Seeding Cannabis

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Buy Cannabis Seeds Online

Last month the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly confirmed that cannabis seeds with less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC are classified as “hemp” and are federally legal to possess and sell. Knowing how to care for your cannabis plants at each of the four distinctive stages of their life cycle will provide a healthy, productive garden. SEED Initiatives is the first U.S. government program to fund equity-centered community investment grants from local cannabis tax revenue.

Ganja Gardener: Seeding the Future

Last month the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly confirmed that cannabis seeds with less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC are classified as “hemp” and are federally legal to possess and sell. This comes as great news to budding marijuana DIY growers who may want to spice up their cannabis collection with genetics from other states like California, Washington or Colorado.

The news was delivered to attorney Shane Pennington with the legal firm Vicente Sederberg LLP after he asked the DEA for a determination on whether cannabis seeds, tissue cultures and genetic samples containing less than 0.3 percent THC were considered hemp.

Hemp was defined and legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. “Whether a particular sample of CBD (or any other cannabis-derived material) is a controlled substance doesn’t depend on the sample’s source,” wrote Pennington. Rather, in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill, the analysis depends entirely on whether the sample contains 0.3 percent delta-9 THC or more on a dry weight basis. If so, it’s schedule I ‘marihuana.’ Otherwise, it’s hemp.”

The DEA responded to Pennington’s request by confirming his position and effectively legalizing the sale and possession of cannabis seeds since they don’t contain THC.

Seed Banks

This opens up a lot of options for home growers who can now legally purchase seeds from seed banks across the nation and aren’t limited to the selections available at local dispensaries. Online seed banks are not only a great source for novel strains; they also come with other benefits like germination guarantees and improved pre-sale storage.

A great rule of thumb when shopping for seeds online is to note your favorite strains and do a Google search to identify who is breeding them. The seeds from most of the popular strains available in dispensaries can usually be found online and sold by their source.

Photoperiod vs. Autoflower

While shopping for seeds, you will come across the terms “photoperiod”—strains that are light sensitive and require strict light cycles to flower at the proper time—and “autoflower”—strains that will start flowering about halfway through their life cycle regardless of the amount of light they receive.

Photoperiod strains are the more common of the two and will produce larger harvests of arguably better cannabis. The downside is they require more attention to detail and stricter light cycles based on natural lighting conditions.

Autoflower strains are hybridized, containing Cannabis ruderalis genetics. Ruderalis strains come from Russia where the plants evolved to become especially hearty. These strains can withstand cold temperatures, tend to take up little space and will flower at a certain time in their life cycle rather than waiting for specific light conditions to be met. This makes autoflower seeds a great choice for first-time growers with little space to operate. The downside is that autoflower strains are generally thought to be of lower quality than “normal” cannabis seeds.

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From Seed to Harvest: The Life Cycle of Cannabis

Knowing how to care for your cannabis plants at each of the four distinctive stages of their life cycle will provide a solid baseline of knowledge and healthy, productive gardens.

It can take four to eight months to grow a cannabis plant. During this time, it goes through four distinct stages: germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering. It is essential for cannabis growers to understand each stage in the life cycle so they can properly care for their plants. Each phase requires different nutrients, hours of light, and type of light. There are also different tasks that can help make each stage more successful.

Germination Stage

It all begins with a seed. If stored in cool, dark conditions, a cannabis seed can remain viable for years. The best seeds are hard and dry and will be light to dark brown in color. Underdeveloped seeds tend to be soft and either white or green. It’s very unlikely these seeds will germinate.

The seed lies dormant until it is exposed to warmth and moisture. You can germinate your seeds by planting them in a moistened seedling starter mix, covered with plastic and placed on a heat mat. It is important to use a seed-starting mix instead of potting soil.

There is enough nutrition in a seed to feed a sprout for about two to three weeks. Any additional fertilizer can burn your plants at this tender age. Once planted, a seed can take five to 10 days to sprout.

Once your seeds have sprouted, the two seedling leaves will be the first to appear. Place a fluorescent grow light about two inches from the top of your plants for 18 hours per day. You don’t need a powerful light for them in the beginning. When the true leaves appear, your little plants can officially be considered a seedling.

Seedling Stage

The seedling stage of a cannabis plant can last three to six weeks.
The seedling stage of cannabis plant lasts three to six weeks, depending on environmental factors and the strain you’re growing.

During this time, your seedlings are focusing their energy on growing roots and foliage. Because the roots are so small, be careful not to overfeed or overwater. Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen and be sure to dilute it so you don’t harm your plants.

Fluorescent lights still work well at this point. Set your timer so the lights are on for 18 hours and off for six.

Seedlings are susceptible to pests and disease at this age, so this is a good time to apply a preventative neem oil treatment. It’s much easier to prevent spider mites and powdery mildew than to treat them while your plants are so young. If they do get infested or infected at this age, the stress on your plants will likely produce a smaller harvest down the line.

Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage of a cannabis plant can last one to four months.
After a few weeks as seedlings, your cannabis plants will outgrow their starter pots and start demanding more food and light. The roots and foliage grow rapidly during this stage, which allows the plant to take in more nutrients and carbon dioxide. Don’t be surprised if your plant shoots up two inches in one day!

If you don’t already know, this is when you’ll be able to identify whether you are growing an indica or sativa. Indicas tend to be short and bushy, while sativas are lanky with less foliage.

