If the only thing preventing you from growing cannabis in the comfort of your own home is your utter lack of gardening skills, then — after I remind you to check your state and local laws before attempting to do so — I might suggest you turn to Cloudponics’ GroBox.
Grobox is a cloud-connected, automated indoor system which lets you grow your own cannabis (or, to cover any legal bases, tomatoes). The armoire-sized box combines hydroponics and a mobile app that promises to let even the brownest of thumbs grow six plants from seed to maturity in just three months, allowing you to harvest up to one pound of dry buds. (Look, I get I’m no Jeff Spicoli, but that seems like a lot.)
Costing $2,690 (though they are running a special $420 off deal right now)(sigh), the GrowBox comes with the cabinet, LED lighting system, water trays, pH and nutrient sensors as well as nutrients for your first grow. You’ll have to get your own seeds (again, check your local laws).
Once set up, the GroBox uses WiFi to connect to the cloud so you can monitor the growth from anywhere in the world using the mobile app. The Cloudponics app comes with “recipes” to automate the lighting and nutrient distribution depending on what strain of cannabis you want to grow, or if you’re a power user, you can skip the recipes and manage your own grow for desired results.
The app also serves as the key to unlock your GroBox, so neither unwitting kids nor nosey neighbors can get into your crops.
In addition to sales of the GroBox itself, Cloudponics generates recurring revenue through a nutrient refresh pack sales. These packs cost $200, last for two grows (six months) and include nutrients, pH adjusters, new sensors and an odor filter.
Founded in 2014, Cloudponics is based in Santiago, Chile, and has raised $700,000 in, errr, seed funding. I spoke with Co-Founder Nicolas Ruiz, who told me that the company is on its third-gen box, and has sold more than 50 GroBox’s in Chile, and “well over a couple hundred” boxes across thirty states in the U.S.
Because the system is connected, Cloudponics has some insight into how people are using the appliances. Ruiz said that most people start growing right away, get a full harvest and then take 1 – 2 months off (not surprising since a pound is a lot to get through). Blue Dream, a California strain, is the most popular, and the Cloudponics community also shares pictures and feedback about their harvests, and the company can use data from those grows to improve their recipes.
Ruiz says that he hasn’t run afoul of Johnny Law so far because the GroBox can be used to grow other things besides cannabis, like lettuce and tomatoes, and can be marketed as such. GroBox initially started off looking to get into the home-grown produce market, but changed direction when they saw the size of the potential market for cannabis growing and could see changes coming to the law.
Cloudponics certainly isn’t the only home grow-in-a-box system for sale. Others like Natufia or Click & Grow or SproutsIO are coming to market as well, though those companies tend to be a bit more microgreens-forward in their messaging.
But, if weed is what you want to grow (in accordance with all relevant laws), GroBox may be your go-to.