Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in November of 2008, making it the 13th state in the United States to legalize the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes. In November of 2018, the state’s cannabis laws were relaxed again when it became the first state in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
On December 1st, 2019, legal cannabis sales in Michigan officially began, however many businesses were left feeling unprepared, and growers were left concerned about how to start their growing operations without violating the law.
If you’re interested in starting your own marijuana growing operation in Michigan to grow cannabis for either recreational or medical use, then here’s what you need to know.
Learn your state’s growing regulations
The first thing you need to understand about beginning your own growing operation is that the regulations you need to adhere to vary significantly from state to state. A legal growing operation in California will look very different from a legitimate growing operation in Michigan. So it is essential that you conduct thorough research into the legal requirements and licenses that you may need to grow marijuana in your specific state.
In Michigan, as stated in Proposal 1, only adults aged 21 or older can legally cultivate recreational marijuana. They are limited to growing up to 12 cannabis plants at any one time within their residence. These restrictions are the same for qualified patients or caregivers looking to grow medical marijuana, and only 12 plants can be produced at any one time.
Regardless of whether you are looking to grow recreation or medical marijuana in Michigan, all of your plants must be grown indoors and must be cultivated in a secure, locked facility that is not visible to the public.
Michigan growing regulations – summarized
- You must be an adult aged 21 or older.
- If you are growing medical marijuana, then you must be a licensed patient or caregiver.
- You can only grow up to 12 cannabis plants at any one time.
- Plants must be grown indoors.
- Plants must be grown in a secured facility.
- Plants must be grown out of sight of the general public.
Starting your growing op
Having thoroughly researched your local laws to ensure that your operation will remain above board, it’s time to begin learning about cannabis cultivation.
There are many different methods used to grow cannabis, and depending on who you talk to, you will likely be given different advice on the best growing times, when to harvest your crop and how to dry your marijuana. Here are some things that you may want to consider.
Your growth medium
Generally speaking, there are three main growth mediums used to grow cannabis;
- Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponics,
- Coco Coir,
- and soil.
Deep Water Culture Hydroponics
For indoor cannabis cultivation, DWC tends to be the method of choice as it is less messy and is often more successful.
DWC is a simple form of hydroponics in which the cannabis plant is grown in a tub of water. The main benefit of DWC, over using soil as your chosen growth medium, is that DWC promotes faster plant growth as it requires less energy from the plant. Because a cannabis plant grown hydroponically does not need to put energy into pushing its roots through the soil, it can use it for growth.
The most successful way to grow marijuana DWC hydroponically is to use a bubbler bucket reservoir, which is essentially a simple system that holds the plant’s roots in a nutrient-rich water solution that is being aerated by bubbles.
Growing in Coconut Coir
Coconut coir is one of the most popular cannabis growth mediums for beginners because it is easy. Unlike soil, Coconut Coir allows moisture and oxygen to be absorbed by the plant much more easily because of its fibrous and light texture. Coco Coir is also a very forgiving medium and can help protect cannabis plants from simple human errors, such as adding too many nutrients.
Growing marijuana in soil
And lastly, it is also possible to grow healthy marijuana plants in simple soil so long as the plants have sufficient irrigation and are fed with added liquid nutrients. Generally, soil-grown plants take a little longer to mature; however, the medium is much more accessible and can be less costly to set up than Coco Coir or DWC hydroponics. Here’s a quick video showing a basic grow-tent set up using soil:
Because all marijuana plants grown in Michigan must be grown inside, to ensure a healthy crop, you will need to invest in some form of LED grow light. LED grow lights replicate natural sunlight, providing your plants with the full spectrum of light that they need to photosynthesize effectively. Unlike other growing lights, LED lights are far more energy-efficient and so can help to keep your costs low.
Marijuana plants do not like to be too hot or too cold and prefer a temperature somewhere between 24° to 30° C (70° to 86° F). To ensure that your plants stay at a constant temperature, it is worth investing in a thermometer and also a fan, so that if the temperature starts to rise when your lights are on, you can pass air over your plants to keep them cool.
Harvesting and drying
Finally, once your plants have matured, it’s time to harvest and to dry them. Cut your branches into foot-long sticks and hang them vertically using some metal wire from the top of the room or a grow tent. Use a fan to continuously circulate the air around the room or your growing tent, and try to keep the temperature at a steady 70° F with a humidity of no more than 50% and no light. Once the stems and buds start to snap when you bend them, then they are dry enough for storage and use.
Top tips for starting a growing op in Michigan
So there you have it – a quick guide to starting your own growing operation in Michigan – Here are our four top tips that you need to remember.
Research your local laws
Although cannabis may be legal for recreational and medical use in Michigan, it is still important to ensure that you are legally growing your plants.
Educate yourself on growing practices first
There’s a lot to learn when cultivating cannabis for the first time, so it is essential to do your research and to determine the best growing methods for your climate and situation.
Monitor your plants daily
Conditions can change quickly over the course of a day, so it is essential to check your plants regularly so that you can quickly make any changes necessary.
Use trial and error
Your first marijuana crop may not be how you imagined it, but that’s ok. Learn from your mistakes and make adjustments as you go.