The 2020 election has been, well.. interesting. Montana voted Red for all candidates, but also voted overwhelmingly for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Officials will likely be hammering out exact details on how the program will work and one anti-legalization group has already filed a lawsuit against the voter-approved ballot measures, according to a story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Recreational marijuana will not be available for sale until January 1, 2022.  That's like a year and two months from now. But here's the thing... according to the new rule, you can legally possess and consume marijuana on January 1st, 2021. That's less than 60 days away. Great, but there's one quandary: If you can't buy it in a store yet, and you don't have a medical marijuana card, where are you supposed to acquire your marijuana?

One option to consider is to grow it yourself. Starting January 1, you can legally grow up to 8 plants at one time. Four can be in the "flowering" stage and four must be in the "vegetative" stage.  Four plants can easily supply enough cannabis for personal consumption. "But Michael," you say, "It's wintertime in Montana! How do you expect me to grow anything?!" Indoors!

Indoor gardening might seem intimidating, and there can certainly be challenges. It's also not incredibly difficult to get started and give it a shot. When everything goes right, marijuana plants can be harvested in about 90 days from start-to-finish. I reached out to Harvest Tech, a grow store here in Billings and chatted with employee John Mammenga about the costs of setting up a small, indoor grow area in a spare bedroom. Nothing crazy, just a basic little system that can handle maybe 4 plants.

Photo: Spectrum King

John told me that there are a number of different lighting options available for gardening indoors, and thanks to advances in lighting technology, they're getting smaller, cooler and more efficient. LED options are popular, as are high-tech ceramic lights and classics like high-pressure sodium. I'd recommend talking to an experienced professional to discuss your exact needs and specifications.

The sky is the limit when it comes to indoor gardening. I got to tour an indoor medical marijuana facility this week in the Billings area, and it was AMAZING. Spotless, state-of-the-art, 100% hydroponic, etc. I'm sure it cost a small fortune. However, John and Harvest Tech owner Mike Dayton, said they are putting together an entry-level package for someone looking to grow about 4 plants and said it'll be priced at right around $500 - $600. Not bad. Of course, you'll need pots and growing medium and fans and other odds-n-ends. Figure well less than $1,000 to get started.

Photo: Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

Doing some basic research before you begin loading up your debit card with gear for your small indoor garden is recommended. Shop around, ask questions. Read up. Ed Rosenthal's 1999 guide, Closet Cultivator is an informative, easy read that answers basic questions about growing marijuana indoors, and will get you pointed in the right direction. Some of the technology has changed since the book was first published, but the subject matter has not.