[Canniseur: If you’ve decided to grow your own, you’ll need seeds. Those plants don’t grow out of thin air. Besides the strain you’re buying, there really is a lot to know about where your seeds are sourced and how they were made. Here’s a good place to start.]
When doing research on how to order cannabis seeds, there are a number of ways to go about this. Most people prefer to order the seeds online since it is relatively easy and convenient. There are countries where growing cannabis is legal and seeds can often be purchased from growshops and dispensaries. This, however, isn’t the case everywhere. One can still buy cannabis seeds online or from seed banks and have them shipped from overseas safely.
Benefits of ordering online
If you haven’t ordered cannabis seeds before, you may have some reservations about ordering online, especially if you live in a country where many cannabis-related products are frowned upon. You may wonder, is ordering online really the safest option?
We are here to reassure you that buying online is discreet and safe, even in instances where cannabis seeds may not be allowed. We have a few pointers for you to ensure you get your cannabis seeds safely.
It is important to use the following guide to safely order cannabis seeds;
Discretion starts with you – when it comes to ordering cannabis seeds, it’s important to remember that keeping this information private starts with you. Be sure to keep this information to yourself and avoid sharing this with anyone, both online and offline. Secrecy starts with you and the less people know about it, the better.
Find out the cannabis laws where you live – each country has different laws surrounding the importation or use of cannabis, so it is important to find out what the law says regarding cannabis. For instance, in the Netherlands, one is allowed to have small quantities of cannabis seeds for sale. So, it’s important to find out whether individuals are allowed to possess cannabis seeds and whether germination of the seeds is allowed. It’s important to find out all you can about the regulations in place when it comes to importing cannabis seeds in your country before taking the next steps.
Do your research and find a reputable seed company to make your purchase from – choosing the ideal source to buy seeds from isn’t as difficult as one might presume. Some of the best companies hail from the Netherlands, Canada and the UK. Amsterdam is one of the top sources for quality seeds, and there is a wide range of information available on all cannabis-related matters. Be sure to look out for a reputable seed bank with a long-standing service record.
Start small – when making your first order, don’t go crazy spending thousands of euros on seeds. Start small, and then you can increase your order and the amount you spend over time. This way, you’ll find out whether the company has the quality of seeds you’re looking for, and you will have an idea of how much time it takes to deliver the seeds. And you can be sure the company you’re ordering from is legit.
Payments are safe and discreet – when it comes to making online payments, these days it is quite safe and there are measures in place to ensure your information is secure and discrete. You can make payments via credit card or you can choose a third-party processor, which also has its advantages. It’s important to note that most seed banks receive payment without your credit card details for your discretion and customer data is destroyed after payment by the payment processor, which makes it even more discrete. Most reputable seed banks will leave out cannabis-related descriptions in your bank statement. However, if you are still worried about using your personal credit card, you have a number of options, such as use of bitcoin, bank transfers and cash where possible.
Use business details instead – If you’re not comfortable sharing your personal information, you can get a business credit card and have a business address for all your online deliveries and purchases. This lets you get your package delivered with minimum risk.
Order in batches – with multiple orders or when ordering different seeds, be sure to divide your order by placing small orders, ordering at different times and also using different suppliers to avoid placing all your eggs in one basket and incurring a heavy loss by making a big order with one supplier.
Use abbreviations, a nickname or initials when making your purchase – for further security measures, most people prefer to not use their full name when making an order to avoid being associated with marijuana. You can use an abbreviation or just your initials when sharing your name. Keep in mind some postmen know who lives at a certain address so it would be a good idea to use your initials on the address if you are using your home address. Alternatively, don’t ship to an address where you don’t want the address tied to you or your activities.
Make use of a post office address and use an alternate email address – a high number of seed banks can deliver to a PO box address so that you can pick it up at your own discretion to prevent you from having to sign for it at your doorstep. It’s also a good idea to create an alternative email address that does not have your name for added privacy. Never use a business email address.
Use a shipping option that doesn’t require a signature – there are options that allow you to not share a signature upon arrival of your package. Most Track and Trace parcels require a signature once your parcel arrives. While there are some disadvantages of this, it might offer more discretion. But, it will be much harder to track your parcel or even trace it in the event it gets misplaced or lost.
