In recent years, Australia has been passing a multitude of laws and amendments on both federal level and provincial levels that have improved the situation for medical marijuana enthusiasts. While Victoria’s laws may not be as lenient as those of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which just legalized recreational use and cultivation, their laws are not as strict as other territories’. In 2015 the Andrews Labor Victorian Government announced that medical cannabis will be legalized.
Currently, only licensed medical patients can possess or use marijuana and marijuana products in Victoria. Illegal possession of marijuana is still punishable by a fine of up to five penalty units, but most first-time offenders will only receive a caution. Cautions don’t come with fines and court dates, but they do require compulsory counseling. Multiple offenders almost always face fines but are never sentenced to prison for possession of marijuana for personal use.
Marijuana cultivation is taken a little more seriously. Cultivation for personal use can land growers in jail for up to one year and leave them on the hook for fines of up to 20 penalty units.
The penalties for cultivation related to trafficking are much higher. The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison and/or payment of 1,800 penalty units. Cultivation and trafficking of large commercial quantities of marijuana can result in life sentences along with substantial maximum penalty units ranging from 3,000 to 5,000.
Victoria has provisions in place for legal cultivation of medical marijuana. Those who want to grow cannabis plants can apply for licenses and permits but can expect to be subject to strict limitations. Growers must prove that they have suitable locations and security arrangements in place and that they have not committed any serious crimes within the past decade. Licenses are issued by the Department of Health.
Government officials in Victoria recently announced that they are scaling up cannabis production. They plan to supply up to half of the country’s medical marijuana by 2028, which would create up to 500 new jobs. Officials also plan to begin exporting medical cannabis at some point in the future, so it may be worth investing in the infrastructure, seeds, licenses, and permits to grow medical marijuana.
Victoria is the smallest mainland state in Australia, but it does cover a lot of different climates and growing conditions. The challenges faced by Melbourne residents who want to cultivate marijuana in the city are vastly different from those faced by rural, inland growers. Looking at the state overall, Victoria’s southernmost region along the coast means its climate is both cooler and wetter than most mainland regions.
Much of Victoria’s coast is highly populated so the primary concern facing coastal growers is finding a secure space to cultivate plants. One easy solution, for growers with enough investment capital to finance purchasing expensive equipment, is to grow indoors.
Indoor growers can produce marijuana year-round if they choose the right plants and have the right equipment. Auto-flowering seeds are perfect for growing indoors since the plants tend to be smaller and they produce according to a predictable schedule. While seeds from photoperiod plants require 12 light and 12 dark hours per 24-hour period to produce flowers, auto-flowering seeds start producing after approximately three months with or without change in light exposure time. Check out these popular auto-flowering indoor strains:
Residents who live near the Victorian Alps in the Great Dividing Range know that the mountain climate produces much cooler temperatures, especially in the winter. In the highest parts of the Victorian Alps, temperatures can dip below freezing with record lows of -12°C, and such low temperatures shorten the growing season significantly.
Growers in cold mountain climates have two options. They can grow indoors, or they can choose outdoor seeds with short growing seasons. Here are a few good options for outdoor growing in mountain climates:
There are two regions of Victoria that tend to have warmer weather. Those are the regions near Malle and Wimmera. Thanks to the hot winds that blow in, growers in these regions face the opposite concern. The weather can get extremely hot and dry during the peak of summer.
Hybrid seeds are a good option for growers in semi-arid climates. They’re more resilient than pure Indicas or Sativas, which makes them better able to withstand drought and high temperatures. Here are a few popular hybrid strains to get growers started:
No matter what strain growers choose to plant, most are better off purchasing feminized seeds rather than regular seeds. Feminized seeds prevent male plant genetics from proliferating, which makes cultivators’ lives much easier and reduces the chances that unwanted pollination of female plants will occur.
Pollination leads to female flowers developing seeds. That’s great for plants out in the wild that need to propagate, but it’s bad news for commercial and home growers since seed production reduces potency in marijuana flowers. Experienced growers can always remove all the male plants before they release pollen, but novice growers are better off avoiding this problem entirely by purchasing feminized varieties.
Legal cultivation of marijuana in Victoria is currently restricted to licensed commercial growers but as Australians continue to embrace more lenient marijuana laws, laws could change.
Whether growers want to cultivate their own CBD-heavy plants for medical use or wait for recreational marijuana to be legalized, there’s no harm in learning about cultivation techniques or investigating options. The best place to buy seeds is from a reputable online seed bank like i49.net. They have plenty of options available when it comes to strains, types of seeds, and more—and they ship discreet packages directly to customers’ doors.