Whether you grow cannabis to ease a headache or to ease the side effects of chemotherapy, you're putting your health back in your own hands. You're also participating in a historical legalization movement.
You might even call yourself a hero. Here are my top ten reasons why.
10) To appreciate how hard your caregiver works. Your first crop is practically guaranteed to fail. As an experienced gardener, I took on mine with the love of a farmer and the brain of a scarecrow -- all straw. Too much advice from too many schools of thought led me to forge my own path. But when I accidentally left my greenhouse door shut, my emerald field of green, just five weeks out from harvest, was baked into oblivion. Kind bud has a steep learning curve.
9) To take a stand on legalizing marijuana. When you get your card and set up your own legal home grow, you are entering into a movement and making a political statement. In effect, you are encouraging local agriculture and exercising a constitutional right enjoyed by few others on the face of the earth -- the constitutional right to grow pot.
8) To stimulate your brain. Setting up a grow system takes a certain amount of critical thought. You'll have to decide if you want to grow hydro or in soil, under lights or under the sun, which nutrients to dabble in and whether you'll be starting from seed or clone. All these decisions and more will influence the outcome of your crop -- and along the way, the brainteasers will serve as an interesting challenge, especially to those tinkerers out there who have never outgrown trying to make a bong out of an Erector Set.
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7) To get bragging rights on Craigslist. You know you want to get out there and show off your beautiful, homegrown bounty.
6) To make your own medicated olive oil. Place a few good handfuls of your sugar-coated trimmings (no fan leaves) at the bottom of a Crock-Pot. Pour in just enough olive oil to cover, put the lid on and set to low. Leave on low, stirring occasionally for about twelve hours (all day or overnight), then cool. Strain it and make a big, organic salad. Enjoy!
5) To make sure you can always find your favorite strain. Everybody has their favorite flavor, the one that sends them over the moon. Learning how to cultivate that strain and bring it to harvest bestows a certain sense of accomplishment on the grower. Consider yourself an artisan and craft yourself a trademark.
4) To piss off Chris Romer. State Senator Romer spent the better part of the past year belittling the medical marijuana community, all while drafting rules to regulate the MMJ industry (translation: impose huge fees on dispensaries). You go around his expensive rules when you grow your own medicine, and there is nothing Romer can do about it.
3) Vaporizing your own free keif. This is definitely one of my favorite perks. A keif box is a simple contraption that will allow you to separate and gather precious trichomes from your plant matter. The resulting keif is rich in THC and cannabinoids and is usually sought-after and expensive in dispensaries. When you grow your own medicine, though, keif is a natural by-product, perfect for tossing in the vaporizer for a strong, pure high.
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2) So you will always know exactly what's in it. I like a little mystery in my life, but not when it comes to what's been nurturing my marijuana. When I grow my own, I know what goes in, and I know it meets my standards of high-quality organic. I also know how well the product has been flushed, so I don't have to play games or take guesses as to whether or not I'm smoking marijuana laced in Miracle Grow (or something worse).
1) To enjoy the fruits of your labor. Harvest time! If you've made it through the trials of your first home grow, you have earned yourself a unique badge of honor. Farming marijuana takes practice, but is well worth the effort. Your first harvest may not be perfect, but rest assured in the knowledge that you are learning a sought-after skill and cultivating a weed that has been grown by humans for more than 3,000 years.
Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana and guns don't mix if you're looking to buy a new firearm."