Where is it Legal to Grow Marijuana at Home in the US?

Growing your own marijuana at home is an interesting and exciting journey. If you think about it, cannabis cultivation is just a more rewarding form of gardening, which is known to relieve stress and promote relaxation. More importantly, you are growing powerful medicine that can heal a wide range of conditions, from chronic pain to seizures, and maybe even cancer. Just imagine, once you get a seed of this medicine, you can grow it as many times as you like with just some soil, fertilizer, water, and light. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Unfortunately, complications brought about by modern society has imposed a limit on this freedom to grow. It is a good thing though that science has brought to light the many benefits of cannabis because the impact it can make on a person’s quality of life presents such a compelling reason to relax this restriction.

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Legal Shmegal

Legalities are often confusing. There are so many “if” and “buts” to deal with and unfortunately, this is true for marijuana laws in the US. At the federal level, both medical and recreational cannabis is still illegal. However, there are already a good number of states that allow both and even home growing. Confusing? You bet it is.  

Are the feds gonna come after you?

Not quite. It’s interesting to know that federal laws still trump state laws as written in the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. However, the federal government is very unlikely to prosecute a regular Joe for marijuana possession. Rather, they go after bigger fish like dispensaries and companies. Low-level offenses are often left to state authorities and in states where cannabis is legal, it ceases to be a problem. 

So what exactly is legal for me to possess?

Just because you’ve read that marijuana is legal in a particular state doesn’t mean that all forms of it in any amount would be legal. First off, there is a difference between medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana. Aside from this, there are also specific rules on growing marijuana at home and these are different per state. Additionally, not all states that allow possession will allow home growing. 

What state should I move to?

Before you bid your weed hatin’ state adieu, if you do live in one, you may want to know first that there may be a good chance that it will be legalized in the near future. When you look at the key cannabis legalization milestones in the past decade, it resembles dominoes falling one after the other. In a way, the proverbial foot is already in the door. All that’s needed now is for the public to see the overwhelming benefits that the legalization of weed will bring to the economy and society so the scales can be tipped in favor of marijuana.

But if a few years is too long a wait for you, here are the states that allow its residents to grow marijuana at home and the conditions that must be followed for its cultivation to be legal. If your state is not listed below, it means it’s too square for growing marijuana.

States where home growing weed is legal

Alaska

Alaska is pretty chill with weed. Residents 21 years old and up can grow as many as 6 plants. However, only 3 of the plants can be mature and flowering at any one time. Also, no more than 12 marijuana plants are allowed in a home regardless of how many adults live there. Learn more about growing cannabis in Alaska.

Arizona

Grow-zona residents who want to grow their own should either be a patient or a caregiver that qualifies for medical marijuana. Cardholders are allowed to grow up to 6 plants per home which they should keep in an enclosed, locked facility. This requirement is not applicable only if the plants are to be transported because the qualifying patient is moving. Learn more about growing cannabis in Arizona.

California

Good guy California allows its residents to grow up to 6 plants for recreational use but the rules for medical marijuana are not the same for all counties. In some counties, you even cram as many plants that you can within 100 square feet of your home for medical purposes. 

However, your plants must not be visible to the public if you are growing outdoors. Growing inside your home is also not allowed unless there is no feasible alternative. It must be done in a garage or greenhouse away from public view. Learn more about growing cannabis in California.

Colorado

Residents aged 21 and up in the second state to legalize marijuana can happily grow up to 6 plants with three mature and flowering at any one time. This is both for recreational and medical marijuana, but a caregiver can claim up to 5 patients and grow up to 36 plants. Learn more about growing cannabis in Colorado.

Hawaii

The Aloha state is a pretty cool dude. Hawaiians are allowed to grow an “adequate supply” of medical cannabis, which is 10 plants and below if they are registered patients and caregivers. The plants must be grown only in one location that is owned by the 329 Card holder. Learn more about growing cannabis in Hawaii.

Illinois

If you are ill with any of the qualifying conditions in Illinois’s medical marijuana program, then you register and grow up to 5 plants at a time. Learn more about growing cannabis in Illinois.

Maine

Maine is the man when it comes to growing weed since it allows residents 21 up to grow three mature plants, 12 immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings for recreational use. Registered medical marijuana growers can even have as much as 6 mature plants. Learn more about growing cannabis in Maine.