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You will also be able to identify the sex of your plants. About four weeks into the veg cycle, pre-flowers start to appear. By six weeks in, you should be able to determine whether those new buds are male or female. Most growers remove the males from their garden, so they don’t pollinate the females and cause seeds to form.

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When growing indoors, the vegetative stage can last one to four months, or even indefinitely in the case of mother plants. You control the length of this phase by the number of hours of light you give your plants. As long as they receive 18 hours, they will remain in this stage.

During the vegetative stage, you’ll need to trade in your fluorescent lights for a metal halide or powerful LED. This blue light mimics the light in spring and sends the message to grow roots and foliage to prepare for the flowers.

If you haven’t already, transplant your cannabis into larger pots and start feeding them more. As they grow, be mindful you will need to increase the PPM of your nutrient solution and transplant them into larger pots as needed.

At this age, your plants need high levels of nitrogen and modest amounts of phosphorus and potassium. Silicon is also beneficial at this stage because it helps to build strength in the stalk and stems, which you’ll need to support those big buds that will soon grow.

As your plants grow taller and fill out, you’ll need to start pruning and training them. This focuses their energy on growing large colas, opens up the plant so light can reach all the leaves, and prevents fungal diseases by increasing air flow.

The general rule of thumb is to flip the lights to 12/12 and trigger the bloom cycle when your plants are about one third of the size you want them to be at harvest.

Flowering Stage

The flowering stage lasts six to 10 weeks, depending on the strain you’re growing.
You imitate autumn in your garden when you reduce the light to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, and switch to a red high-pressure sodium bulb. This triggers your cannabis plants to start blooming so they can procreate before they die at the end of the season.

The flowering stage lasts six to 10 weeks, depending on the strain you’re growing. During this time, dense buds covered in a sweet-smelling, sticky resin will form on your plants. This resin is where the THC and terpenes are, and so growers do whatever they can to grow the stickiest colas possible.

Your fertilizing schedule will change during this stage. Start feeding your plants minimal amounts of nitrogen, moderate amounts of potassium, and high amounts of phosphorus. This is the time to add bloom boosters and sugars to your regimen.

Be on the lookout for nutrient deficiencies or toxicities during this phase. Brown leaf tips can signal nutrient burn, while yellowing leaves may indicate a nutrient deficiency. It is normal, however, for the lower leaves to turn yellow towards the end of the flowering cycle, when your plants feed on themselves for more efficient nutrition.

Keep feeding your plants until about 10 days before harvest, and then stop fertilizing and flush your crop. This clears your plants of excess nutrients and is crucial to making sure your end product is smooth instead of harsh.

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As your buds grow large and dense, environmental conditions and poor air flow can cause bud rot. If you don’t catch it in time, you can lose all of your plants. Keep a close eye on your buds as harvest time approaches. Inspect your buds often and harvest immediately if you see signs of rot. If you catch it early, you can cut the rot out of your buds and salvage most of your crop. You’ll know your cannabis is ready to harvest when the pistils, or the hairs, turn the color of rust and the resin changes from clear to a milky white.

If you understand the life cycle of cannabis, you’ll be able to care for your plants the right way in each stage of their life and anticipate problems before they occur. You’ll be a better grower and have top shelf smoke to prove it.

SEED Initiatives

SEED Initiatives is the first U.S. government program to fund equity-centered community investment grants from local cannabis tax revenue.

The New Vision

Social Equity & Education Development (SEED) Initiatives is supported by an ongoing $1 million in cannabis tax revenue allocation and a vehicle for single-source monitoring, measuring, and reporting on the city’s cannabis tax revenue.

Portland City Council’s decision to allocate ongoing funding to the SEED Initiatives is one small step toward rectifying past racially-biased cannabis policies and disparate cannabis-related arrests. This commitment has the potential to begin to repair the lasting legal, social, economic, and inter-generational consequences past cannabis prohibition has had on Black and brown communities.

The History

In November 2016, Portland voters approved Ballot Measure 26-180 to impose a 3% local tax on adult-use cannabis retail sales. Since then, over $14 million in cannabis tax revenue has been allocated across various City of Portland bureaus to support street infrastructure improvements; DUII training; drug rehabilitation; criminal justice, expungement and re-entry services; and small business owners from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

For more detailed information about the history of Portland’s local cannabis tax, please review these additional resources:

    , prepared by City Budget Office (2020) , prepared by the Cannabis Program (2019)

SEED Grant Fund

In alignment with the Ballot Measure 26-180 passed in 2016, the SEED Grant Fund prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and women led/owned small business initiatives and/or projects, programs or services that support economic and educational development of Black and brown communities, which were most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

The SEED Grant Fund supports nonprofit and for-profit entities of any size, including community-based organizations, individuals, firms, teams or consultants. Newly-formed groups or initiatives with fiscal sponsorship from a nonprofit entity are also eligible. Multi-entity collaborations, coalitions and/or consortium efforts are encouraged to apply.

The SEED Grant Fund distributes funding across a range of projects, programs and services within the following designated priority areas, but are not limited to:

  • Education development
  • Entrepreneurship and economic development
  • Social justice

In the 5 cycles of the grant program, the SEED Grant Fund (formerly Cannabis Social Equity Grant) has awarded $4,379,415 through 42 grants.

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