Store sees budding interest in hydroponic pot

Dan Weaver with Desert Bloom Hydroponics, 445 Pitkin Ave. in Grand Junction working in one of the gardens at Desert Bloom.



Adults age 21 and older can posses up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants privately. Only three of those plants can be mature or flowering at a time. The harvest of those plants, which may be more than an ounce, must remain on the property where it was grown.

It’s unclear whether residents can grow marijuana in their backyards. According to Amendment 64, it must be grown in an “enclosed, locked space” and not in a “public” place. That may allow residents to grow it in outdoor greenhouses, but it’s fuzzy if the law considers a fenced backyard a private space.

Only people registered with a medical marijuana card can purchase from a medical marijuana dispensary. Otherwise, selling marijuana is still a crime.

Adults 21 and older can give up to an ounce of marijuana to another adult aged 21 or older.

Marijuana cannot be used in public, including parks, schools and privately-owned buildings where the owner forbids it. That includes apartments and other rental properties where marijuana is not allowed. Marijuana use also is not allowed in federal buildings or in national parks — like Colorado National Monument — or in national forests.

Marijuana possession and use is still illegal under federal law. Some websites sell and ship cannabis seeds by selling customers an item such as a T-shirt and including cannabis seeds as a “souvenir.”

More residents are seeing the green light to grow their own marijuana, now that possessing small amounts of it is legal in Colorado.

Daniel Weaver, an employee of Desert Bloom Hydroponics, 445 Pitkin Ave., said he’s greeting new faces and answering some basic questions about what it takes to grow the bud.

“We’re seeing those people who are curious,” he said. “They’re wanting to know about the price in the first year of their investment.”

Weaver said he estimates about 10 to 15 percent of customers who walk through the doors lately are considering for the first time growing their own marijuana. The hydroponics store, owned by Kurtis and Lisa Houston, is packed with fertilizers, grow lights and fans to grow all kinds of herbs and vegetables indoors during the cold winter months. Invariably though, some shelves are targeted to marijuana growers with fertilizers sporting names like Bud Candy, Big Bud and Kushie Kush, as well as a line of the esteemed Canna products. A novelty clock on the wall always says 4:20.

Weaver said he’s accustomed to selling products to medical marijuana caregivers who have long been growing marijuana. But some folks in this new wave of customers tend to park at the store’s rear and walk around to the front door, Weaver said. They also sometimes are a little bit leery about the positioning of the Grand Junction Police Department, which looms across the street and a block east. He said people still are getting accustomed to the thought that growing, possessing and using small amounts of marijuana is a legal endeavor, especially after people have been arrested and jailed for years for possessing and using marijuana.

“What I’m waiting for is the professional people to start coming in,” Weaver said, smiling.

Since September, hits to Michelle LaMay’s website,, on how to grow marijuana have skyrocketed, she said.  Since 2009, LaMay has taught more than 450 people how to grow marijuana during day-long Saturday classes in Denver. The classes cost $250.

“My gosh, what an uptick,” she said, citing 300 new hits to her website in the past three months. “People want to move to Colorado and start growing.”

LaMay, who said she is a graduate of the former Mesa State College, said the Western Slope’s climate is ideal for growing marijuana, with soils and temperatures similar to Afghanistan.

Deciding to grow marijuana indoors can be a pricey endeavor, she said.

“The cheapest we can set up a room with equipment is maybe $800,” LaMay said. “This is indoor agriculture. You need a 1,000-watt bulb, a hood, a ballast, plastics. You might have to call an electrician to have your house wired. It’s quite a commitment.”

LaMay said it’s not uncommon for people to drive from the Western Slope to Denver to attend a class. For that matter, folks have been known to hop a flight from all over the country for the learn-to-grow-marijuana classes, she said. Come spring, she believes Colorado residents will start growing marijuana plants in their fenced-off backyards. She considers a fence “that a cop can’t see over” a private space.

“We’re going to keep educating people on how to grow their six plants,” LaMay said.

While growing marijuana indoors can be a pricey proposition, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, Weaver said. Marijuana’s nickname is weed for a reason.

“It’s not hard to grow. It’s hard to grow right,” Weaver said.

For new growers not wanting to spend a lot of money, he suggested buying a bag of good soil, some pots and “the best light you can afford,” he said.

“If you water it, you’re going to get a harvest,” Weaver said.

He said he thinks people will start growing plants indoors and then transplant them outdoors after the area’s last frost.

“It can be as simple or as hard as you want it to be,” he said. “Right now we’re getting the dabblers. They just want to know what it takes.”


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