When To Start Marijuana Seeds In Ny

The first outdoor marijuana cultivators are now licensed to grow pot in New York, though… With the summer growing season in full swing, many of you have reached out asking what's the optimal time to start an outdoor cannabis grow. Check out some recommendations based on different regions where marijuana cultivation is popular. First full season of outdoor growing, wondering when the best time to plant seeds(or should I germinate and let grow in a window for a few inches?) weather…

Homegrown cannabis still banned, though some farmers now licensed

Regulatory delays mean that individuals who wish to grow their own pot outdoors in New York, including those who use it for authorized medicinal purposes, could be jeopardized for a second growing season. The law legalizing marijuana was passed in March 2021. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

David McNew/Getty Images

ALBANY — The first outdoor marijuana cultivators are now licensed to grow pot in New York, though planting cannabis is still off-limits for medical prescription cardholders who hope to cultivate their own supplies of the drug.

Regulators granted 52 initial cultivation licenses at a Cannabis Control Board meeting on Thursday, allowing recipients — all hemp farmers — to grow a limited amount of cannabis that will provide product for the state’s first legal, non-medical sales. The two-year conditional status allows those license holders to plant one acre of flowering canopy outdoors, or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse.

But the rules that will eventually allow every medical cannabis prescription holder to grow up to six plants at home are still pending: at Thursday’s meeting, officials said recent changes to the draft regulations clarify that patients can grow plants outdoors on their property, among other updates. The latest revisions will trigger a new 45-day public comment period that will not begin until May 4, nearly four months after the first comment period ended in January.

The continued delays mean that individuals who wish to legally grow their own pot supplies outdoors, including those who use it for medicinal purposes, could be jeopardized for a second growing season. The law legalizing marijuana was passed in March 2021.

“To be clear, home cultivation of medical cannabis is not yet permitted, and will not be permitted until the comments . are assessed and the board can adopt the revisions and then have them published in the state register,” said Nicole Quackenbush, the cannabis office’s director of health and safety.

But for many of New York’s medical cannabis patients, there has been confusion about the ability of someone to legally grow their own supply of marijuana. Lawmakers had intended for that to begin last year for medical prescription cardholders.

“I think almost every New Yorker I’ve talked to thinks that it’s totally legal to grow right now,” said Joel Hubert, a Capital Region resident who has taught himself a lot about the medicinal plant. “I tell them you’re absolutely wrong. (But) there’s been an explosion just because of the fact that it’s semi-legal.”

Hubert, who is almost 70 years old, suffers chronic pain and has an allergy to all opioid-based medications. For him, the state’s medical cannabis program has been a life-changer: when his doctor first suggested combating his pain with a cannabis tincture, he slept through the night for the first time in 10 years. Since then, he has become invested in the plant; but its cost from medical suppliers is prohibitive.

“I’m on a retirement check,” Hubert said, noting that he will be cultivating his own, and is hoping the rules are finalized soon.

Patients’ right to grow cannabis at home was included in the New York bill that legalized the possession and use of cannabis for adults. The law specified that regulators should issue rules for patients who want to grow at home within six months of the bill’s passage, no later than the end of September. But after a regulatory board was slow to be appointed and missed that deadline, public comment periods and months of revisions have extended that target for more than a year.

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Until recently, New York hemp farmers hoping to be among the first outdoor cultivators for the adult-use cannabis market were concerned their time would also slip away, causing them to miss New York’s narrow growing season this year. But a bill mandating conditional cultivation licenses that passed quickly through the legislature in February gave them another shot at their hoped-for timeline.

“We understand that the growing season waits for no one,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, while announcing the first 52 license recipients on Thursday. “We have to move quickly to help our farmers take full advantage of it.”

Alexander said his team would continue to process applications on a rolling basis, working to get them in front of the board for approval as soon as possible.

“We went from waiting and waiting, and now we’re in this outright sprint,” said John Ng, one of the applicants whose cultivation proposal was among those approved. “Most cultivators will be planting in June, they’ll be harvesting in October, and hoping they’ll have a place to sell it come November.”

Ng added they have a lot of work to do ahead of time, including buying seeds and making infrastructure improvements. Generally, outdoor marijuana in the Northeast must be planted no later than mid-June to produce a viable crop.

According to Kaelan Castetter, vice president of the state’s Cannabis Growers and Processors Association whose group works with many hemp farmers hoping to transition into adult-use cannabis, some farmers who are not yet licensed to start planting may struggle to catch up.

“What surprised me is that half of (the hemp farmers who applied) didn’t get approved. So does that mean they got denied? Or does that mean they’re looking for more information?” Castetter said, noting that a later approval date would be “cutting it close — you definitely want to have propagation started in early May.”

Cannabis cultivation using natural light responds to the changing seasons, with outdoor plants in New York typically starting to flower in late August for harvest in September and October.

Rebekah F. Ward can be reached at [email protected] and 315-939-0938. Habla español y elle parle français. She joined the Times Union in 2021 as an investigative reporter and is the newsroom’s first Joseph T. Lyons fellow. Her previous coverage spanned New York, but she also reported from Colombia, Mexico and Canada for outlets including Reuters, France 24 and the OCCRP. Ward has a background in Peace & Conflict Studies and Psychology (Colgate University, ’13), past work in international development media and a master’s focused on migration reporting and international/financial investigations (Columbia Journalism School, ’19).

