Sunday, October 5, 2008
Vancouver Island News
Canada gave serious thought to legalizing marijuana but received such an outcry from our neighbor to the south that the proposal was dropped. We put people in jail for involvement with a commonplace recreational drug and we should come to our senses.
Bumper crop of bud expected
Outdoor plots are on the increase say police and weather has helped out
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
After a couple years of dismal outdoor marijuana harvests due to rainy weather, Vancouver Island could see a bumper crop of bud this fall.
Some growers have already harvested their pot plants, often hidden away in secret gardens deep in the woods, but the optimal time to harvest marijuana is normally the first week of October, said Ted Smith, who teaches a free course about hemp and Cannabis -- called Hempology 101 -- at the University of Victoria.
He thinks that if current weather holds for the next couple weeks, this season will mark the start of the crop's recovery on the Island.
Vancouver Island's mild climate often provides ideal conditions for growing marijuana, but the past two years have been hit with rainy summers and little sunlight, which can cause plants to rot.
This has led to more people growing pot indoors, instead of going through the hassle of tending to an outdoor crop concealed within a forest, said Smith.
"There haven't been a lot of new people getting into (growing pot outdoors).
"There might be more next year, with this year kind of recovering," said Smith.
In the Nanaimo area, police have noticed more outdoor marijuana-growing operations this year compared to previous years, said Const. Gary O'Brien.
In July, police busted an 800-plant outdoor growing operation in the Bowser area.
"It was quite a significant year for outdoor grows," he said.
"Weather was a factor this year."
Although indoor operations can lead to fires and other hazards, said O'Brien, outdoor operations aren't any safer.
Hikers can stumble onto booby-traps left by growers to protect their crops, he said.
But Nanaimo marijuana advocate Richard Payne said organized gangs are usually the only ones who go to such lengths to protect massive crops.
The "common guy" who grows pot on the Island would usually have just 20-30 plants hidden in the bush.
"All around this time you'll have different people who are harvesting," said Payne, who is trying to set up a marijuana-buyers club for sick people in Nanaimo.
"It think it's probably been a pretty good season so far."
Both Smith and Payne said people who grow marijuana outdoors worry more about animals munching on their plants or thieves finding them than police confiscating the pot.
"Far more plants are stolen every year by thieves than police actually get.
"The bush in general is seeing a lot more people out and about," said Smith.
"It's a really stressful thing, growing, at times because you're always worried about who's going to rip you off," said Payne.
Although it has its challenges, Smith said people will never stop growing marijuana in the forests of Vancouver Island.
"Outdoor is always going to have its fans. It's easy, you don't need to be paying rent and deal with a whole bunch of other factors."
© Harbour City Star 2008