Federal law makes it illegal to grow marijuana. However, as of early 2017, an individual can legally grow marijuana in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Hawaii.
State cannabis laws vary and some states allow recreational marijuana users to grow marijuana within their home. However, there are limits to the amount that can grown.
What about Medical Marijuana States?
Some states allow patients to cultivate marijuana. However, these states impose limits on the amount of marijuana that the patient or the patient’s caregiver may grow. Of course, these limits will differ by state. For example, medical marijuana patients in California can grow marijuana as is reasonably related to their medical needs. In contrast, many states impose strict limits on the number of plants a patient may keep. Michigan limits marijuana cultivation to 12 plants per patient while Maine limits the number to 6 plants per patient.
In addition, some states might regulate how a patient or caregiver might grow the marijuana. For example, Maine requires that the marijuana be kept in an enclosed and locked facility.
What about States That Have Legalized Cultivation of Marijuana?
States that have legalized recreational marijuana also placed limits on the amount of marijuana an individual over the age of 21 may grow. These limits are:
- Alaska: Up to 6 plants, 3 of them mature.
- Colorado: Up to 6 plants, 3 of them mature.
- District of Columbia: Up to 6 plants, 3 of them mature.
- Oregon: Up to 4 plants.
- Washington: Homegrown marijuana remains illegal. Individuals who grow marijuana must have a marijuana producer license.
- Massachusetts: Up to 6 plants for personal use
- Michigan: Medical marijuana patient can grow up to 12 plants
- Maine: Up to 6 plants for personal use, in a locked facility
- Hawaii: Medical marijuana patient can grow up to 7 plants
- New Mexico: Up to 4 plants
- California: 6 plants per residency
- Arizona: Medical marijuana patient can grow up to 12 plants
- Montana: Registered card holder can possess 4 plants
- Vermont: Registered patient can grow up to 2 plants
- Nevada: Up to 12 plants
- Rhode Island: Up to 12 plants. Only patients and caregivers.
What Are the Penalties for Growing Marijuana?
Since there growing marijuana is not allowed nationwide and there are some states that do not allow it, there still can be criminal penalties for growing marijuana. The penalties for growing marijuana depend on whether you are charged under Federal or State law.
- Federal Penalties: Growing marijuana is a felony under federal law. Penalties will vary according to the amount of marijuana that is found growing, measured by weight. Fines can range from $250,000 to $4,000,000. Incarceration can range from 5 to 40 years. Penalties are increased if marijuana is grown within 1,000 feet of a school or other specified area.
- State Penalties: Generally, State laws on growing marijuana are less severe than Federal laws. Penalties will vary from State to State. Like Federal penalties, State penalties will depend on the amount of marijuana being grown. In most states growing marijuana is a felony, although some states have lowered it to a misdemeanor. States that allow the growth of medical marijuana have no penalties for patients or care-givers.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Been Charged with Growing Marijuana?
The penalties for growing marijuana are very severe. If you are arrested for growing marijuana in a state that you are not allowed to, you risk facing large fines and a lengthy incarceration. You should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. They will be able to help you defend yourself against the charges. Additionally, an attorney will be familiar with your State's particular laws. Your attorney may also be able to help reduce your sentence.