Growing Medical Marijuana in Hawaii

Have you ever thought of growing marijuana in a lush tropical paradise?

What about living on a secluded farm, eating food you grow and get from the forest? Does taking a long, extended vacation from work sound appealing? Or maybe you just want to have fun at the beach while you and your buds are soaking up sunshine…. well guess what?

You can do all of this things here in Hawaii, legally!

Hawaii has a lot to offer. It’s sub-tropical climate is an ideal place to grow marijuana year-round outdoors. Hawaii is full of micro-climates that vary throughout the different areas of the Islands. You can go through desert, wet tropical rain-forest, windy pastures, and barren highlands all within a one hour drive here.

I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, literally the biggest island in the chain. With a population of not even 200,000 it retains its local small-town feel to most areas of the island. There are plenty of surfers, fisherman, backpackers, farmers, hunters and stoners – and is filled with some of the friendliest, kindhearted people you will meet.

Respect the Islands and Hawaiian culture

Hawaii’s medical marijuana program allows patients to be able to grow up to seven plants, not specified whether mature or immature. While this doesn’t seem like a whole lot, there are ways you can maximize your yield of marijuana off of only a few plants, using additional light supplementation and plant rotation techniques. When you combine that with the ability to grow marijuana constantly all year round, being a patient here starts to look all the more rewarding.

Big Island, Hawaii

 Seasons, Daylight, and Additional Lighting

  • Long season natural growing

Located at about 20° N, Hawaii’s seasons range from a high of 13.5 hours in the summer to a low of about 11 hours in the winter. Marijuana plants here can grow naturally as they would in northern areas, using spring for vegetative growth and finishing up for harvest around fall or early winter; this is what we call the long season.

It is easy to get sativa, indica and hybrid cannabis plants big naturally in the long season – supplying the cultivator with heavy-yeilding bud harvests, while using only the sun as the cannabis plant’s light source.

Germinate (sprout) sativa cannabis seeds as early as even February for long-flowering sativa strains such as SE Asian, African, Central American and Hawaiian varieties.

Sprout indica cannabis seeds in the subtropics anywhere from April until July – hybrid marijuana strains will be started anywhere in between the months stated above to catch onto the long season. Hawaii is in the northern-hemisphere, so the standard crop start-til-harvest plant cycle is similar to other places in the USA.

Long season bud harvests start in August and stretch until December (SE Asian sativas even Jan!). In a fair and mild tropical/subtropical climate you have the advantage of letting pure sativas go unchained; massive long-flowering sativa cannabis buds building mass all the way into winter finish up insane.

That’s the little known secret of getting top-quality pure sativa. Don’t believe naysayers who whine that tropical landrace strains are scrawny, long season in Hawaii has been home to some of the top best long-flower pure sativa cannabis on earth – huge & obese, potent quality buds off of trees – just make sure that these special sativa strains flower l-o-n-g!

Strain selection is a major key to success growing marijuana outdoors. Be sure to check out weekly updated best-selling cannabis seeds list, and our special featured Top 10 Best Outdoor Marijuana Strains at our homepage Mold Resistant Strains.

  • Short season natural growing

The short season is what Hawaiian growers call growing plants outside of the standard northern-hemisphere plant cycle. So you’re finishing buds in the winter, spring and early summer. This is achieved naturally by starting seed during the latter part of the year or early in the new year. Short season cannabis cultivation can be done with or without additional lighting.

Not supplied with additional light hours, cannabis plants in a low daylight-hours winter will start and live their life out on a slow growing stretchy flowering stasis. If you are an indoor cannabis cultivator, image sprouting pot seeds below 18 hours of light, sometimes even down to 14/10.

Depending on the time of year and the amount of sativa in the plant’s genetics, you will be lucky to get 4 – 6 foot cannabis bushes to finish up good grown like this. Lower yields, smaller plants and slower growth, local guerilla growers combat this by putting out a much more massive volume of plants in the fields.

Many cannabis sativas come from sub-tropical/tropical climates similar to Hawaii and are accustomed to this short season, growing up and finishing decently most times of the year – although – long flowering tropical sativa strains will not be able to finish up during late spring.

