(Seth A. McConnell, Denver Post file)

Cannabist Q&A: Growing season, medical card residency, sexy strains

Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 64-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at askthecannabist@gmail.com.

Hey, Cannabist!
Can cannabis be grown to flowering outdoors in Colorado, or do September temperatures cause the plants to freeze first?  Or, are there mechanisms, besides daylight hours, that govern the flowering process? –Greenhorn Green Thumb

Hey, Greenhorn!
Yes, cannabis can be grown outside in Colorado in the summer. (Here’s a refresher on the law about spaces for growing marijuana.) I asked Justin Griswell, the blue-ribbon winner for best household marijuana plant at this year’s Denver County Fair, for his thoughts on the topic. Griswell, also known as Dr. Grow, teaches home cultivation classes and has written several grow books.

The growing season in Denver is approximately 160 days. Griswell says indica strains have a growing season of 115 to 130 days and sativa strains mature in 145 to 165 days, depending on the specific genetics. The first frost will happen in late September or early October. The first frost is not too concerning, Griswell says, because the frost is usually light. Gardeners need to be concerned about hard frosts (a.k.a. killing frosts), which damage plants. With the turn of the seasons, watch the weather forecasts closely and if a frost is predicted, put a sheet or blanket over the plants overnight, like you would with tomatoes, so the plants retain ground heat.  Plants should be harvested by the second or third frost.

Besides daylight hours, Griswell points out the flowering process can be governed by auto-flowering genetics. Ruderalis strains grow for 30 days and then flower for 30 days. Ruderalis strains have been genetically developed in Europe over the past ten years from European, Russian and Chinese strains, according to Griswell.  These  new strains were higher in cannabidiol (CBD) than THC and had limited appeal to recreational  consumers. Strains are now being developed with higher THC content. Ruderalis genetics are not commonly found in Colorado. XO

More on growing
Home growing: Yes, it’s called weed, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to grow. Professional growers give an overview of the costs and logistics, the botany, the harvest and more.
Direct from Amsterdam: Five tips on growing your own marijuana at home

Hey, Cannabist!
You are doing a great service to Coloradans and everyone who reads The Cannabist. My wife and I are considering retiring to Colorado.  How long does one have to be a resident before obtaining a medical marijuana card?  I see that you can become a new resident of Colorado after living there for 90 days, but I haven’t found if there is any rule about the medical cards. Thanks, and keep up the good work! –Texas Twistem 

Hey, Tex!
Flattery will get your question answered, pronto!  There is no waiting period.  I double-checked with marijuana attorney Warren Edson and Mark Salley, public information officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Both  confirm there is no waiting period.  A patient applying for a medical marijuana card in Colorado has to show proof of Colorado residency, for example, a utility bill or government-issued benefit letters or retirement statements, among other documents. Once residency is established, you can apply for the program.

Find the list of documents required on the state public health website, including the registry application, a physician authorization form and the $15 license fee. XO

100 questions about legal marijuana: Your go-to source for Colorado info, broken down into topics. Learn more about buying weed; the rules and regs (including medical marijuana); and the industry itself

Hey, Cannabist!
Hi, I am relatively new to marijuana and am looking for a strain that gives the effect of being very horny. Can you recommend the variety I should look for? –Randy Reefer

Hey, Randy!
Sex strains, what an arousing topic!  Since you are looking for “very horny” strains, I sought out the recommendations of Lisa “Mamakind” Kirkman, the Calgary, Alberta-based author of “Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Gettin’ It On,” which got a shout-out in Penthouse.

Kirkman suggests to look for varieties with a maximum hybrid ratio of 70/30 percent. Hybrids are better than 100 percent pure strains for beginners and occasional users to help avoid extreme effects of indicas (sleepiness) and sativas (paranoia).  With a hybrid, according to Kirkman, the indica relaxes and the sativa gives an energy boost.

The Sex Pot author’s favorite sexy strains include CannaSutra, Passion Queen and Strawberry Haze, as well as Flo, Skunk #1 and Blueberry.  I hope this info points you in the right direction! XO

Hybrid strain reviews: Like to mix up your sativas and indicas? Check out our hybrid reviews — Headband, Bruce Banner #3, Girl Scout Cookies, Poochie Love, Grape Stomper and more