A Great Synopsis of States Possession Limits

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canna-law-newsLEGAL WEED
Are We Good To Grow Yet? Part I

DOPE Magazine-Mark Ward-7/1/16

Together we have fought for legal cultivation in states with recreational and medical cannabis, and the results have been mixed. There are 40 states with medical marijuana laws enacted, and among these are 16 states with laws that pertain to legal, non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). Several states have passed laws permitting the use of CBD extract containing insignificant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Often utilized for treatment of epilepsy or seizures in critically ill children, it typically comes in oil form.

For the purposes of this article, we will set aside CBD-specific laws. The reason being that CBD-specific laws do not allow for the use of the cannabis plant itself for medical purposes and these states do not allow home cultivation.

Twenty two states and Washington D.C. have medical legalization that permits patients to possess cannabis. Out of these medical cannabis states, eight do not authorize home growing for patients. To break that down, 41 states and Washington D.C. have some form of medical legislation, 23 states that grant patients access to the cannabis plant, but only 14 states and Washington D.C. allow patients to grow their own medicine. The question is then raised, why is there such a dramatic difference in state-to-state medical cannabis laws?

Possession limits for patients vary greatly from state to state with no apparent rhyme or reason. Alaska has a patient possession limit of one ounce, while Oregon has a 24-ounce limit. State plant count differs just as considerably between states, with no seemingly rational influence on possession limit. Currently California does not have concrete possession or cultivation limits. To further illustrate how irrational the plant-to-possession counts are, Rhode Island patients can have 12 mature plants and 12 seedlings but may only possess two and a half ounces of usable harvest. It seems either lawmakers do not comprehend basic cannabis cultivation or they made a system designed for patients to fail, thus forcing cultivation to become an exclusively commercial institution.

In many states that authorize patients to grow, state laws do not allow cultivation in a home that is within a certain proximity to a dispensary—in Arizona, home grows cannot be within a 25 mile radius of a dispensary. Rhode Island lawmakers have proposed a tax on every plant a patient grows. “The $350-per-plant fee that Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo wants to impose on growers is an extreme, regressive taxation on this life-saving drug,” said Tony Jones, who ran for lieutenant governor of Rhode Island in 2014. “Moreover, this tax will be exclusively levied on the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders amongst us: cancer patients, sufferers of multiple sclerosis, paralysis, etc. This is perhaps the most disgusting exercise of raw governmental power that I’ve seen in my time as a political activist.”

It’s clear that until the federal government reschedules cannabis, we’ll continue to see a patchwork of state-led legislative initiatives that are more informed by politics than by public health.

State Year Passed Measure and Percent in Favor Possession Limit
1Alaska 1998 Ballot Measure 8 (58%) 1 ounce usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)
2Arizona 2010 Proposition 203 (50.13%) 2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants
3. California 1996 Proposition 215 (56%) 8 ounces usable; 6 mature or 12 immature plants
4. Colorado 2000 Ballot Amendment 20 (54%) 2 ounces usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)
5. Connecticut 2012 House Bill 5389 (96-51 H, 21-13 S) 2.5 ounces usable (no home grow)
DC 2010 Amendment Act B18-622 (13-0 vote) 2 ounces dried; limits on other forms to be determined (no home grow)
6. Delaware 2011 Senate Bill 17 (27-14 H, 17-4 S) 6 ounces usable (no home grow)
7. Hawaii 2000 Senate Bill 862 (32-18 H; 13-12 S) 4 ounces usable; 7 plants
8. Illinois 2013 House Bill 1 (61-57 H; 35-21 S) 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis during a period of 14 days (no home grow)
9. Maine 1999 Ballot Question 2 (61%) 2.5 ounces usable; 6 plants
10. Maryland 2014 House Bill 881 (125-11 H; 44-2 S) 30-day supply, amount to be determined (no home grow)
11. Massachusetts 2012 Ballot Question 3 (63%) 60-day supply for personal medical use (10 ounces)
12. Michigan 2008 Proposal 1 (63%) 2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants
13. Minnesota 2014 Senate Bill 2470 (46-16 S; 89-40 H) 30-day supply of non-smokable marijuana (no home grow)
14. Montana 2004 Initiative 148 (62%) 1 ounce usable; 4 plants (mature); 12 seedlings
15. Nevada 2000 Ballot Question 9 (65%) 2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants
16. New Hampshire 2013 House Bill 573 (284-66 H; 18-6 S) 2 ounces of usable cannabis during a 10-day period (no home grow)
17. New Jersey 2010 Senate Bill 119 (48-14 H; 25-13 S) 2 ounces usable (no home grow)
18. New Mexico 2007 Senate Bill 523 (36-31 H; 32-3 S) 6 ounces usable; 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature)
19. New York 2014 Assembly Bill 6357 (117-13 A; 49-10 S) 30-day supply of non-smokable marijuana
20. Oregon 1998 Ballot Measure 67 (55%) 24 ounces usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature)
21. Rhode Island 2006 Senate Bill 0710 (52-10 H; 33-1 S) 2.5 ounces usable; 12 plants
22. Vermont 2004 Senate Bill 76 (22-7), HB 645 (82-59) 2 ounces usable; 9 plants (2 mature, 7 immature)
23. Washington 1998 Initiative 692 (59%) 16 ounces usable; 15 plants

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