Now that Pot’s Legal in California, Here’s How to Grow it Indoors and Outdoors

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At his midtown hydroponics gardening store, Chris Corsello saw many of his customers face a similar dilemma: They wanted to ask his advice but not tell him what they were growing.

“They’d hem and haw,” Corsello said. “You’d sort of look at them sideways and ask, ‘What kind of plant are we talking about?’ 

Neither side would say, he said. Confirming the plant was marijuana could have put Corsello and his customer in jeopardy.

Proposition 64 changed that, and a lot more, by making California cannabis gardening and recreational use legal as of Jan. 1.

“Indoor growers can now come out of the closet,” said Corsello, who owns J Street HydroGarden in Sacramento.

After Proposition 64’s approval, many California gardeners – as well as non-gardeners – are expected to try their green thumbs at cannabis cultivation.

Legalization also is expected to be a boon to the emerging hydroponics industry. Without soil, hydroponic systems grow plants indoors in mediums such as lava rock or perlite and nutrient-rich water.

“It’s already starting,” said Corsello, who opened his gardening store in 2009. “We’re getting a lot more phone calls. Then next year, it will really kick in.”

Outdoors, marijuana grows like a weed. That’s an appropriate nickname, especially in California, where the climate is ideal for pot cultivation. Planted after frost, it’s a seasonal crop with one fall harvest.

But outdoor pot gardens don’t necessarily make good neighbors, Corsello said. “There can be legal issues, and not everybody likes their smell.”

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