It seems like grow stores have always had a bit of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge air when it comes to their customers’ crops. Maybe it was just broccoli and arugula that necessitated all those grow lights. Who knows? And now there are plenty of ways to grow whatever your green thumb desires, from herbs to strawberries to tomatoes to buds, indoors, away from prying eyes. But as states like Washington, Oregon, and Colorado legalize the recreational use of marijuana, there’s less reason to be so sly.
For example, Leaf makes no bones about the fact that its “plug ‘n’ plant” system is specifically meant for cannabis. It’s like a smart garden designed for weed.
The four-feet-by-two-feet box has sensors for temperature, water level, humidity, pH, and plant height. It monitors nutrient levels and feeds the plants more when necessary. If the lights are too low, the smart box turns up the LED lamp, which was custom-made for the company by agricultural lighting researchers at NASA. You can practically set it and forget it, and the two-plant capacity Leaf will eventually yield between four and five ounces of pot (or whatever you kids are calling it these days).
The accompanying app lets you have a little more control, if you want to get a little more mad scientist with your creations, and an internal HD camera captures the magic and sends time-lapse videos to your phone.
Advanced Nutrients will supply disposable, ink-cartridge-style pods for the Leaf, according to TechCrunch. The pods and filters will cost about $150 for each grow cycle, while the Leaf itself is expected to retail for $1,500 and start shipping in spring 2016. You can put down a $100 deposit on one now, but only if you live in one of the states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal.
The price is pretty steep if all you want to do is spark up a doobie and get laced at parties. If this is a business investment, the company says you can sell your crop for around $1,200, making you a profit by your second cycle — provided there’s no learning curve as there is with home brewing. Almost no one’s first batch of beer turns out well.
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