Dear Stoner: As a medical marijuana patient, I am interested in growing my own meds, but not in or around the house, where the kids are. Do you know of something like a growing co-op that would allow me to grow somewhere else?
Dear Gary: If you're staying strictly medical, you'd have to designate someone as your personal caregiver in order for them to assist you legally. But thanks to Amendment 64, Colorado's constitution not only makes it legal to grow up to six recreational plants in your home (with three in flower), it's also legal to assist "another person who is twenty-one years or older in any of the acts described" in the measure. Those include growing, making edibles and hash, and even cultivating industrial hemp. The language doesn't say where your plants have to be in order for someone to help you grow, either. So technically, you could probably have a friend help you grow your recreational pot, co-op style.
But there are limits. In Denver, for example, residential growers are limited to twelve plants total, regardless of how many adults live in the space. If your friend were to somehow get raided and have more than the legal number of plants, it would take some serious explaining and a sympathetic judge to get those charges dismissed.
Ask a Stoner
Stand-alone organizations that allow private growers to collectively cultivate their plants don't really fall in the "100 percent legal" category, either (though we think they should). While a warehouse with private grow rooms would be a killer idea, we can also see how it would technically fall under a "marijuana establishment," since someone has to pay rent — and we doubt anyone would give away space in such a facility for free. That said, there are a few cooperatives operating right now that say they've got legal grounds to do so; pot attorney Rob Corry says he helped craft the language establishing such groups. Blue Mountains Colorado, for example, says on its (very public) website that once you become a member of the club, the co-op will "grow and maintain 6 plants of fine cannabis on your behalf, and we will transfer up to one ounce of fine cannabis from the Blue Mountains Grow." But that's not the same thing as letting you show up to tend to your own herb.
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Our advice: Go the personal route. Talk with some friends and see if they have room for your plants at their house without going over municipal or state limits. If so, help them out with electrical costs and get over there once a week to visit your plants. Do that, and you'll be following the intent of the law.