Give it time – since most seeds are shipped from abroad, it’s important to give it time to arrive. It could take from 7 to 12 days depending on where it comes from. In other cases, it might even take 15 days or more to arrive so it’s important to be patient and not panic if it takes slightly longer than expected. Your package will arrive in due time.
Ordering cannabis seeds online these days can be done safely and discreetly. Be sure to follow the steps above to protect yourself and ensure the highest level of discretion.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to reflect the specific views of the publication.
[Canniseur: Wherever it’s legal (or not) a whole lot of us are staying at home these days of COVID-19. Since you’re home, may as well plant your favorite plant and make some grow your own action! The quality of homegrown can frequently be way better than store bought weed too. Here’s some help and good advice on getting your garden going.]
Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re at home with a lot more time on your hands, no real travel plans in sight, some uncertainty in the air. Perhaps you’re itching to spend more time outdoors in your garden, partaking in activities that ground you in the soil, add beauty and reward you with a harvest. I can think of no better a crop to include in your garden this year than weed. Forget what you’ve ever heard about growing the plant or any of the culture surrounding it. Forget what you smoked in high school. Forget it all. In my new book, “Growing Weed in the Garden: A No-Fuss, Seed-to-Stash Guide to Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation,” I treat it as what it is — a plant that grows beautifully outside.
1. Choose a site
Weed is a quick-growing summer annual. If you’ve got an existing veggie bed, put it there. If not, you want full sun (at least six hours of direct sunlight a day), well-amended soil and access to water (drip is ideal). A container works fine, too. The bigger the better. Fifteen gallons is great, and drainage is a must.
2. Get a plant
Dispensaries are the only legal spot to score seeds and clones (what gardeners might otherwise call vegetative cuttings). It’s getting late in the season to start from seed. If you do, opt for an auto-flowering cultivar that ripens quicker. Don’t sweat your selection — choose based on what name or smell you like. All that information about what it will do to you? Entirely subjective.
Johanna Silver, author of “Growing Weed in the Garden,” prunes a pot plant.
Photo: Rachel Weill / Abrams
3. Grow that baby!
Plant your weed with plenty of compost and watch it grow. Water anytime the soil is dry down to about ½ inch. Some simple trellising — like a tomato cage — will help the plant support its weight as it grows and eventually forms heavy flowers. You’ll want to prune it gently, at least topping it (snipping at the terminal bud) when there’s three to five sets of leaves.
4. Watch for flowers
Forming in the armpits of the branches, small flowers start to appear sometime after summer solstice (sooner if you’ve opted for an auto-flower). Verify that all your plants are females (a successful harvest is comprised of unpollinated female flowers) by checking out the flower. If you see tiny hairs — females. Round balls — males.
5. Harvest time
Depending on the cultivar, your flowers are ready to snip in September or October. Flowers are ripe when half the stigmas (those hair-like strands sticking out from the buds) are amber and half are still white. You can also pinch the flowers. If they’re spongy, it’s best to wait. If they’re firm, it’s time. Snip branches to hang upside down. Smaller buds can be placed on a mesh screen. You can trim your weed (removing excess leaves) now or after they’re dry. Totally your preference. Experiment with both.
[Canniseur: It’s springtime and time to plant all our seeds; lettuce, peas, pot…yop. And this year, amid all the social distancing, it’s time to think about your crop that will make you happy after you’re well fed. Time to up your cannabis growing game!]
There’s a lot to consider before making the decision to create and sustain a cannabis garden. Cultivators can never know too much about growing cannabis, so being educated about the process and diligent about the health of the crop will make a world of difference.
We’ve collected some articles designed to help you prepare your home garden for spring. Happy planting!
[Canniseur: Last week, we published a story about “Dispensary vs. Black Market Cannabis” and purposefully didn’t include the grow-your-own product because most people get their cannabis from a dispensary or dealer. So here for your reading pleasure are a bunch of strains that are easy to grow and will give you lots of pleasure. And the story has a bunch of weed porn in it too! Can’t complain about that.]