What’s the Best Time to Start an Outdoor Cannabis Grow?

I t’s amazing how quickly the world can change, isn’t it? In the past 25 years, cannabis has moved from an illicit substance relegated to the shadowy corners of the illicit market to an “essential” industry amid COVID-19. In many states, local cannabis laws allow you to grow your own, and why not? When you grow your own, you can do your own quality control, know the purity of your product, and manage your own supply.

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Luckily, you can start your own grow in a container as small as a flower pot. If you’ve got some space in your yard to grow weed outdoors, even better. So this may leave you wondering, when should I plant my cannabis outdoors? Luckily, there are some general date ranges to help guide your growing plans.

Regardless of which climate you’re starting in, when Spring Equinox comes around, start germinating your seeds. Make sure those plants get outside by Summer Solstice in June, then harvested around Fall Equinox.

For more specifics about how to protect your outdoor cannabis grows from the elements or whether you should grow indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, check out the linked articles. Better yet, look into a book by celebrated cannabis growers like Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, and of course, every green thumb’s favorite, The Farmer’s Almanac.

For a (shallow-ish) deeper dive into what to expect when growing cannabis outside, here’s a look at optimal grow times for regions across the U.S.

When to Grow Weed Outdoors by Region

Northwest (Northern CA, OR, WA)

When you grow outdoors in this loamy region you’ll never have to worry about getting enough rain. However, mold development and lack of sunshine can make growing outside a more difficult proposition.

Hybrids that flower earlier are suggested as the most successful grows, especially in Washington and Oregon. California plants can be put in the ground earlier due to the region’s warmer weather. Your best clue indicating that it’s time to start your outside grow is when daylight hours increase and the temperature starts to warm.

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Midwest (IL, MI, Eastern CO)

This region is tricky because the weather is highly variable; rainy and muggy, and/or hot and dry. Winter may come early to this region, so choosing an indica-dominant hybrid strain might be your best bet, since their flowering times are shorter. Try to shoot for germination after the final frost of spring has passed in these regions.

Northeast (NY, MA, ME, VT)

With its rich soils and abundance of water, the northeast region can be a great place to grow cannabis outdoors, especially if you choose an early harvest strain that can finish up before fall kicks in. The best time to move your plants outside in this region is the middle of April, when days are longer.

Southwest (Southern CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO)

If you choose to grow outdoors in this scorching climate, be prepared to pay attention to the temperature, where highs that regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit will slow your plant’s growth. Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids do well in this environment because of their lineage tracing back to the equator, where the weather is uniformly hot.

However, the dryness of the region means you’ll also have to carefully monitor your watering routines. Before moving your plants outside, make sure the last frost has passed. This last note is especially important in this region, as sudden, sporadic snowfall is common, so keep an eye on the weather.

Southeast (FL)

Though home cultivation is not yet allowed in the Sunshine State, many new medical producers getting into the industry are starting to grow outdoors, and there are a few things to be aware of if you’re licensed in the industry. The temperatures in Florida might be good for cannabis growing, but the humidity definitely is not.

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In fact, because of all that moisture in the air, it’s best to avoid indica strains and grow sativas instead to avoid the mold that inevitably comes along with humidity. In this region, you could start the germination process as early as February. Just make sure that the last frost has passed before moving plants outside.


Of course, there are many different factors that go into the timing of an outdoor grow, and the weather will shift year-to-year. Use these estimates as rough guidelines and adjust as needed. Happy growing!

What’s the best time to plant outside in your area? Share in the comments!


Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin’s work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let’s Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedIn, WordPress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

Best time to start outdoor grow in NY?

First full season of outdoor growing, wondering when the best time to plant seeds(or should I germinate and let grow in a window for a few inches?) weather lately has been highs of 48-70 degrees F, lows of 39-45 degrees F.

Sativa Dragon
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brewing up
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brewing up
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i would start them off inside also and (if using lights) introduce them to the sun slowly (a few hours a day) then put them outside maybe week 3ish, good luck

brewing up
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copper pipes help rid slugs and make a solution up of garlic and dish washing liquid to spray them with to stop flys eating them

Sativa Dragon
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May 1st or when the threat of frost is gone. You technically could now, however depends what your planting as well, Auto, or regular, if its regular I see that in your neck of the woods right now the sunrise is at 6:17am and sun set is at 19:36. So now that we have found out when the sun rises and sets we know how many hours of sun we are getting. 19:37 – 6:17 = 13:19 hours of sun, you may plant outside as soon as the average daily temps are at least in the 60’s, and when I consult the internet again about the weather where you live I see that May is a good time to start planting.

This my friend is not only an answer but it is also a feeding of information by spoon to a Dude that refers to himself on the internet as a Dutch Master, which is laughable.

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brewing up
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yes his name is dutch master and yes it is laughable but after RIU helps him he can and will walk with pride in his name

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Too cold to start now. Im not familiar with ny weather but you dont want temps much lower them 60. at least thats what ive been told for indoor