Massachusetts

You can grow marijuana en masse in Massachusetts. Bay State residents 21 up can grow 6 plants for themselves. However, only up to 12 mature plants can be grown in a residence with two or more adults. Likewise, the plants have to be kept away from public view. Learn more about growing cannabis in Massachusetts.

Michigan

Weed is sure to be great in the Great Lake State since Michigan residents of legal age can grow up to 12 plants. All cannabis plants should be kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Learn more about growing cannabis in Michigan.

Missouri

Missouri’s marijuana laws are kind of sour. While residents of legal age who are qualified to grow under the state’s medical marijuana laws can grow up to 6 flowering plants, it’s still a felony to get marijuana seedlings or seeds in Missouri or from one of the 32 other states with legal marijuana. Learn more about growing cannabis in Missouri.

Montana

Unfortunately, Montana residents can only grow if they’re part of the medical marijuana program. Registered cardholders can grow up to 4 mature plants and 4 seedlings. Learn more about growing cannabis in Montana.

Nevada

Nevada has a big “but”. What I mean by this is that although Nevadans can grow up to 6 plants per person and 12 per household, they can only do so if they are not within 25 miles of a state-licensed retail marijuana store. Likewise, the plants have to be kept away from public view. Learn more about growing cannabis in Nevada.

New Mexico

Unfortunately, only those with conditions that qualify for New Mexico’s medical marijuana program and their registered caregivers are allowed to grow their own. Patients or caregivers can grow up to 16 plants, but only four of those should be flowering. Learn more about growing cannabis in New Mexico.

Oklahoma

Growing in OK is ok only under the state’s medical marijuana program. A legally-aged person registered in the program can have up to 6 mature plants and 6 seedlings only. Learn more about growing cannabis in Oklahoma.

Oregon

Kind of odd that for a state where medical and recreational marijuana are both legal, Oregon residents are only allowed to grow up to 4 plants per residence. Learn more about growing cannabis in Oregon.

Rhode Island

Like most in our list, Rhode Islanders can only grow their own if their condition qualifies for their state’s medical marijuana program. Surprisingly enough, registered patients are allowed to grow 12 flowering plants and 12 seedlings, which is amazing. Learn more about growing cannabis in Rhode Island.

Vermont

Vermont definitely lived up to its moniker “the Green Mountain State”. But like Oregon, the number of mature flowering plants residents can keep is limited. In fact, while it is legal to own 9 plants, only two can be mature at a given time. Learn more about growing cannabis in Vermont.

Washington

It’s all good in Washington. Residents who are registered in the state’s medical marijuana program are allowed to grow up to 6 plants. This can even increase to 15 per household if the patient’s healthcare practitioner can show that the patient requires more than the presumptive amount. Learn more about growing cannabis in Washington

Washington DC

Popularly known for its “weed gift economy” D.C. offers potheads a pretty sweet deal. Any resident of legal age can grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants in their homes and up to 12 plants can be grown if a house has more than 2 adults. Learn more about growing cannabis in Washington DC.

States where home cultivation of weed is illegal

Alabama

The Yellowhammer State passed a bill for medical marijuana just this year, so it would still take a few more years before the state considers home cultivation. While a bill that seeks to lessen possession penalties is already in line for consideration by the Senate this year, it is still a Class A misdemeanor to carry pot for personal use at present. This is punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $6000. Learn more about Alabama’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Arkansas

The Natural State may have a medical marijuana program but it doesn’t allow pot cultivation of any kind. Furthermore, possession of 4 oz or less is already a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. Learn more about Arkansas marijuana laws on home growing.

Connecticut

Although the Constitution State has a medical marijuana program and has decriminalized the possession of small amounts, it is still illegal to grow at home in the state. While possession of 0.5 oz or less is only a civil penalty that gets only a $150 fine, cultivation of 1 kg and less is already a felony which starts at 7 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Learn more about Connecticut marijuana laws on home growing.

Delaware

While the First State does have a medical marijuana program, it doesn’t allow any kind of home cultivation and those caught with weed can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor or civil violation. Learn more about Delaware marijuana laws on home growing.