I asked some of my favorite seed breeders to suggest their best cultivar for home growers. The stipulations were that each was easy to grow, adapted easily to different environments, and most importantly, that it had a distinctive personality. The breeders responded with some great suggestions for quality strains.
Each cultivar is handsome, above average and potently effective. A garden featuring these selections will provide you with a library of wonderful sensations to fit time, space and mood. A couple of the strains produce high ratios of CBD.
[Canniseur: 46% THC??? Holy cow!!! This is a terrific video that shows how this couple is growing hydroponic potent weed. This stuff clocks in at well over 40%!!!! That’s a little high (pun intended) to me, but it’s purportedly really good. 40% THC weed is like drinking a 20% Pinot Noir (since it’s Oregon). Maybe this is worth trying out or maybe it’s just too heavy an effect. Who knows? But it’s fascinating.]
[Canniseur: The author of this article is a well known long-time grower in … well, if we told you … As a former illegal and now legal grower, she does raise some fascinating points. We usually only remember the good things when looking backward, but there was a lot of bad. Now, former illegal growers during the time of cannabis prohibition have some really valuable things to say and the young growers seem to be listening. There’s hope yet for quality.]
It’s easy to complain in these dark days of the emerging legal cannabis industry. There seems to be no limit of negative stories about how the combination of state and county taxes and regulations are bringing us down and, that as a result, the corporate giants may take over the cannabis world. As we witness the demise of so many of our colleagues’ brands and businesses, it is tempting to hide our heads in a pile of weed and cry for the good old days.
But wait a minute. Who’s to say we won’t be yearning for the present times in the future? I have no doubt that exhausted gold miners back in 1850 often kicked themselves for leaving comfortable homes in other parts of the world in their quest for treasure in the mountains and rivers of California. The difficulties they encountered as they eked out meager quantities of gold dust, while living in hardscrabble conditions, make our lives look like Easy Street. Yet I can guarantee that 30 years later, as they drank champagne in elegant San Francisco drinking establishments, they yearned for the “good old days when we were simple miners.” Time has a way of glorifying the past and burning away the hardships.
Yes indeed, we can reminisce for hours about being cannabis outlaws and about how easy it was to grow it, dry it, trim it and stick it in a plastic bag and sell it right away. No taxes, no fancy packaging, no rules and regulations to fret about. Yet how easy it is to forget the stress that came along with living illegal lives, with never being able to fully be ourselves when out in public. We humans tend to see the past through rose colored glasses, ignoring the daily anxieties when they don’t fit into the perfect picture. In retrospect, life was pretty darn good. Even though we were pioneers, we certainly had it easier than the forty-niners. Plus we had the bonus of getting high on great weed. But honestly, life back in the early days of growing cannabis certainly had its challenges.
Likewise, right now as we struggle through this quagmire of new regulations, we have challenges that seem overwhelming. However, I am not the only one who is starting to feel a slight let-up in the doldrums of daily issues. Or maybe more realistically, we are just becoming familiar with them and learning how to cope in a more relaxed fashion. As more time passes, I trust we will adjust to the new system and hopefully new and better ones will fall into place. Before long, we’ll be fondly remembering the good old days right after legalization in 2018. “How innocent we were,” we’ll chuckle with knowing smiles.
What at present may seem like a tremendous burden becomes a glorious memory as time passes. The few of us craft farmers who are still standing in this business are already reflecting on what we have been through and how we have made it this far. “Remember that year they changed the packaging wording three times?” We are the pioneers of the legal cannabis business in California. We are the core group of tenacious companies dedicated to surviving and committed to sharing the best of the best with the rest of the world. We are still riding the roller coaster. We’re in for the long haul and proud of it.
So while we may be bitching today about adapting to the changes, I have no doubt that in the future we will be bragging about it. Already journalists come to the survivors asking for stories of the transition to being legal. Documentaries are being made and cannabis museums are opening in a few places across the state. We are history, while we continue to make history and the world wants to know the stories.
It’s quite an odd feeling, one day you are a young and vital member of your community and in the blink of an eye you become a “respected elder.” How did that happen? I often wonder if those wonderful fellow outlaw/grower friends who are no longer in their bodies were still alive, what would they think? So many stories are lost with them. Nevertheless, it is up to us to carry on as best we can and tell our own stories.
