Think Massachusetts’ cannabis products are subpar? Blame growing pains
In this July 12, 2018 file photo, newly transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in soilless media in pots at Sira Naturals medical marijuana cultivation facility, in Milford, Mass.
Following his piece on the cannabis connoisseurs decrying the quality of Massachusetts’ bud, Boston Globe cannabis reporter Dan Adams joined Boston Public Radio Monday to share why Bay State weed gets a bad rap.
“The truth is just across the board, fairly or unfairly, there’s this perception that the cannabis available at licensed dispensaries here is just overall not of good quality,” Adams said. “And that even if there are good strains here and there, it’s a crapshoot.”
Consumers’ chief complaints are related to cannabis quality, from crumbly, dry weed, to mildewy or seedy buds. For many consumers, the inconsistency — along with high prices — make for a lousy state cannabis market, with some turning to the illicit market for better, cheaper products.
But growers say cultivating marijuana plants in Massachusetts means they have to contend with more hurdles than farmers out west. Due to the state’s colder climate, many growers require indoor growhouses for successful crops, unlike operations in more temperate states like Oregon and Washington, where marijuana crops can largely be grown outdoors. Indoor growers have to finetune their ventilation, air conditioning, humidity controls and watering cycle in order to perfect their crops.
“Cannabis can be a very fickle plant,” Adams said. “It really wants very certain conditions to get the highest quality, but you can — out of the genetics you have out of the seed or the clone that you’ve started off — you really need to grow it carefully. So as the market was booting up, it just took [growers] time to sort of dial in all those procedures and get it right.”
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In a previous appearance on Boston Public Radio, Adams noted that prices in Oregon were much cheaper compared to the commonwealth’s cannabis products — partially due to regional growing challenges.
“People are still paying $55, $60, even $65 for an eighth ounce of flower, which is really quite expensive,” Adams said in November. “If you go out to a place like Oregon, you could get the same amount of cannabis for $10 or $15.”
Growers also have to contend with the state’s marijuana microbe test, in which flower samples are examined for mold and other bacteria before its safe for sale.
“Our limit [for microbes] is quite low. From a consumer perspective, that’s probably a good thing, right? It’s stronger consumer protection,” Adams said. “From the perspective of a grower though, they feel like this encourages them to overdrive the bud, because the more moisture that you leave in it, the more potential there is for the sort of microbial growth that could cause them to flunk the test, which is expensive and leads to a lot of delays.
“If [some growers] find out there’s mold in it, they’ll dunk it in hydrogen peroxide,” Adams said. “They have special machines that will radiate it to sort of kill anything living in there. And sure, now you pass the test, but you’re left with this very flavorless sort of [bud].”
Mackenzie Farkus is a production assistant on Boston Public Radio. She graduated from Simmons University with a B.A. in journalism, where she was the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Simmons Voice.
So You Want to Grow Cannabis at Home in Massachusetts
Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis in 2016, but it took more than two years before retailers across the state could begin legal sales. Even today, fewer than a dozen adult-use shops operate in the Bay State.
But the Massachusetts cannabis law also contains a section that allows for folks to grow their own cannabis at home—and that provision kicked in immediately as the new law took effect. Whether you’re wanting to avoid long dispensary lines or are just curious about flexing your green thumb, here’s what you need to know if you want to grow cannabis at home.
Who Can Grow?
Are you an adult 21 and over? You can grow up to six plants in your home. Married? Living in sin? Got a couple roommates? A household that consists of more than one 21+ adult is allowed to grow up to 12 plants. But that’s it! No more, regardless of how many grad students you can stuff in an old Victorian.
Where Can You Grow?
If you own your home, you’re good. For those who rent, keep in mind that landlords can set their own policies and may legally restrict cannabis cultivation. Check your lease to see if anything is written, and if you’re unsure, ask your landlord.
Whether indoors or out, your grow space needs to be protected with a lock or some sort of security device. Also, you need to keep your plants out of sight. State law says plants may not be visible from a public place without the use of “binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.”
At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts.
While these restrictions may induce eyerolls, breaking the state’s home cultivation law could cost you. In addition of a fine up to $300, you could lose your plants—so keep them locked up and out of sight!
For growers just starting out, growing indoors is a popular choice. You can designate a small grow space in your home, add some locks, and ensure that nobody can see them from outside.
If you’re dedicated to growing outdoors during the warmer months, we can help with that, too. Plan to find a space that is more discreet than where you keep your prize rose bushes.
How Do I Start?
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Sure, you can head down to your local grow store (more on that in a future article) or even online and stock up on lights, fans, and a grow tent… but what about the plants themselves?
At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts. Neither state-licensed cannabis retailers nor anyone else can legally sell them. Under state law, however, gifting is allowed. So if you know someone who is already growing, perhaps you can persuade them to clip you off a clone.
If that doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt to ask around. Groups of local home growers often set up trades to exchange seeds and diversify the strains they grow. Check to see if your local grow store has any information, or look on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram for cannabis seed or plant exchanges.
There are also online outlets that advertise cannabis seeds. These businesses are generally based in other countries and operate in a gray area of the law.
What Can I Do With What I Grow?
Enjoy it! You are welcome to smoke, vape, cook, make tinctures, or do pretty much whatever you want with your harvest—with just a few exceptions.
