New York State cannabis regulators are set to vote on proposed rules to govern home marijuana cultivation. If the draft regulations are approved, New Yorkers will be permitted to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home, subject to some conditions and limitations.
The New York Cannabis Control Board was initially scheduled to vote on adopting the proposed home weed cultivation rules at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 25. However, the board postponed the meeting earlier this week and will instead take up the matter at a meeting next month. Once the board gives its approval, the draft language will undergo a 60-day public comment period before they are finalized.
New York legislators legalized recreational cannabis with the passage of the Marihuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) in 2021. The legislation approved home cannabis cultivation by adults, but enacting those provisions was delayed while the Office of Cannabis Management drafted regulations to govern home growing.
Rules Permit Up To 12 Weed Plants
Under the proposed home cultivation rules, New Yorkers aged 21 and older will be permitted to grow up to twelve cannabis plants, including six immature plants. The rules also allow for up to six mature plants, which the regulations define as plants showing visible flowers.
Plants must be grown in a secure spot out of public view and inaccessible to those under 21. Adults are only permitted to grow at a single address, with the rules forbidding multiple cultivation sites operated by the same individual.
Amateur pot growers will be able to obtain cannabis seeds from any source. Weed plants, however, will only be legally available for sale in New York from cannabis retailers with nursery licenses.
Home growers will be allowed to possess up to five pounds of trimmed weed from their plants, a hefty increase in the normal three-ounce limit on pot possession in New York. Cultivators are permitted to gift cannabis to other adults, but unlicensed sales of marijuana are prohibited by state law.
Under the draft home cultivation rules, property owners and co-op boards are not allowed to prohibit the possession or home cultivation of cannabis. They may, however, adopt rules that require odor mitigation measures to be put in place by home growers.
Some New Yorkers Left Out
Not all New Yorkers will gain the right to grow cannabis at home, however. Home cultivation will not be permitted for residents of buildings operated by the New York City Housing Authority and other federally subsidized housing because of the continued illegality of marijuana at the federal level.
The coming rules for home weed cultivation in New York were applauded by groups including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“Adults should have the legal option to home-cultivate their own cannabis as an alternative to purchasing it from licensed retail producers,” the cannabis policy reform group wrote in a statement on Thursday. “This option is especially important for those who may not be able to consistently afford retail cannabis products, or who do not reside in close proximity to these outlets. State regulations governing the alcohol market permit adults the option to legally brew non-commercial quantities of their own alcohol, and it is consistent with this policy to similarly permit home cultivation.”
The home cultivation rules will give those frustrated with the slow pace of licensed dispensary openings a way to grow their own weed. Although the state’s first regulated pot shop opened in the closing days of 2022, a total of only 53 licensed retailers have opened statewide, including 23 in the Big Apple, according to the New York Post. Melissa Moore, of the Drug Policy Alliance, said the upcoming vote on the rules is a positive development for New Yorkers.
“It would just mean that people don’t necessarily have to go through consumer experience where they’re trying to find a dispensary, which has been quite a challenge as the state has been grappling with multiple lawsuits that have really delayed the rollout,” Moore said in a statement to Fox 5 television news.