When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use under state law, many people started growing their own plants — although there were legal restrictions as to how many marijuana plants each person could have. For instance, Colorado law typically allowed each person over the age of 21 to cultivate up to six marijuana plants, so long as no more than three were flowering at any given time. Medical marijuana growers were often permitted to have more.
However, these limitations were modified in 2018 with the passage of Colorado House Bill 17-1220.
Current Colorado law regarding marijuana plants
While the 6-plants-per-person limit still applies in Colorado, lawmakers created another restriction that went into effect at the start of 2018. Now, each residence can only have a maximum of 12 marijuana plants, regardless of how many adults live in the residence. For example, even if there are three or more adults over the age of 21 living in a single home, it can still only contain a maximum of 12 plants.
In addition, this 12-plant limit applies regardless of whether the plants are being used for recreational or medical purposes, although there are some specific exemptions for medical marijuana users.
Marijuana plants must also be grown in an enclosed area that is locked, meaning they can’t be outside. Growers should also take extra precautions to make sure minors cannot access the area in which the marijuana plants are growing.
If a person violates the 12-plant limit, they may face criminal penalties. While a first offense is typically only a level 1 drug petty offense, punishable by a fine, a second offense is a misdemeanor — or possibly a felony if more than 24 marijuana plants are involved.
Lastly, it is important to remember that cities can create their own laws when it comes to the cultivation of marijuana plants. So even if you are not in violation of state law, you may be in violation of a local ordinance — not to mention federal law. This is why you always need to find out what the law is in your area before cultivating your own marijuana plants, or risk criminal charges.