Not content with what is peddled on the streets, marijuana smokers are now growing their own weed, findsÂ Nishita Jha
GANJA HAS existed on earth forever. It doesnât need us to help it grow,â claims Aftab (25) while cleaning his chillum. Looking at the Delhi-based musicianâs impressive indoor- garden, where four weed plants (each a foot tall) compete for UV rays from halogen bulbs, one gets the feeling heâs wondering what the fuss is all about. âApples can grow with mother natureâs love. But a little help from technology gives you those perfect apples with stickers,â he grins.
Aftabâs marijuana garden is not a freak phenomenon. Recreational pot smokers in urban centres with access to the Internet and spare cash are waking up to the possibility of growing the stuff at home â a process made easier thanks to various UK, US and Netherlandsbased sites likeÂ maryjanesgarden.comÂ andÂ canaseeds.com.Â The Internet will not only help you choose the right strain but also deliver these mail-order babies to your doorstep. The clever loophole allowing these sites to exist globally is that they claim to distribute seeds as âSouvenirs Onlyâ. The seeds are sold in packs of five to ten, a good strain costing anywhere from ÂŁ50-150 (Rs 3,400-10,200) â justified for their being âfeminisedâ, ie, guaranteed to grow once planted. Little pockets of Indian urbanites are flocking to these sites and a small subculture â still just a network who connect across the country to exchange notes â is hardening into shape. These oddballs are not your traditional losers projected by an outdated pop culture â above anything else, theyâre efficient in their pursuit of a high-standard, low-risk fix.
The cannabis sativa strain is bushier and taller than cannabis indica â your choice depends on space constraints. Sativa gives a cerebral high as opposed to Indicaâs mildly debilitating âbodyâ high. While one may convince you that youâve found a solution to the global food crisis, the other is more likely to be responsible for the crisis of an empty refrigerator. A third strain, cannabis ruderalis, possesses less THC (tetrahydrocannabinol â the psychoactive substance in cannabis) but has been hybridised to produce fasterflowering plants with high potency.
Germinating the seeds in cotton wool before they are planted evokes memories of school science projects. The entire undertaking belies the stereotypical pot smoker who lies in bed all day with a bag of chips and a PS3. âI felt like an expectant father,â smiles Jatin Rai, a 25-year-old architect from Chennai. âEven when Iâd to leave town for work Iâd make my girlfriend come to ensure the plants were fine.â Does she smoke as well? âObviously, how else would I trust her with my plant?â he answers with some alarm. While itâs possible to grow plants the good old way â flowerpots, soil, sunshine â an advanced âhydroponicâ method can increase potency â a basic underwater system of a large tub of water, a reservoir of nutrients, a layer of rockwool and a filter to create a flow of nutrients over the plants. Lighting remains important since the plant forms THC as a defense against UV rays, but you also canât let it get too hot. Rahul, a 23-year-old designer from Delhi too found good use for halogen lights from his studio. Given the ubiquity required here â the space, the gizmos, the unmistakable smell â are stoners finally coming out of the closet?