Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-08-2018, 09:45 AM
HeyHomie's Avatar
HeyHomie HeyHomie is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,554
People Grow Their Own Cannabis, Why Not Their Own Tobacco?

Is there something about growing tobacco, or processing it, that is beyond the scope of what yer average home grower can achieve? Or does the yield from the plants equal so few cigarettes to make it not worthwhile except on an industrial scale?
  #2  
Old 07-08-2018, 09:59 AM
naita naita is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Norway
Posts: 5,861
This doesn't say anything about the yield, but describes the process of growing your own tobacco in detail:
https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-and-Process-Tobacco

If you love growing and processing plants, don't put a value on the time spent and the space used, and you are happy with loose tobacco rather than finished cigarettes, I'm sure you could save some money.
  #3  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:00 AM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 40,608
I suspect the key step is curing it. Tobacco has to be dried carefully in the sun, air, or using fire over a period of weeks to months. I think it's a good deal more complicated than just picking the buds from cannabis.
  #4  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:04 AM
naita naita is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Norway
Posts: 5,861
Here's another reason not to grown your own tobacco. You might not like the product.

Quote:
If you’re used to the taste of cigarettes, know this: that taste isn’t what raw natural tobacco tastes like. It’s a product of factories and flavor sprays and special blends. The taste of raw tobacco is smoky, grassy, biting… and yet still enjoyable.

If you’re more of a cigar smoker, you may not ever be happy with your homegrown smokes. Curing cigar tobacco is an art, much like wine-making. It can most definitely be done, but it’s beyond the scope of this article.
http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/w...co-and-how-to/

The source has some odd ideas about the world, but is likely correct about this part.
  #5  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:05 AM
dflower dflower is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: costal carolina
Posts: 219
Mass produced cigarettes are much more than a paper tube full of tobacco. There are many additives and flavors used in factory-made cigarettes. If you are used to a brand you know that other brands will disappoint. Only if you are used to rolling your own with pure tobacco will growing your own be satisfactory.
  #6  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:36 AM
Perderabo Perderabo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Ashburn, Va, USA
Posts: 414
My expertise is with cigars only. But at least for tobacco used in cigars, the tobacco is fermented. This requires a very large bale of tobacco. The process is exothermic and spontaneous combustion is very possible. It also releases a large amount of ammonia. This is not an operation for most amateurs at home. You can buy loose tobacco leaves to make your own cigars and other tobacco products. Here is a site that sells the leaves:
https://www.leafonly.com/

Do click on the site and watch the video at the top of the page. You can see that the tobacco leaves can be roughly two feet in length (quite a bit larger than cannabis leaves). This is what is stopping me for attempting to roll my own cigars. I don't have a humidor large enough to store even one leaf. And leaves with different characteristics are needed for the filler, binder, and wrapper of a cigar. Buying tobacco leaves by the pound is not very expensive, partly due to the fact that the tobacco tax does not apply to tobacco because the raw leaves are not a tobacco product. It is legal in the US to buy raw leaves and make your own tobacco products. But you run afoul of the law if you sell finished products without the proper licenses and collecting the proper taxes.

Last edited by Perderabo; 07-08-2018 at 10:38 AM.
  #7  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:55 AM
Treppenwitz Treppenwitz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 315
I remember being told a long time ago (and no, I can't find a cite) that there were tobacco collectives in Kent, England. This is a variant (maybe quite a practical one) of growing your own - if the collective owns the crop they can pay someone to process it and make it into cigarettes for them. As they are not buying the cigarettes, there's no duty to pay on them, which makes the enterprise financially attractive (as it was explained to me).

Any other memories of this?

j
  #8  
Old 07-08-2018, 10:58 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 28,000
I would suspect the biggest reason for not growing your own tobacco is that you can buy cigarettes just about anywhere. From where I'm sitting I can, with in a few minutes be at two different gas stations and legally buy all the cigarettes I want. I can get them at the grocery store while I'm there, there's tobacco stores in strip malls.

Cannabis on the other hand is a bit harder to get your hands on. At this point in my life, I wouldn't even know where to go looking for it or who to call. But even if you have some regular people you can buy from, you're still taking (legal) risks in doing it. IMO, many pot smokers, at one point or another, toss some of their seeds in the dirt to see what happens. Some take a liking to it and can produce enough for themselves or to sell.