Florida

The Sunshine State also has a medical marijuana program but prohibits home growing. It is a misdemeanor to possession of up to 20 grams and you can get up to a year in prison with a fine of up to $1000. Additionally, your driver’s license may also be suspended, though the severity of the punishment may vary for every city. Learn more about Florida’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Georgia

Georgia’s marijuana laws only allow qualified patients to possess low-THC oil for their conditions. The possession of one ounce or less is already a misdemeanor which is punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a fine of up to $1000 or public works not to exceed 12 months. Learn more about Georgia’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Idaho

Unfortunately, the Gem state has made both medical and recreational weed illegal. Obviously, this means home growing is prohibited as well and possession of anything more than 3 ounces is considered a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000. Learn more about Idaho’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Indiana

The Hoosier State likewise frowns on anything cannabis, may it be for recreational and medical purposes. Possession at the very least is a Class B misdemeanor that gets up to 180 days prison time and/or a $1,000 fine. Learn more about Indiana’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Iowa

Unfortunately, a medical cannabidiol (CBD) program is the best thing the Hawkeye State has to offer, so no cannabis cultivation of any kind. First offenders caught with any amount of marijuana will be charged with a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 6 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Learn more about Iowa’s marijuana laws on home growing.

Kansas

Weed is not welcome in the Sunflower State. First-time offenders caught with less than 450 grams will get a misdemeanor charge punishable with a 1-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,500.

Kentucky

Even though the Bluegrass State is known for growing hemp, any form of marijuana is illegal here. Thankfully enough, the punishment for possession is relatively lighter compared to other anti-cannabis states. Although 8 oz or less will get you a misdemeanor, the penalty is only 45 days in prison and a maximum of $250 fine.

Louisiana

Although the Pelican State has a medical marijuana program, home cultivation is still not allowed. The penalties for first-time possession is relatively light compared to other states: 15 day jail time and a $300 fine.

Maryland

Legalization efforts seem to be gaining momentum in the Old Line State. Although home growing is still illegal, possession of 10 grams or less had already been decriminalized and reduced to a civil infraction in 2014. Maryland has also had a medical marijuana program since 2013.

Minnesota

The North Star State already has a medical marijuana program and is looking to pass one of the most progressive marijuana bills in the country but until then, it might take a bit of time before home growing is made legal in the state. At present, possession of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is still considered a misdemeanor with a fine of $200.

Mississippi

The Magnolia State’s marijuana laws are somewhat odd. Both medical and recreational cannabis is still illegal, which means no home growing. However, possession of small amounts has been decriminalized since 1978. If you get caught with 30 grams or less, you may only need to pay a fine of $100 to $250.

Nebraska

The Cornhusker State is so uptight about weed that it even tried to sue Colorado for its marijuana laws. Although home cultivation has always been illegal in Nebraska, those who get caught with 1 oz or less for the first time will only have to pay a fine of $300.

New Hampshire

The Granite State has had a therapeutic cannabis program since 2013 but still prohibits home cultivation to this day. However, it did decriminalize marijuana in 2017 and now the amount of three-quarters of an ounce only gets a fine of $100.

New Jersey

Although the Garden State already has a medical marijuana program, its residents are still fighting for the right to grow cannabis in their own homes. Cultivation of anywhere from 1 ounce to less than 5 pounds (approx 10 plants or less) is a crime in the 3rd degree. This will land you in prison for 3-5 years with a fine of up to $25,000.

New York

The Empire State has made its move towards legalization only this year, so it would still take some time before New Yorkers would be allowed to home grow marijuana. The state already has a medical marijuana program in place and possession laws at present are considerably reasonable, with 28 grams or less a violation with a fine of $50.

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State is still very much against weed so don’t expect it to permit home cultivation anytime soon. Even medical marijuana is only allowed under narrow exceptions. While possession of 0.5 oz or less only gets a $200 fine, those caught growing less than 10 pounds will be charged with a Class I felony punishable by 3 to 8 month prison sentence.

North Dakota

The Peace Garden State only recently legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and the latest initiative for the latest initiative for the legalization of recreational weed failed just last 2018. 1 Its a bit odd though, that for a state that allows medical marijuana and has decriminalized weed, the possession of 0.5 ounce or less gets no jail time but carries a fine of $1000.2

Ohio

The Buckeye State may have decriminalized marijuana way back in 1975 and legalized medical in 2016 but it still illegal to home grow in the state at present. The penalty for possession of small amounts (3.5 oz or less) is surprisingly considerate: no jail sentence, a $150 fine, but with suspension of driver’s license from 6 months to 5 years.

