Article by Joseph Hall, Toronto Star
This is the first year Tom has not felt the need to booby-trap his backyard.
An inveterate pot grower, the North York man says new laws allowing Canadians to raise up to four of the plants per household set his mind at ease for the first time in more than half a century of cannabis cultivation.
“For all the years gone by I used to MacGyver the place,” says Tom, who did not want his last name used. “I would put fishing lines along the ground with tin cans so it would make noise if anybody went back there at nighttime. This year I didn’t worry about any of that, I just let it grow.”
As growers large and small finished up with the first outdoor harvests of legal cannabis plants in Canada this week, several looked back on the experience for the Star — though a lingering stigma made some reluctant even now to put their names to their sanctioned husbandry.
Tom, who’s approaching 68, says he started smoking pot at 14 and began planting it around his childhood home soon after.
“Probably started a couple of times when I was still living at home and tried to grow a couple of plants in my mom and dad’s backyard,” he says.
“Turned out to be like Christmas trees and male plants,” he laughs, explaining that only female versions produce the potent flowers that deliver active cannabis ingredients.
Through his own experimentation and furtive knowledge-sharing with others, Tom became a something of a marijuana master during pot’s forbidden years.