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Josh Marquis Thinks Quality Marijuana Is ‘Not That Hard To Make’

josh marquis oregon marijuana

(image via oregonlive.com)

The leading opponent of Oregon marijuana legalization in the media is Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis. In his recent debate on the Oregon Measure 91 legalization initiative against Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Marquis expressed his opinion on the ease of growing marijuana and why that would depress any hope for earning tax revenue from legalization, as reported by the Salem Statesman- Journal:

Marquis tried to poke holes in those estimates by explaining how Colorado has lowered its revenue expectations in part because fewer people than anticipated are buying marijuana from a store.

“It’s called weed for a reason,” Marquis said. “It’s not like brewing your own whiskey. It’s not that hard to make.”

He suspects that even his wife, who supports marijuana legalization, could grow “some awesome weed” in their greenhouse.

I suppose if I took some Welches Grape Juice and sat it in a warm, dark cabinet for a week or two, I’d have a fermented alcoholic beverage, but I doubt anyone is going to mistake it for a Chardonnay or a Merlot. Sure, pop some seeds into the ground, let the sun and rain tend to it, and come back in a few weeks and I suppose you’ll have a few ditchweed plants, but nobody is going to mistake it for the quality marijuana one can get in a dispensary.

Marquis was called out immediately by Rep. Blumenauer for this idiocy. “You can grow your own tomatoes,” Blumenauer said. “Why would anyone buy an heirloom tomato in a store?” Indeed, we have the right to grow carrots, lettuce, celery, potatoes, apples, and many other fruits and vegetables on our land, and it is far easier to grow those crops than cannabis, but most of us do not, because there are similar or better offerings of many more varieties available at the grocery store.

The fact is that growing quality marijuana is very difficult. I am a marijuana policy professional with direct access to the latest information, best equipment, and most knowledgeable horticulturalists on the West Coast, and not one of my growing attempts has yielded anything I’d ever pay money for. I’ve had crops lost to powdery mildew, spider mites, low watering, electrical failures, and thieves – things that have never affected any of my home grown tomatoes.

Colorado’s brought in $37.5 million in taxes and fees on marijuana so far, and while that is lower than original estimates, it is infinitely greater than the zero dollars brought in prior to 2014. The real reason those estimates are lower isn’t because residents can home-grow six plants. It is because recreational marijuana is over-priced due to over-taxation, a fate that will not befall Oregon’s market, thanks to Measure 91’s flat $35/ounce taxation. Coloradoans with a medical marijuana card or a buddy who has one prefer to shop at the dispensaries, where taxes are 2.9%, over the pot shops, where the taxes are 15% plus 10% plus 2.9%.

I do look forward to finding out just how awesome a crop of marijuana Josh Marquis’ wife can grow in a greenhouse, however.


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. Yeah right. Good Cannabis is over 20% THC (preferably around 25%THC), with at least 5% essential oils that do not counter the high, and no mold, mildew, or discoloration. Is that what you are sporting? The last time I looked, 75% of all Cannabis is 13-18%THC.

    Its not about buying “fancy” stuff. Its about knowledge, skill, patience, diligence, and dedication. You won’t have a successful top shelf grow or business with out that.

  2. Apparently a lot of people think top shelf is like growing hay. They are in for a rude awakening. At least there will be plenty of generic concentrates and mids. LOL

  3. be careful when going to grow shops to purchase your nutrients and bug sprays. you will find that many sales people will try to sell you a host of chemicals that aren’t necessary (don’t get into these kits that sell you 12 or 13 different chemicals that have to be administered at different times. too complicate for the novice and not really necessary. . they will try to sell you insect sprays that are expensive and not effective. I have used several different nutrients, if you are just growing for yourself Dynagro is a decent fertilizer. if you want to grow higher quality cannabis try Ionics it is all organic. . and for bugs….. Safer is a good one or SM-90 both are organic. . if you get mites you have to be diligent about spraying. a one time spray a week or occasionally will not kill the mites. you have to spray every three days for several applications to break the reproduction cycle.

  4. yeah but what is your THC content?? probably not very much if you are not using nutrients . if it’s lower than 10% you are producing an inferior product. have you ever had it analyzed? we have ours analyzed all the time and it is consistently in the low 20’s range. several of our patients complain that our stuff is too strong and they want something not so potent.

  5. Nanci Loveless Burns on

    blah, blah, blah, keep talking that crap so you can pretend you are smarter than the rest of us.

