Going to Pot: The Stoned Age

By —— Bio and Archives--March 29, 2017

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When—not if—Canada’s government legalizes recreational use of marijuana, gardeners will enter a new era.

Decades ago potted plants, usually sold for home d√©cor, became termed ‘pot plants.’ These have also been referred to as ‘houseplants,’ but with the advent of their becoming popular for offices and other commercial spaces, ‘indoor plants’ perhaps fits the bill better.

No matter. Time and again the seeds of change have swept amateur and professional alike. In the mid-nineteenth century, the director of Kew cursed carpet bedding. His staff had been forced to follow the rich in these elaborate plantings of annuals. Up to a short while ago, municipal parks departments followed the fashion until, once again, practices—and financial support—changed. More terminology went to pot, as you might say.

In fact, many of what were retailed as ‘annuals’ are now said to be ‘tender tropical perennials’ as many a home gardener learnt that they could be saved indoors for the following season. No signs yet, however, what that old favourite Calendula, popularly known as ‘pot marigold,’ will be renamed. You’ll just have to take pot luck on that one.

Hints from the highest places in Ottawa indicate home cultivation of cannabis will be limited to four plants under a metre in height. Where the seed or small plants (pot plants?) will come from is, as we go to press, unknown. Will garden centres be permitted to retail these to those of age? If not, indications from those jurisdictions in the United States were cannabis has been legalized, specialized LED lighting and hydroponic equipment will become more widely available. Entrepreneurs are reported to be blending special growing mixes for those wishing more traditional cultural practices.

Bigger garden centres and chain stores may—or may not—choose to have skilled technicians on hand to advice. Such employment opportunities have boomed in the United States wherever cannabis is commercially and legally raised. Possibly courses be offered at community colleges on home growing.

If and how municipalities will regulate all this is shaping up to be something of a potboiler. Just what control they will be permitted by Ottawa remains to be announced. Whatever that is, it is almost sure to be contested through the courts, so expanding opportunities for the legal profession.

Perhaps as early as this month, the federal government will come to decisions of these and other questions. A major concern is marijuana-impaired driving, already reportedly on the rise. How will strains extremely high in THC be treated? How will edible products be controlled? Well, it is too late to piss or get off the pot . . .

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Wes Porter -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.

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