In 2017 the Colorado Legislature passed House Bill 1220, imposing reasonable limits on residential marijuana cultivation with the stated purpose of eroding the black market for marijuana in the state. The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office intends to enforce these laws, and would like Yuma County citizens to be aware of them before they go into effect in an effort to seek compliance through education before enforcement.
H.B. 1220 creates an amendment to the existing Colorado Revised Statutes §18-18-406 – Offenses relating to marijuana and marijuana concentrate, which will take effect January 1, 2018. The amended section of the statute states as follows:
“Regardless of whether the plants are for medical or recreational use, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly cultivate, grow, or produce more than twelve marijuana plants on or in a residential property; or to knowingly allow more than twelve marijuana plants to be cultivated, grown, or produced on or in a residential property.”
The new law creates criminal offenses as follows:
- A level 1 Drug Petty Offense (DPO) for a first offense of the offense involves more than 12 plants, with a fine of up to $1,000.
- A level 1 Drug Misdemeanor (DM1) for a second or subsequent offense if the offense involves more than 12 plants but not more than 24 plants.
- A level 3 Drug Felony (DF3) for a second and subsequent offense if the offense involves more than 24 plants.
The amended statute provides an exception to the 12-plant limit offense for medical marijuana patients and caregivers with a 24-plant count exception, provided they:
- Live in a jurisdiction that does not limit the number of plants that may be grown on or in a residential property;
- Register with the appropriate state licensing authority; and
- Provide notice to the jurisdiction of his or her cultivation operation.
- Medical marijuana patients and caregivers who grow more than 12 or 24 plants, respectively, must do so on a property other than a residential property.
Citizens should be reminded of existing law which states that marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that can’t be viewed openly. This means the plants can’t be outside.
- At homes with residents under 21, any marijuana grow area must be enclosed and locked in a separate space that minors can’t access.
- At homes without residents under 21, extra precautions must be taken to make sure any visiting youth don’t have access to marijuana plants.