If marijuana was as available, and legal, as cigarettes, I don't think many people would still be growing it in a closet. Similarly, if tobacco were illegal, I think people may make an attempt at growing their own.
  #9  
Old 07-08-2018, 11:06 AM
HeyHomie's Avatar
HeyHomie HeyHomie is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,554
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I would suspect the biggest reason for not growing your own tobacco is that you can buy cigarettes just about anywhere. From where I'm sitting I can, with in a few minutes be at two different gas stations and legally buy all the cigarettes I want. I can get them at the grocery store while I'm there, there's tobacco stores in strip malls.

Cannabis on the other hand is a bit harder to get your hands on. At this point in my life, I wouldn't even know where to go looking for it or who to call. But even if you have some regular people you can buy from, you're still taking (legal) risks in doing it. IMO, many pot smokers, at one point or another, toss some of their seeds in the dirt to see what happens. Some take a liking to it and can produce enough for themselves or to sell.

If marijuana was as available, and legal, as cigarettes, I don't think many people would still be growing it in a closet. Similarly, if tobacco were illegal, I think people may make an attempt at growing their own.
Lots of people grow cannabis even though it's perfectly legal to buy it in their states. There are several reasons, not the least of which is the cost savings. They can also fiddle with the end product, produce their own strains, etc. But yes, some grow it because growing it is easier than getting it thanks to their jurisdiction's laws.

FWIW, I'm not a (tobacco) smoker, I'm just asking academically.
  #10  
Old 07-08-2018, 01:13 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 30,485
One reason smokers might want to grow their own tobacco is that there's seed available of many different kinds, including heirlooms and native American varieties that would be unavailable in store-bought products. And your tobacco would be free of additives common in commercial tobacco (though probably not better for you healthwise).

*one company (scroll down to see what's listed under Nicotiana tabacum) has promoted its seed with the dark observation that you should be prepared to grow your own crop because Prohibition is coming.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 07-08-2018 at 01:15 PM.
  #11  
Old 07-08-2018, 01:17 PM
BeenJammin's Avatar
BeenJammin BeenJammin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 531
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I suspect the key step is curing it. Tobacco has to be dried carefully in the sun, air, or using fire over a period of weeks to months. I think it's a good deal more complicated than just picking the buds from cannabis.
Cannabis also needs to be dried/cured very carefully. "Just picking the buds" is a great way to ruin it.
  #12  
Old 07-08-2018, 03:27 PM
Napier Napier is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,256
It can't be that hard to go out and buy some green tobacco out of the field, if you're in one of the many parts of the country where it's grown. I drove by a field of it just yesterday.
  #13  
Old 07-08-2018, 03:30 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
Mass produced cigarettes are much more than a paper tube full of tobacco. There are many additives and flavors used in factory-made cigarettes. If you are used to a brand you know that other brands will disappoint. Only if you are used to rolling your own with pure tobacco will growing your own be satisfactory.
FTR, on "additives" and what not in mass manufacture of cigarettes. The difference between "a tube of tobacco"--in other words, a hand-rolled cigar--and a cigarette is far more a function of the processing and original stock (trimmings, bush refuse, etc.) liquified, made into a paste, [then additives are ... added], dried, and reconstituted.
  #14  
Old 07-08-2018, 03:35 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,426
Not OP, ie, not people growing for commercial use, but fascinating vid nonetheless: Last surviving live tobacco auction in the US (for flue cured).

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 07-08-2018 at 03:37 PM.
  #15  
Old 07-08-2018, 03:40 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 80,060
My mom used to be the coordinator of a community garden (largeish city block, divided into 20' by 20' plots), and one gardener asked if he was allowed to grow tobacco. She couldn't find any reason why not, as long as he obeyed the other garden rules. I don't know anything about the quality of the product it produced, but the plant seemed to thrive.
  #16  
Old 07-08-2018, 04:03 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 27,310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I would suspect the biggest reason for not growing your own tobacco is that you can buy cigarettes just about anywhere.
^ This.

It's also why most smokers smoke ready-made cigarettes instead of rolling their own, or smoke pipes. The convenience factor is huge.

Sure, there have always been people growing and rolling their own tobacco. There was a time when that was more or less required if you wanted to smoke (and probably back then people didn't smoke nearly as much as today) but not anymore.

