Scared of Trump's plans for weed, Colorado plans huge crackdown on home grows
Nobody's really sure what he'll do to legal weed once he takes office ... but Colorado lawmakers are going to make damn sure he doesn't take away the state's legal weed market.
The best plan they've devised to do this? It's a, um, well ... massive crackdown on home grows.
You read that right.
A massive crack down on legally grown legal weed ... in order to save legal weed.
Defending themselves with the assertion that Colorado's largely unregulated home grows have bulked up the black market like a tween on illegal steroids, John Hickenlooper and his buds in the legislature have taken a strange new aim at people who get high on their own supply.
Currently, medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to 99 plants themselves (light years more than other states allow.) Recreational users — so, anyone over 21 — can grow up to six plants for personal use, but they're also allowed to combine them with other people's recreational plants to form large co-ops with untold plant counts that aren't taxed or tracked.
These generous regulations have made it nearly impossible for law enforcement to distinguish legitimate grows from black market farms — there are simply too many home grows and not enough police resources to determine which pot's getting baked into Mom's homemade brownies and which is being doled out to neighboring states by entrepreneurial cartels.
As such, lawmakers have suggested a series of new regulations to stop people from growing the pot they're legally entitled to grow.
For one, they want to ban group recreational grows. No more co-ops for you! Instead, the state will impose a 12-plant limit in private homes, which is still twice as many as are allowed in California, and three times as many as Washington. However, some of Colorado’s largest counties already have those 12-plant limits — looking at you, Denver and Colorado Springs — so it's not clear whether the home grow crackdown will affect those jurisdictions.
They're also suggesting new paperwork requirements for medical home grows so that they can track them more efficiently. Law enforcement wants to be able to see whether that indica's really treating your three-year-old's seizures, or if some of it's slipping past their tiny hands into the dragon bongs of weed-starved East Coasters.
“We do need to clean up this system and make sure we’re beyond reproach for how well we’re regulating marijuana,” Andrew Freedman, the governor’s marijuana coordinator told the Denver Post, referencing six recent large-scale criminal raids that were tied to black market operations. The most recent of these happened earlier this year, when the DEA and local law enforcement teamed up to raid a dozen homes in southeast Colorado, seizing 22,400 pounds of marijuana they said was intended to be sold out of state.
However, while Colorado officials are playing these moves up to be some sort of defense against Trump's unknown and unproven plan to derail legal weed, anyone with two-thirds of a brain could easily interpret these proposed measures as a poorly disguised effort to get more Coloradans to spend more money at dispensaries, thereby further increasing the already monstrous amount of tax revenue legal weed generates for the state.
In fact, keen activists have already started scrutinizing the plans on those exact grounds.
"They’re trying to do the best they can to drive everyone into the taxed model,” said Jason Warf, head of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council. And with those taxes going towards funding expensive state measures like education, law enforcement and Hickenlooper's plans to build low-income housing for the homeless, it's not surprising that lawmakers would use the ruse of a Trump threat to squeeze more money out of us for these things.
It's a real double-edged sword we're dealing with here. On the one hand, it's a little fucked up to deny Coloradans the rights they were given to grow their own weed. But, on the other hand, there's no question that spending more money at dispensaries might improve the lives of Coloradans in need more than it already has.
But, if you find yourself caught in the crosshairs of an issue like this ... at least you've still got your 12-plant limit to enjoy. Yeah, you might not be able to grow those plants in a giant greenhouse with all your friends, and yeah, a personal home cultivation set-up is much more expensive than a group one, but ... you've still got a right to grow your own shit, and that's a lot more than most people have.
In fact, legal weed at all is more than most people have so ... even though it's being regulated to the point of hilarity, it's still there for you and yours to enjoy. At least for now ...