Can You Possess Too Many Marijuana Plants in Colorado?
On January 1, 2013, Colorado became the first place anywhere in the world to allow legal marijuana sales to anybody over 21 for any purpose, including recreational use. Residents of Colorado are also allowed to grow Marijuana privately, but under very strict guidelines and regulations. This article offers some useful insight on who can grow marijuana in Colorado, what the regulations are and what consequences you can expect if you breach the law.
Who can grow marijuana in Colorado?
Any adult who is licensed can grow marijuana for personal use in Colorado. However, there are strict regulations that need to be followed.
Is there a minimum age requirement to grow Marijuana in Colorado?
First, for you to be allowed to grow marijuana in Colorado, you must be above the minimum age of 21 years. Before attaining the age of 21, you will be liable for a misdemeanor being in illegal possession of marijuana plants (regardless of the amount) and you may pay a fine of $500-$5,000 or face 6-18 months imprisonment.
Is there a limit to the number of plants I can privately grow in Colorado?
If you are over the age of 21 and want to grow Marijuana without a cannabis business, the number of marijuana plants under your care must not exceed 6 as outlined in the Constitution of Colorado, Article XVIII section 16 (3). In case you exceed the limit and you are found to be in illegal possession of marijuana plants, you will have committed a drug felony, hence punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $100,000.
Can I grow Marijuana plants anywhere on my property?
The law requires that all marijuana must be grown in an enclosed area that is not available for public scrutiny. You are not allowed to grow marijuana in open places. The rationale behind this is to make sure that minors do not access and be in illegal possession of marijuana plants. This is one of the bigger risks involved with growing marijuana at home. You are therefore advised to take necessary precautions to ensure that any person who is below the age of 21 in your home does not gain access to marijuana plants. Otherwise you will be in contravening the law.
What if I am caught with illegal possession of excess marijuana in public?
The law of Colorado is very clear as to the amount of marijuana one can carry in public. There is no penalty if you are found to be in possession of marijuana and you have met the minimum age requirements of being 21 or older.
- However, if you are found to possess more than 1 and up to 2 ounces, you will have committed a petty offence that attracts a fine of $100.
- If you are found to be in illegal possession of marijuana between 2 to 6 ounces, you will have committed a level 2 misdemeanor and can be sentenced to up to 1 year imprisonment and a fine that does not exceed $700.
- Illegal possession of 6 to 12 ounces of marijuana attracts imprisonment of up to 18 months and a fine ranging between $500-$5000.
- If you are caught in possession of more than 12 ounces, you will have committed a felony and will be incarcerated for 1 to 2 years in prison and will have to pay a fine of up to $100,000.
- If you are caught selling marijuana illegally, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 6 months in prison and have to pay a minimum of $5,000 fine. Depending on the amount you are caught with while selling, imprisonment time can go up to 32 years and the fine can go up to 1 million U.S. dollars.
In conclusion, even though the personal cultivation of marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, there are strict guidelines that need to be followed. Illegal possession of marijuana plants is a criminal offence and is punishable by law in Colorado. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pollart Miller LLC to consult on your specific case.
5700 South Quebec St. Suite 200 Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Can You Possess Too Many Marijuana Plants in Colorado? On January 1, 2013, Colorado became the first place anywhere in the world to allow legal marijuana sales to anybody over 21 for any purpose,
Growing your own marijuana in Colorado: Legal doesn’t mean simple
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Grow from seed or from cuttings? The advantage to growing marijuana plants from seed is that you’ll know that they’re not infested with common indoor-gardeing pests. The downside: Plants will have to grow for about a month before you can tell whether they’re male or female. Only female plants produce flowers.
On Jan. 1, 2014, licensed marijuana dealers will also be able to sell plants or seeds for cannabis. But those wanting to grow their own are likely to have to seek out cultivation advice from hydroponics stores, because some regular garden centers are shying away from the subject.
