Colorado is a step closer to curbing the plant count for medical patients that are allowed to grow for their own needs with a state bill that would bring the home allowance of 99 plants - down to 16 plants. The House of Representatives in Colorado recently gave their preliminary approval for the measure.
Currently, the Centennial state has the nation's most generous marijuana allowance for medical patients growing their own plants.
Without taxation or much oversight, the large home grows have been a thorn in the side of regulators for years. However, legalization is actually in Colorado's constitution now - and it gives residents the right to grow as much as their doctor recommends.
Rep. KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat and sponsor of the bill, says "We need to close this loophole."
What the new bill means for Colorado patients who grow their own:
- A 16 plant count limit at a residential property
- For more than 16, patients would have to grow it on areas deemed industrial or agricultural
- Or, patients always have the option to shop at a dispensary
"The time has come for us ... to give law enforcement the guidance they need," said Rep. Cole Wist, a Centennial Republican and another bill sponsor.
Marijuana patients are making their voices heard, at state hearings and with phone calls to their representatives.
Originally, the bill limited the plant count to 12 - the bill has since been changed to cap the count at 16 cannabis plants.
Opponents to the bill are defending low-income patients, who can't afford marked-up pot sold in dispensary shops. "A lot of patients are on fixed incomes. They're ill," said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City. "Cartels have the money to go rent warehouses."
But in the end, enough Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for a preliminary pass for the bill. According to the AP, the bill faces one more formal vote next week before heading to the Senate, where its prospects are strong.