By Michelle Fields, Esq.
18 States and the District of Columbia allow some level of limited home cultivation of cannabis for some uses. See media report here. Some states, like Michigan, allow home cannabis cultivation for recreational use. Michigan allows a person to grow up to 12 plants per household. Other states, like Hawaii, allow home cannabis cultivation only for medical purposes. Hawaii allows up to 10 plants to be grown and requires registration.
By contrast, New York does not allow any home cultivation of cannabis. But NOW is the time for that to change. New York has approved recreational use of cannabis. There is no reason that home cultivation should still be illegal, and there are many reasons that the law should change. First, it is the right thing to do. Many individuals consume cannabis for medical reasons. These medical users are often the most vulnerable in our society living near or below the poverty line. Home cannabis cultivation is one method — a simple method — of lowering the cost of medical treatments for those who are often the least empowered. Further, working in soil and growing plants are a form of therapy generally offering serenity, dignity, and a small measure of self-reliance.
Further, allowing home cultivation prevents the supply of cannabis from excessively contracting which, in turn, helps keep cannabis costs reasonable. Restricted supply results in higher prices. Just as importantly, different varieties and types of cannabis have different medical properties and, without home cultivation, supplies of specialty cannabis might be non-existent. For example, a specific variety of cannabis might be needed to manage seizures. But, what if the patient cannot find that type of cannabis? While there might be a robust supply of cannabis in general, supply of specialty types of cannabis might be limited or unavailable. Home cannabis cultivation in New York solves this problem.
Personal safety is another reason that legalizing home cannabis cultivation is the right thing to do. Even for recreational users, finding a supply of cannabis can be personally endangering. This is even more true for medical users of cannabis or for caregivers trying to find a supply for their patients. To make matters worse, the personal danger of finding a supply is significantly enhanced under the current conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, home cultivation of cannabis is safer than the alternatives and should be immediately legalized here in New York.
Third, with nearly two-fifths of the states allowing home cultivation, evidence has now accumulated showing that there is no adverse economic, criminal or social impact from allowing home cultivation. For example, there is no evidence that crime or other criminal behavior increased in states which began allowing home cultivation. Nor is there evidence of “rogue growers” selling their personally grown marijuana to non-legal cannabis dealers. There is also no evidence showing a spike in anti-social behavior like driving under the influence. New York is often on the leading edge of social and political change. However, the opposite is true with respect to home cannabis cultivation. That needs to change. Now is the time to legalize home cannabis cultivation for everyone.
Find Out More From a New York State Cannabis Attorney
For more information, contact New York State Cannabis Attorney Michelle Fields. With more than 17 years of litigation experience and a focus on New York Cannabis Law, ours is a special commitment to Equity, Equality and Inclusion. You can read more about these issues here and contact me at 718-400-6143.