According to the law in both El Paso County and Colorado Springs, if you are growing a single marijuana plant and it is flowering, you are breaking the law regarding home grows and you could be sentenced to jail time.
El Paso County’s ordinance states that “[n]o more than 12 marijuana plants, with 1/2 or fewer being mature, flowering plants can be grown in a single dwelling unit, regardless of the number of patients, caregivers or persons over 21-years old, or any combination thereof, that reside in the dwelling unit.” While worded somewhat differently, the law in Colorado Springs says essentially the same thing.
While it is common for laws governing personal marijuana cultivation to restrict the number of flowering plants to half of the overall number of plants, for example the state of Colorado allows for six plants with three or fewer in flower, the language in these local ordinances suggests that half or fewer of the number of plants in the dwelling can be flowering. Meaning that if a person had three plants and two plant were flowering, they would have over one half mature plants. Thus, they would be breaking the law.
The law is poorly written and it might be possible to read it as “six or fewer flowering plants” regardless of how many total plants one has. However, my first priority is protecting my clients, so I am usually recommend the more conservative course of action. Additionally, I know of at least one instance in which law enforcement in Colorado Springs inferred similar language to refer to to half of the number of plants in possession instead of half of the maximum.
Luckily for everyone that has a few plants outdoors or that is flowering all of their plants at once, the Colorado Constitution gives everyone over the age of 21 the right to have six plants and three of those can be in flower. State constitution trumps local law, so it would be unconstitutional for the Colorado Springs or El Paso County to prosecute someone for having only three flowering plants. Unfortunately, just because it’s unconstitutional doesn’t necessarily mean that law enforcement won’t try to do it. The good news is there are people like me that are here to fight for your rights. I will happily represent any person in either of those jurisdictions who is charged with violating these ordinances while having six or fewer flowering plants and twelve or less total. In fact, I think these laws are such garbage that I’ll represent them for free.
If you would like to know more about these ordinances, or anything to do with federal, Colorado, or local cannabis law, please contact me today.
—–Andrew Brown J.D.