Pure sativa growers beware: As daylight hours rise in the new year, short-season-grown tropical pure and dominant sativa strains will begin to morph into vegetative growth, stretching and morphing their buds into branches.  Use sativa dominant strains for planting late in the year and balanced indica/sativa hybrids for planting early in the new year.

Indica warning: Avoid planting heavy indica strains between October – January f you can not supply additional lighting. Left with Hawaii’s natural winter photoperiod, cannabis plants will stay small and stunted, resulting in what we call ‘lollipops’.

Sativa-Indica hybrids do best: The most rewarding option for the natural-lighting short season cannabis cultivator to use is sativa-indica hybrid seeds & strains. 60/40 and 70/30 sativa-indica cannabis strains do well for the Hawaiian short season. Sativa genetics will help the plant vertically, while the indica genetics will help prevent vegetative morphing in Jan-May. Check out our weekly list of top high-rated outdoor cannabis seeds for strain ideas here.

  • Additional lighting, multiple harvests

What is most ideal for the medical marijuana grower to do in Hawaii is to supplement additional hours of light to your plants. If you keep the total daylight hours somewhere above 16 hours for most strains, the cannabis will continue to grow in vegetative growth status and will not start flowering until you stop providing them that additional light.

Simply put, you trigger the cannabis flowering cycle.

This will present you, the cultivator, with the advantage of creating your own seasons and reaping multiple harvests as well as controlling how big you want cannabis plants. How to do this? Easy…

1.) Tropical herb growing, modified: Medical marijuana plants can be be grown outside during the day, soaking up the sun’s free light. Then, before the day’s sunset (or alternatively before sunrise) the plants will be provided additional lighting in the form of grow lights. You will need to invest in a quality growing light that caters to plant light spectrum preferences. HID and LED lights are highly encouraged.

2.) Set up the grow room, or outdoor cannabis arena: You can have your plants in pots and carry them in to a grow room, or grow in a greenhouse/covered outdoor area and have lights turn on for the plants as the day ends. This will keep them in vegetative growth as long as you keep doing this daily on schedule.

3.) Calculate the total hours in your cannabis’ vegetative cycle – this is important. It is imperative to make sure you don’t dip below 16 hours of total light your plants are getting per day. This will induce hormones to start flowering process. You can check daylight hours online here –

4.) Keep on the lighting schedule daily: Interruptions in the vegetative plant’s growth cycle will trigger the flowering cycle prematurely. If you are not available to tend for your medical marijuana’s light schedule, make sure someone does it for you.

5.) When you are ready for buds: Simply stop providing the additional lighting, and replant cannabis plants into a larger, fully prepared soil if not in already. Due to the clear change of photoperiod light hours, the plant will start it’s flowering cycle. Refer to the listed flowering time of the cannabis seeds/strain to know when you will harvest buds.

6.) Make a calendar: Now knowing how long your medical marijuana will be grown for, you can make a customized calendar to fit your bud-harvesting needs. Professional growers often keep a solid regime of lighting, planting/cloning, fertilization, transplanting, cleaning and harvesting.

Remember: You have big dreams for your baby seedlings and clones, don’t make the mistake of having them start flowering in the grow room. 18 hours or more of light keeps your plants growing vigorous and quickly, with at least 5 hours of direct sunlight for outdoor cannabis cultivation.

LED grow lights are the preferred option for those who live low-energy and off-grid, relying on solar power or generators for electricity – led lights draw a low-wattage and perform exceptionally well, pumping usable light powering marijuana’s photosynthesis. The secret to these efficient LED grow lights is that they are designed to output only the exact spectrum of light that is the most absorbed by plants – ignoring light frequencies that cannabis does not use in photosynthesis, such as green light.

The best bang for your buck LED light, 300w Galaxyhydro LED is for serious growers who want save on money and power, but still demand vigorous growth from their plants. Expect to see drastic improvement in your speed of growth using additional lighting with a good led light – you will be able to easily pump out multiple harvests quickly and efficiently. Don’t get ripped off by overpriced lights in magazine ads, this one does all the work for a fraction of the price.