To that end, a group is beginning to form here in the Emerald Triangle, spearheaded by the indomitable Pebbles Trippet. To quote Pebbles, who has been a peace and cannabis activist since the early 60s, there is a need for “An elders council of the cannabis community that embodies the knowledge of the whole derived from decades of experience from the underground. By gathering that knowledge, we can better prepare for the unknown future.”
What is especially heartwarming are the younger folks nurturing the process. They recognize the value of the lessons to be garnered from the elders. Thanks to people from the younger generations, such as Casey O’Neill, Jenn Procacci and Phoebe Smith, a few gatherings have already been held with ideas and stories shared. This feeling of respect for all is definitely part of the “good new days” and a great step into a bright new future.
[Canniseur: OK, cannabis crop growers who are growing for adult use or medical use cannot put a “USDA Organic” label on their product. Given the Schedule 1 state of cannabis, there’s no reason this company couldn’t set up a list of regulations, get together with other states where medical and/or adult-use is available and make a set of regulations for growers that would give them a “PGA Organic” certification along with a little label to put on packaging. Just ask me what PGA stands for if you can’t figure it out.;-) The point is this could be an almost national certification, done privately.]
Cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC is not eligible for USDA organic certification, due to the crop’s Schedule I status. While some hemp farmers are currently on the path to obtain a USDA organic certification, the rest of the cannabis industry is left without that ability.
Growers, producers, manufacturers and dispensaries that utilize the same practices as the national organic program should be able to use that to their advantage in their marketing. Ian Rice, CEO of Envirocann, wants to help cannabis companies tap into that potential with what he likes to call, “comparable to organic.”
Rice co-founded SC Laboratories in 2010, one of the first cannabis testing labs in the world, and helped develop the cannabis industry’s first testing standards. In 2016, Rice and his partners at SC Labs launched Envirocann, a third-party certification organization, focused on the quality assurance and quality control of cannabis products. Through on-site inspections and lab testing, Envirocann verifies and subsequently certifies that best practices are used to grow and process cannabis, while confirming environmental sustainability and regulatory compliance.
“Our backyard in Santa Cruz and the central coast is the birthplace of the organic movement,” says Rice. California Certified Organic Farms (CCOF), founded in Santa Cruz more than 40 years ago, was one of the first organizations in the early 1990s that helped write the national organic program.
“What we came to realize in the lab testing space and as the cannabis market grew, was that a lot of cannabis companies were making the organic claims on their products,” says Rice. “At the time, only one or two organizations in the cannabis space were making an attempt to qualify best practices or create an organic-type feel of confidence among consumers.” What Rice saw in their lab was not cannabis that could be considered organic: “We saw products being labeled as organic, or with certain claims of best practices, that were regularly failing tests and testing positive for banned chemicals. That really didn’t sit well with us.”
At the time, there was no real pathway to certify cannabis products and qualify best practices. “We met with a few people at the CCOF that were very encouraging for us to adopt the national organic program’s standards for cannabis. We followed their lead in how to adopt the standards and apply a certification, building a vehicle intended to certify cannabis producers.”
Because of their background in lab testing they added the requirement for every crop that gets certified to undergo a site inspection, sampling, as well as a pesticide residue test to confirm no pesticides were used at all during the production cycle. One of their clients is Coastal Sun Farms, a greenhouse and outdoor cannabis producer. “They grow incredible products at a high-level, commercial scale at the Enviroganic standard,” says Rice. “They have been able to prove that organic cannabis is economically viable.”
The Envirocann certification goes a bit beyond the USDA’s organic program in helping their clients with downstream supply chain risk management tools (SCRM). “Because of the rigorous testing of products to get certified and go to market, we are getting way ahead of supply chain or production issues,” says Rice. “That includes greater oversight and transparency, not just for marketing the final product.”
