Article by Sydney Pereira, News Week
Medical marijuana is rapidly spreading across the country—most recently in Pennsylvania on Thursday when the state announced the launch of its patient and caregiver registry.
Patients should be able to obtain the medication by May, and more than 100 physicians have been approved to participate in the new program, reported the Associated Press. Even the FDA commissioner supports evidence-based researchfor medicinal marijuana products, though don’t bring your legally purchased ganja to the airport.
But outside of legislative offices, there are thousands of farmers tending to nutrient-rich soil to grow all that weed. California alone grows 13.5 million pounds of marijuana annually, Bloomberg reported.
“It’s very much like growing a tomato plant,” said Stephen Jensen, owner of Green Barn Farms, an organic cannabis farm in Northeast Washington State. “They’re a very hungry, energy-intensive plant.”
At Green Barn Farms, the native soil is alkaline with an eight to nine pH level, according to Jensen. The growers bring in compost and organic materials to lighten up the soil and make it slightly more acidic in the six to seven pH range.
Though many growers will use special prepackaged soils made specifically to grow cannabis, Jensen’s farm grows organic cannabis on a smaller scale.
“We want to grow it as naturally as possible—more like an organic farm product than an industrial grade product,” he said. Once the pH levels are appropriate for growing cannabis, “we’re ready to put the plants in the ground at that point.”
“From that point forward, we’re on a pretty rigorous feeding schedule.”