Can I Grow Marijuana for My Personal Use in Colorado?

Understand Colorado's laws on growing marijuana for personal use.

By , Attorney

Colorado allows certain recreational use of marijuana. The state also allows recreational users to grow their own weed. Read on to learn more about the growing restrictions and requirements for recreational users.

Different laws apply to medical marijuana users in Colorado who wish to grow their own cannabis.

Is It Legal to Grow Marijuana in Colorado?

Yes, but with restrictions. Adults must be 21 years of age or older to legally possess or grow marijuana for personal use in Colorado. Below are restrictions on growing weed at home.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Grow in Colorado?

Colorado restricts the number of marijuana plants that can be grown by any one person and at any one residence.

Per person. An adult age 21 or older can grow up to six plants, but only three plants can be mature and flowering at any one given time.

Per residence. The law also caps the number of plants grown at a residence to 12. So if three or more adults live in a residence, they are limited to cultivating 12 plants.

Local laws may impose stricter controls over the number of marijuana plants you are allowed to possess. So be sure to check your city and county ordinances before you start growing.

Where Marijuana Plants Can Be Grown in Colorado?

Colorado law requires that marijuana plants be grown in an enclosed, locked space that can't be publicly viewed or accessible by minors.

Not viewable. Marijuana plants can't be grown in the open—outside or inside. So, for example, it is illegal to plant marijuana in an outdoor garden, even if it's surrounded by a fence. Growing marijuana in a garage with windows that are not covered also counts as cultivating in the open.

Not accessible by minors. If anyone under the age of 21 lives in the residence, the entire grow area must be in a separate locked space that minors aren't able to access. Even if no one younger than 21 lives in the home, the cultivation site must still be restricted and inaccessible when a minor visits the home.

What Are the Penalties for Illegally Growing Pot in Colorado?

Colorado law provides different penalties for illegally growing weed depending on whether the violation relates to growing openly or exceeding residential limits.

Violations for Openly Growing Marijuana Plants

A person who openly grows marijuana plants faces the following penalties based on the number of plants grown:

  • level 1 drug misdemeanor (6 to 18 month's jail): 1 to 6 plants
  • level 4 drug felony (6 to 12 months' prison): 7 to 30 plants
  • level 3 drug felony (2 to 4 years' prison): more than 30 plants.

Violations for Exceeding Residential Limits

Growing more than the permitted amounts in an enclosed residential property can result in the following penalties:

  • level 1 drug petty offense ($1,000 fine): first offense involving more than 12 plants
  • level 1 drug misdemeanor (6 to 18 months' jail): repeat offense involving 13 to 24 plants
  • level 3 drug felony (2 to 4 years' prison): repeat offense involving more than 24 plants.

Possible Fines

In addition to possible incarceration, a defendant faces stiff fines. Level 1 drug misdemeanors carry fines of $500 to $5,000. For level 3 and 4 drug felonies, fines go as high as $100,000 (DF4) or $500,000 (DF3).

Is It Legal to Sell Homegrown Pot in Colorado?

No. Only licensed retail marijuana establishments can sell marijuana. Recreational growers cannot legally sell their crop or surplus. Illegally selling marijuana can result in misdemeanor or felony penalties. Stiffer penalties apply if an adult sells to a minor.

Remember that Colorado also has possession limits. Adults 21 and older can legally possess no more than two ounces of marijuana in Colorado. So, if you happen to have a bumper crop, be sure to have no more than two ounces of the drug in your possession at any given time. Although you can't sell marijuana, the law allows adults 21 and older to gift up to one ounce of marijuana to another legal adult.

Contact a Lawyer

Marijuana laws are complicated, and they change rather frequently. Plus, all marijuana is still illegal under federal law. If you have additional questions, contact a local attorney. For more information, check out this resource on Colorado Home Grow Laws and read more about Colorado's marijuana laws.

(Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 16; Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1.3-401.5, -501; 18-18-406 (2022); People v. Garcia-Gonzalez, 478 P.3d 1288 (Colo. App. 2020).)

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