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Exploring the World of Legal Marijuana Growing

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Inside a NorCal grow house (Photo: spotreporting via Flickr)

Inside a NorCal grow house (Photo: spotreporting via Flickr)
In what used to be her daughter's bedroom, Joanne Clarke of Costa Mesa, is now raising marijuana plants. She opened up her home to reporter for a piece on the current crop of legal at-home growers of the medicinal plant, which is published in today's LA Times.The scene, as described:

What had been a teenager's tropical-themed room is now a beaming, humming, indoor plant laboratory complete with silver reflective bubble wrap on the walls, blinding grow lights, ventilation ducts hanging from the ceiling and marijuana plants in various stages of development neatly labeled with names such as Platinum Kush, Purple Diesel and Blue Cheese.

Clarke and her husband have a permit to grow the plant, but haven't let many people into the room itself. While Mrs. Clarke finds using the crop in capsules is therapeutic for her arthritis, Mr. Clarke gets his reward from gardening in the "fantasy land" space. Unlike gardeners, however, whose work is clearly visible on the front lawn and who might want to show off by including their home on a tour of gardens, the work of the Clarkes, and others like them, is typically kept hidden. There's the issue of light and heat control--scientific matters for crop cultivation--and then the issue of risk, like being judged despite the legality of the grow, or by people who might want to break in to steal plants or product.

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With Prop 19 on the November ballot, and city councils all over California grappling with the business of marijuana, it's an interesting time to explore the world of legal marijuana. The Times piece mentions two Orange County-based companies who consult on building grow rooms, and a marijuana activist who teaches here in L.A. and in Oakland. But if you've got a permit to grow, don't call up a UC Master Gardener; their policy says no pot talk.