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Bumper outdoor pot crop predicted for Island growers

By admin | September 30, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bumper outdoor pot crop predicted for Island growers

Weather conditions good as harvest nears

Dustin Walker
The Victoria Times Colonist

NANAIMO — After a couple years of dismal outdoor marijuana harvests due to rainy weather, Vancouver Island could see a bumper crop this fall.

Some growers have already harvested their pot plants, often hidden deep in the woods. But the optimal time to harvest marijuana is normally the first week of October, said Ted Smith, who teaches a free course about hemp and cannabis — called Hempology 101 — at the University of Victoria. He thinks if current weather holds for the next few weeks, this season will mark the start of the crop’s recovery on the Island.

Vancouver Island’s mild climate often provides ideal conditions for growing marijuana, but the past two years have been hit with rainy summers and little sunlight, which can cause plants to rot.

This has led to more people growing pot indoors, instead of going through the hassle of tending to an outdoor crop, Smith said.

“There haven’t been a lot of new people getting into [growing pot outdoors]. There might be more next year, with this year kind of recovering,” Smith said.

In the Nanaimo area, police have noticed more outdoor marijuana-growing operations this year compared to previous years, Const. Gary O’Brien said. In July, police busted an 800-plant outdoor growing operation in the Bowser area west of Parksville.

“It was quite a significant year for outdoor grows,” he said. “Weather was a factor this year.”

Although indoor operations can lead to fires and other public safety risks, O’Brien said, outdoor operations aren’t any safer. Unsuspecting hikers can stumble onto booby-traps left by growers to protect their crops, he said.

But Nanaimo marijuana advocate Richard Payne said organized gangs are usually the only ones who go to such lengths. The “common guy” who grows pot on the Island would usually have just 20-30 plants.

Both Smith and Payne said people who grow marijuana in the woods worry more about animals munching on their plants or thieves finding them than police confiscating the pot.

“Far more plants are stolen every year by thieves than police actually get. The bush in general is seeing a lot more people out and about,” said Smith.

“It’s a really stressful thing, growing, at times because you’re always worried about who’s going to rip you off,” said Payne.

Although it has its challenges, Smith said people will never stop growing marijuana in the forests of Vancouver Island.

“Outdoor is always going to have its fans. It’s easy, you don’t need to be paying rent and deal with a whole bunch of other factors.”



The above article was also published in the Nanaimo Daily News

Growers expect bumper pot crop


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