First, extraction. The law prohibits the production of “cannabis-based extracts or concentrates at home by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.” This is meant to prevent home-extraction using volatile compounds such as butane, which can be incredibly dangerous if used incorrectly.
You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too!
If you’re all about concentrates, there are plenty of other options to explore. Try making hash by hand, pressing rosin, or even whipping up a batch of bubble hash.
If you’re feeling generous, you can also gift your stash. While you can’t legally sell anything you harvest, state law says you can gift up to an ounce of cannabis flower at a time to other adults 21 and older.
And remember: You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too. It’s a great opportunity to pay it forward as a home grower while plants are still hard to come by.
Cannabis seeds in Massachusetts
Is it legal to buy and grow cannabis seeds in Massachusetts?
Is weed legal in Massachusetts? Read on to find out what to do with your Massachusetts marijuana seeds.
It’s not often that you come across a state this open and accommodating towards the use of marijuana. Massachusetts has allowed all people over the age of 21 to possess, grow, and purchase cannabis legally since 2016.
The coastal region is warm and humid, making it a pleasant environment for people and plants. Even though the use of weed is fairly relaxed, surprisingly, it’s illegal to buy marijuana seeds in Massachusetts. Even purchasing plantlings in the state is prohibited.
You can, however, ‘gift’ them to a friend or acquaintance. This gifting exchange means that you could score free marijuana seeds in Massachusetts if you’ve got a generous buddy.
With the slight confusion in legislation, it’s best to check the legal details of buying cannabis seeds in Massachusetts before going on a shopping spree.
Better indoors or outdoors?
The climate in Massachusetts is perfect for cultivating. Unfortunately, the law is a bit vague, and you might not easily find marijuana seeds for sale in Massachusetts.
Even though the weather is pretty good down by the coast, most people prefer to start their crops indoors and move them outdoors when they’ve germinated. The law might allow you to plant marijuana seeds in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean the property owner will let you.
Another aspect to remember is that cannabis crops need to be kept under lock and key. When setting up your garden, make sure that it’s hidden from public view, or you might get a hefty fine. These restrictions make it even more sensible to keep your grow patch indoors.
The hot and humid conditions are ideal for outdoor greenhouse growth, but you may need to move your plants indoors when winter comes. When you’re planning on buying marijuana seeds in Massachusetts, remember that even the best growers don’t always get a 100% germination rate.
Depending on the number of plants you want, you should buy two-four times the seeds. The one disadvantage of cultivating cannabis seeds in Massachusetts is its high humidity.
It can cause problems with bud rot and mold. The best way to address this issue is to have your crops bloom inside a greenhouse or invest in autoflower seeds that are mold resistant. Figuring out where to buy Massachusetts marijuana seeds suitable for the hot weather can be challenging.
Luckily, the i49 marijuana seed bank has a wide variety of strains specifically suited to this environment. Check it out today!
The benefits of growing your Massachusetts marijuana seeds indoors are that you can control the environment and extend your season. Of course, this means more weed can be harvested and processed. Who doesn’t want that problem, right?
Cannabis seed cultivators can easily regulate water, lights, and nutrients with an indoor setup. The problem you might face is when space becomes an issue. If you’re in an apartment without a separate room as your grow patch, you may quickly outgrow the available area.
When you’re preparing to buy marijuana seeds in Massachusetts for small, inside areas, do a little bit of research. Some marijuana breeders have developed variants that are more suited for indoor growing.
Explore the i49 genetics information for easy-to-train and manage plants in small grow tents or even cupboards.
Best strains to grow in Massachusetts
Since the climate is so mild in the state, your only dilemma is deciding which green babies will suit your taste buds. When you’re ready to order marijuana seeds online in Massachusetts, we recommend the following for great flavor and optimum harvest results:
– These hardy plants do well in Massachusetts due to their resistance to high humidity. They can get quite tall and unwieldy if you don’t trim often. Some experience is needed to cultivate this strain, but you can expect a generous yield of up to 19 ounces per plant. – This is a relatively easy-to-grow strain and perfect for an indoor setup. It’s not one for beginners, but with regular watering, food, and trimming, you can expect a yield of up to 12 ounces per plant. The buds pack a punch with energetic, euphoric effects. – Originating in the subtropical climate of Africa, this mild strain is well prepared for humid conditions. It loves heat and thrives well in areas with a lot of light. Plant this one outside, and even though it’s a bit slow to flower, you can harvest up to 21 ounces per plant in 8-10 weeks.
Where to buy cannabis seeds in Massachusetts
Some people assume that they can buy medical marijuana seeds in Massachusetts; however, that’s not the case.
Even if you desire some high CBD strains for medicinal use, you’re still not allowed to buy them within the state.
The great news is that if you happen to have received seed as a gift and they’ve sprouted, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor without fearing any repercussions.
The law is a little sticky when it comes to the purchasing of seeds and plants. So, where can I buy marijuana seeds in Massachusetts?—look no further than the i49 online marijuana seed bank.
There are a wide variety of strains ready to be delivered directly to your door discreetly and quickly.
Outdoor Grow Calendar Our marijuana growing calendar will take you through every step of the grow cycle, depending on the region you are growing in North America.