Sort of similar to why most people buy bread instead of baking it, buy beer instead of brewing it, buy whiskey instead of doing their own distilling, buy wine instead of making it, buy butchered meat instead of raising animals for slaughter, and so on.
  #17  
Old 07-08-2018, 05:00 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,775
I think scale is also an issue. When I smoked (a couple decades ago) I went through a lot more tobacco in a day than I think I wpuld ever go through marijuana. Maybe my innocence is showing, but I think you could probably cover a household's pot needs with a container garden; for tobacco, I would need like a field.
  #18  
Old 07-09-2018, 12:18 PM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,076
Tobacco is harvesting, dried, and the aged for years before being made into cigarettes. If one does not have the room to dry and age tobacco leafs, there is no purpose to grow them.
  #19  
Old 07-09-2018, 12:42 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Tobacco is harvest[ed], dried, and the[n] aged for years before being made into cigarettes...[underline added]

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 07-09-2018 at 12:42 PM.
  #20  
Old 07-09-2018, 12:45 PM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I suspect the key step is curing it. Tobacco has to be dried carefully in the sun, air, or using fire over a period of weeks to months. I think it's a good deal more complicated than just picking the buds from cannabis.


Both tobacco and cannabis need to be dried and cured to arrive at a quality finished product.
  #21  
Old 07-09-2018, 12:50 PM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,857
My neighbor's son (a grown man, don't be thinkin' "teenager") started a tobacco business a few years ago, here in Ohio. I only found out about it because my neighbor had some huge tall tobacco plants in his garden. I think maybe they were parent plants for his son or something. Just for him to tinker with perhaps?

I assume the son had a much bigger crop of plants elsewhere, where he lived.

While the guy did grow tobacco, as far as I know he sold the plants. He didn't do any of the curing or additive-ing or cutting of the final product. As described above by several people, those things take a whole different set of skills and space.

I don't know if the neighbor's son smoked stuff that he had cured and cut himself. I bet he tried it a few times but instead got some finished product from the people he sold it to.
  #22  
Old 07-09-2018, 01:10 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,169
There's a lot of hobbyist tobacco growing in Virginia and small scale commercial. Virginia has a long history of tobacco cultivation, and one of the major varieties of tobacco "Virginia flue-cured" highlight the importance the commonwealth has had in the industry. That being said it's been probably over 150 years since Virginia lead the country in production--North Carolina produces vastly more than VA as does Kentucky. Ironically much of the "Virginia" type of tobacco is actually grown now in South America.

The hobbyist growers I'm familiar with typically plant a small amount of tobacco usually in addition to larger plantings of typical "hobby farm" crops, and they often have a curing shed on site and are basically just making it to roll cigarettes in small number. I don't actually know if it's even possible to very easily sell tobacco produced like this.

The growers I know who are doing it professionally it's very different from most professional agriculture. Unlike many other crops where you do what you do and produce your product, then sell it on the open market, commercial tobacco growers have a very close relationship with companies like Philip Morris. PM generally enters into contract to buy all of their production, and sometimes will even invest in making facility improvements to the farm. Meanwhile, unlike most farmers growers for the big tobacco concerns are tightly regulated by the company, they require you to adhere to certain farming practices, plant specific seeds and etc. Profits tend to be healthy per acre, and farms are smaller than you imagine. I know guys who grow commercially for PMI who have between 50-100 acres. The big hitch with tobacco is harvesting it is more labor intensive than crops like wheat or corn which can be easily harvested with a big combine, but the profit per acre is often more than an order of magnitude larger.
  #23  
Old 07-09-2018, 01:56 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,204
I think it was The Case Against Sugar that mentioned that one thing that made the cigarette market take off was that adding sugar became a step in curing tobacco. The claim was that this actually made the tobacco acceptable for the wider market instead of just a few die-hard smokers. (Of course, the book is determined to argue to the end that sugar is the devil incarnate, the root of all evil in the world, so maybe an exaggeration). But the point would be that without the special curing process involved, the result may not be palatable.

The other point is volume. A small baggie seems to last people (or at least the ones I knew back when) several days or weeks. Smokers I knew (may they rest in peace) however, went through the equivalent of a baggie in a day or less. You better be prepared to do a lot of work to bypass the local tobacco supplier.
  #24  
Old 07-09-2018, 02:09 PM
Ulfreida Ulfreida is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: pangolandia
Posts: 3,142
There are articles on the internet about growing, harvesting, and curing your own tobacco. You would need more than a backyard to do it, but frankly it sounds less complicated than making wine, and lots of people make their own wine. Tobacco is cured by air, heat, or smoke, depending on the intended end product, baled, and then aged for one to three years before use.
  #25  
Old 07-09-2018, 02:15 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: 192.168.0.1
Posts: 9,879
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post


Both tobacco and cannabis need to be dried and cured to arrive at a quality finished product.
Considering the amount of hand trimming involved in almost anything with serious bag appeal, I would say cannabis is ALOT more work than tobacco.

