If you live in Colorado and grow weed at home, you'd better get ready for big changes. Currently, the state has the loosest home-grow law in the nation, allowing up to 99 plants per one medical cannabis user or caregiver. People who cultivate cannabis for recreational purposes have also found a loophole in the law: they cooperate with other recreational users to “assist” each other, and it technically gives them an opportunity to grow unlimited amounts of marijuana without paying taxes.
Next year, everything will be different. First of all, the new caregiver registration law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The law provides for all caregivers to register with the state and gives law enforcement access to the information about the patient registry status. Thus, it should be easier to monitor at-home cultivators and determine whether or not a caregiver grows marijuana within the legal limit of cannabis plants.
Along with the new restrictions for caregivers, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper wants to implement harsher limits for those who grow weed at home. Mr. Hickenlooper is working on a statewide proposal that will, among other things, decrease plant limits for at-home cannabis cultivation.
According to Mr. Hickenlooper, the current marijuana plant quotas in Colorado are too liberal, and it makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to distinguish legal marijuana grows from the illegal ones. Furthermore, the governor suggests, that having the highest plant limits in the nation is something that attracts crime organizations' attention. They can grow cannabis in Colorado and get a 100% legal crop, and then sell it on the black market or transport illegally to other states.
Previously, two neighboring states―Nebraska and Oklahoma―have sued Colorado for allegedly not keeping weed withing the state borders. Luckily for Colorado, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit.
Therefore, Mr. Hickenlooper suggests it would be wise to lower the current plant limits to the maximum of 12 plants per one private residence. And even if this proposal will be implemented, Colorado will still have one of the highest limits of marijuana plants allowed for home cultivation. In California, for instance, the current limit is just up to 6 plants per home.
While Mr. Hickenlooper is still working on his proposals, Denver has already made a few steps towards a better control over marijuana home grows. There is a twelve-plant limit for Denver marijuana growers, and, according to local officials, even stricter ordinances are coming in 2017.