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Fuzzy Laws Mean Southern California Is Growing Its Own--Should You?

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It's weed whack-a-mole! Bat down the dispensaries, up pop mobile services. Try to whack those, and now here are the indoor growers. The Los Angeles Business Journal reports today that, "With state law encouraging shops to grow their own marijuana rather than get supplies on the black market – often from Northern California – demand is rising for pot grown in small indoor facilities across Los Angeles County." The laws are fuzzy on the legality of growing, but "Most collectives simply suggest growing no more than 99 plants, to avoid a federally mandated five-year minimum prison sentence for people caught with more than that amount." No one knows how many people are doing this, but hundreds have taken growing classes and one grower/dispensary owner says "Two years ago, I bet you 80 percent of it came from NorCal; today, almost none of it." But will growing pot make you an organic Tony Montana or what?

The LABJ takes us through the economics--a small set up can cost as little as $1,000 and starter plants cost $10-$30 each (or you can just pick the seeds out of that skunk you bought in Arizona), and "Electricity and nutrients can amount to only $150 per month for six plants." According to the executive director of the Coalition for a Drug Free California, ten plants will net you 12,000 joints, and the LABJ says six plants will spit out about a pound of pot per month. Collectives will pay about $2,000-$4,000 per pound. But one dispensary owner says growing is so labor intensive that one grower he knows "makes about $18 an hour." [Image via Sulekha.com]
· Pot Farms Branch Out in Los Angeles [LABJ]