Inside a Marijuana Home Grow House

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Jun 21, 2007
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Medical marijuana is now legal in Arizona, and while it'll be a while before we see stores selling pot to patients, there are already a lot of people growing their own weed -- something that's allowed under the new law.

As you're about to find out, it's a complex process. Go inside this marijuana growing operation -- this home-made structure is covered with white plastic sheets and filled with dozens of pot plants.

Each one requires an incredible amount of attention. The room is temperature controlled to about 74 or 75 degrees, and they like a PH level a little below 7.

"I use reverse osmosis water," says our pot farmer. He gets extra carbon dioxide pumped in.

He also plays classical music inside.

"Well they say it helps plants grow, creates a more relaxing atmosphere for them."

The man who runs this grow operation asked us not to reveal his identity for security reasons. His neighbors have no idea about the elaborate set up he built in his garage.

He spends 4 hours a day tending to these marijuana plants.

"It takes a lot of time effort, money and dedication. People call it a weed it's not a weed you'd kill these things so simple."

This is all legal under Arizona's medical marijuana law. Until dispensaries open up, people approved by the state can grow pot for up to 5 patients. They're called caregivers.

This man told us he started growing at home to help out his sister, who suffers from Crohn's disease. She's going through chemo, and uses marijuana to build up an appetite.

"She went from 125 pounds to in the 90s and doesn't seem to be getting any better, so I had to do something. Cause at that rate how long can a person last?"

Our pot farmer grows a number of different strains, with colorful names.

"Candy kush. This is big bang. This is cali hash. This is mister nice sh&#. This is blue venom."

Once they're harvested and dried out, these are some pricey plants. An entire marijuana plant could probably sell for about $1,000 on the black market, but this caregiver isn't harvesting these buds to make a buck.

He's not allowed to turn a profit on his pot, according to state law. He can only be reimbursed by his patients for the thousands of dollars he spends to grow.

Don Herrington is with the Arizona Health Department. He says about 1,000 people are licensed to grow medical marijuana at home. They are all registered with the state, but they aren't necessarily being monitored.

"They have to grow it inside a locked area of their home," says Herrington. "We know who they will be because of the application process but no we don't have a home inspection type program set up."

The private growers will have to shut down their operations once marijuana dispensaries start to open their doors.

"At that point when they get renewed, they'll have to stop home cultivation if they're within 25 miles of a dispensary."

This caregiver says he eventually wants to work for a professional dispensary on a large-scale growing operation. He's confident medical marijuana will only be going to those who truly need it.

The state will be inspecting dispensaries once they come on-line later this year. But in the meantime these private operations will produce everything. The state expects to see marijuana dispensaries up and running by about September.


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