Buy now on Amazon


Once you have your grow light set-up, you can control how big you want your plants to be – and when they will finish. When you are ready to start flowering them, simply remove the additional lighting. As soon as this is done, the plants will react to the sudden change in daylight hours and start the flowering process, no matter what time of the year it is in Hawaii.

Most all modern popular mixed sativa/indica hybrids and pure indica strains will finish up properly outside, throughout the different times of the year using this trick, with exceptions for dominant and pure-sativas. As much as they do well in Hawaii’s climate, the pure & landrace sativas you gotta watch out for, especially seeds & strains originating from a tropical/subtropical latitude.

Pure and landrace sativas have naturally adjusted to the seasons and will be eager to stretch out and hook on to long season if you try to finish them in late spring/early summer. Quick flowering 60/40 sativa indica strains are the preferred choice for raw yield production.

Remember: with your calendar you can easily make a scheduled bud harvest that repeats itself multiple times a year. Make a personalized schedule to create a time frame set-up that works for you. Top local cannabis cultivators harvest the crip pakalolo (quality cannabis) every 45 days taking advantage of the additional lighting tactic. Mark dates to cut new clones(or plant seeds), start light dates, transplant dates, start of flowering and harvest, ect. Just keep following your calendar to-the-note again-and-again and you will be in a constant rotation of budding plants.


If you really are low budget, or using a small solar system, these little lights will do the job for you cheap. These small led lights are under 25$ each and are only using 12 watts of power. You won’t be getting as good results as a bigger led grow light, nor the light penetration, but hey I’d still pick these over florescent lights. Put one or more over a few clones, and as they get bigger, use a single light for each plant. Buy 4 of them and your only running 48 watts altogether.

Buy now on Amazon

MRS top-rated popular LED grow lights online: *Updated Oct. 09, 2017

SYGAVLED 300W Veg Bloom LED Grow Light
4 Star Rating
VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300W LED Grow Light
4.8 Star Rating
VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 600W LED Grow Light
5 Star Rating

Please leave your thoughts and comments below▼. I want to know – What’s your favorite strains for cannabis growing in Hawaii? Aloha 😉

Disclaimer: We do not promote or undertake in illegal activities.


  1. // Reply


    My name is Shane Ostergard. I am a licensed Medical Marijuana patient in Washington State. For over a year I have been learning how to grow cannabis. My plan for Fall was to start WWOOFing in Hawaii, This position could be a good fit for me. Thanks.

  2. // Reply

    Aloha everyone,
    This is the Minister of da sense. I have been around a long time. If you are older, you might recognize the handle from the old days on the Cannabisworld message boards. I have been cropping the cripplers for almost 30 years now. 25 of those years I have been growing in Hawaii. I lived on Maui for 17 years, but now grow on the Big Island. I have been here for 10 years now. And I have pulled off some serious cobs over the years. I have been living in the Puna district for about 7 years now. And to be honest, it’s the toughest place to pull off ripe buds because of the mold. I had never even seen mold on my plants until I got setup out here. I have had my heart broken many times due to mold, and I am at constant battle with mold. It’s a real bummer that I have had to give up many strains I grew for years. I have found that it is mostly about the strain you are growing. The best herb I have ever seen, was some that I grew out in Hawaiian Acres. A strain called the “Death”. It is almost totally immune to mold problems. And the buds are as dense and killer….so potent that even an old school fool like me would be sweating, mumbling, too stoned to accomplish much. In people with a lower tolerance, they often go into panic attack mode, some people have even gone to the ER thinking that the herb was laced. lol I figure that is why they call it the death. Although it takes about 11 weeks to finish out. Anyway, I am having to start all over again thanks to some asshole who literally robbed every thing of value on my old property, when I had to go to the mainland for a family emergency. I am currently running the “Blue Dream”, and a few other strains that turned out to be molders. So I am scrapping them and giving the Blue Dream a shot at long season. However, I lost my contact for the Death….and I am wondering (hoping is more accurate) that someone else out there has a line on the Death? I think that it is not only the best strain in Puna, but the best I have ever seen. The only strain I liked as much was the Diesel I brought from Maui. Shoots….please get at me if you’re familiar with this strain. Mahalo 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Aloha Minister,

      Nice to hear from you…

      This “Death” strain you are describing sounds quite similar to a variety we call “Vietnamese Black” – a sativa that will make your heart race with paranoia. An intense high comparable to mushrooms. Extremely mold resistant, and able to finish up hard and dank outside in the pouring rain.