  6. Nanci Loveless Burns on

    You tell ’em! They want to make people think it’s so-o-o-o-o hard to grow your own, & it’s just a LIE.

  7. Nanci Loveless Burns on

    People talk all this crap about how hard it is to grow good cannabis. I’ve been doing it for years, without all the fancy stuff y’all tell me I need to buy.

  8. Agreed..fact is it doesn’t matter what he says or thinks. Its going to be legal and he can then go cry in the corner because he didn’t get his way. Marquis is irrelevant.

  9. mark_lee481 BSHA on

    It takes a lot of knowledge to grow some great cannabis!!! It takes an amazing amount of knowledge to breed new varieties (that Iowa ditch weed played a huge part in developing short season varieties, they paid real money and traded for it as well) too. I call these growers agriculturists, and their skill is amazing. Before percentages of THC, and especially the balance of CBDs jumped into the moderate to mid 20% range, and the call for higher CBD content for specific medicines at 3% and above; I grew cannabis that would knock your socks off, as did my co-cooperative member’s Northern Lights. My area was the high content sativa blends, another associate was in charge of Skunk # 4, and yet another had somehow gotten some very retro indica that reminded me of Nepalese Temple Balls as the flowers seemed covered in black hash. This took skill and this took time!!! We were not breeders, but in some clandestine deals for my clean fencerow seeds/buds (I kept a large area free from farm chemicals) we were able to have some nice grow stock. They could not be guaranteed as feminized, so we had many critical periods that we were in our grow rooms all night (thank God for a smidge of speed during crucial periods). As harvest neared, we had to constantly watch for “ripe” THC nodes. If you harvested too soon you get very weak weed, if they burst quality is at a commercial level. These people could not spot a male at 4″ of plant height, often a little taller, but this little grape (which turns into a cluster) ruins the potency of good cannabis. There are a lot of growers out there who are “in the business” because they have the money, not the knowledge and skill. It is a very exacting process!!!

  10. me thinks you do not tell the whole story there Tony Aroma. there are many factors with growing cannabis that can either produce a great plant, or an inferior plant. heat, fertilizer, water, mites, cold. all can affect the quality of the plant. and I really don’t think a novice is going to grow anything comparable to what a seasoned grower can produce. the right seeds and clones??? even the right ones can die if you don’t know what you are doing. bugs, and molds can creep up on you and devastate a crop before you even know you have the problem. heat will kill a plant quicker than bugs ever will. the quality of your water also has much to do with how well they grow. if you have bad water you can get nutrient lock out. and no matter how much fertilizer you throw at it if your water isn’t good the plant can’t absorb the nutrients. it’s not that simple that you throw a seed in a bucket of dirt and put a little miracle grow on it and think you are going to end up with a high THC content. not going to happen.

  11. Trust me, the way I did it is the most economical way of getting weed after everything is said and done. However, I live in a unique situation and what works for me likely wouldn’t work for you and most others. The real point I want to make here is that growing is different from person to person and has to done with whatever is needed by each person; no one size fits all. But there are many options and growing is a viable possibility for many (not all) people.

  12. Well said. Some people are green thumbs. Some like I kill a plant simply by thinking about it. Kudos to those who can just do it. Share your talents with the rest of the world . Share with the needy dont get greedy

  13. Tony, I do agree with most of your statement. However having tried and failed fabulously on many occasions. I really believe at least PH should be done on soil or hydro. Ive burnt up a few ladies with this black thumb. Yes water dirt and sunlight will grow a plant. And it really depends upon the degree of success, or failure, you are willing to accept. Talent is talent, I sir have a black thumb, even with the experts and years of growing failures. I have still to see a single plant develop into anything seen in any pic. Its just me and TIme is definately something that even a single plant needs. Some people dont have time. They have immediate needs.

    Ps. I could alway use some tips. Lol or rather heeeeeelp. Lastnamefirstname on G+

  14. I’m in Colorado, I was a caregiver for several years, the prices are a bit different ($2500 a lb here) but your talkin labor and IMO that is only about trimmin, I spend less than 20 minutes a day workin my garden, granted mine is small scale compared to a dispensary but growing is not labor intensive. For me it is a hobby, I don’t sell it and I give my overages away, never been about makin money for me, I just want better herb

  15. Actually I’m not, I’ve been doing this for years and because I teach in forums my grows are documented, my avatar is linked to one of my sites, check it out if you don’t believe? My garden cost $110 a month to run, I was not low ballin anything and like I said if you ignore the myths surrounding growing this plant it is not hard at all

  16. Of course, Mr. Ritman, no amount of skill or experience will keep determined bugs or thieves or animals away. Not what I was talking about. And while you do have to feed your plants (food is one of the 4 things they need), you certainly don’t HAVE to trim, pinch, top, or test pH to grow a decent plant. Those are the kinds of things more experienced growers do to increase their yield. The more perfect the conditions, the bigger the yield.

