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Study: Home marijuana gardens not a health risk for children

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

California medical marijuana patient Daisy Brant has had her infant child literally torn from her breast twice to be handed over to Child Protective Services and been charged with child abuse because police found medical marijuana growing in her home. She won the first case, got her child back, was raided again and is now fighting the second case as a new published study shows how wrong and cruel the police have been in this and other cases in what amounts to little more than what Brant has called “government-sanctioned child-stealing.”

“The role of child protection in grow-operations,” a study in the March 2013 International Journal of Drug Policy, shows that children who live in homes where marijuana is being cultivated do not suffer from adverse health effects at any greater rate than do comparable children in cannabis-free environments.

A pair of investigators with

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Growers learning new tricks for better output


By Chris VanHook, Esq., cleangreencert.com

From pre-planning to final preparation, the world of cannabis cultivation saw many technological advances in 2012.

One of the most important was the development of the ozone machine, which aids the grower in cleaning indoor grow rooms between cycles. This step, often neglected by growers, is important for the control of molds, mildews and spider mites.Ozone machines sanitize the air and surface areas more effectively than liquid cleaners, because their emissions permeate the room’s cracks and crevices to kill unwanted bacteria and pathogens.

Once the grow room has been prepped,it can be powered by a new grid developed by Grean Bicycles Research Lab. Their new digital switches control a grow room’s climate while requiring 75% less energy than standard 120/240 volt mechanical timers.The Northern California-based laboratory also developed a passive cooling system which ducts outside air over the room’s lights and carries their heat to

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Strains, cultivars, the future

By Samuel Janovici

After decades of work trying to perfect endless varieties and cultivars, 2012 brought cannabis to the crossroads of legalization — and all that labor growers have put into identifying and establishing their plant’s genetic stability is at risk.

Good medicine comes from great strains, and there is an endless list of them out there, yet we have no system in place to protect them. As commercial interests flood the market, many strains will become extinct as did the once-common Acapulco Gold, Santa Marta Blond and Thai Sticks that survive as brands in name only. It would be criminal if Purple Kush, Jack Herer or Sour Diesel were to be lost or abridged by those with the big money.

Like avocados, peaches and apples, cannabis needs a reliable system to codify and guarantee that when a grower says it is Afghani, it really is, and that these genetics

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Falling into autumn

By Samuel Janovici

Autumn brings falling nighttime temperatures, heat spikes in the day and a plethora of pests and diseases that are hell-bent on foiling a grower’s best efforts. Even indoor folk feel the heat and cold’s bite as dew points come and go twice a day. For the unprepared, it can mean mold and fungus galore. Thrips, spider mites and aphids conspire to invade the warm, cozy environment the indoor gardener has prepared. A proper balance of temperatures and humidity stops moisture from nurturing mold deep inside even the largest buds.

Capping intakes with filters and using good clinical practices are good steps to help stop the pestilence, and cleanliness is essential.

Between each and every crop, clean the equipment, bleach floors and walls, and make sure the tools are clean enough to eat off them. Anything less can lead to a failed crop and the temptation to use

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From the Field: Challenging times breed promising results


By Chris Van Hook, cleangreencert.com

Late rains disrupted the early season this year with most of the crops stabilizing by mid-season. Powdery mildew and slow plant growth were problems until mid-season in many cases. Farmers are concerned with market disruption due to the ongoing federal crackdown. Pressure on legal dispensaries has made the connection between grower and non-growing collective members more difficult.

Despite all this, the cannabis industry is exploding with scientific innovation.

Energy efficiency for indoor farming still needs improvement. Inda-gro is a manufacturer with a proven technology for lamps that uses up to 70% less energy and produces less heat (cutting air conditioning costs) with bulbs that are warranted for 10 years. They have reports and data online at inda-gro.com. Best part — they are built right here in the USA.

Spider mites have long been a problem for indoor farmers, and more outdoor farmers across the

Read More: From the Field: Challenging times breed promising results

Summer’s challenge Inside Out

By Samuel Janovici

Warm weather and longer days have their benefits but also drawbacks like pests, mold, fungus and diseases. Heat and humidity conspire to create the perfect environment for those kinds of problems to multiply. Chemicals are not the answer although some must be used to clean the area between rotating crops or before the gardener begins any process. Just make sure to keep those that are poisonous away from the medicine you are trying to produce. Few if any can be used directly on the plants themselves.

In my last column I suggested the use of Eagle 20 for the treatment of powdery mildew and received a quick reminder from Dr. Ken Miller that poisons have NO place in cannabis gardens. That’s true and I thank the doctor for the reminder. Eagle 20 can only be used on clones in their first days of life in a propagation

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Concern over fungicide use

Dear Editor,

I am alarmed at Samuel Janovici’s recommendation to use Eagle-20 fungicide to combat powdery mildew in the earliest stage of growth (“Getting the New Crop off to a Solid Start,” West Coast Leaf Spring 2012, page 7).