A good example of using SCRM to a client’s advantage is in the extraction business. A common scenario recently in the cannabis market involves flower or trim passing the pesticide tests at the lab. But when that flower makes it down the supply chain to a manufacturer, the extraction process concentrates chemical levels along with cannabinoid levels that might have previously been acceptable for flower. “I’ve witnessed millions and millions of dollars evaporate because flower passed, but the concentrated final product did not,” says Rice. “We’ve introduced a tool to get ahead of that decision-making process, looking beyond just a pass/fail. With our partner labs, we look at the chromatograms in greater detail beyond regulatory requirements, which gives us information on trace levels of chemicals we may be looking for. It’s a really rigorous audit on these sites and it’s all for the benefit of our clients.”
Envirocann has also recently added a processing certification for the manufacturing sector and a retail certification for dispensaries. That retail certification is intended to provide consumers with transparency, truth in labeling and legitimate education. The retail certification includes an assessment and audit of their management plan, which goes into details like procurement and budtender education, as well as basic considerations like energy usage and waste management.
While Envirocann has essentially adopted the USDA’s organic program’s set of standards for what qualifies organic producers, which they call “Enviroganic,” they also certify more conventional producers with their “Envirocann” certification. “While these producers might not be considered organic farmers, they use conventional methods of production that are responsible and deserve recognition,” says Rice. “A great example for that tier would be Fog City Farms: They are growing indoor with LED lighting and have multiple levels in their indoor environment to optimize efficiency and minimize their impact with waste and energy usage, including overall considerations for sustainability in their business.”
[Canniseur: WOW! If you’ve ever eaten at or heard of the French Laundry, you’ll know that their dedication to quality … in everything … is supreme. The vegetables from the French Laundry garden are always stellar. If Mr. Keefer can cultivate cannabis with the same attention to quality as he did for the French Laundry, we’ll have a phenomenal grower in California.]
He is known for his succulent micro greens, but after 10 years at French Laundry, the restaurant’s head culinary gardener is moving on to — if not greener, then certainly danker — pastures. Aaron Keefer has been named Sonoma County craft cannabis endeavor Sonoma Hill Farms’ vice president of cannabis cultivation and operations.
You may remember Sonoma Hill Farms as the first cannabis cultivators to receive a business permit to grow weed in Sonoma County. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the company has the inside rail on getting its cultivation approval from the government. The company’s plan is to provide the kind of elite, locavore gourmet experience found in Sonoma’s most emblematic culinary and wine businesses.
As such, Keefer would appear to be just the person for the job. He comes from a farm-owning family and graduated from culinary school at 17. Keefer would go on to manage the gardening operations for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. The company has businesses in Las Vegas, Miami, and New York, in addition to the company’s five eatery mini-empire in Yountville (which includes French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, La Calenda, and Ad Hoc + Addendum.)
From Veg to Herb
Keefer spent much of his time at the company in the Yountville dirt. He came to raise some very pretty veggies — and even on occasion, some very tasty escargot — which became a key draw at French Laundry’s three Michelin star winning, farm-focused fine dining experience and the rest of the Keller holdings.
Now, he’ll be applying that green thumb and savvy for glamorously sustainable sustenance at Sonoma Hill, which announced in October that it had received a conditional use permit for a 28,560 foot outdoor marijuana garden and 15,000 feet of indoor grow facilities, and is now gearing up for its first harvest.
“Much like growing grapes for the finest wines, we plan to take an artisanal approach to cultivation through the cannabis we have been permitted to grow in this incredible terroir,” said a partner in Sonoma Hills Farms’ parent company Petaluma Hill Farms, Sam Magruder, in a press statement announcing the facility’s successful permitting.
A memo announcing Keefer’s hiring notes that the chef grew his first cannabis plants at age 15.
“Craft cannabis cultivation has long been on my radar as a dream job,” Keefer said in a press statement. “And with the plant becoming mainstream and more accepted, I know the time is right.”
“Done right, cannabis cultivation is a true connoisseurship not seen in many businesses other than wine, whisky, mescal, and cigars,” continued Keefer.
The project’s organizers may well be hoping that Sonoma County foodie and wino tourists are ready to include a finely grown toke on their next trip to the area. Part of Keefer’s workload will include giving visitors a chance to learn more about cannabis as a plant.
To that end, the French Laundry alum will be creating an on-site culinary garden “to showcase how cannabis is synergistic with traditional farming and can be integrated into a farm-to-table lifestyle,” as the press statement put it.