      With the 11 week flowering time, “Death” is likely a hybrid of “Vietnamese Black”, may be a local kept goodie, but check out these strains with “VB” in their genetics.

      Black Maui

      Orient Express

      I’ll ask around the Island for this “Death” strain, as you have got me interested as well now. Stay in touch and we’ll see what we can find.

      Feel you on the mold loss problems. We have dealt with the same moldy disasters many times. Being here for 30 years, I’m sure you know how trying to finish buds in humid climates can be.

      I also am a big fan of Diesel. She performs well for us, hardy towards the outdoors and has yielded higher than many strains grown side-by-side. My standby cash-cropper plant.

      Good story,

      Shoots brah!

  3. // Reply

    1 Tablespoon of Vitamin C powder, ascorbic acid, in 1 gallon of water. Sprayed on Plants or Buds, eats powdery mildew. Does NOT harm Trichs or flowers. Can save yer ass.

    1. // Reply

      Aloha Puamana, thanks for the input!

      1. // Reply

        Is that both Vit C and ascobic acid combined or just Vit C?

  4. // Reply

    Shoots, thanks for the info. It very well could be a relationship to the VB. I have only seen the Death in Puna. It’s also a very tasty strain, very skunky, but a different kind of skunky, kinda hard to explain. I forgot to mention the molokai frost, that was a great strain for Puna too. I would top em and they would finish out bushy with dense popcorn buds all over. But anyway, thanks for the reply. And if you come across the Death, LMK. And also, get it if you can. I am sure that you will be impressed. In the meantime, I am counting on the Blue Dream to come through….it sounds pretty good. I have not tried it though. Well, Shoots. Take it light Braddah. Aloha!
    The Minister

  5. // Reply

    Aloha Puamana,
    I have just noticed the tip for the powdery mildew. Thanks for the info. I am going to try that for sure. I am disabled, and not able to do as much as I used to….and was needing a greenhouse. And low and behold, as my Christmas present, my youngest son came out with my granddaughter for Christmas, and as a present, bought and brought all the material, and built me a greenhouse for my Christmas present. So,…this is a great help when the plants are 6 weeks into flowering, and it rains pitchforks and hammer handles for a week and a half.! It’s a big help in stopping the dreaded gray mold/bud rot. But it’s not much help with the powdery mildew. Thanks again for the tip. 🙂 peace and prosperity to all!
    The Minister

  6. // Reply

    1st off, most or all ascorbic acid is made from gmo corn. Not what I want on my plants!

    For mold and mildew, consider a regimen of Serenade and Actinovate. Both are OMRI listed. Also neem in veg.

    But of course, mold resistant strains will be the best bet!

  7. // Reply

    Aloha JK. I have your books, and we met once long ago…I used to camp out near Makena at Changs back in the day. Man, I would be surprised if you hadn’t come across the Death out in Puna at some point. Have you ever been able to sample it? Just curious. Shoots. I wish a productive long season to all. Aloha 🙂

    p.s. Dumb automatic spelling correcter thing. It supposed to say Minister of da Sinse. lol

    The Minister.

  8. // Reply

    Also I forgot to ask. I see all of these interesting strains….but it’s looking like they are all feminized. I am specifically in need of non feminized seeds. I have been breeding for years, and was forced into a temporary hiatus….but am now ready to get back into the action, and I am hitting a brick wall of feminized seeds. Looking to the future, it’s a disturbing trend.

    The Minister

    1. // Reply

      Granddaddy Purp is regular seeds, it’s a killer quick finishing hardy indica strain. Does well inbred as well as making crosses. I crossed Granddaddy Purp with a Hawaiian Sativa and got great results. Anything by Sensi seeds you can get regular as well, I recommend Early Pearl.

