Since Colorado legalized marijuana with the passing of Amendment 64 in 2012, the state has had to make several changes to the way their cannabis industry works – but the upcoming changes are aimed specifically at people who are growing their own cannabis at home. The current laws for medical marijuana patients allows them to grow up to 99 plants per patient – which is certainly more than what is needed for a personal supply. There are also co-op grows throughout the state, where adults 21 and older come together to grow their maximum six plants each in one greenhouse or indoor grow house.
Unfortunately, since all of this cannabis is not cataloged in the same way as the commercial cannabis sold in dispensaries, there is a chance that some of it is finding its way onto the black market – a legitimate concern considering police have to determine what is a legally operating personal grow and what is potentially being sold illegally. In order to combat this issue, Governor Hickenlooper is expecting to see new legislation proposed that would reduce the number of plants medical marijuana patients can grow, and separate legislation that would also eliminate co-op grows by recreational growers.
“We do need to clean up this system and make sure we’re beyond reproach for how well we’re regulating marijuana,” said Andrew Freedman, the governor’s marijuana coordinator.
As far as eliminating co-op grows, the governor’s plan introduces possible laws that would put in place a strict 12 plant limit per private household – which is a considerable number of plants for a household, assuming most are between 1 and 4 people. Major cities like Denver and Colorado Springs have already put legislation like this in place on a local level – but this new law would affect the entire state and is expected to be pushed through quickly at the start of 2017.
“They’re trying to do the best they can to drive everyone into the taxed model,” said Jason Warf, head of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, which represents pot retailers, patients and caregivers who grow pot for sick people.
On the other hand, there are activists who are claiming that these laws are not to try and stop the flow of cannabis onto the illegal market, but rather to try and force more people into purchasing their bud at a retail store, rather than being able to grow it for themselves. Of course, there is always going to be two views on things – and this certainly isn’t any different. We will know early in 2017 if the new laws regarding home growing pass, though it appears likely. Whether or not it will actually reduce the amount of cannabis that makes it onto the black market, however, will remain to be seen.