Question: I live in Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal for adults. As an occasional marijuana smoker, I’m wondering if I can I grow a few plants for my own personal use. And, if so, are there any restrictions on growing cannabis at home?
Answer: Under Colorado law, yes, adults are allowed to grow marijuana plants for recreational use. But the law does include certain important caveats. 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.)
You must be 21 years of age or older to legally possess or grow marijuana for recreational use in Colorado. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406 (2019).) Assuming you are of age, you can plant your seeds provided you also abide by the rules below.
Under Colorado’s recreational use law, you may grow no more than 12 plants per residence. (Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 16; Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406 (2019).) Local laws, however, 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.
Colorado law requires that the plants be grown in an enclosed, locked space that can’t be publicly viewed. So, for example, it is illegal to plant marijuana in an outdoor garden, even if it’s surrounded by a fence. If anyone under the age of 21 lives with you, the entire grow area must be in a separate locked space that minors aren’t able to access. If you don’t live with someone younger than 21, you must make sure that the cultivation site is restricted and inaccessible when a minor visits your home. (Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 16; Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406 (2019).)
You can legally possess no more than one ounce of marijuana. And unless you are a licensed retail marijuana establishment, you cannot legally sell any surplus you might have. So, if you happen to have a bumper crop, be sure to have no more than one ounce of the drug in your possession at any given time.
Recreational marijuana may be legally sold only by licensed establishments. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406 (2019).) Sale by anyone else is a crime and is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount sold. The licensing procedure is complicated and involves an application, testing, inspections, fees, and many other steps. You can, however, give up to an ounce of your homegrown cannabis to a friend who is 21 or older.
Although you can grow marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, there are a number of restrictions, as you see. For more information, see Colorado’s guide for home growers and read more about Colorado's marijuana laws.