  9. // Reply

    This is a great article I learned a lot especially about mold resistant strains, thank you for sharing this and bringing me one step closer to growing my own marijuana!

  10. // Reply

    What is difference between indica and sativa?.
    What precautions we have to take while consuming this breed?.
    Is every person need is different as per his/ her physiology?

  11. // Reply

    Is it hard to get a Medical Card on Oahu? If so, Where should I get one? Mahalos

      1. // Reply

        Do I need recent medical records?

        1. // Reply

          I didn’t. All I had to do was describe my pain symptoms to the doctor, and he kindly assisted me through the rest of the process.

  12. // Reply


    Great site you have here, it is always nice to see more ‘Ohana representing Hawaiian Pakalōlō.

    We were directed to your site by a member of our ‘Ohana who said someone was using “puamana” as their name and commenting on your site. The comments above from user “puamana” are in no way shape or form affiliated with Pua Mana ‘Ohana or Pua Mana 1st Hawaiian Pakalōlō Seed Bank.

    While spraying vitamin C, or garlic oil on your plants may dissolve some powdery mildew and mold, there is only one tried and true way to grow Pakalōlō in Hawai’i with minimal issues arising from mold due to the high humidity here on da Hawaiian islands: grow HAWAIIAN Pakalōlō strains!!

    Hawaiian landrace strains such as Puna Buddaz, Maui Wowie, Moloka’i Purpz and Kaua’i Electric have spent hundreds of years acclimatizing and adapting to the unique tropical environment we have here in Hawai’i and are your best bet in ensuring a bountiful Hawaiian harvest.

    When you are building a grow room indoors the 1st thing you do is create the ideal environment for your Pakalōlō plants; temp 72-78 degrees, %55 humidity at max, you also can also enrich with co2 and you control the light schedule.

    When growing outdoors the exact opposite is the case; the 1st thing you do is choose the ideal Pakalōlō strain for your environment!!!

    As anyone who has ever lived on the Puna side of da Big Island can attest, you can not even throw your clothes in a laundry basket for 3 minuets in Puna without your clothes being eaten alive by mold.

    Puna Buddaz (da real Hawaiian strain, not the strain “Puna Budder” released by T.H. Seeds that is a Hawaiian x Afgan imitation under a similar name) is an amazing survivor and true legend in da Pakalōlō kingdom. She handles da tropical monsoon downpours of da Puna District on da Big Island of Hawai’i like a champ. Many Puna growers will tell you after particularly rainy seasons, Puna Buddaz is da last plant standing when many other strains have already succumb to mold issues.

    Puna Buddaz is a very special lil lady and is our #1 pick for growing mold resistant strains in Hawai’i. Puna Buddaz even performs well for our mainland ‘Ohana on da west coast who have grown her in OR and CA with great results. Puna Buddaz flowers in 55-60 days amassing heavy loads of resin and trichomes, perhaps another reason she beats da mold is her fast flower time.

    Our 2nd and 3rd place picks for growing mold resistant strains in Hawai’i are: Moloka’i Purpz and Kaua’i Electric.

    Moloka’i Purpz gets her lovely purple hues from being cultivated high (literally) atop the tallest sea cliffs on Earth on da island of Moloka’i. She can handle cold temps and is no stranger to tropical rain.

    Kaua’i Electric received her name after hanauna (generations) of cultivation by local Pakalōlō growers up Powerline Trail on da island of Kaua’i. Powerline trail is located on your way up Mt. Wai’ale’ale. Mt. Wai’ale’ale is da rainiest place on da planet Earth. Kaua’i Electric can handle whatever tropical rain is thrown her way and she will not only survive, she will thrive.

    Maui Wowie cultivated in Hana Maui for hanauna (generations) is another great choice for mold resistant Hawaiian Pakalōlō genetics as Hana is da rainy side of Maui similar to da Puna side on da Big Island of Hawai’i. Maui Wowie is a Hawaiian landrace who originates from Lower Nāhiku Maui and was given her catchy name at a solstice celebration thrown by Bradda Joseph of Lower Nāhiku Maui during the 1960’s. While countless imitators have used da name Maui Wowie to peddle their Pakalōlō, true Maui Wowie can be identified by her sweet tropical taste and smell, her psychedelic mind boggling effect and her ability to resist mold and mildew in tropical climates.