    If you’re just getting started, keep it simple. Use soil instead of hydro. Stick with organic rather than dealing with the complexities of chemical ferts. Use bag seeds rather than something expensive. Or just try growing basil, or any plant. If you can grow a basil plant, you can grow mj. If you can’t even grow a herb, or your basic house plant, then you’re probably going to have to depend on others for your weed.

  17. From Redmond Oregon on

    “Thinks Quality Marijuana Is “not that hard to make”” In my option… maybe not that easy to grow into high quality… required a lot of research and develop. Agree?

  18. You are low balling the expenses, ignoring the pitfalls, and disrespecting the knowledge, patience, and time invested. Experienced growers have paid their dues, and usually experience a lot of poverty and agony in the process. There are many different scenarios when it comes to growing – but producing truly high quality medicinal Cannabis is art and science. Make no mistake – you must dedicate yourself to it 24/7/365. Show some respect- that learning curve can cause a lot of personal pain!

  19. No – they can’t! But I am sure that most people can screw up a potentially good harvest in a couple dozen different ways. If anyone can grow amazing weed it would all be amazing.

  20. Dispensaries are making mark ups similar to growers. Their overhead is not higher than growers.

    In Oregon, the dispensaries pay $2000/lb and it represents the most of upper quality stuff in Oregon. That puts your estimate at $4000/light. You arnt counting labor for doing the work or the cost of using premium nutrients or the cost of no pesticide residue products (which results in culls when control is less than perfect). I’m contracted to a medical grow as a specialty horticulturalist. If I calculate my earnings on a per oz basis, I get about $33/oz after costs and taxes because I am not a sole proprietor (I’d get $66/oz if I were). Are you going to make it for a take home of $33-66/oz? I have to pull obscenely large quantities to make it work. Most black market growers can barely tred water on $100/oz completely unregulated and untaxed.

  21. Count your time and materials. Add income and Cannabis tax (because people refuse to pay income taxes) to it. What is your hourly wage and the shelf price? Is it average (because the market has an oversupply of average)?

  22. If I produce 10lbs to a 1lb home grow, how is it worth it (in financial or efficiency terms) for the home grow?

  23. You can grow amazing weed that can pass for 0 pesticide residue with +20% THC and no mold for $50/oz after costs and taxes?

    Thats what we are talking about. Not $20/lb Tomatoes (which is what average people would have to charge to make small margins off of their back yard gardens- analogy for home Cannabis production).

  24. Sorry, but I disagree. It is fairly easy to get 2 lbs from a 1000 watts of light (4 plants) every 4 months and cost for the 4 months is under $500, the 2 lb harvest is worth $5000. I do acknowledge that the Dispensaries have a much higher overhead to deal with. Also the learning curve is much better if you stay off the web and ignore the myths that surround growing this plant

  25. It takes pulling heart strings get the canna oil baby stories get them all fighting for the sick, full legalization frees up medical patients to get what they need

  26. Lol @ I’ve killed fake plants. Good points about the pointless gateway argument and the no cannabis for children. Hope you guys pass and get relief soon.

  27. Tell you what tony, I hope you are growing and know what you are saying. Because I had been trying to grow my medicine for the last umteen years. Not one single harvest has been anything i would have paid money for. If even a back alley dealer would have tried to sell me this stuff Id have laughed and walked away. Go ahead toss a $Expensive $ seed in the ground and tell me what you get in 3 months, 6? Any lets hope you got a feminized seed $ more expensive$ otherwise you got a 50% chance of getting a male . No barring, bugs, mold, thieves, aminals. If you dont feed it, trim it, pinch it, top it , check ph and tds, you wind up with crap. Now tell me again how the average joe is gonna know anything og what i just mentioned and how anyone can just pop a seed. I agree with genetics, those cost a ton, get lifted by customs, etc . Losing 4-5 medical grows to learn how to produce medicine is not the avg joe thing

  28. Quality/potency is determined mainly by genetics. As long as you provide the plant with it’s basic necessities (food, water, light, air) just about anybody CAN grow quality mj with the right seeds or clones. Experienced growers don’t necessarily grow BETTER mj, they just grow MORE of it. Given the same seeds, a novice and an expert can produce pretty much the same product. While the novice might get a few grams from his plant, the expert might get a few ounces or even pounds.

