Ask a Stoner

Dear Stoner: What’s the Deal With Colorado’s Home Growing Laws?

Dear Stoner: Hey, can you explain what the laws are in Colorado for home cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption? Thanks.

MM From

Dear MM: We've addressed this in bits and pieces over the past few years, but considering you're still on an AOL account, we'll assume you don't keep up with current events. So in a nutshell, here are the state's cultivation laws:

Adults can grow up to six plants at home. Three of those plants can be flowering (budding) at one time, while the other three have to remain in what is called "vegetation" — meaning they are still growing in size but haven't started growing flowers. Cannabis is light-sensitive, so converting a plant "in veg" to flowering merely requires switching it from a 24-hour light cycle to one with only twelve hours of light. That means you'll have to keep your three flowering plants separate from your other three. The state hasn't set a maximum number of legal plants for a household, but some cities have. Denver limits home grows to twelve plants total, even if there are more than two adults over 21 living in the house.

Growing has to be done in an "enclosed" and "locked" space. For most, that means growing indoors. If there is anyone living in the house under 21, the indoor grow has to be sectioned off and locked at all times. If it's just adults over 21 in the house, you don't have to have a separate lock on your grow room, but you do have to keep your house locked when you leave. If you're growing outdoors, it has to be done in a way that isn't "open" or "public." A locking greenhouse would be a good option. Conversely, putting ganja seeds in your front flower garden would not be a good option.

If you're doing things even half right, you should end up with a decent harvest. It's legal to keep all that you've harvested, as long as it's kept at the same place where it was grown. We're assuming you'll stockpile it, but if you've got extras, you can give it away up to one ounce at a time. Just don't sell it — that's a way to get state felony charges. Another thing to keep in mind: If you're renting a house or apartment, your landlord has the final say in whether you can grow on the property. We've seen several lease agreements lately that expressly forbid cannabis growing — even if you're only cultivating the legal amount. And don't even try this if you live in federally subsidized housing. It should go without saying, but we'll say it anyway: The cultivation of any amount of cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and state laws aren't going to protect you in federal court.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes