Growing Medical Marijuana in New York: A Guide For Beginners

New York recently witnessed a historic moment in its existence. The Marijuana Legalization and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed by the New York Governor on March 31st, 2021 which legalized marijuana in the state. 

Now, the new Act had a lot of changes in store for recreational cannabis as well as medical marijuana New York. Apart from legalizing cannabis in the state, the MRTA act promises a long list of changes for the advantage of the citizens including the right to grow cannabis at home. 

So, will you be taking advantage of the new law and have your own little cannabis harvest at home? If yes, then here’s a detailed guide that can help you begin. 

Legal Restrictions in New York

Before you get excited and start looking around for the best cannabis seeds for your homegrown cannabis garden, it’s essential that you are familiar with the legal boundaries set by the state government regarding this law. 

For starters, the law isn’t in effect at the moment. When the MRTA Act was passed on March 31st, there were only a few provisions that were implemented for the citizens immediately. This includes the higher possession limit, expungement of people convicted on marijuana charges and the inclusion of smoking as a method of administration. 

The legalization of homegrown cannabis is mentioned in the Act as one of the many new provisions. As per the law, every citizen of the state who is 21 years or older can grow 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home or 6 mature and 6 immature plants per household irrespective of the number of people. But, it is not in effect yet. 

It will require the state to set up a regulatory body to lay the necessary rules and regulations in regards to growing cannabis at home. But, you can expect for all the formalities to be complete in 2022. 

So, what can you do until then?

Well, growing cannabis at home, especially for medical uses, involves a little effort. If you are interested in harvesting cannabis at home, you can start your preparations until the law allows you to legally have your plants at home. 

How to Prepare for Growing Cannabis at Home?

cannabis at home

Cannabis is not like your normal indoor house plants. It requires special attention and a few more care tips than you would implement on your house garden. Until the regulatory body is set up and the laws are in place, you can prepare yourself with the basic knowledge about homegrown cannabis to have the best harvest at home. 

Learn About The Growth Stages of the Plant

In order to have a cannabis plant that bears the best cannabis flowers for you to harvest, it’s important that you understand the needs of the plant. 

A cannabis plant has different needs in terms of nutrients, light, water, etc. during different stages of its growth. There are four primary stages of growth of a cannabis plant:

  • Germination (5-10 days)
  • Seedling (2-3 weeks)
  • Vegetative (3-8 weeks)
  • Flowering (6-8 weeks)

Take your time to learn about each stage and everything you must do at each level to have the best harvest. 

While you learn about the growth stages of a plant, take your time to understand the plant’s anatomy too. Excess or deficiency of nutrients, light, etc, can change the anatomy of the plant. You must be able to identify these changes to make the necessary additions or subtractions to the caring routine of your plant. 

Understand the Importance of Nutrients

Your cannabis plant will need food or nutrients to grow. Cannabis plants have a long list of macro and micro nutrients that they need at different stages of their growth. 

Macronutrients: Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium and Magnesium. 

Micronutrients: Boron, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Molybdenum and Zinc. 

Now, you can stick to the traditional way of manure and learn to make your own manure at home. Or you can feed your plant with fertilizers. In the end it’s your call. 

However, you should know about which nutrient to feed your plants and when. For instance, a cannabis plant in its vegetative state needs a higher level of nitrogen and a lower amount of potassium whereas it needs the reverse ratios during the flowering stage. 

Excess or lack of a specific nutrient can cause disorders and you may end up with an unhealthy plant. 

Water is another important thing that plants need to survive but it needs to be fed in a balanced way. If you go beyond the limit, you’ll have a plant with rotting roots. And if you water too little, you’ll have a dying or unhealthy cannabis plant. 

And while you learn about the nutrients, you also need to understand the perfect pH for cannabis plants for proper absorption of nutrients and water. 

Learn About Light and Dark Cycles

Light is very important for the growth of a cannabis plant. The right color (spectrum) of the light and a higher the exposure to light, the higher will be the yield. However, it’s essential to mark the light and dark hours of your plant at home. 

While the first three stages of plant calls for 24-18 hours of sunlight, the flowering stage also known to be the most important stage requires the plant to have only about 12-13 hours of light. So, while light hours are essential, the dark hours of pitch black darkness is necessary to avoid cannabis plants from turning into an intersex plant. Even the smallest light leak can prevent them from flowering.

Know About the Seed Selection Process

After you are familiar with the important aspects of growing a cannabis plant it’s time to familiarize yourself with the seeds. 

Once the laws are in effect, you will have to buy good quality seeds by carefully selecting the best ones. For starters, you need to go for feminized seeds to harvest flowers. Additionally, you must ensure that the seeds are new and of high quality. The choice of strain will depend on your preference. 

If you are ready to have your own cannabis garden at home, start preparing yourself for the same. Research about the important aspect we’ve discussed above to have a healthy flowering plant once the state of New York allows growing cannabis at home. 

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