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best place to grow marijuana

Best place to grow marijuana

The marijuana business in the U.S. is growing like a weed.

Nationwide, legal sales of marijuana reached $5.7 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion the previous year, according to a report from ArcView Market Research . For 2016, the market is projected to grow to $7.1 billion. And by 2020, ArcView says, sales of legal marijuana in the U.S. could top $22 billion.

As it stands now, about two-thirds of America’s marijuana crop — the legal and illegal kinds — is grown outdoors, according to Mother Jones magazine.

Magnets for Marijuana

Data from 2006 shows California is the leading state for outdoor production of marijuana, followed by Tennessee, Kentucky and Hawaii, according to the Bulletin for Cannabis Reform.

However, the marijuana-growing landscape likely has shifted since then, as four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — along with the District of Columbia have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in recent years. This November, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, CNN says.

Given the rising national interest in pot and our obsession here at LawnStarter with plants of all kinds — including the weeds that invade our lawns — we thought it would be cool to pinpoint where the best places are to grow weed (the kind you smoke) outdoors.

In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and the District of Columbia, adults can grow marijuana for recreational use, says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML , a group that favors pro-marijuana laws. In these four places, laws don’t make a distinction between indoor and outdoor marijuana growth, he says.

As for growing medical marijuana, it’s permitted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, according to Armentano.

Editor’s note: We don’t condone growing marijuana indoors or outdoors in places where it’s illegal. Our ranking is meant to be a conversation starter rather than a blueprint for where to grow marijuana.

Where the Weed Grows Best

To compile our ranking of the 12 Best Cities for Growing Marijuana Outdoors, we examined seven factors.

Average annual percentage of sunny days

Most plants, including marijuana, don’t grow well without sunlight.

Average annual precipitation

Plants typically need water to grow, right?

Average annual high temperature

You don’t want the temperature to be too hot or too cold. Like Goldilocks, you want it to be just right. For optimal growing purposes, we settled on 72 degrees, so the closer a city came to that mark, the higher its score was in that category.

Population density (number of residents per square mile)

If you’re cultivating marijuana outdoors, you probably don’t want your neighbors — or anyone else — to know about it. For this factor, a lower number is better.

“When picking a location and setting up your [marijuana] garden, remember to plan for security. This means keeping people from finding it, and keeping animals out,” according to Marijuana Growers Headquarters. “Visible plants will bring unwanted attention.”

Legalization of medical marijuana and legalization of recreational marijuana

If a metro area is in a state where medical marijuana is legal, it got a 5 percent bump. If it’s in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it got another 5 percent bump. A state’s stance on marijuana legalization is one barometer of its attitude toward growing pot outdoors.

Seizure of marijuana plants grown outdoors

Using 2015 data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, we calculated the number of people per outdoor marijuana plant seized in each state. While it may seem counterintuitive, a higher number is better for this factor, as it indicates favorable growing conditions for marijuana.

Growing marijuana outdoors is prohibited in Sacramento, CA.
Photo: Flickr/Jeff Turner

Top Pot Spots

Once we weighed the seven factors for the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., Sacramento, CA, claimed the top pot spot. However, this doesn’t mean you immediately should begin cultivating pot plants if you’re in the Sacramento area.

Generally, growing marijuana outdoors is frowned upon in the Sacramento area. City of Sacramento code “prohibits outdoor cultivation of all kinds of marijuana, but it allows indoor cultivation of medical marijuana under certain circumstances.” In suburban Folsom , growing marijuana indoors or outdoors is banned.

Passage of the Sacramento ordinance in February made the city the largest city in California to embrace large-scale cultivation of medical marijuana, according to local TV station KCRA.

“It’s phenomenal that a conservative town like Sacramento chose to recognize this industry instead of pretending that it’s not there like a lot of other local governments do,” Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association , told KCRA.

With Sacramento at the front of the pack, here’s our ranking of the 12 Best Cities for Growing Marijuana Outdoors.

