growing pot
October 15, 2006 2:35 PM   Subscribe

how long can you keep marijuana seeds before planting them?

also, i heard that the main way authorities discover that you're growing is through tracking peaks in your electricity bill? is that true? if i live in an apartment building where utilties are covered, will anyone be able to know who is and isn't growing marijuana?
posted by defmute to Law & Government (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The reason that they can track your electricity usage is that people who are growing marijuana are typically running growlights on them, which use a bunch of power.

If you're just growing for personal use, and not running an drug growing business out of your house, no one is going to notice a single growlight. When you start having 100 x 100W bulbs running 12-18 hours a day, people start to notice.
posted by gregschoen at 2:55 PM on October 15, 2006

Does the meter reader need to come into your apartment to read the meter? In my area, readers are trained to recognize marijuana plants, so that they can report it.
posted by xsquared-1 at 2:56 PM on October 15, 2006

And marijuana seeds tend not to germinate properly after a couple years, but are generally fine up until that point. I know someone who has gotten about a 35% germination rate out of two and a half year old seeds.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on October 15, 2006

And to further answer your question, most of the time, yes, your apartment probably has a system in place to see which people are using the most power. They are going to notice if their powerbill goes up a hundred dollars or more, and investigate what is going on.
posted by gregschoen at 2:57 PM on October 15, 2006

I did some quick math. Assuming a 350w bulb and average electricity costs it won't be more than leaving the lights on in the kitchen and living room all the time. Maybe a couple hundred dollars over a grow cycle? Maybe? Depends on how strict your landlord is, though there are many plausible explanations for the increase.
posted by geoff. at 3:04 PM on October 15, 2006

But having grow-lights isn't illegal, and may not even be a lease violation. Grow some other plants and see what, if anything, happens.
posted by dendrite at 3:06 PM on October 15, 2006

...will anyone be able to know who is and isn't growing marijuana Um, not to be snarky but if this is for yourself that you're asking this question, maybe anyone who's inclined to read your blog, which is listed in your Mefi Profile? Discretion, brother!
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:10 PM on October 15, 2006

Growing marijuana plants (especially if given loads of nutrients) will have a rather strong odour aroma.

Grow ops in apartment buildings is not the brightest idea, especially if law enforcement is strict and/or you have nosey neighbours.

Locally, it's slightly harder to get hydro weed during the summer*. Lots of growers stop indoor operations during the summer months (electricity use can be 'hidden' with heating/lighting use of electricity during the cooler/darker months; very few residences here have summer-time air conditioning).

*During the summer it's more common to see high-powered weed grown in the BC interior.)
posted by porpoise at 3:40 PM on October 15, 2006

Indoor dope growing gives off a characteristic odor. In the U.S., if somebody narcs you out, and a trained drug dog alerts outside your door, that is probable cause for obtaining a search warrant. Although states generally prosecute small grower infractions, one moderate sized plant found in a search is technically enough weight to subject you to federal trafficking penalties. First offense, for one plant? Up to 5 years and up to $250,000.

New York State houses about 19,000 prisoners, about 1/3 of all inmates, on drug convictions, many of which were small marijuana growers.
posted by paulsc at 4:01 PM on October 15, 2006

I know someone who's grown some seeds that were sitting around for about a year, and got >80% germination, but this person also tried growing some more of these seeds six months later and they pretty much all failed.
posted by Jimbob at 5:22 PM on October 15, 2006

There was recently a bust in Dallas where they discovered the growers by smell. Pot, especially good pot, has a very distinct smell, and anyone who has ever smelled a skunk and thought, "Wow, I wonder who's growing around here", knows that of which I speak.

For a plant to yield a worthwhile crop, it's going to have to be big. Bigger than a houseplant. Not an easy thing to hide...giant, skunk smelling, bud laden tree of happiness. Also, the giggling tends to give one away.

While the temptation may be strong, the penalties are harsh and unreasonable. I would weigh the two strongly, were I you.
posted by dejah420 at 8:24 PM on October 15, 2006

For those mentioning the smell of the plant... presuming the grower was growing for their own consumption, wouldn't they already be theoretically smoking on the premises any way? If I ever smelled pot in my apartment hallway, my first thought would be "man, the stoner neighbours are tokin' again", not "uh oh! Grow op!" - or is the smell different?
posted by antifuse at 4:32 AM on October 16, 2006

If you don't already know the answers to these questions you're a long way from growing your own weed successfully and not getting caught.
posted by killyb at 9:04 AM on October 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

and antifuse, a much diff smell. Even during the drying phase there's a slightly more nutty aroma, but it all depends on the strain!
posted by killyb at 9:05 AM on October 16, 2006

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