Besides practice and learning more about my growing plants, I knew the exercise would be pointless. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states that I “may cultivate cannabis plants, with a limit of 5 plants that are more than 5 inches tall,” which makes cloning near impossible to keep below five inches before the mother plants harvest.
One reason we follow the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to a T is because I want to learn the struggles and frustration patients have while growing in Illinois. What parts of the law need fixed? To truly know, I have to obey the law. So I created clones. It was a successful endeavor but with a heartbreaking ending reminiscent to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
I’d intentionally let my five plants (Dream Queen, Amnesia Lemon, Blood Diamond OG, Prayer Pupil, and Swabi Pakistani 3) bush out more than I should have so I would have plenty of branches to clone. Our sponsor Aroma Grow Store and owner Brian Marks mailed me the macroplugs, Clonex Rooting Gel, Clonex Clone Solution, seedling trays, and dome needed to make the cuts.
I soaked a few macroplugs in the solution and squeezed out the gel into a saké glass. Each plant had plenty spots to prune. Probably too many.
For each branch, I snipped each cutting, sliced the bottom of the branch at a 45-degree angle to expose as much of the inside as possible for better rooting, dipped the bottom of the stem into the Clonex gel, and placed stem inside the pre-soaked macroplug. I clipped off all leaves but the top two, and then snipped off the tips of each leaf to force the cut to focus on creating roots and not wasting energy on the leaves. After I finished the first cut, I repeated the process until I had fifty cuts from five plants.
The point was to grow them until they rooted and became true clones. I poured the remaining solution into the bottom tray and placed the dome on the cuttings. I made sure they had plenty of humidity inside the dome and sprayed them when needed. I shined down two regular florescent lamp lights into the seedling dome.
A week later, I realized that my five plants had a few more branches that needed pruned, so I made more clones. In fact, I made a clone of every cut that I thought would survive. More than seventy-five. I became obsessive about saving each branch. I couldn’t stop myself. Even when I ran out of gel and macroplugs, I used aloe from a houseplant and FoxFarm Seed Starter.
I was completely amazed that 100% of the cuts rooted into clones. It truly was one of the proudest moments of my first grow so far. I would have loved to share the clones with other Illinois medical patients who can’t afford clones or seeds, or patients who want to try a new medical strains they would not otherwise have the opportunity to grow.
But the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states, “(9) A registered qualifying patient who cultivates more than the allowable number of cannabis plants, or who sells or gives away cannabis plants, cannabis, or cannabis-infused products produced under this Section, is liable for penalties as provided by law, including the Cannabis Control Act, in addition to loss of home cultivation privileges as established by rule.”
So after the proudest moment of my grow journal came the most heartbreaking moment. This is where, to avoid triggering more distress, I must offer fiction and literary allusions to better explain the heartbreak Illinois caused.
Once the clones neared five inches in height, I had an unwanted decision to make. With Illinois’ bloodthirsty five-plant-limit posse lurking in the distant, I said, “No, clones, I ain’t mad. I never been mad, and I ain’ now. That’s a thing I want ya to know.” I told the clones to take off the dome and look beyond the trashcan and imagine as I described our wonderful farm in southern Illinois, where nobody will ever be mean to them again. I spoke of the alfalfa and the rabbits.
“Le’s do it now,” the clones said. “Le’s get that place now.”
As Illinois’ five-plant-limit posse closed in, I removed Carlson’s gun from my jacket and shot each clone in the back of the head.
Check back for Grow Journal 12: Sea of Green or click here for earlier entries of News Joint Grow Journal. A Prairie State of Mind.
(With all apologies to John Steinbeck)