While the legislation introduced to legalize cannabis in Minnesota (HF 4632) may be stuck in the House Commerce Committee, it did give us an insight into how potential legalization may look in the North Star state. While you can’t start germinating seeds just yet, you can start preparing for how you’ll cultivate cannabis in your own home. Planning now will allow you to be ready to go on day one of legalization. H.F. 4632 included language that would have made the effective date for possession and cultivation August 1, 2020. It’s pretty safe to say that a similar date would be kept (but a later year) in future iterations of this legislation.
So what do you need to be ready on August 1st of whatever year this legislation passes, what will it cost, and what can you expect to get from it?
Indoor or Outdoor
The first question you should ask yourself is Indoor or Outdoor? Indoor can be done year-round and allows you to fine-tune the environment to the needs of your plants. While the yield will be much lower, your plants will survive a polar vortex if grown indoors. Also, outdoor plants can’t exactly be “outdoor”, per se, as the legislation would require your plants to be “in an enclosed, locked space that is not open to public view.” That means greenhouses are fine but backyard grows are still against the law. This article is going to focus on indoor grows, but we’ll cover outdoor grows in a later article.
The first thing that you need for your home cultivation operation is space for your plants. If you plan to start with four plants, I would recommend having at least a four square foot area with room for your plants to grow at least a few feet tall. If you have a spare closet lying around, that’s awesome and more power to you. Many don’t, however, and will need to purchase a grow tent. Be sure to buy one with a hanging rank (for your lights) and enough room to grow upward, such as this tent from VIVOSUN. Plan to spend around $130-150 for a quality grow tent. If you plan to have a “veg” tent and a “flowering” tent so you have plants ready for flowering after harvest, you’ll probably want to shell out for two (or a two-part tent).
Now that you’ve got your space marked out, you’ll need to get some grow lights. For those just starting out (as all growers in Minnesota are, right?), get a kit with a “Metal Halide” (MH) and “High-Pressure Sodium” (HPS) grow light combo, such as this one, also made by VIVOSUN. (I promise we’re not sponsored) While these lights do have their pros and cons, they’re not too expensive, easy to maintain, and are embedded in the cannabis growing tradition! While the cost of lighting varies heavily on the quality, wattage, and type, plan to spend around $200 for your first grow light.
Along with lighting, plants also need nutrients to stay alive, so the next question you need to ask yourself is how do you plan to get those nutrients to your plants? While there are tons of different ways to do that, this isn’t a grow guide, so we’ll have to explore those another time. But just to explore the cost of a startup grow, we’ll assume you’re using a basic soil setup. For that to work, you’ll need soil and nutrients. Mr. Canuck Grow, a Youtuber (and a neighbor from up North) has a series were he grows two plants using just Gaia Green Living Soil and All-Purpose Nutrients. A link to that series can be found here. All in all, you’d be looking to spend around $60 on soil and nutrients.
Along with the above-listed supplies, you’ll also need ventilation (i.e. fans), pots to grow your pot in, ph testing equipment, and of course, seeds! While it’s currently illegal to germinate and grow cannabis seeds in Minnesota, it is perfectly legal to buy them and have them delivered to you. So go ahead and grab your seeds now if you’d like, just be sure to keep them in a dark, cool spot that does not experience much temperature or humidity fluctuation. You’d hate to have them go bad on you while you’re waiting for the Minnesota Legislature to take action… But I digress. You’d be looking to spend another $80-90 on pots, seeds, and testing equipment.
All in all, you’d be looking to spend a little under $500 to get your home grow up and running. That cost may seem high, but this will allow you to expand to growing up to four flowering plants (the legal limit) at a time. And aside from the nutrients, the soil, and the seeds (and the electricity), the rest of the costs are just a one-time investment.
So What’s In it For Me?
Using the equipment listed above, you can expect to have your first harvest within just a few months of germinating your first seeds. Growing quality and quantity takes practice and time, but you can still expect to get your money’s worth, even when just starting out. Early on, you may only get an ounce of smokable bud on each plant, but after some practice you’ll be able to harvest a pound or more every few months.