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Dangers of growing indoors and why people grow for themselves.

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Many people have not waited for guidance and regulations from NYS to start their own home grow. Plenty of local enthusiasts took that March 31st 2021 date and just ran with it. While medical home grow was just regulated as of October 5th 2022, is still currently illegal to cultivate cannabis at home for recreational purposes. Some simply want to control the quality of their own medicine and put seeds into dirt. Thanks to websites, such as Youtube, and grow guides found at people’s local libraries, many jumped right in despite the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) asking people to wait until 18 months after the first dispensary opens in New York to start recreational home grow - though there is still no projected date for legal dispensaries available. In addition, the market is absolutely flooded right now with cheap cannabis, so why grow for yourself when you can obtain it with relative ease?

When a local cannabis group, WNY Cannabis Society was polled, members say they are concerned with the quality of their medicine. Much of the cannabis coming in through the gray market is untested and often products that have been rejected by legal outlets for whatever reason, possibly even due to dangerous contaminants being discovered and then not allowed to be sold. “When it comes to growing your own (cannabis), you are in full control over what goes into your medicine” comment submitted anonymously on why they choose to grow their own cannabis. Also, many new growers are simply excited they can finally grow seemingly without risk of repercussions. Local law enforcement doesn’t see cannabis being a HUGE issue, and simply lack the desire or direction to enforce current laws.

Which leaves us with… what’s the big deal if people want to grow cannabis? There are several immediate concerns to address when it comes to growing cannabis and several more when considering THC dominant, non-hemp classified cannabis. When a grower seeks to grow indoors, they are able to control the environment to their exacting standards. Things such as humidity, light, air flow in addition to their growing medium and genetics are all things that are considered. Something that often isn’t considered are the safety implications. We’re talking about moving many electrical devices into a small, enclosed space that requires daily watering and there’s certainly an inherent safety risk when these factors are calculated. Often home growers look for inexpensive options for home grows and that could lead to poorly crafted LED lighting which can short circuit, possibly leading to fires. After I discussed these things with a local EMT and volunteer firefighter, he commented saying, “sounds like home grows could potentially be dangerous when you take in to consideration all that’s needed to grow plants indoors” He even mentioned that an LED light he personally installed in his kitchen caught fire recently and it was pretty embarrassing for him, as a volunteer fireman, to have a fire in his own home! As more people are legally allowed to grow cannabis in their own homes, we as a community must take steps to address and reduce the risks associated with indoor growing. Educating our community members is a must and giving fire companies the information they need can save lives and prevent property damage if proper steps are taken to mitigate risk.

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