WASHINGTON – In the District of Columbia, closet smokers are becoming closet growers. And basement growers. And attic growers. And on a recent Saturday, several hundred of them showed up at a specialty store in search of something to grow.
It was a free “clone share” at Good Hope Hydroponics in Washington, and the line threading around the block waiting for the ready-to-root plantings showed how many people are cultivating their own marijuana in the nation’s capital. From young tokers to elderly first-timers to avid gardeners, the grow-your-own scene has bloomed since it became legal in 2015 to keep up to six plants at home. Some get into the technique. Others are patients looking for cheaper alternatives to the medical dispensaries, which charge premium prices for medicinal marijuana not covered by insurance. Some apparently just got bored with tomatoes.
“Interest has really spiked,” said Good Hope owner Chris Washburn, guiding the crowd amid racks of bat guano and root stimulator while marveling that the Washington area has turned into one of the country’s most open cultivation scenes within the $6.7 million national marijuana economy. (Continued below.)
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For the customers crowding his store, home growing is on par with home brewing, with a similar hobbyist vibe. The regulars swap tips, buy supplies, brag about their results.
“Dude, the thing is like a tree now,” said a man in a