Colorado: Denver Considers Limiting Home Cultivation of Marijuana
By Steve Elliott
The Denver City Council, busily making rules around marijuana use ever since Colorado voters decided to legalize cannabis with the Amendment 64 vote last year, will next week decide whether to limit the number of pot plants that can grown at home.
The ordinance would allow up to six marijuana plants per adult for recreational use to be grown in a home, but set a maximum of 12 plants per dwelling unit, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.
Some cannabis advocates say the plan would disproportionately affect veterans and medical marijuana patients, but Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who sponsors the ordinance, claimed it comes from "safety concerns."
"The police are very worried about the homegrows and the problems they could cause, fires, pesticide use, the mold, structural damage, children who might be living in these areas and THC on surface areas," Robb claimed. "They really want to be able to go in and have law enforcement ability to do our zoning."
Robb's supposed concerns, which echo the talking points of an anti-pot group called Smart Colorado, "seem pretty weak," according to Jacob Sullum at Forbes.
HomeGrow.co, a site covering home cultivation under Amendment 64, debunks Robb's concerns one by one, and adds that any valid safety concerns would certainly apply to 12 growing plants just as surely as to 13 or more.
Amendment 64, approved by 54 percent of Colorado residents and two-thirds of Denver voters last year, allows adults to grow up to six cannabis plants each. The law says marijuana should be grown in enclosed, locked spaces.
Since Amendment 64 says doing so "shall not be an offense under Colorado law or the law of any locality," and is now part of the state constitution, "it is hard to see how Robb's proposed ordinance could pass legal muster," according to Forbes.
"[T]he informal, nonprofit distribution of homegrown pot is protected by Amendment 64, and it can serve as an important restraint on politicians' urge to tax and regulate," Forbes concluded.
The first vote and a public hearing on the ordinance will be held Monday, December 9.
(Photo of Councilwoman Jeanne Robb: Denver City Council)