Potheads have discovered an added bonus of getting really freaking good at growing stuff in tiny, dank closets: They’re also great at growing vegetables in artificial conditions. As it turns out, their genius with hydroponics has driven costs down drastically, all while traditional farmers struggle through outrageous land prices and historic droughts. As a result, there’s a new, more level playing field where pot growers can actually make a living farming lettuce or beefsteak tomatoes indoors.
The California Sunday Magazine caught up with a few of the “increasing number of hydroponic growers who have transitioned from marijuana to produce” and reports that business is flourishing. Ecofriendly restaurants and grocers favor hydro produce, as the practice takes a fraction of the space, can function on 90 percent less water, and requires few, if any, pesticides.
Pat Gallagher, a Nevada farmer who says Snoop Dogg is currently “looking at” his innovative growing system, now uses it to produce everything from watermelons to hops. Another guy in Denver, Tyler Baras, learned to grow pot at the very real THC University, but has moved over to lettuce because of its “wholesome, generous” community and greater cultural acceptance. He now counts Whole Foods and Safeway as customers, and he even scored a gardening show on a local PBS station. Plus, as a fallback, he could always see what magic he can work on mushrooms.