    Having said that, I think the biggest difference between the novice and expert grower is POST harvest. Properly drying and curing is something that very much depends on experience, and can make a HUGE difference when it comes to actually smoking the product. Minimal effect on potency, major effect on flavor and smokability.

    Of course, there are people who just can’t grow anything (?!?!). But of all the many flowers, herbs, and vegetables I’ve grown, mj really is one of the easiest. I find it virtually impossible to kill.

  29. I cant grow anything. I have killed fake plants. So while I would love to have a personal garden, I don’t have the time, space or ability to grow my own and will gladly buy from a quality producer as soon as I am able to. This argument is as pathetic as the gateway theory or them prohibiting cannabis for the children.

  30. Be sure to put rabbit fencing around any outdoor plants because the will munch on them as well as the deer.

  31. Yes. I grew my own for the first time this year. I planted 6 seeds (ordered from the Netherlands) and I have harvested 6 plants. I’m not an expert, so I can’t tell you a lot about the quality, but I’m satisfied with the buzzes I’ve gotten. Okay, I have a vegetable garden, so am no novice at gardening. And I’m fortunate enough to be free of paranoia and have a nice patio where plenty of sunshine is available and it’s free of thieves and nosy neighbors. My major expense was the seeds. As for ease, I would say that while it was easy enough, it’s time consuming (I pampered mine because they were so accessible) and the growth cycle usually takes a long time; patience is a must. My heart goes out to those who aren’t so fortunate, but, as we all know there are many options and each person should search for what would work for him or her.

  32. Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis is a complete idiot and why keep posting the lies that this nincompoop has constantly vomiting from his mouth.

  33. Fair enough, but Josh Marquis is just using that as an excuse to justify the crime against humanity of cannabis prohibition.

  34. It isn’t easy to grow quality cannabis surreptitiously, but doing so in plain view legally outdoors shouldn’t be too hard *if* the person doing so is a seasoned gardener and correct genetics are first obtained. That being said, most people can’t really grow much of anything however and in much of Oregon you are likely to end up with slimy disgusting buds that won’t be finished until Halloween or that has been damaged by frost. Never mind devoting a room to doing it indoors which isn’t ever easy, so I’d expect 95+% of cannabis consumers to purchase rather than grow. The beer brewing analogy is pretty much right on, it’s easy to do if you know exactly how but it’s a lot easier to go to the store, hence 99.9% of beer drunk not being homebrewed.

  35. Maybe for you and I. But the average person with no cultivation experience. They’re going to be faced with a pretty steep learning curve. If you just throw seeds in dirt, You’re going to get shit. That’s just how it is. As far as cost. It’s anything but cheap. Yeah, it might be cheaper than a dispensary. But not that much cheaper. This isn’t something growers are making a huge profit on. The profit margins are pretty small.

  36. I hope someone can get these groups to stop bickering and get with the program. Sooner or later they have to realize that any legalization is far better than none. I’m sure Barry Goldwater would approve.

  37. It dovetails in with Colorado in general. Tourists flock to Colorado LONG before Marijuana was legal for many different reasons. All this does is add to those numbers a “new tourist industry” as well as possibly enhancing OTHER tourists trips to Colorado. That’s why I say AZ would be a PERFECT prospect for legalization because of our “natural tourist industry”.

    Actually MPP filed the other day with the State their intentions for 2016 legalization effort in AZ. The biggest problem we have in AZ is ALL of our “legalization groups” oppose ALL the others! Too much infighting at present for this to EVER pass here!

  38. Russ, you are exactly right about Colorado’s preference for medical rather than retail marijuana, due to absurd taxes on retail and the ease with which a medical “red card” can be obtained. Fortunately, the tourists are helping to fill the gap by purchasing a LOT of recreational weed. The obvious answer is to decrease taxes on recreational pot and tighten up access to medical. There are many thousands of able-bodied young men with “chronic back pain” caused by skateboarding, snowboarding and lifting heavy beer cans that really should be lining up for recreational reefer, not medical.

  39. Well Russ you just don’t have a green thumb..I’ve had dispensary grade and have grown my own.. Not hard and high quality but the congressman’s comment is appropriate. When it becomes legal I will be growing my own believe me…and growing high quality cannabis isn’t hard for me at least.

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