There were three near-universal areas of agreement among the panelists, starting with “get a seed in the ground.”
While Massachusetts (along with the world) adapts to life in the time of the coronavirus, cannabis consumers—be they medical patients or otherwise—have been rightfully concerned about disruptions in the legal supply chain that may impact their access to the plant.
As one medical patient and activist, Joanna Varner, explains, “The [medical cannabis] patients that I’ve been talking to are struggling to afford to stock up on cannabis medicine in case something were to happen.”
Those concerns were further compounded on Monday, March 23, when Governor Charlie Baker issued an order barring the operation of all but “essential businesses” in the Commonwealth through April 7 (at the earliest).
As part of that emergency declaration, Baker designated medical—but not recreational—cannabis operations as “essential,” a decision that, in a rare moment of unity, led to fervent objections from recreational operators, consumers, and industry groups.
While medical caregivers and dispensaries will be allowed to continue operating over the coming weeks, those consumers/patients who relied on recreational stores may now be looking to grow their own cannabis plants to ensure a stable supply going forward, or rely on donations provided by other patients/caregivers (under the “gifting provision” of Massachusetts law that allows up to 1 ounce to be transferred between anyone over the age of 21, so long as it is provided for free). For patients, this network is being coordinated by an ad-hoc mutual aid society of sorts. Varner notes, “There’s a few community activists that are working with caregivers that may have extra supplies to donate and those donations are being dispersed to patients.”
For some patients, though, a more sustainable long-term approach will be a legal home grow. Such homegrows, per Massachusetts law, may have up to six plants per adult over age 21 in a household (up to a maximum of 12 plants per household) if they are done as a recreational grow. Medical grows, conversely, can have a higher plant limit, depending on what a given health provider feels a patient may need for a 60-day supply (the number fluctuates based on a given patient’s method of administration, medical condition and needs).
In order to give patients a footing for exploring homegrown cannabis, the most recent episode of The Young Jurks show focused entirely on advice for those new to the art form of caring for a cannabis plant. Having brought together four Mass growers who are also applicants for legal licenses, with more than a century of combined experience with the cannabis plant, the discussion provided a wide array of insights for those just learning about the growing process, along with some advanced tips for those who might be a bit further along in the learning process.
Ed Desousua from Riverrun Gardens, Chauncy Spencer from the 420 Mattapan, Averyl Andrade from Between the Rows, Sean Berte from EVG Farms, along with Mike and Bianca Brais from Deep Roots were kind enough to spend over an hour of their time explaining the nuances of the growing process.
Despite some different tips and approaches, there were three near-universal areas of agreement among the panelists: get a seed in the ground (rather than bringing in clones from the outside); get to the end of the process (no matter what); and take the time to read Jorge Cervantes’ Grow Bible.
The panelists were also in universal agreement that, regardless of quality, no grow will ever be quite as fulfilling as one’s first personal home grow.
As Desousua explained, when it comes to growing cannabis, “you’re going to continue to learn throughout the journey but you’re never going to be as satisfied as you were that first time. You’re always going to find the next best thing, but it’s never going to equal the first.”
“When you’re growing yourself you know what goes into the plant,” Andrade added. “For those who spent many years smoking horrible weed, no matter what you grow yourself (even on your first time), it’s going to be far better than any of that bad cannabis we all had seen back in the 1990s or earlier.”
When asked if someone listening to the discussion, who might be on the fence about beginning their first grow, should simply give it a shot the panelists, all nodded in vociferous agreement.
“100%, without question,” Spencer said with a glimmer in his eye and a wide smile.
On Saturday, March 28 at 2pm The Young Jurks will interview Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan on Cambridge’s response to COVID-19. On Monday at 5:30pm, we’ll chat with Mass state Rep. Nika Elugardo. Watch both interviews live on our facebook page here.
Grant Smith Ellis is a Massachusetts medical cannabis patient, advocate and award winning reporter. He serves as the Chairperson of the Board for the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) and attends law school at New England Law | Boston. Grant welcomes support via Patreon.com/GrantSmithEllis, where he provides early access to his on-the-ground reporting for subscribers.