Legally Growing Cannabis in Canada
[Definitive Guide 2018]

The moment the people of Canada have patiently been waiting for is almost here. On October 17th, 2018 Canada will become the second nation worldwide (hats off to Uruguay for getting there first) to federally legalize the use, possession, and growth of recreational cannabis. This guide has been created to prepare the citizens of Canada for this monumental event and to provide a walkthrough of everything you need to know about growing cannabis inside the comfort of your own home. It includes effective methods for growing at home and answers to commonly asked questions about the legality of growing and cannabis cultivation in general.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Cannabis Indoors


Purchasing cannabis on October 17th may not be that smooth of a process. For example, in Ontario physical distribution centres won’t be open for business until April of 2019. This means that from October 17th, 2018 till April 2019 the only way you can legally purchase cannabis in Ontario is online. Luckily, growing at home will be legal on October 17th and if you’re prepared, this may be the most effective, cost-efficient, and satisfying way to obtain your cannabis.

Growing high quality cannabis can be an intimidating task. Those who have grown before know how tricky it can be and those just looking into it may feel like you are at a loss. But don’t fret, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to safely and securely grow high quality cannabis 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, budtenders if you will. 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 2018.


How does does this weed growing box work?


The whole grow is actually run and conducted through an app. The grower simply picks a strain from the pre-set recipe list, plants the seed, and then watches the machine take care of the rest. 


The unit utilizes a hydroponic system, meaning there is actually no soil involved in the grow. Instead, the roots grow in a water reservoir that is dosed with the nutrients that are necessary to keep the plant alive. The unit is also outfitted with sensors for nutrients levels, pH levels, temperature, and humidity. When the sensors recognizes that something isn’t in optimal growing condition, it will automatically re-adjust to restore the perfect condition.


The cannabis grow box utilizes an eight spectrum LED lighting system. This lightning 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. This allows the plant to grow dense, high quality nugs.  

Pros: 

Convenience - Saves you time due to lack of grow maintenance

Smell - The Grobo carbon filter reduces smell

Safety - You don't need to worry about electricity, mold, or fire hazards

Quality - Produces very high quality cannabis

Aesthetics - Looks beautiful, doesn't need to be hidden

Speed - Very easy setup 

Low running cost - Efficient lights only add about $5 to your energy bill

Consistent - No human error, consistent dosing, and monitoring

Cons:

Initial Cost - Requires a high initial investment

Quantity/Yield - Only allows you to grow one plant at a time

Do it Yourself 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.


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.


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. 


What type of lighting system will you use? 


1. 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.


2. 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.


3. 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.


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. 

Pros: 

Cost - Can be fairly inexpensive

Satisfaction - Feeling of accomplishment upon completion

Cons:

Dangerous - Can be a potential mold 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 - Difficult to be consistent using human operated grow systems

Quality - It’s much more difficult to get high quality grows

Grow Tent System

If you’re serious about growing a lot of cannabis, a grow tent might be the most effective system to use. Grow tents have traditionally been used for black market grow ops and for larger industrial grows. The large tents allow you to grow multiple plants with little restriction for height or size, meaning that you can end up getting pretty good bang for your buck.


Grow tents are usually for quite serious grows and often require a full room dedicated to the grow. Tending to the plants also take up a lot of time and your set up will also likely require a lot of energy, so you need to ensure that you can properly set up your homes electrical system to avoid blowing a circuit or, worse, causing a fire in your house. Also, there’s a lot more to it then just buying the tent and setting it up. You’ll also have to purchase a lightning system and set up proper ventilation for the tent. Some tents also overheat and you’ll need to get an A/C system to maintain a proper temperature. 

Pros: 

Efficient - Good bang for your buck if you’re doing a large grow

Environment - Allows you to create a specific environment to grow in

Less light - Prevents light leaks better than a DIY system

Cons:

Dangerous - Can be a potential mold or fire hazard 

Space - These large tents take up a lot of space in your house

Design - Most tents are plain black and a fairly boring design

Running Cost - Be ready for a very high energy bill 

Initial Cost: Cost to buy tent, lights, ventilation system, carbon filter, fan, and energy system can be very expensive 

Smell: Will smell unless you get a big carbon filter  

Additional Rules to know about home growing 

Cannabis in Canada

What exactly does the 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?  


1. Drive while high

2. Go to work impaired

3. Have more than 30mg on your person at any time

4. 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. Sativas are more uplifting and are generally associated more with activities or social events. Hybrids are simply a mix of the two.  


Learn more about Indicas and Sativas here!


Consider an Autoflower - An autoflower is a type of cannabis that has been mixed with ruderalis which enters flowering mode based on time and not changes to it’s light. These strains often finish quicker then a traditional photoperiod dependant strain.  


Where to buy seeds


1. Licensed Producers: Will be selling seeds legally for recreational growing as of October 17th.

2. 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 be used for grows. They are still technically souvenirs.

3. 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.