Pennsylvania

Residents of the Keystone State still aren’t allowed to grow weed at home but they do have access to medical marijuana. However, the penalties for possession and cultivation are quite steep. Get caught with 30 grams or less and you will be charged with misdemeanor punishable by a 30 day prison sentence with a $500 fine. Meanwhile, growing is a felony that gets 2.5 to 5 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

South Carolina

The law comes down heavy on those caught growing marijuana in the Palmetto State. Although possession of 1 oz or less is just a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in prison and a $200 fine, cultivation of 100 plants or less is a felony that gets a 5 year prison sentence and a $5000 fine.

South Dakota

Since 2006 to 2018, all previous attempts at decriminalization and legalization had been shut down in the Mount Rushmore State. Although there is another attempt in the form of Measure 26, a ballot initiative for medical marijuana, it was certified just last December 2019 for the 2020 ballot. This means home growing is at best still a few years away. Possession penalties in the state are also heavy, with 2 ounces or less already a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $2000.

Tennessee

The Volunteer State is staunchly anti-cannabis that even the first effort to decriminalize possession ended up getting repealed just a few months after. In fact, possession of a mere 0.5 oz to 10 lbs is already a Class E felony that gets 1 to 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5000.

Texas

There had been numerous attempts to push for decriminalization and legalization in the long history of marijuana in the Lone Star State, but all that Texans have at present is the Compassionate Use Program that gives qualified patients access to low-THC marijuana. Penalties for possession are also steep, with 2 oz or less already a misdemeanor punishable with 180 days in jail and a $ 2,000 fine.

Utah

The Beehive State is known for being conservative but surprisingly, it does have a medical marijuana program but its new Medical Cannabis Act no longer allows home growing. At present, possession of even less than 1 oz is already a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months jail time and a maximum fine of $1000.

Virginia

The Old Dominion State is now on its way to decriminalizing personal possession of marijuana but it still has a long way to go before it makes home growing legal. While patients can use an affirmative legal defense to THCA extracts with the written certification of a doctor, possession of 0.5 oz or less remains a Class 1 misdemeanor that gets up to 30 days jail time and a maximum fine of $500. This penalty gets reduced to a civil violation with a fine of $25 and no jail time after July 1, 2020.

West Virginia

The Mountain State approved a medical marijuana program just a few years ago but it’s not likely to legalize home cultivation anytime soon. Possession penalties are stiff, any amount counts as a misdemeanor that can get you 90 days to 6 months jail time and up to $1000 in fines.

Wisconsin

Don’t even try cultivating weed in the Badger State where all forms of marijuana is illegal. Growing 4 plants or less (200 grams and less) is automatically a Class 1 felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 3.5 years and maximum fine of $10,000.

Wyoming

The Cowboy State does not tolerate marijuana in any forms. Cultivation, at the very least, is a misdemeanor that gets up to 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Conclusion

As you may have noticed, even though state laws allow weed to be “legal” there are still a lot of restricting conditions that accompany it. Some of the most common prerequisites for handling and growing weed legally are the following: 

  • Be of legal age.
  • Some states require a permit to grow, some do not.
  • Marijuana laws may vary per city, county or locality. 
  • Plants should be kept away from public view.
  • Never sell if you’re not an authorized marijuana business. Especially not to a minor.
  • Only give marijuana to a minor if you are the legal guardian and are authorized to do so under your state’s medical marijuana program.
  • There is a limit to the plants that can be grown per household, regardless of the number of adults living there.

So if you are planning to grow your own, make sure to do diligent research prior. Log on to your state’s website and send an email if you have to. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty surprise. 

Thinking About Growing Your Own?

Check out this post where I go into the details about equipment, seeds and the reasons why I got started in this journey.
  1. Cannabis in North Dakota[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_North_Dakota]
  2. North Dakota Gov. Burgum Signs Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana[https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-05-10/north-dakota-gov-burgum-signs-bill-to-decriminalize-marijuana]

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