New York to Finalize Home Marijuana Cultivation Rules

New York to Finalize Home Marijuana Cultivation Rules

State Cannabis Control Board Set to Approve Regulations Allowing Adults to Grow Marijuana at Home.

The proposed regulations were approved preliminarily in February, but had been subject to a 60-day public comment period that did not begin until late March.

The state Cannabis Control Board is expected to formally adopt rules on Tuesday that will allow anyone 21 or older to cultivate their own marijuana plants at home.

The proposed regulations were approved preliminarily in February but had been subject to a 60-day public comment period that did not begin until late March. The regulations will take effect once they are published in the state register, which could take a few weeks.

Retail marijuana store owners and operators will also be allowed to sell starter plants to customers. 

But the delays in allowing homegrown marijuana — more than three years after cannabis was legalized in New York — sets up a tight timeline for individuals to legally grow their own plants this year. The rules allow someone to have up to six marijuana plants with three mature and three immature. An immature plant is one that does not have visible flowers or buds.

The regulations indicate someone could grow pot on their property or in their residence. For outdoor growers, experts say June 20 — which marks the summer solstice and the longest day of the year — is generally the cut-off point for growing marijuana plants under the sun.

This is the fourth outdoor growing season since marijuana was legalized in the spring of 2021, a law that led many people to wrongly believe they could grow their own marijuana without a license or — as of October 2022 — without a medical prescription for cannabis.

The proposed rules specify that each private residence, no matter how many adult residents live there beyond one person, can have no more than six mature plants and six immature plants growing at once. It also limits the amount of cannabis that someone can possess to up to 5 pounds of “cannabis flower that has been trimmed from plants, which have been cultivated in or on the grounds of said person’s private residence.”

For those who transform the flower to a concentrate, the limit on how much of that substance they can possess will be the equivalent of what the product would represent in weight from cultivated cannabis.  

The provision in the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act that approved the home cultivation of cannabis for personal use had specified that it could take effect only after the state Office of Cannabis Management has issued “regulations governing home cultivation of cannabis, which will occur within 18 months of the first adult-use retail sale.”

But the first “legal” sale of recreational marijuana in New York did not take place until December 2022, when a downstate nonprofit organization, Housing Works, opened a retail marijuana shop in New York City.

Cannabis regulators have asserted the ability of New York residents to grow their own marijuana should have a minimal impact on the licensed retail industry.

The delayed home-grow regulations has not stopped a booming underground marketplace from emerging, a fallout that has triggered an intensifying effort by state regulators and law enforcement agencies to shut down the underground shops. Much of the marijuana sold in unlicensed stores is being shipped in from other states, according to law enforcement officials.

Marijuana seeds have been legally sold in the U.S. since 2018 under the federal Agriculture Improvement Act. The state Office of Cannabis Management does not regulate the sale of seeds and anyone 21 or older can purchase them online or at cannabis retail shops.

The Times Union reported three years ago that the number of marijuana plants seized by police across New York had plummeted as many law enforcement agencies abandoned their once-annual missions — often aided by State Police helicopters — to locate and remove the crops.

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Region: New York

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