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Marijuana has been legal (ish) in the District of Columbia for just over a year now, and it’s high time that both recreational and medical consumers have a local source of information. We bring you The Potanist, a column dedicated to our favorite plant. We are Bud and Herb, two of D.C.’s most accomplished growers (and smokers). With 35 years of combined experience cultivating and consuming marijuana, the two of us began growing in D.C. the day it became legal. Our buds have placed in competitions including the D.C. State Fair.

This column will provide answers to questions on myriad weed-related topics. We’ll cover culture, growing techniques, edible recipes, D.C.’s regulations, and other burning questions. We’ll also share schedules for upcoming events and contests.

Our growing tips are intended to offer you a step-by-step guide. We’ll begin with seed selection and germination, and take you all the way to harvest and curing, and of course to rolling and smoking.

Let’s start with the basics.

First, you need to pick a strain. The question is, sativa or indica? Most smokers have a definite preference for one or the other. Indica produces a more sedative body high, good for sleeping disorders and stress relief. Sativa creates a more alert, cerebral buzz. Combinations of the two strains are called “hybrids.” Indicas, and hybrids with the physical attributes of indica, are better suited for growing indoors than sativa, which can grow up to 20 feet tall. And while adults in D.C. can grow up to six pot plants, this must be done within their residence.

The other critical thing you need to know is: the female rules. The most desirable plant is the female because it produces the buds. It is very difficult to determine the gender of a seed, and using random seeds from a bag of pot is a roll of the dice at best. Much energy can be spent on growing a plant only to discover at flowering time that you have an undesirable male. It is encouraged that beginning growers procure feminized seeds, preferably through seed-share events which are legal in D.C. (or you can go the Internet route, but it’s a much murkier legal proposition). Feminized seed eliminates the time-consuming process of sexing plants and guarantees you’re putting your time and effort into plants of the superior sex.

So go get your seeds, and we’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

The Potanist is written by Bud Baker and Herb Green (yes, those are pseudonyms; yes, they are real people). Reach them at