I grow marijuana (Legal here CA) and have been considering exploring growing a few tobacco plants just because many of my friends are smokers and the novelty of extremely inexpensive smoking material is appealing on a lot of levels. Tobacco seeds are literally pocket change. $10 in seed could easily fill an average backyard with tobacco plants.
__________________
Rumor has it, I fix computers. Sometimes it even works after I fix it...
  #26  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:05 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,287
A guy growing tobacco and rolling cigars.
  #27  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:42 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,421
I seem to recall the Failing New York Times had an article on people in the city growing and rolling their own. Some tobacco stores had cigarette machines they could use. Ornamental tobacco is widely grown of course.
__________________
800-237-5055
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
  #28  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:47 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58,419
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
I think scale is also an issue. When I smoked (a couple decades ago) I went through a lot more tobacco in a day than I think I wpuld ever go through marijuana. Maybe my innocence is showing, but I think you could probably cover a household's pot needs with a container garden; for tobacco, I would need like a field.
Volume is definitely a big factor. Here is a link to the number of cigarettes smoked on an average day. The highest percentage of smokers go through between 10 and 19 cigarettes a day. The average toker would find it difficult to imbibe that much.
  #29  
Old 07-13-2018, 01:51 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,775
Right. It's the same reason people grow their own tomatoes, but not their own wheat.
  #30  
Old 07-13-2018, 04:40 PM
xizor xizor is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 5,184
Another factor is safety, you can get sick from handling raw tobacco.
Quote:
Workers who plant, cultivate and harvest tobacco are at risk of suffering from a form of nicotine poisoning known as "Green Tobacco Sickness". This illness causes nausea and vomiting that can lead to hospitalization and lost work time. Tobacco workers suffering from Green Tobacco Sickness are at greater risk for heat illness—a potentially deadly condition.
__________________
You were pumping iron while I was pumping irony - Robert Plant
  #31  
Old 07-13-2018, 04:50 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 17,661
Can't they just wear gloves?
  #32  
Old 07-14-2018, 02:13 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 30,485
I just remembered this story from a few years back in the N.Y. Times, about a woman growing her own tobacco in Brooklyn.

"Planted in 2009, her first crop— 25 plants of Golden Seal Special Burley tobacco — produced nine cartons of cigarettes. Ms. Silk would have spent more than $1,000 had she bought nine cartons in parts of New York City. Instead, she spent $240, mostly for the trays, the buckets and plant food."

The quoted cost does not include the labor involved. I suppose it's worth it to smokers who want to "give the finger" to authorities.

Way back I grew (as a curiosity) a few plants of a tobacco variety supposedly grown by Lakota Indians. I can attest (that for me, anyway) handling a small number of tobacco plants does not give you nicotine poisoning.
  #33  
Old 08-06-2018, 05:21 AM
RivkahChaya's Avatar
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Right. It's the same reason people grow their own tomatoes, but not their own wheat.
Seriously. I bake my own bread, but I buy bags of flour, I don't grow my own wheat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xizor View Post
Another factor is safety, you can get sick from handling raw tobacco.
I once went to the Kentucky State Fair (and yes, it is called that, it is not called the "Commonwealth Fair"; they also have "State Police"). There are rooms full of huge tobacco leaves on display, and they are impressively huge. There are signs that warn you not to touch.
  #34  
Old 08-06-2018, 08:45 AM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 80,060
Note: RivkahChaya did not bump this thread. It was bumped by a spammer, whom I have nuked.
  #35  
Old 08-06-2018, 09:15 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 21,903
I'm 99%+ certain the answer is in economics. Tobacco is available easily and cheaply all across the nation. Other than for hobbyists - and hipsters, I suppose (are they still a thing? I'm old.) - why would someone go to the trouble of growing one's own?

I'll go further, though, and say that this will also happen with marijuana. Once we rationalize the marijuana laws in the USA it will turn into another commodity crop and prices will drop and efforts will be made by big growers and distributors to find the exact type of weed to maximize profit. This will lead to a drop in home growers and distributors as more people are able to buy tubes at 7-11.

One step further, we'll suddenly see an effort to work against secondhand marijuana smoke and large-scale studies about smoking weed and lung cancer.

In short, we'll be where we currently are with tobacco products. But it'll be even smellier than normal. I've always found weed to be more pungent than tobacco. Neither is pleasant, though.
  #36  
Old 08-06-2018, 10:31 AM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeenJammin View Post
Cannabis also needs to be dried/cured very carefully. "Just picking the buds" is a great way to ruin it.
Yeah, but the worst pot I ever smoked was still pretty good, so there is that.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:59 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017