With three states and a district legalizing recreational cannabis in the U.S., it isn’t that surprising that entrepreneurs are casting an eye on all the ways legal pot can make them money. And given the vast network of growers and growing guides that existed well before legalization, there’s plenty of material to work with…which is how we get to the Leaf “plug and plant” growing box.
There are lots of easy plant grow boxes out there (for “herbs” usually) but Leaf is one of the first to specifically advertise that yes, this is for your weed. It’s a small refrigerator-like box designed to keep tight control of the environment for two little starter plants, all the way up through full budding. Considering that – medical or recreational – home growing regulations tend to be particularly strict, the size isn’t as much of an issue as you would think.
Appliance reviews point out that the most impressive feature about the Leaf box is its smart integration. Using a variety of sensors, the growing box can measure light, ventilation, nutrients, and the pH levels of the soil, making automatic adjustments for the absolute best growing conditions.
If you think you know better than the box, then you can use the Leaf iPhone app to control all settings yourself. The app includes a connection to an HD camera in the growing box so you can keep watch on growth over time. There’s also a social aspect – people can exchange their recipes (presumably for soil and strains, not brownies) then share their time-lapse videos from the household appliance.
With some venture capital behind the project, Leaf is ready for commercial production…but at a price. And here, you might say, is the sticky point: The box preorders for $1,500 plus $150 nutrient cartridges, which puts it so far above the average stoner’s budget that Silicon Valley is the only reasonable market left.
The company is quick to point out that with proper growth management you can make that much back by selling your pot in just several months of a good growth cycle: This too puts Leaf in a very weird spot. Serious growers already have all the grow lights, space, and environmental controls they need. Casual growers can’t legally sell the product and probably won’t be able to afford the grower in the first place. Who’s left? Although we suppose it could make an interesting conversation piece for your local dispensary.