The Sustainable Toker: How much weed would you truly need to grow to never buy again?
And how you’d go about it…
There will come a point in time where everybody will be able to legally grow weed at home. Laws are quickly changing all around us and this inevitable future will grant everybody accesses to a thriving industry. You’ll be able to walk into dispensaries (no matter where you are), buy whatever weed products you want and go home to enjoy.
However, this will undoubtedly increase your yearly spending on cannabis. Depending on the frequency of your consumption, there might come a point in time where growing your own is the “economically sound approach”.
This leaves us with a few questions to answer:
- How much do I smoke per month? And how much does it cost me?
- How much more would I pay on lights if I grew my own?
- What other investments would I need?
- What’s the return on investment? Is it cheaper? More Expensive? Or do I break even?
- Is the effort worth it?
- How much would I need to grow to cover my consumption habits?
Let’s answer these questions and etch your way closer to becoming a “Sustainable Toker”.
How Much do I smoke Per Month?
And how much does it cost?
Obviously, you’ll have to figure this one out all by yourself. However, in order to make sense of how much you smoke per month, we need to figure out the average consumption of cannabis consumers. This will allow you to see where you fall compared to the “rest of us”.
Currently, the available statistics on consumption places the average consumer between 3g-7g per week. Let’s say that the average consumer smokes roughly 5g a week to make the math easier. This comes out to roughly 20g a month, which we can round up to an even ounce per month.
A rough estimate of the average price per ounce in the US comes out to about $ 200. Of course, you can find ounces for less, but we’re talking averages here.
That means per year, under the consumption of an ounce per month, the average cannabis consumer spends about $ 1200 per year on cannabis alone. We can add a few hundred dollars to this for paraphernalia and this does not include extracts whatsoever. We’re solely referring to flower.
Using these stats, you can roughly calculate your monthly and yearly cost of consumption.
How much more would I pay for the lights?
In 2017, the average residential monthly electric bill was $ 111.67 in 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is our baseline.
Now, trying to figure out the increase in electricity becomes varied depending on the light source. If you’re using Smart LEDs, you can expect (at most) a $ 25 increase. CFLs can increase your cost between $ 10-$ 20.
However, if you’re using heavy-duty lights – 600w HPS – it would increase your average power consumption by $ 60-$ 70 per month.
We won’t go into the differences between light sources in detail, however, for the average consumer having Smart LED or even a decent CFL grow room would be more than enough. Of course, these higher watt power bulbs will inspire more resin production, however, it’s also more expensive to set up.
Which is another thing we need to calculate – initial set up. For a CFL/LED set up, expect to spend roughly $ 400-$ 600 for the full set up. If you’re going to be growing indoor, making a dual-chamber system would be the best for crop cycles. More on that later.
Let’s call the initial set up $ 500 and the increase on average $ 30 per month. Over a twelve-month period, we’re talking about a total of $ 860 spent the first year, the second year the total price reduces to $ 360.
This is already cheaper than the average cost of sustaining a cannabis habit in a modern marijuana market.
What other investment would I need?
Maintaining the grow will also be necessary. You’ll need to buy fertilizers, pest control, nutrients, soil – all depending on what system you decide on.
On average, after the initial investment has been concluded, you should spend no more than $ 50 per month to maintain your grow.
If we remove the initial set up fee and calculate only “maintenance and electricity” – You’re sitting at $ 960 per year. Still below the average cost of sustaining a cannabis habit.
What’s the ROI?
If we take the $ 1200 average consumption price point and divide it by the grams in an ounce times 12 – we get the average cost per gram if you buy ounces. This comes out to roughly $ 3.5 per gram.
Including the initial set up fee and the yearly expense of maintaining your grow, the first year you would spend a bit more than the average per gram – $ 4.3 per gram. However, this is to say that you only produce 336 grams in a 12-month period.
After the initial year, at a yearly yield of 336g and a total maintenance cost of $ 960 – your price per gram drops to $ 2.8 per gram in year two.
However, it’s important to note that you would be producing far more than 336g per year.
How much weed would I need to grow?
We know that the average cannabis consumer smokes about 336g of cannabis per year. This can be achieved with no more than 4 plants in a 250w LED set up. You’d essentially go through 2 crop cycles in a year, meaning you’ll double your yearly yield in a single grow room. Technically, the average cannabis consumer would need no more than 4 plants a year.
However, we know that if you’re growing and have the possibility to increase your yield, without increasing your cost – you would totally do that!
In a dual-chamber system, you could probably increase your crop-out from 8 plants per year to 12+ plants per year. If the average yield of those four plants come to about 336g – you’ll have over 1000grams in a year, while maintaining the average cost of maintenance.
This means, that if you do include the yearly yield of home growing, and divide it by the yearly maintenance cost – $ 1.04 per gram. Not to mention, you’ll also get a ton of sugar leaf which would become hash as well as stems and root for other products.
Is the effort worth it?
To be honest – there is nothing better than smoking a strain that you saw growing up. Not to mention, it’s far cheaper to grow your own after 12 months and allows you to have far more weed accessible to you at all times.
It takes roughly 12 months to become completely sustainable, and once you do – you’ll realize why home growing is always the best!
Couple this with a Nugsmasher – and you’re saving a lot every year!