The 2017 Ultimate Grow Guide: Soil vs. Hydro

When it comes to the age-old debate over whether it’s better to grow cannabis in soil, or to grow the plant hydroponically, what we’re really talking about in 2017 is outdoor versus indoor growing. Why, you might ask? Simply put, it’s because no one actually grows indoors using real topsoil anymore, as our indoor “soils” are really soilless mixes that are coco-, peat- or sphagnum-based. And, technically speaking, these soilless mixes are, by definition, hydroponic mediums; today, the only real earth soil used is in outdoor gardens. So let’s examine the pros and cons associated with both growing outdoors in soil and growing indoors in hydroponic mediums.

Indoor hydro growers like this NorCal operation use “soilless” mediums. (Photo by Nico Escondido)

Yield vs. Quality

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Report: Dirty, Contaminated Weed Still Being Sold in Oregon

Consumer safety is an eternal concern in every legal industry. Legal marijuana is no exception. If anything, cannabis marketplace regulators have struggled to ensure products that reach consumers meet safety standards and are not tainted with potentially harmful contaminants, like pesticides and mold.

For now, cannabis users in Oregon enjoy the strictest safety standards in America—although proposed pesticide regulations in California, currently being debated and up for approval later this summer, are even stricter. Some marijuana industry figures and cannabis advocates complain that California’s proposed rules, which could cost upwards of $400 per pound of processed pot to implement, are too strict.  

But judging by the ongoing situation in Oregon, where contaminated marijuana continues to elude testing and ends up in the hands (and lungs) of consumers, standards may not be strict enough. 

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Florida Strip Club Owner Files Lawsuit to Allow Home Marijuana Cultivation

In an attempt to strengthen Florida’s newly designed medical marijuana program, a Tampa strip club entrepreneur has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health in hopes of being given the freedom to grow cannabis plants at home for personal use.

It was just weeks ago that state lawmakers finally came to terms during a special session on the regulations connected to the state’s medical marijuana law.

But now strip club owner Count Joe Redner, a man no stranger to battling it out in court over unconstitutional issues, wants health officials to take it up a notch by allowing patients qualified for participation in the program to have permission to cultivate their own weed.

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Fentanyl in Marijuana? Probable Reefer Madness

One of the most timely arguments for marijuana legalization is the drug overdose crisis ripping through every corner of America.

More than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015, more than any other year on record. The 2016 death toll hasn’t yet been released, but all indications are that it will be even higher.

Most of the deaths, and the meteoric rise in overdose deaths year-over-year, are attributed to synthetic opiates like fentanyl and carfentanil—both of which are many times stronger than heroin, and both of which are easily acquired from clandestine labs overseas via online drug marketplaces on the dark web.

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Mexico Legalized Medical Marijuana—Heres Exactly What That Means

American exceptionalism is strong, for none of the right reasons. As of Monday, the United States is the only country in North America where the federal government believes cannabis can in no circumstances be medicine.

Since 2013, Canada’s health authority has offered federal licenses to medical marijuana cultivators and providers, who can then provide cannabis to qualified patients without any of the risk or legal gray areas seen in America.

Mexico’s Health Ministry is now poised to follow suit, after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed an executive a decree on Monday legalizing medical marijuana in the country.

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Why Hemp Could Be The Future Of Plastics

This article was originally published on Benzinga, and updated for exclusive re-publication on HIGH TIMES.

Leslie Bocskor, investment banker and president of cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners, is one of the most passionate people in the cannabis industry that Benzinga has come across. In a recent chat, the site’s Javier Hasse asked him to discuss a topic he was passionate about, an issue he found particularly interesting.

Bocskor recently became fascinated with hemp. Not cannabis, but good old-fashioned hemp, the kind that was used to make fabrics in the 19th century.

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PNC Bank Starts Closing Marijuana Accounts—Advocates Blame Sessions

Fearing that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make good on his threat to impose a crackdown on the legal cannabis trade, PNC Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, has decided to sever all ties with any organization connected to marijuana.

According to the Washington Post, PNC recently told national marijuana advocacy group, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), that it was permanently terminating its accounts because an internal audit showed the group distributes funds to assist in efforts to legalize marijuana.

‘‘They told me it is too risky. The bank can’t assume the risk,’’ said Nick Field, MPP’s chief operating officer.

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Cali May Allow County Fair Vendors To Sell Pot Alongside Cotton Candy

Photo by Justin Cannabis.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? County fairs are usually known for their cherry pie baking competitions or hot dog eating contests, but leave it to California to ponder allowing cannabis booths alongside the corn dogs and cotton candy.

According to the Golden State’s recently passed Senate Bill 94 which regulates adult-use marijuana and is attached to California’s budget, weed companies can apply for a temporary licenses to sell their products at fairgrounds.

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The Latest: Nevada Says State Determined to Meet July 1 Deadline

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on the legal battle over the licensing of marijuana businesses necessary for existing medical dispensaries to begin selling pot for recreational use on July 1 (all times local, PDT):

5:15 p.m.

Nevada’s marijuana regulators remain determined to launch the state’s first sales of recreational pot at existing medical dispensaries on July 1. But they acknowledge they aren’t sure that will happen after a judge extended a temporary order Tuesday preventing the state from issuing distribution licenses to existing marijuana businesses.

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How Canada and Uruguay Are Challenging International Pot Laws

Photo by Vortex Farmacy. 

President Donald Trump and his Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have more in common than a Mad Men-level iron grip. Both world leaders have proven willing to buck the international order and be North American mavericks: Trump, on climate change; Trudeau, on legalizing weed.

On June 1, Trump announced the United States’ impending exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, a move the New York Times called a “remarkable rebuke” to the rest of the world, as well as an exercise in pure denial. (Meanwhile, on Monday, as a record-setting deadly heatwave descended on most of the western United States, Energy Secretary Rick Perry went on CNBC to deny any link between carbon emissions and an undeniable, drastic shift in temperatures.)

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