Say hello to my friendly neighbourhood cannabis plant

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Say hello to my little friend. Her name is Afghani Kush. She’s about six weeks old. She’s small for her size, but that’s partly because she was grown from seed outside and late May and June were not the most hospitable months for weather.

Canadians across the country are enjoying the wonders of growing weed for the first time and are beginning to see the fruits of their labour. That usually doesn’t involve much when it comes to growing cannabis outdoors, except ample water, sunlight and keeping the squirrels and other wildlife at bay. (Pro tip: pepper works pretty well for keeping small animals away). It’s one of the challenges of growing weed in the city. 

But the fact that thousands of Canadians are taking a hand in cannabis cultivation is creating another (perhaps unintended) consequence. We’re talking about the plant with our kids and neighbours. I’m not sure if this is what Trudeau and the Liberals had in mind when they legalized it. The plant does have a power of its own. 

And this summer’s first full-fledged growing season post-lockdown is helping to lift the stigma and grow acceptance of marijuana for all its many uses, including recreational. Across backyards in middle Canada – and elsewhere – there’s a new whiff about cannabis now. Call it a summer surprise or coming out. 

I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to plant a seed in the ground. I’d anticipated questions – and some sideways glances from my teenage kids, who tend to view “the devil’s lettuce” somewhat derisively as “a boomer thing.” For the record, I’m not a boomer, and they think the plant is “very pretty.”

But one of the more liberating things about growing pot has been being able to talk about the plant, right alongside the Three Sisters and tomatoes its growing next to in my fledgling garden.

Cannabis is not something that should be feared. Like the millions of other plants that grow on the planet, it’s been used as food, medicine and enjoyment for thousands of years. The fact it was made illegal in the first place has finally been (mostly) exposed as a travesty of justice. 

The human body’s endocannabinoid system is actually wired to receive all the benefits moderate use of cannabis can offer. It’s a wonderful thing. Pass it on. Because it’s only a matter of time before growing psychedelics may be the subject of discussion with our neighbours. 

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