These marijuana seeds will grow into plants that are male or female. A lighting trick – switching lights to yellow ones that daily cycle on for 12 hours, off for 12, tells female plants that it’s autumn and time to flower.
LAFAYETTE, CO – DECEMBER 16 : Ben Holmes at his Centennial Seeds where he is licensed to cultivate marijuana seeds for Colorado growers on Monday, December 16, 2013. He was holding a collection of 8,000 heirloom Nepalese Highland Sativa seeds.
Once you’ve exhausted the jokes about green thumbs, red eyes, and the hilarity of growing weed instead of blooms, the questions remain about how to go about growing your own marijuana, if you want to.
Amendment 64 allows home cultivation of marijuana, up to six plants per adult. (Denver’s rules allow a household of two or more adults to cultivate a total of a dozen cannabis plants.) That’s going to appeal to those partakers who are old enough to be leery about openly buying a substance that still remains, on the federal level, strictly illegal.
And it’s going to appeal to many who live in a Colorado town or county that doesn’t allow retail stores — and there are quite a few of those, especially on the Eastern Plains. Even within the county of Denver, the retail marijuana scene is a confusing patchwork: Legal in Glendale, but not in Englewood; legal in Denver but not yet in Edgewater.
Even in jurisdictions that don’t allow retail marijuana shops, it’s legal to grow your own on your own property, within the specifications of Amendment 64.
But for home growers, there’s been the problem of where to acquire seeds or cuttings. Unless they received it as a gift, they couldn’t obtain cannabis plant material without risking a step on the wrong side of the law. That changes on Jan. 1 when retail marijuana shops will open and can legally sell plants and seed.
Still, it’s not like home growers can call a Colorado State University extension agent for growing advice; those experts are prohibited from answering any questions related to marijuana. Even though Amendment 64 specifically allows advice on growing marijuana, greenhouse and nursery staff often shy away from the subject.
“It’s crazy,” said Sharon Harris, executive director of the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association.
“We started getting those calls when the bill first passed for medical marijuana, and our attorney advised us not to talk about it. It’s legal in Colorado, but still a federal offense. We’re waiting to see how the legal retail sales work out, but our position will not change until the U.S. attorney general says, ‘OK, here’s the deal.’ It’s quite a quagmire.”
So don’t expect help from the usual horticultural resources. Instead, look at hydroponic indoor gardening retail outlets, and start-ups like Cannabis University, which offers a $250 one-day class in possessing and growing marijuana.
Be advised: Under the law, growing your own marijuana requires keeping your plants in an “enclosed, locked space” that is not open or public. That’s pretty broadly-written, but a safe interpretation would mean a basement room or closet that can be locked.
No more than three of your plants can be in the flowering stage at one time. And it remains illegal to sell marijuana you grow.
To answer basic questions for novice pot-growers (potters?), we interviewed George Archambault, owner of MileHydro, Ben Holmes of Centennial Seeds, and Michelle LaMay of Cannabis University.
Q: What will I need to start growing weed?
Holmes: The basics are one container per plant; potting soil; fertilizer; a good-quality grow light; and seeds.
Archambault: Ideally, you’ll have a controlled environment, with fresh air coming in through a ventilation system and exhaust air going out the opposite end of the room, because plants don’t do well in stagnant air. If you use a controlled environment like a tent or cabinet, you’ll want a thermostat to make sure the room stays at the same temperature instead of getting too hot.
LaMay: A grow light with a vegging bulb and flowering bulb, a controlled environment, like a room or a tent; nutrient supplements; an outside air source; a carbon filter; a thermometer; an oscillating fan to move the air about; a can fan to pull air out through the carbon filter; timers; a PH tester for the water; a five-gallon water container; pots; growing medium; tarps for the floor, even with a grow tent; and only highest-quality extension cords, if you must use extension cords at all.
Q: So what’ll that cost?
