Dear Stoner: Can I Grow Pot in My Back Yard?

Dear Stoner: Can I grow pot in my back yard?
Jack the Stack

Dear Jack: Yes, you can — with a catch. Colorado law allows residents over the age of 21 to grow up to six plants (up to twelve per household; only half can be in the flowering stage) in a private, enclosed space at their homes — indoor or outdoor. Most choose the indoor option because it’s easier to construct a private, enclosed space inside a house than it is outside; putting a lock on the door of an empty room or setting up a small operation in the basement is a lot less hassle than building a greenhouse or hoop house in the back yard. In fact, those structures are banned in residential areas in some towns and neighborhoods.

If your town or homeowners’ association allows such backyard projects, though, by all means, get your thumb green. Light-deprivation techniques in greenhouses can produce multiple crops every year instead of the single that’s standard in outdoor growing — and you won’t be using as much electricity, which is good for your wallet and the environment. But remember: If you don’t own the home where you’re planning to go green, run it by your landlord first.

Dear Stoner: My friend recently quit her job in the weed industry and said the turnover rate is very high at dispensaries and growing operations. What’s up with that?

Dear Lynn: As with any business that depends on entry-level labor, the retail marijuana industry has a hard time keeping its lowest-paid employees around. We’ve asked a few dispensary chains about turnover rates in trimming, budtending and other entry-level jobs, and while they’ve all said it’s an issue, they couldn’t or wouldn’t give any solid data. In the industry’s defense, there’s turnover in almost every line of work that relies on hard labor, and that’s what cleaning water reservoirs, trimming pounds of sticky weed and rolling hundreds of joints entails. And who wants to do those jobs for the rest of their lives at $10 to $15 per hour? Young people, who make up most of this workforce, are only satisfied with the luster of working with pot for so long before they start looking for other options.

Another reason for the turnover is increasing competition. Look at the technology industry, which compensates employees much better than entry-level pot gigs do: The average tenure at Google and Amazon is less than fourteen months, according to compensation research firm PayScale. Both hire young workers, many of whom use the companies as stepping stones to better-paying jobs.

Send questions to [email protected] or call the potline at 303-293-2222.
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Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego

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