Which States Allow Adults To Legally Grow Marijuana?


This last Thanksgiving I went on a family road trip to visit relatives in Southern California. Relatives also traveled to Southern California from Nevada. It was a fun time on many levels, including from a marijuana perspective. My relatives from both California and Nevada were very excited about their recent election victories, and were full of questions about what to expect since I live in a state (Oregon) that had voted to legalize two years earlier.

‘What does it mean for me as an average citizen?’ My uncle Ronald asked me (he is from Nevada). I explained to him the major provisions of the Nevada initiative, and how it compared to other states. My uncle Ronald travels all over the Western United States visiting family and going on vacations, and he wanted to know how much he could possess in each legal state once all the current initiatives took effect. He was particularly interested about personal cultivation provisions in Nevada. Below is what Nevada’s initiative specifically says about it:

Sec. 6.    Personal Use and Cultivation of Marijuana.   Notwithstanding any other provision of Nevada law and the law of any political subdivision of Nevada, except as otherwise provided in sections 1 to 18, inclusive, of this act, it is lawful, in this State, and must not be used as the basis for prosecution or penalty by this State or a political subdivision of this State, and must not, in this State, be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets for persons 21 years of age or older to:

   2. Possess, cultivate, process, or transport not more than six marijuana plants for personal use and possess the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the plants were grown, provided that:

   (a) Cultivation takes place within a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area that is equipped with a lock or other security device that allows access only to persons authorized to access the area; and

   (b) No more than 12 plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed at a single residence, or upon the grounds of that residence, at one time;

Those cultivation limits aren’t bad, however, they come with a catch – recreational marijuana plants cannot be grown within 25 miles of a retail marijuana store, per Section 14 of the initiative. Radical Russ recently wrote about how lame that provision is, and included a map of current outlets that people should check out, especially if they live in Nevada and have aspirations of growing marijuana in a non-commercial capacity.

Nevada’s cultivation provisions were the worst out of the successful 2016 initiatives, and are worse than all previous initiatives from that perspective except Washington’s initiative. Washington State is the only legal state that does not permit home cultivation. Washington D.C. allows the cultivation of up to six plants per adult over 21 years old, with a max of 12 plants per residence, half or fewer being flowering plants.

Per NORML, in Colorado for adults over 21 ‘there is no penalty in for persons who privately cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 being mature.’ Oregon allows the cultivation of up to 4 plants per residence, as long as one of the residents is 21 years or older. There is no mature/immature plant distinction in Oregon – we just grow all of them as big as we can!

Alaska is unique out of the legal states in that cultivating marijuana was already legal according to an Alaska Supreme Court decision which ruled that cultivation of up to 25 plants in a private residence was permitted (Ravin v. State 1975). Alaska voters also approved an initiative in 2014 which further legalized the cultivation of up to six plants (3 mature).

Maine’s initiative states the following about personal cultivation:

§2452. Personal use of marijuana 1. Person 21 years of age or older. A person 21 years of age or older may: A. Use, possess or transport marijuana accessories and up to 2 1/2 ounces of prepared marijuana; B. Transfer or furnish, without remuneration, up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana and up to 6 immature plants or seedlings to a person who is 21 years of age or older; C. Possess, grow, cultivate, process or transport up to 6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings, and possess all the marijuana produced by the plants at the adult’s residence;

Massachusetts’ initiative states the following about personal cultivation:

(2) within the person’s primary residence, possessing up to 10 ounces of marijuana and any marijuana produced by marijuana plants cultivated on the premises and possessing, cultivating or processing not more than 6 marijuana plants for personal use so long as not more than 12 plants are cultivated on the premises at once;

California is the final state that allows home cultivation for personal purposes. California’s initiative states the following about personal cultivation:

Sections 11362.1 through 11362.45 are added to the Health and Safety Code, to read: 11362.1. (a) Subject to Sections 11362.2, 11362.3, 11362.4, and 11362.45, but notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be lawful under state and local law, and shall not be a violation of state or local law, for persons 21 years of age or older to: (3) Possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process not more than six living marijuana plants and possess the marijuana produced by the plants;

11362.2. (a) Personal cultivation of marijuana under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.1 is subject to the following restrictions: (3) Not more than six living plants may be planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed within a single private residence, or upon the grounds of that private residence, at one time.

The gardens in legal states all have to be out of public view and/or specifically in a locked space. This article of course doesn’t include states in which a person can grow marijuana for medical purposes, of which there are many. I suggest you go to NORML’s marijuana law database to see what the rules are for medical marijuana where you live. This article doesn’t include states in which someone can grow marijuana with a business license. I suggest you hire a business attorney for that information. There are plenty out there willing to help (not all are created equal, and some are outright shady!).

image via Pistil Point Farms (Orange Cookies strain day 58)

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