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Sensi Magazine

Cannabis In The House

Jul 14, 2017 08:18AM ● By Robyn Lawrence
“Should we expect PLANT NURSERIES where we access our trees, ornamentals and bedding plants to begin CULTIVATING CANNABIS in those regions of the country WHERE IT IS LEGAL TO DO SO? Yes, that process is underway as you read this.”   —Turf magazine, August 2016

I can’t grow my six plants (three in flower, three in vegetation) just anywhere. They must be in an “enclosed, locked area that can’t be viewed openly,” which means, according to the state’s website, “plants can’t be outside.” That’s not entirely true. Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution makes growing outdoors “not unlawful” if it “takes place in an enclosed, locked space” and “not conducted openly or publicly.”

That’s confusing, and a lot of other states have followed Colorado’s lead. Oregonians can grow four plants anywhere on their property, but citizens in California, Massachusetts, and Alaska must keep their plants hidden and secured, and gardeners in Maine must also tag them. Keeping up with state and local laws, which can change on a dime, isn’t easy. Still, law reform is opening up a world of possibility for gardeners across the country who—like me—embrace cannabis as an exotic new plant.

Susan Sheldon, a landscape architect and master gardener in Amherst, Massachusetts, is one of them. Despite years of rigorous training, Sheldon had no idea how to grow cannabis. (It’s not discussed at the Garden Club of Amherst.) She learned online and now has cannabis sprinkled among the hyssop, borage, basil, chamomile, and mountain mint in her herb garden full of native pollinators. “The flower is amazing to watch develop,” she says. “There’s no other plant like that.”

Growing cannabis takes knowledge, time and attention, Sheldon adds, but anyone with good intentions can do it. “You’ve gotta have the attitude that you’ll win some, you’ll lose some, and it’s a learning experience,” she says. (Sheldon’s tips for growing cannabis in the garden are on page 58.)

Happy Houseplants
People who don’t have the luxury of enclosed, secured outdoor space or who want to live more intimately with cannabis are turning to another alternative: keeping it as a houseplant.

Ganjasana yoga founder Rachael Carlevale, who lives with her husband on a hemp farm in Berthoud, Colorado, keeps plants in her living room and on a kitchen window sill alongside aloe (which she says is a great cloning agent). Carlevale trims off leaves to make organic juice that she drinks for health reasons. “Cannabis is a plant, like any other plant, that happens to have medicinal properties,” she says. “It’s also a very beautiful plant.”

Jeanine Moss, founder of Los Angeles-based AnnaBís, which makes luxury “aroma-bloc” handbags and accessories, keeps four plants that were given to her by a friend in her home, and they make her smile every time she walks into the room. “They make me feel like I’m getting good air all the time, and I get a huge amount of pleasure out of having beautiful green trees in my house,” she says.

Johnny Stash, president of keeps cannabis houseplants because the fresh branch tips are one of his favorite foods. He pinches them off using his pointer finger and thumb and adds them to salads, smoothies and sandwiches. “Flavors vary from spicy mustard green to butter lettuce,” he says.

“It’s not a Ficus Tree”
Pointing out that cannabis is referred to, after all, as a weed, both Moss and Carlevale take a relatively hands-off approach to their plants. Less is more, both women say, and branches dripping with fat nugs is not the goal. When Carlevale’s houseplants flower, she and her husband call it “free weed.”

“I’m never going to go and fawn over my plants and trim their little leaves and spritz them. I can barely get away from my desk for a couple of seconds, and if I do, it’s not to do that,” says Moss, who did transplant her plants into larger containers and does water them on a two-day on/one-day off schedule.

Even under Moss’s minimalist care, her plants are producing small flowers. “If they have some THC, I’ll be happy,” she says. “If they don’t, I’ll still be happy. I’m enjoying them as plants and a little bit of décor.”

That makes sense to Carol Venolia, a Santa Rosa, California-based architect and author of Get Back to Nature Without Leaving Home, who is amazed at how similar the benefits of simply looking at greenery—reduced blood pressure, muscle tension, stress, and pain perception and speedier recovery from surgery —are to those of ingesting cannabis.

“With cannabis as an outdoor or indoor plant, you get all those benefits plus the fun of your association with cannabis’s many pleasant effects and the fun of sitting in a chair and just popping a leaf in your mouth,” she says. “It makes a statement. It’s not a ficus tree. It’s saying you’re cool, or crazy, or normal.”

Susan Sheldon’s Guide to Cannabis in the Garden

OBEY LAWS. Make sure your space complies with all local laws and regulations.

BE DISCREET. Hide plants with other plants or structures. Cannabis is still federally illegal and could invite thieves.

PLANT A DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM. If possible, plant cannabis among beneficial companion plants (a list is at with good light penetration and air flow.

