Growing Cannabis in Wisconsin

Cannabis, historically known for its recreational and medicinal uses, has gained significant attention across the globe in recent years for its potential benefits and economic impact. In the United States, individual states have been gradually adopting policies and regulations regarding the cultivation, distribution, and use of cannabis. This article will discuss the context, regulations, and best practices for growing cannabis in the state of Wisconsin.

Historical Context and Legal Status

Wisconsin, like many states, has had a tumultuous relationship with cannabis. In the early 20th century, it was grouped with other substances and criminalized. However, the recent wave of cannabis legalization, both for medicinal and recreational purposes, has prompted states like Wisconsin to reconsider its stance.

As of the last update in 2021, medicinal cannabis use is legal in Wisconsin in a limited form, allowing CBD oil without psychoactive THC for certain conditions. However, the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use remains illegal. That said, it’s essential for growers and potential cultivators to be aware of the current legal status and any changes in state policies.

Climate and Soil Conditions

Wisconsin’s diverse climate conditions play a crucial role in determining the success of cannabis cultivation. Understanding these conditions can help in optimizing yields and ensuring the health of the plants.

Temperature and Light

Wisconsin experiences a continental climate, characterized by cold winters and warm summers. This means that cannabis growers have a limited outdoor growing season, typically from late May to early October. To harness the maximum potential of the growing season, it’s essential to monitor temperatures and ensure that cannabis plants aren’t exposed to frost, which can be detrimental. Most cannabis varieties require a minimum of 5-7 hours of direct sunlight daily during the vegetative stage, increasing to 9-12 hours during the flowering phase.

Soil Type

Wisconsin’s soil is primarily composed of silt loam, which is suitable for cannabis growth due to its water retention and drainage properties. However, the pH level of the soil should be checked and adjusted if necessary. Cannabis prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Organic matter such as compost can be added to improve soil fertility.

Best Strains for Wisconsin Climate

Given Wisconsin’s specific climate conditions, it is beneficial to choose strains that are resilient to temperature fluctuations and have a shorter flowering period.

Auto-flowering strains

These strains automatically switch from the vegetative to the flowering phase based on age rather than light cycles. This characteristic can be particularly beneficial in Wisconsin, ensuring harvest before the first frost.

Indica-dominant strains

Generally, Indica strains have a shorter flowering period than Sativa strains, making them more suitable for Wisconsin’s shorter growing season.

Some recommended strains for the Wisconsin climate include Northern Lights (Indica dominant), Auto Blueberry (auto-flowering), and Early Skunk (hybrid with quick flowering).

Indoor Cultivation: An Alternative to Outdoor Growing

Given the uncertainties associated with Wisconsin’s climate, many growers opt for indoor cultivation. Indoor growing provides control over light, temperature, humidity, and other factors, ensuring optimal conditions throughout the cannabis life cycle.

Equipment and Setup

For indoor cultivation, growers will need:

  • Grow lights (LED, HID, or CFL)
  • Controlled ventilation system
  • Temperature and humidity monitors
  • Growing medium (soil or hydroponic)
  • Pots or containers
  • Nutrients and pH control

Regular monitoring and adjustments are required to ensure the plants receive the right amount of light, maintain the ideal temperature (between 70-85°F during the day), and adequate humidity levels.

Challenges and Considerations

Growers in Wisconsin should be aware of the potential challenges. This includes the ever-changing legal landscape and the possibility of pests and diseases that can affect cannabis plants, such as spider mites, aphids, and powdery mildew. Staying informed and taking preventative measures can mitigate these challenges.


While Wisconsin’s climate poses unique challenges for cannabis cultivation, with the right knowledge and approach, successful harvests are achievable. Always ensure that you adhere to state laws and regulations, and consider both the benefits and challenges of the chosen cultivation method, whether outdoor or indoor. As the legal landscape and societal perspectives on cannabis evolve, Wisconsin may witness further opportunities and changes in the realm of cannabis cultivation.