The first puff was harsh, billowing and anxiety inducing. I was a “good” kid, a child who did not break rules or rebel against authority. But that day my friends and I smoked some joints in a car, drove to Taco Bell, pigged out, and then went to perform a school play. I realized at some point I had smoked too much when my teacher and stage assistant were mouthing my lines to me, while I stood frozen on stage. I awkwardly improvised my scene and scurried backstage to hide in embarrassment, without too much suspicion raised. 

This was my first brush with cannabis as an 18-year-old high school student.

This incident began what is now a lifelong passion; consuming, rolling, dabbing and now growing cannabis. At the time it was decriminalized by the Stephen Harper government, but I was a minor and had to buy from dealers and friends, so the risk to obtain it was high and the quality was questionable. 

On Apr. 13, 2017, the Canadian government introduced a bill to legalize cannabis which passed the senate on June 19, 2018 with a legalization date of Oct. 17, 2018. Like a birthday present four days before my birthday and about 8 years since I had started smoking in the first place, cannabis was finally legalized. 

Legalization was and is one of the best moves made by the federal Liberal government. It is harm reduction by taking on the illegal market; where lack of regulation produces cheap products. Legalization also began the end of one aspect of the government’s persecutory treatment of people of colour, who were disproportionately affected by cannabis mandatory minimum sentences and fines, as well as for cultivation. 

A reason to grow your own cannabis may stem from protest of legalization, to bring attention to the industry being run by police officers formerly opposed to legalization – such as Raf Souccar, Julian Fantino or Bill Blair, all of whom participated in the denigration of cannabis and its users – now profiting off the legal market. 

Cannabis growers may be born out of material necessity; the average price of legal cannabis is approximately $5/gram, compared to $2-3/gram for home cultivated cannabis. Growers may also be born through simple curiosity, but whatever the reason, cannabis legalization has brought millions of Canadians a new pastime and point of pride, being the only country besides Uruguay to fully legalize cannabis.

One of the most important pathways legalization has opened has been in the field of medical cannabis. Prior to legalization, research into cannabis was stagnant and underdeveloped. Recent gains in the research suggest specific Cannabinoids such as Delta THC-9 may play a role in psychosis developing in otherwise healthy adults. Research into Cannabinoids can help identify the harmful and the harmless forms of Tetrahydro Cannabinoids, as well as help companies develop more and effective medicinal effects for users.

Medical research will also lead to less insurance speculation of medical efficacy, paving the way for medical cannabis to be covered under health insurance more broadly. Currently there are only a handful of insurance providers who offer coverage for medical cannabis.

Broadening access to patients who need relief from pain, or issues with eating, or terminally ill patients in need of specific strains, will be a net positive for Canadian. That’s a goal worth achieving.

With all that being said, before growing can even begin to think about growing, you will need the hardware. In the next columnw you will find a non-exhaustive list of materials and tools that will help you get started. Keep in mind that cultivation includes drying the cannabis on racks and curing it in glass mason jars. 

Additionally, these are the two best online resources I can recommend; Coco for Cannabis and Grow Weed Easy

They are both incredible resources for the first time and the experienced grower.

For a guide to growing your own marijuana, click here.