Illinois lawmakers working to legalize recreational marijuana faced an issue that other states have wrestled with: whether to allow people to grow a few pot plants for personal use. The ten states that have legalized recreational marijuana have different “home grow” rules, with Michigan allowing individuals to grow as many as 12 plants and Washington state not allowing them to grow any.
The Senate Illinois approved recreational use of marijuana after universal home cultivation of the plant was replaced by a provision allowing only medical-marijuana patients to grow their own. The differences in home grow regulations reflect how states view the competing arguments about home cultivation: Opponents say it fuels the black market sale of the drug while proponents argue that if businesses can sell it, they should be able to grow it. The home grow issue is often overshadowed by other aspects of legalization, such as who gets dispensary licenses and what should be done about people’s past pot-related convictions. But the issue resonates with users looking to save money and to take charge of what they put in their body.
There is little dispute that illicit markets have been an issue in states with legal pot, with much of the supply shipped to other states where it is still illegal to sell. People disagree, though, on the role of homegrown marijuana in illegal markets. Some industry analysts say high tax rates and shortages of legal supply are more likely drivers of illicit sales than home growers staying within state-sanctioned limits. “They’re not contributing substantially to the illicit market. They may be yielding a few ounces per growth cycle, so that would be a few ounces every three to four months, and they may be sharing some of that yield with their friends,” said John Kagia, chief knowledge officer for the cannabis market research and data analysis firm New Frontier Data.
Drug Enforcement Agency records show it was involved in more than 80 residential seizures during the first four months of this year in Colorado, with most of them involving hundreds of plants. The annual seizure numbers are significantly higher than before Colorado’s legalization. In Illinois, Steans’ amendment would allow home grow only for patients eligible to use marijuana to relieve pain or other symptoms of debilitating illnesses, which they’re not allowed to do under the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. It would limit cultivation to five plants per household, regardless of the number of eligible patients living there.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a marijuana crime in New Jersey, be it possession or possession with intent to distribute, you must seek legal representation immediately. You likely have legal options you hadn’t considered, and you don’t want to face these charges without having explored every possible legal option for the best outcome.
Frank T. Luciano is a highly successful and experienced drug crime attorney operating in multiple areas throughout Northern New Jersey, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Elmwood Park and Fort Lee. In nearly 40 years as a criminal defense attorney, there is almost no legal situation that Mr. Luciano has not seen and successfully navigated his clients through.
Give yourself the best chance at a positive legal outcome by contacting Frank T. Luciano’s New Jersey law office immediately at 973-471-0004.