Eagle-20 (Dow Chemical), or myclobutanil, is on the Bad Actor list of dangerous pesticides from Pesticide Action Network (panna.org) because it has reproductive and developmental toxicity and is a suspected endocrine disruptor. Simple alterations of pH in the garden (baking soda, vinegar), ventilation, humidity, sun exposure and other techniques offer effective solutions.

Even in the event of pest infestations, poisons should never be recommended or used (or necessary) in the well tended garden using modern organic techniques. Even indoor gardens, which are far more vulnerable to pests, pose contamination risks from discharges, which ultimately drain into municipal treatment plants or aquifers. Chemical company claims to the contrary notwithstanding, these poisons do

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Reducing the garden’s carbon footprint


From the Field…

By Chris Van Hook, cleangreencert.com

As the 2012 growing season develops, recent federal actions continue to weigh heavily on the medical marijuana community.

One big change in Northern California is that the Mendocino County 9.31 program, which allowed registered growers to cultivate 99 outdoor plants per parcel with reasonable restrictions, has been canceled. Those who registered with the program are now concerned that they will be easily identified and targeted. The new Mendocino County limit per parcel of 25 plants has had a major impact on crop projections. Growers were encouraged to grow larger crops to meet the legal state demand, leading to large investments in farm infrastructure, time and effort…

Are you a small to mid-sized grower who is tired of trimming but concerned that electric trimmers damage your product? Some get great results from hand operated trimming machines. They are less expensive, high quality and

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Fed forfeitures target agricultural land

Operation Mercury is Launched

By Bill McPike, Attorney

Central California became Ground Zero in the US War on Drugs, as Sierra Mountain cannabis grows proliferate on Central Valley farmland, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Homeland Security, Wagner, the DEA, IRS, and sheriffs from six counties (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, and Tulare) have teamed up under Operation Mercury (OM). Sheriffs are required to renounce state medical marijuana laws and pledge to enforce only federal laws.

The apparent goal is to take all marijuana prosecutions to federal court and then seek forfeitures of farmland, kicking back 80% of monetary proceeds to the local sheriffs.

Operation Mercury is named for the quick results possible with little or no work by law enforcement. The OM letter is served where a garden is located or suspected. Cops don’t look for any physician documents, and if posted they are ignored. The letter states that

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High tunnel gardening

By Kerry King, GrowersSupply.com

High tunnel growing is an easy and cost-effective way to establish control over outdoor growing environments, improve production and extend the growing season. A multitude of brands, types and sizes exist, from field-scale to hobbyist.

High tunnels are hoop houses covered with greenhouse film or woven polyethylene fabric, rather like a step between field growing and greenhouse growing. Growers in warmer climates experience great success producing year round in high tunnels, whereas those in harsher climates tend to use the structures for season extension and protecting crops from unpredictable weather patterns. They can keep wind off of crops reducing stress on stems and roots, or block out driving rain for better control of soil moisture levels. Less weeding is necessary because plants are inside, and fewer pests and animals will be able to get into the garden.

There are two basic types of high tunnels: Round

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Inside Out


Good starts By Samuel Janovici

Everything has to start somewhere and cannabis begins with a seed or a clone.

For purists the seed is the Holy Grail, but seeds do not offer stock surety. They genetically drift, so growers have adopted the technology used by apple, peach and avocado growers — asexual reproduction. Horticulturists make cuttings from the most viable and supple branches, stimulate them with root hormones and plant them into a growth medium. For those who demand a consistent gene pool, cutting clones delivers the same stock time and again, guaranteeing an exact copy of the plant every time. Today’s tech uses a cellular disrupter, like Dip and Grow, that forces the clone to root quickly — usually in 11 to 14 days. When done right, clones are the best way to convey a plant’s genetic phenotype into the future. Seeds make no such promise.

Cloning mediums vary,

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12 Groups apply for 4 Oakland dispensary permits

By Mickey Martin, TcompConsultig.com

The City of Oakland opened up the RFPA process in September to accept applications for four new dispensary permits. After an expectation that there would be roughly 100 applicants for the permits, only a dozen groups came forward and applied. Applications were due Oct. 14, 2011, only 37 days after the application process was given out, with severe limitations on locations and with the announcement of the big federal crackdown coming just a week before the deadline. A decision was set to be made Jan. 24, 2012, and permits issued to the chosen applicants by the City Administrator’s Office, but due to the complexity of the application process, compounded by complications at city hall, that has been delayed until at least March.

Arturo Sanchez, who manages the application process, was hopeful he would have a decision in February, but now it appears to be pushed back

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