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What is an Extended Plant Count? |

ILaws prohibiting the use and possession of cannabis in the United States continue to decline, but regulations remain disparate from state to state and even city to city. Nowhere is this more evident than by states that allow recreational users and medical patients to grow their own weed.

For medical cannabis patients and their caregivers in particular, being able to grow their own marijuana offers tangible benefits. They can more easily control their supply, carry out their own quality control, have access to drugs on a regular basis and, in the long run, can even save money.

However, what if your medicinal needs collide with the cultural limits of your state? Let’s take a look at the extended number of plants.

What is an extended number of plants?

A expanded plant count is part of the medical marijuana code where a patient or caregiver can grow an “extended number of plants” if their doctor recommending medical marijuana determines that the patient has a medical necessity for more than the state allows.

For example, in Colorado, medical marijuana patients or their caregivers can grow up to six plants, three of which are allowed to mature at any given time. If, however, a patient’s medical supply cannot be met by the six plant limit, they may request to grow more plants if deemed medically necessary by their attending physician, such as the need to create tincture or edibles with more product than straight flower smoking. .

Medical patients can have an extended plant count if approved by a doctor for medical needs. Photo credit

A patient should also provide additional medical information to support extensive plant counting application, including surgical reports, medical history, X-rays, CT scans, lab work, hospital discharge summaries, etc.

It may be tempting to grow more plants than the limit allows, but legal issues may arise if you grow more than is legal. In Colorado, growing more than 12 plants is a Level 1 drug offense and can result in a $1,000 fine. Beyond the first offense, and if no more than 24 plants were grown, you could be sentenced to six to 18 months in county jail and/or face fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.

Being caught with more than 24 plants (with more than one cultivation violation) is a Class 3 drug felony that could land you in Colorado State Prison for two to four years and/or $2,000 fines. at $500,000.

While other states allow for home cultivation of cannabis primarily for medical cannabis patients, the number of plants allowed is everywhere – Missouri seems to be at the upper limit with up to 18 plants allowed in a single housing unit. In Michigan, registered caregivers can grow up to 60 plants, and medical marijuana patients can harvest for up to 60 days, regardless of the number of plants. In Washington, the number of plants that medical marijuana patients can harvest is 15.

Homemade cannabis culture consisting of 5 plants growing under fluorescent lights halfway through their growth cycle.

Carefully read your own state’s limits on the number of plants for your home grow. Photo credit

It could be that Colorado’s extensive plant number regulations have made other states hesitant to allow home cultivation without keeping these plants on a leash. Before 2018, Colorado allowed for an extended number of plants up to 99 plants. Additionally, patients could assign healer privileges to each other, allowing individuals to grow additional plants on behalf of other patients.

However, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) was not thrilled with a tally of 99 plants. A former special agent in charge of the Colorado branch of the DEA told PBS that the agency believed some with higher plant counts were diverting cannabis to non-legal states. “I think the 99 plants thing really opened the floodgates,” he said.

No other state [allowed] all numbers like that. Outside organizations have taken advantage of this… If you have registered ten people, you effectively have 999 plants in a residence.

It goes without saying that the cannabis industry has changed a lot since 2018. More US residents support legal weed than ever before. Still, states may be coming to the conclusion that they have enough plants on the books — and if they don’t, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to legally plant more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you qualify for the extended plant count in Colorado?

To qualify for an extended herbal count, the patient must work with their treating physician who must determine that an extended herbal count is medically necessary. Patients will also be required to provide additional medical information. Then they must apply for a permit to grow more.

Can I grow 99 plants in Colorado?

Nope. Adults 21 and older can grow up to six plants, three of which flower at any one time. Medical patients can be awarded higher amounts, but only with the doctor’s consent.

How many plants can I legally grow in Colorado?

Adults 21 and older can grow up to six plants, three of which flower at any one time. Caregivers working with up to five patients can grow 36 plants.

How many plants can medical patients grow?

It depends on the state. Be sure to read this Pot Guide article to see what’s legal where you live.

Do you have an extended number of plants? Let us know in the comments below!

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