Holmes: For a very basic set-up, around $500. Figure $20 for the containers, $40 or so for the soil, another $40 for the fertilizer and nutrients, $300 for a decent grow light, another $100 for a vegging bulb and a flowering bulb. Figure on spending $5 to $10 per seed, but prices vary widely. Some seeds cost $1,000 apiece.
Archambault: Five hundred is cutting a lot of corners. I’d say more like $1,000.
Q: Does it make more sense to try to grow hydroponically?
Archambault: I don’t advise new growers to start right in with hydroponics. That means spending at least $1,000 on equipment, and that’s a lot for a beginner. And you’re out all that money if you’re not successful.
Q: How much space would a $500 dirt set-up require?
Holmes: That’d be for a 4-by-4-foot area, so you’ll need only one grow light, plus one grow light with a white-blue vegging light bulb and an orange-red flowering light bulb.
Q: What’s a “vegging light bulb”?
Holmes: In indoor gardens, you mimic the spring and summer growing period with a light that’s on the white/blue spectrum. In the vegging state, you’re encouraging the plant to produce leaves, with a goal of growing the plant to half the size you want it to be when you harvest it. The rule of thumb is giving the plant 18 hours of light in the vegging [short for vegetative growth] stage. So if you want a 3-foot-tall plant at the harvest stage, you want to veg it until the plant is a foot and a half tall.
Q: Then what?
Holmes: When it reaches half the size you want it to be, then you have to trick it into flowering by making the plant think it’s fall. The flower is what people want from a marijuana plant, because you harvest the flower buds. So then you switch to the orange-red light bulb. That makes the plant think it’s fall, and it will induce flowering. During the flowering stage, you’ll want to give it 12 hours of light on, and rest it in the dark for 12 hours.
Q: That sounds like a ton of work. Is it easier to start with cuttings?
LaMay: Cuttings are easily accessible from friends or the medical marijuana dispensary or, soon, the retail store. They are about $10 each. They must be quarantined and doused aggressively with organic neem oil over 20 days.
Archambault: Start from seeds. I’ve never met anyone who bought a clone from a dispensary that wasn’t infested with spider mites or powdery mildew. It’s an indoor growing issue. The worst thing you can do is buy a plant that has a lot of insects.
Holmes: No! Start with seeds. We urge people not to buy cuttings, and my dispensary clients will hate me for saying that, but the worst thing you can do is buy their cuttings because they’re infested.
Q: Where can I buy seeds?
Archambault: After Jan.1, 2014, you can buy cannabis seeds in Colorado without a medical marijuana card. Seeds, and cuttings, will be sold at state-licensed marijuana retail stores. But remember, you can’t tell whether a seed is male or female. You have to wait until it germinates. It takes about a month to see the telltale signs of the first budding flowers. The males only grow leaves.
Q: Why does it matter whether the seed is male or female?
Holmes: Only the female seeds produce flowers, which is the crop you want. Some companies sell what they call “feminized seeds” that have a higher probability of being female. But regularly-bred seeds is what we recommend.
Q: Is growing marijuana comparable to starting tomatoes or other garden plants?
Holmes: Yes, it’s like growing a tomato. Marijuana is a plant that’s very sensitive to over-feeding. You need to lime the soil, because they don’t like acid soil. And I just use Miracle-Gro. I use that on everything. If you ate my tomatoes or zucchini, or smoked my weed, you’d come back for more. You don’t need to buy a lot of supplements and amendments and products. You need a bucket of dirt and a well-thought-out fertilizer plan, not 20 different fertilizers and nutrients. The best thing is to keep it simple.
Q: I have relatives who live in states that haven’t legalized marijuana. Will they be able to tell I’m growing it?
Archambault: Well, the plants are still going to release that telltale aroma. Hydroponic stores sell odor mitigation systems. Carbon filters are the most effective. If your grow system is in a basement room that nobody uses, maybe they won’t notice.
Q: What about pets?
Holmes: Cats will be kind of curious. Pets are disease-carriers, and your pet could infect your plants. Make your grow room off-limits to your pets.
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