GIVE PLANTS SPACE. Cannabis plants need at least 2-1/2 to 3 square feet. The more space you give the roots, the larger your plant will grow.

FEED THEM. Go online or visit a grow store to find the best nutrients for your plants. Don’t be stingy, but don’t overfeed them.

WATER AS NEEDED. Let plants dry out between watering, then thoroughly saturate them. If plants are in pots, place the pot in a tub of water and let the plant drink from the bottom up. If pots are in trays, don’t let them sit in water.

PRACTICE GARDEN SANITATION. Remove diseased plants or plant pieces immediately. Clean pruning shears with rubbing alcohol between plants.

BEWARE OF MOLD. Plants in damp climates are most susceptible, but mold can happen anywhere. Check plants daily if not twice daily. In late season before harvest, shake off dew and fan them.

KILL POWDERY MILDEW. PM Remover, a spray made from potassium bicarbonate, lactose, and garlic powder, works.

The Feng Shui of Cannabis

Interior designer and feng shui master Jami Lin, who uses CBD oil in her Hempress Youth Duo skincare line, can’t grow hemp plants at her home in Florida. If she could, she would place them in her home’s southeastern and eastern corners, where according to feng shui’s “five elements theory,” the wood element resides. Plants are wood elements, so they feel comfortable and thrive there.

Lin says you can also place cannabis plants, with intention, in the southeastern or eastern part of individual rooms. In the bedroom, they would grow opportunities for deepening relationships; in the office, professional and financial opportunities; in the meditation room, subliminal and unconscious head spaces.

Johnny Stash’s Guide to Cannabis as a Houseplant

Cannabis is an ideal houseplant because when it’s kept in its vegetative state, it provides more oxygen than any other leafy plant and an ongoing source of nutritious, delicious leaves, says president Johnny Stash. Unlike the complicated process of cultivating plants for high yields and potent flowers, growing cannabis as a perennial is fairly simple. Every cultivar is different, but all cannabis plants have the following general needs.

LIGHT AND AIR. Photo-responsive cannabis gets big and leafy when it has 16 hours of light and flowers when it’s in the dark for 12 or more hours. As a general rule, plants will remain in veg and live as perennials in any room where it’s light enough to read a newspaper for 16 hours and you can see dust particles moving in the air.

A 3-GALLON OR LARGER POT. Cannabis plants have fast metabolisms and need a lot of water, but with large enough root systems, they don’t have to be watered every day. A 5-gallon pot is ideal.

ORGANIC SOIL. Support companies that support your ideals. Go local if possible.

WATER.  Don’t overwater! Water only when the soil is dry and the leaves begin to droop. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the plant and understand its cycles, try to water the day before the leaves droop.

FOOD. Sprinkle organic granule fertilizer on top of the soil and scratch in with your fingers.

ROOT LOVE. To prevent fast-growing cannabis from getting rootbound, paint the inside of its pot with Micro- Kote, which has copper that prevents roots from circling. If you skip this step, you’ll need to prune annually. Pull out the plant and cut off about 3 inches of roots and 3 inches around the edges and bottom of the soil, then fill in with fresh soil.

PEST CONTROL. Water predatory nematodes, which clean up bad bugs and become bioavailable plant food, into the soil when you plant. To kill fungus and mites, spray the top and bottom of your plants’ leaves with a mix of 5 milliliters of Bonide, a micronized sulphur, and a gallon of water.

POSITIVE ENERGY. Cannabis plants like exchanging energy with us. They need love and affection.

SEAWEED. It’s their favorite snack.

Grow Lights YOU can LIVE with

I’m in love with these emerging products that make it possible to grow indoors without tents, fans, or timers.

ROOT (, launching now in the Bay Area and expected to roll out nationwide in the fall, is a 1-square-foot smart indoor garden system, or “deployable farm,” that automatically waters and aerates plants at their root systems and mimics natural sunlight with full- spectrum LED lights. Cute enough to put in a hallway or office, the planters let users control food, water and lighting through an app. The company’s website promises to take amateur growers “from hydro-panic to hydroponic” so they can “experience the farm without the fear or frenzy.”

SOLTECH SOLUTIONS ( recently released Aspect, the first LED grow light designed to blend beautifully with home decor. CEO Paul Hodges designed the shaded lights as an alternative to currently available grow lights and envisions Aspect lights hanging over bonsaied cannabis plants in lofts from Denver to Portland and beyond. “You could get cannabis from the plants, but not all the cannabis you could ever ask for,” he says—and that’s not the point. “It’s about reflecting your lifestyle. People want their living room decor to be a reflection of themselves, and growing cannabis is a great way to bring that connection even closer.”