The first three months of 2017 may change the way consumers that grow at home do things. First with the city of Denver questioning its already stringent policy of 12 plants per household, now the state of Colorado is questioning the current allowance of 99 plants for medical patients that have been recommended that high plant count by their physician. The future of home grows in Colorado are beginning to look uncertain and the presentations at a recent meeting open to the public held by the Denver City Council Special Issues Committee for Marijuana shed some light on where the data they will be basing their decision making came from.
There were three presentations that provided various data on the topic of home grows and the possible diversion of marijuana. The first presentation Andrew Freedman, the state's first Director of Marijuana Coordination. During his presentation he informed city officials how home grows could be a large source for the diversion of marijuana across state lines via black market marijuana deals. He pointed out that there are decreased property values, increased violence and environmental impacts such as excessive water and power usage as well as improper disposal of chemicals and pesticides used in the growing process.
During the presentation by Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), Kristi Kelly the organizations Director explained that there are several sources for regulated and non-regulated marijuana in Colorado and they can fall under not just the black market category but a "grey" category as well. She informed the city council that the "grey" market could be defined as the non-licensed medical caregivers and the non licensed Amendment 64 home grows of 6 plants. She defined the black market sources of marijuana diversion to be coming from illegal warehouses and co-ops.
Ashley Kilroy, Director of Excise and Licensing gave a presentation on illegal growing and the distribution of marijuana. She informed everyone that the Office of Marijuana Policy has been monitoring and tracking issues with non-licensed marijuana cultivation since 2014 and recently established an internal coordinated team to examine home grows closer. She also stated that in 2016 several city departments formed the Non-licensed MJ Grows Inspections Team in August 2016 to identify and address issues related to illegal growing and distribution of marijuana. They are currently performing inspections daily.
It is unclear as of now what type of regulations are to come. Will Denver and the rest of Colorado see similar laws the way recent municipalities in California have seen, charging over $100 to register a home grow including inspections from the local fire department? With all of the uncertainty we are expecting in 2017 at both the local and state level our goal at Denver NORML is to help maintain our rights as residents of Colorado to grow in our homes. We will keep you informed and part of the conversation as it happens. If you are interested in joining our movement and staying up to date on current issues in our city and state please come to our monthly meetings or join our mailing list.