In 2012 Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, and became the first state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana. Despite being the first state to legalize cannabis, there is no doubt that legal cannabis rules and regulations are still an ongoing process. In 2017 alone there has been seventeen bills introduced in the Colorado legislation that aim to toughen restrictions on the rules for legal marijuana, and one bill expected on the Governor’s desk for approval shortly, makes big changes on what Coloradans can grow at home.
Gov. Hickenlooper is expected to sign a bill this week that would limit marijuana home grows to only 12 plants, which is already the current limit in Denver. When the legislation was first passed 6 plants were allowed, and then 99. Hickenlooper states that the legislation is meant to help police officers and other enforcement agents distinguish between legal home-grow operations and illegal black market operations. Enforcement officials found that many individual home-growers were pooling their resources and plant limits into unlicensed “co-ops,” that weren’t illegal themselves, but could blur the lines between legal and illegal operations.
Some are worried that the twelve plant limit might be too strict for medical marijuana users, especially those who grow multiple strains for multiple illnesses, or need more flowers to produce their own concentrates.
Veteran and medical marijuana advocate Matt Kahl states he needs to grow at least 7 plants to get the specific strains he needs. “There is a wide variety of phytocannabinoids in the plant, and some of them have amazingly different effects. When I first got to Colorado, a lot of the high-THC strains would affect me in a negative way — I’d get anxiety,” says Kahl. “I looked around for strains with unusual chemotypes and started seeking out individual cannabinoids.”
Colorado lawmakers did work out a deal with medical patients that will allow them to apply for a special license to grow more than the 12 allotted plants. In the case that a person is cleared to grow more than 12 plants, they must grow them in a larger facility that the state can monitor, more than 12 plants grown at the home will still be considered a violation of the new law.