1. Sacramento, CA

Average annual sunshine: 78%
Average annual precipitation: 34.3 inches
Average annual high temperature: 74 degrees
Population density per square mile: 3,660
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 16.3

2. Memphis, TN

Average annual sunshine: 64%
Average annual precipitation: 53.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 73 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,132
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 6.8

3. Providence, RI

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 47 inches
Average annual high temperature: 61 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,185
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 55,968

4. Nashville, TN

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 47.3 inches
Average annual high temperature: 70
Population density per square mile: 1,721
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 6.8

5. Hartford, CT

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 45.9 inches
Average annual high temperature: 61 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,792
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 9,160

6. Louisville, KY

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 44.9 inches
Average annual high temperature: 68 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,040
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 7.8

7. Richmond, VA

Average annual sunshine: 63%
Average annual precipitation: 43.6 inches
Average annual high temperature: 70
Population density per square mile: 1,937
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 233.3

8. Boston, MA

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 43.8 inches
Average annual high temperature: 59 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,232
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 2,165.2

9. Charlotte, NC

Average annual sunshine: 62%
Average annual precipitation: 42 inches
Average annual high temperature: 71 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,685
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 4,087.4

10. Atlanta, GA

Average annual sunshine: 60%
Average annual precipitation: 49.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 72 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,707
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 212

11. Indianapolis, IN

Average annual sunshine: 55%
Average annual precipitation: 42.4 inches
Average annual high temperature: 63 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,108
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 124

12. Birmingham, AL

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 53.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 74 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,414
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 350.3

Sacramento, CA, tops our ranking of the best places for growing marijuana outside.

Best Place to Grow Cannabis in the House?

Let’s look at your options. What places do you have available in your home to grow? This tutorial will help you figure out the best place to grow your cannabis plants indoors. Taking a little time to plan your grow now can make things a lot easier for you down the road!

Here are some the most common places growers put their plants:

  • Closet
  • Bedroom (in a grow tent)
  • Spare Room
  • Spare Bathroom (easy access to water and a drain)
  • Garage
  • Cellar or Basement
  • Attic

Now that you’re thinking about the possibilities, let’s look into important factors to help you narrow it down.

1.) Security & Concealment

Even if growing cannabis is legal where you live, security and concealment are still something to consider. If you can help it, you don’t want to attract potential thieves, gain the attention of overzealous law enforcement, or annoy your neighbors. Keeping your grow private is a good idea even though you’re not doing anything wrong.

  • Is this location easy to hide?
  • Will guests be able to wander in or notice something fishy?
  • If light spills out, will it look suspicious?

Total security failure!

2.) Heat & Ventilation

Most grow lights get at least a little hot. Therefore, unless you have a relatively small light or your grow space is naturally cold, you likely will want to find a way to vent out heat.

  • Is there a window to vent heat?
  • Is there another place I could vent hot humid air safely?
  • If I vent directly in the room, would it matter if the temperature went up several degrees while lights are on?

A private window is often the best place to vent heat, but sometimes that’s not an option. I live in a condo with very public windows, so right now I actually vent the heat from my grow lights directly into the room. This raises the temperature by several degrees when the room is closed up, though has much less of an effect on the temperature when the window or door is open. It’s possible to vent heat directly out a window without anyone outside being able to tell, but it takes a bit of DIY (Do It Yourself) creativity.

A window fan pointing out can make a big difference if your grow lights raise the temperature of a room by a few degrees

3.) Space

Think about the places in the house with enough space for plants. Extra space is always nice! I recommend first-time growers start with a 2’x4’x6′ grow tent if possible. That gives you easy access to all your plants and plenty of height. Think about the places in the house that would accommodate that size tent. I have a tent that size in my bedroom, and it sort of looks like a clothes wardrobe at first glance.

This is a 2’x2’x3′ grow tent on left and 2’x4’x5′ grow tent on right

  1. Micro Grows, Stealth Boxes, and Mini Tents (smaller than 2’x4′ or 3’x3′) – yields up to several ounces
  2. Small Tents and Cabinets (around 2’x4′ or 3’x3′) – yields up to about a pound
  3. Large Tent – (larger than 3’x3’, but no larger than a 5’x5’) – yields up to about a max of 3 lbs
  4. Rooms or Extra Large Tents – (larger than 5′ x 5′) – can yield many pounds at a time

As far as height…

  • 3-4 feet of height – suitable for a mini grow (and that’s pushing it); can yield up to several ounces in a 2’x2′ space
  • 4-5 feet of height – for a small grow, could yield several ounces, possibly up to about a pound with expert care in a 2’x4′ or 3’x3′ space
  • 5-7+ feet of height (recommended for beginners) – having 5 or even better 6+ feet of height will make things much easier on you. This is because you usually won’t have to worry as much about your plants getting too tall. You don’t necessarily need all this height, but it’s nice!

If you’re not sure, I highly recommend a 2’x4’x6′ grow tent for beginners. It’s small enough that you have easy access to all your plants but big enough that you don’t need to worry about height and can harvest up to a pound of buds (or even more) if you use it correctly.

Best Place to Grow Cannabis in the House? Let’s look at your options. What places do you have available in your home to grow? This tutorial will help you figure out the best place to grow your ]]>