In Italy, light marijuana is a constantly developing phenomenon that offers new possibilities of use and new outlets for the market and industrial production. “Light” hemp is made up of cannabis sativa inflorescences characterized by a THC content of less than 0.2% (but THC levels of up to 0.6% are tolerated)
The cultivation in our country of the so-called "legal weed" was made possible by the enactment of Law 242/2016, which came into force in January 2017.
Further clarifications on the rules for implementing this law were provided by the Ministry of Agricultural Policies in the circular on cultivation methods and floriculture rules. Many entrepreneurs have grasped the potential of growing light cannabis, the use of which, on an industrial level, is varied and profitable . It can be used for the production of textile fibres, but also for cosmetics and biodegradable raw materials.
Furthermore, domestic use is permitted, but let's see in detail the simple rules and precautions to follow to start the cultivation of hemp plants, at an industrial level for self-consumption.
Rules for growing light cannabis
- a variety of hemp is defined as "light" when it does not exceed the THC level required by Law 242/2016 , equal to 0.2% . This is currently the only type of hemp that is allowed to be sold, consumed and cultivated without the need for specific permits.
- Cultivations may be subject to checks by the police, in the case of random tests, the grower is not prosecuted if the marijuana plants show a THC level lower than 0.6%.
-In the event that hemp plants exceed the THC limits permitted by law (0.6%), the police will be able to seize the product and arrange for its destruction.
-Certified seeds must be purchased from authorized retailers and only hemp varieties present in the Common Catalog of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species established by the European Union are considered legal.
-The grower must keep the seed tags and related documentation for a period of at least 12 months .
-It is possible to import seeds from abroad , as long as they comply with European regulations on seed trade.
- It is not allowed to reseed the seeds obtained from your own collection, but you must purchase them again from an authorized retailer.
- It is advisable to report the presence of light cannabis cultivation at the local police station.
By following the rules listed here, you can start your own cultivation by choosing whether to dedicate yourself to the production of industrial hemp, or whether to limit yourself to domestic use.
Types of light cannabis cultivation: outdoor or indoor.
If you intend to try your hand at intensive cannabis cultivation and have decided to do so using agricultural fields, you can do so with a not too high initial investment. What is needed is a well-sunny space to plow and sow with certified seeds. It is also necessary to have a shed where the harvest can be stored to dry and where the final stages of its processing can be carried out.
Hemp plants are resistant and do not need particular care, however a "drip" irrigation system is recommended which allows constant water reception.
Growing marijuana is very effective in rotational cultivation. Its presence, in fact, improves the yield of the land for subsequent crops. A factor not to be underestimated in the agricultural sector. The disadvantage of outdoor cultivation lies in the lack of control over every phase of the plant growth process. They can be damaged by atmospheric agents such as too much rain or the persistence of a cloudy climate. Like many crops, then, hemp suffers from sudden changes in temperature.
To conclude, outdoor cultivation of industrial hemp involves only one harvest per year, during the summer period. Its income is therefore also commensurate with the extension of the crop, as well as the quality of the seeds and the processing of the inflorescences.
The manpower required in this sector is quite substantial. To increase the quality, and therefore the value, of your product, you can carry out the phases of cleaning the plant and harvesting the inflorescences entirely by hand. The results are guaranteed.
Indoor cultivation is compatible with all hemp varieties required by European regulations. It involves a rather high initial investment, especially if you focus on the quality of the cultivation means (LED lights, irrigation system, fans), with the possibility, however, of having full control of all phases of plant growth and optimizing them. the surrender.
If you focus on medium or large cultivations, you can use large sheds or, even better, engage in the construction of special greenhouses, which are also controlled environments and which allow significant energy savings.
The first thing you should equip yourself with is a pot for each seed you intend to plant. After having located the suitable place and having ordered the established quantity of seeds (always remembering to keep the billing documents and the seed tag), you must choose the tools that allow the correct growth of the plant even inside a closed place .
The purchase of plant lamps is crucial: the most suitable are the LED ones which allow significant energy savings during their use. They reproduce, on a smaller scale, the beneficial effect of the sun's rays, without the atmospheric unpredictability to which outdoor crops are subject. The LED lights are equipped with special timers that allow you to adjust the lighting so that 12 hours of light alternate with 12 hours of darkness. Greenhouse cultivation is excellent because it allows you to alternate the use of lamps with the direct effect of the sun's rays.
Furthermore, the environment must be constantly ventilated since the lack of oxygen has a negative effect on the growth of plants. The problem can be solved by purchasing special fans for oxygenation . Humidity must also be kept constantly under control, as must the temperature (the ideal would be to keep it at a constant 27°).
As in outdoor cultivation, even in indoor cultivation, it is preferable to install a drip irrigation system. The last choice to make is the composition and quality of soil that can be purchased on the market with various mixes of nutrients, depending on our needs.
For self-consumption and small-scale production (inside your home) it is useful to follow the few simple rules that were listed previously. As in the case of industrial production, even to grow a few plants on the counter at home, you do not need to request special permits. The certified seeds can be planted in pots and exposed directly to the air and to the maximum possible light, or introduced into special grow boxes with reflective interiors: miniature grow rooms that allow you to amplify the effects of the LED lights on the entire surface of the plants . Also in this case it is advisable to use fans to ventilate the environment.
In Italy, in 2018 alone, more than 8000 hectares were dedicated to the cultivation of hemp, from north to south, and it is expected that this figure will be surpassed during this year.
Light marijuana presents itself as a resistant plant with multiple uses which, if grown with the right preparation and entrepreneurial spirit, can ensure consistent and safe earnings. Its market, in fact, is constantly expanding and there is continuous research for new uses and new outlets for its marketing and transformation into modern and captivating industrial products.