, coco coir, sand, mister air, vermiculite, peat moss, perlite, hydroton, and/or just water. During the entire process you must provide the plant with all its nutrients by way of its water supply.
Hydroponic systems come in different forms, here are the top 5 common forms: aeroponics, deep water culture, drip irrigation, nutrient film technique, and ebb-and-flow.
Aeroponics uses a grow chamber to suspend roots in the air with no medium inside of a closed-loop system. Water, rich with nutrients, douses the bases of these plants as they hang in the air. By providing an oxygen-rich environment, the microbes on the plant are able to digest and process the nutrients for its circulatory system.
Deep Water Culture is a method of growing which uses a bucket of nutrients, also called bubblers. The plants are suspended over the nutrients as the roots grow into the nutrients below. The bubblers’ mixture is filled with air using an aquarium pump and pays off by speeding up the growtime. The oxygen and fertilizer enriched mixture work wonders for the end product.
The drip irrigation system feeds each plant individually in its own chamber. Nutrients are administered by a dripper, and then the solution is recycled, much like the already mentioned methods. Each plant is located in separate chambers where the nutrients are fed to the medium by means of a small dripper.
The Nutrient Film Technique is a hydroponic method which involves a nutrient solution being pumped onto a tray or gulley to form a shallow and slow moving film that moves through the plant’s roots. These roots grow into the solution, creating a large root mat in the tray. Having round the clock access to water and nutrients along with more than enough oxygen for the roots, makes for rapid development with maximum yields.
Ebb and Flow replaces soil with a medium like rockwool to produce very large yields. This type of system stimulates a natural cycle of rain and the time in between it, therefore giving off a more natural environment for your grow.
Maximize yields by accurately providing just the right amount of nutrients to your cannabis
Soil born diseases and pests are less likely because of the lack of soil and the grow is usually indoor
Problems are easier to correct because you’re more in control
Doesn’t take up a lot of space
Get a result quicker
Better looking product “in the bag”
Grows are able to be automated by using techniques like bubbleponics and deep water culture
A lot more maintenance cleaning the equipment
Doesn’t taste as well as soil grown – This depends on nutrients
Need to pay a lot of attention during the entire process