Jul 24 2019 . 6 min read

Jul. ’19: Home Grow 101

Jul. ’19: Home Grow 101

10 Steps to Starting Your Medical Marijuana Home Garden

10 Steps to Starting Your Medical Marijuana Home Garden

By AJ, budshots_nv

I became a medical marijuana patient in Nevada in 2009 and as a result have been growing medical grade marijuana at my home for the last decade. I have learned a lot through trial and error as well as from some of the best growers in the country. Over the last three years I have also worked at three different commercial cultivations in Las Vegas. I decided to start this column to help Nevada medical marijuana patients either start or better cultivate their home grows. A lot of medical marijuana patients want to grow their own medicine but don’t know where to begin. Starting a home grow can be accomplished in 10 steps. You just need to abide the 12-plant limit, stay legal and you will enjoy your own garden for years to come.

#1 First you must acquaint yourself with the legalities of medical marijuana home grows in Nevada. I live in a condominium so during harvest time, the intense smell of fresh cannabis being cut and trimmed can travel through walls, floors and ceilings. On December 30, 2015, there was a knock on my door. When I looked through the peephole, I counted five plain-clothed guys with badges hanging from their necks. They knew my name and knew I was a medical marijuana patient (MMP). They asked to come in and check my cannabis grow. It was four officers from Metro's cannabis squad and one DEA agent. 

To summarize, they looked to see what I had just harvested two days before. They looked for signs of me trafficking cannabis illegally. After 40 minutes of searching they realized I wasn't the type of grower they were looking for. They complimented me on my grow and told me I was well within the state’s legal parameters. I will never forget that night. I now jokingly tell everyone my home grow is the only one I know of that is DEA-approved.

Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 453A.200, MMPs are allowed to grow 12 plants total, mature or immature if:

• All of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the county of residence of the person who holds the patient card are unable to supply the quantity or strain of marijuana necessary for treatment of that person’s medical condition.

• A patient is ill or has lack of transportation. 

• No medical marijuana dispensary is operating within 25 miles of the residence of the person who holds the patient card at the time the person first applied for his or her patient card.

Finally, you must either own your residence or have permission from your landlord to grow cannabis. 

#2 Next, you must decide how much room you have for growing and where in your residence is the best place to grow. If you have options on where to grow, always pick the coolest part of the residence. The lights give off heat and you want to keep your grow room under 80°. As far as space necessary, this should give you an idea. In a 5’ x 5’ tent you can grow 4 to 6 plants. In a 5’ x 10’ tent you can grow 8 to 10 plants.

#3 I suggest using an indoor grow tent because they are designed with everything you need. They are completely reflective inside, including the floor and ceiling. Also, you can hang lights and fans in a tent without drilling holes in your ceiling. It is easier to control heat and humidity in a tent than in a whole room. The tents are easy to put together and are very sturdy.

#4 Also, you will need to determine how much medicine you need to grow. One small to medium size cannabis plant, depending on the strain, will yield between 1 and 4 ounces of dried flower.

#5 You should also establish a growing season. I grow twice a year: October - January and January - April. I easily grow enough in the cooler months to shut my grow down during the heat of the summer.

#6 Next, I recommend using coco coir as a grow medium. I used it as a beginner grower then tried a lot of other mediums and ended up going back to coco, which is a byproduct of coconut fiber. It is a very "forgiving" medium for new growers. 

#7 Lighting is another important factor. Use cheaper and hotter Metal Halides (MH) for vegging and High-pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs for flowering. These do a great job, however, they give off a lot of heat and you WILL need air conditioning in that room. The other option is relatively new in cannabis home grows, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Good LEDs give off very little heat. They will run you more up front but save you money on energy bills in the end. 

#8 Nutrients may be the most important factor in growing top shelf cannabis plants, other than starting with great genetics. It gets extremely expensive for a large cultivation to use top nutrients on a large level, however, when you are an MMP and have your own personal garden, the best nutrients on the market are affordable.

#9 Although my medication is grown without pesticides, there are pesticides that have been approved by the state of Nevada. If you go to: agri.nv.gov/Plant/Environmental_Services/Pesticide_Use_on_Medical_Marijuana, you will find a current list of over 75 pesticides that Nevada allows licensed commercial cultivations to use on cannabis flowers. 

#10 Last is acquiring genetics, which is a very gray area. If you know people who grow and like what they are growing, ask them for a cutting or clone, as we call it. Getting clones or cuttings from another MMP is legal. In future articles we will discuss cloning and how to easily make your own clones. You could also start with seeds, there are thousands of strains out there you can choose from. If you do decide to start with seeds, get feminized seeds if possible. This means they will all grow to be female with flowers, you don't want male marijuana plants. Otherwise, you will need to locate any male plants and get rid of them, or they will pollinate the females and you will end up with flowers full of seeds. 

In upcoming articles, I will be interviewing seasoned Nevada MMP home growers about growing medical marijuana. If you are an MMP in Nevada, grow at home and would like to be interviewed, or if you have any questions about growing cannabis at home, reach out to me at rookies123@aol.com.