    Just because a strain is Hawaiian does not mean it will be mold resistant. Kona Gold is a massive Hawaiian sativa from da Kona side of da Big Island. Kona is a very dry sunny climate allowing Kona Gold to reach her massive potential. Kona Gold flowers in 10-14 weeks allowing more time for mold to set in and is not suitable for rainy tropical climate zones like Puna, but she thrives in da Hawaiian sunshine and is one of da largest most potent Hawaiian sativa strains on Earth.

    Where ever you happen to be, it is always a wise call to find a Pakalōlō strain that has acclimatized to your environment. Here in Hawai’i we have a very special climate and our Pakalōlō is a direct reflection of da paradise we call home.

    Keep up da good work with your site and your grow,

    Aloha a hui hou,

    <3 Pua Mana 'Ohana <3

      1. // Reply

        Mahalo nui loa Hawaiian Braddah!

        As far as collaboration articles…If can…can…;-)

  13. // Reply

    Hey, cool. I’m glad people are adding comments and good information. I had several strains that I had worked on for years, but some person took my seeds, never knowing the treasures they possessed. PUA MANA, I believe I had the Maui Wowie strain to which you’re referring….however, it was know to me as the Pink Gorillas, or the Gorilla Pinks, depending on who you were talking to. Being from Nahiku, it is guarans mold resistant, as was the death. I have tried some seeds a hippie guy gifted me, but they weren’t spectacular. I was pondering on ordering some seeds, but being on disability and making in a month what I usually made in a week, is making that a non option for me at.this point. I have found some old seeds that I made, but not exactly sure what strain, and they’re at least 3 years old. But I am hoping for the best. Good luck to all.
    The Minister

    1. // Reply

      Aloha Minister!

      Da Puna Death Bud and Pink Gorilla are both great island strains from da old school. Another epic Maui strain from back in da day you may remember was called: Galactica. Our ‘Ohana in Hilo just got us some seeds of da Galactica we are about to start playing around with.

      If financial issues are a hurdle to getting the seeds you need no worries…Pua Mana ‘Ohana can…;-)

      We are working on organizing a Hawai’i Blue card seed giveaway for patients here on da islands. Our attorneys have not green lighted the project yet but as soon as they do we will be freeing up seeds for patients on Big island, Maui, O’ahu and Kaua’i.

      Aloha a hui hou,
      Pua Mana ‘Ohana

  14. // Reply

    Aloha Pua Mana.!
    I’m glad to hear from someone else who is familiar with some of the old school Hawaiian strains. I don’t remember the galactica…But I became pretty good friends with Bully D. I lived up in Kanaio, and he would ride his motorcycle out there a lot, and I hooked up with the Blood. That was also an awesome strain.

  15. // Reply

    Pua mana, I agree with some of the information you spread but… A couple things are miss information. First off, Joseph from Nahiku didn’t live on Maui in the 60’s, he lived in la Jolla and moved to Maui in the 70s. He moved to lower Nahiku in 1983. And marijuana wasn’t introduced to the Hawaiian islands hundreds of years ago. Some say it was brought by “the brotherhood” in the 60s. We on the eastside here still have the “keanae pink gorilla” (an original swazi) and hold it close to the circle. No disrespect intended, just clearing things up. Aloha

  16. // Reply

    Re: Pua Mana, wow…. Just went on your web site and read “your” history of pakalolo. Very interesting indeed. Though your right…. As powerful, resourceful and medicinal of plant as pakalolo. Hawaiian history would be filled with dances and chants and kahuna knowledge protected from kapu. It was a good read.

  17. // Reply

    Hi there, I recently graduated with my medical degree and I’m looking for opportunities as a wwoofer on a Cannabis Farm before my medical internship. Cannabis is something I am passionate about and would love to learn more and more about it. Can u guide me to a farm that might be looking for someone like me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *