To clone or not to clone?

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

I just moved back to California from Buffalo, N.Y., at the end of summer last year, and the day after I got here, I found SN&R. If nothing else, I read your article every week. Keep it up! Your excellence in writing proves “potheads” are not mentally deficient!

To the point: I’d like to grow in my backyard this summer. I’m going small due to lack of space with all my other vegetables and flowers, so I’m thinking two or three plants.

I’ve read that clones grow nowhere near the size of a seed plant, due to their inability to produce a taproot. Is there any truth to that?

Also, I’m looking for where I can get a couple high-quality clones for cheap, if not donated. In exchange, I am willing to share some of the crop. Do you know of any co-ops or anything like that?


I would say go with clones, mostly because you plan on growing a few small plants. If you start with seeds, you will have to wait for them to start flowering before you know if you have male or female plants.

Planting seeds and ending up with nothing but boy plants is a drag.

For shorter, bushier plants, try an indica. Sativas usually grow tall and lanky. Pot plants are a lot like goldfish in that they will grow to fit the size of their environment. They are unlike goldfish in that you can cut them down to size if they get too big.

Also, be sure to look into the laws concerning outdoor growing in your area. Many cities and counties have made growing cannabis outdoors illegal unless certain requirements are met. We got this message last month in an email from the city of Sacramento:

“As you are likely aware, late last year, we took a recommendation to City Council amending city code related to medical marijuana cultivation. In light of the spike in serious violent crime that occurred at outdoor marijuana grow sites last year this year the City will be taking a zero tolerance approach. Outdoor marijuana grows and the money they generate through illegal sales has created a magnet for crime, including home invasions and robbery. The City will aggressively identify illegal outdoor marijuana grows in an effort to promptly enforce the new marijuana cultivation law and reduce the threats to the health and safety of the adjacent neighbors and public at large.”

It is a challenge to find quality clones. Most clubs in Sacramento don’t carry them, but Harborside Health Center in Oakland carries an extensive selection of healthy plants. A good clone will run you between $12 and $25, depending on the strain and the size of the plant. You could probably ask some of your cannabis-using friends if they know anyone that has a few clones lying around. Have fun in your garden, and send pics in October!