Cannabis Growing 101: How Many Plants Can You Grow in Your State?

how many plants can you grow in your state
By Nick Congleton Updated May 23rd

Cannabis is a plant like any other; give it the right light, water, and fertilizer, and it’ll grow. When it’s mature, it’ll produce flowers. But while anyone with a green thumb could have success cultivating cannabis, growing cannabis at home remains tightly regulated. And there are high penalties for violating those regulations, even in states where medical and recreational cannabis is legal. For budding home growers, the first question is: “Is it legal to grow your own weed?”

The laws for cannabis cultivation vary state-by-state and can be confusing to understand, especially since the laws for recreational users often differ from medical patients. Making things more difficult, some states fear that home growing can supply the illegal market or harm the fledgling legal markets, which has led to unnecessarily strict laws and oversight.

In this article, we provide a brief but clear overview of each state’s cannabis cultivation laws and provide clear answers on what medical cannabis patients and recreational users can and can’t grow at home. 

Get Your Medical Card Online Get approved today in minutes with the nation's #1 trusted medical card provider.
No appointment needed. Only billed if approved.

Where Can You Legally Grow Cannabis?

Cannabis is federally illegal in the US. This leaves the states to enact their own medical and recreational cannabis laws. And while many states have similar regulations, no two states have quite the same rules governing cannabis use, possession, or cultivation. 

When it comes to cannabis cultivation, there are a few common themes. Most states limit adults to 2 or 3 mature plants (but allow for more immature plants). Nearly all states have laws requiring that cannabis plants be secured and out of public view. 

These laws serve two purposes. 

  1. They keep cannabis out of the reach of children.
  2. They protect the grower from potential theft. 

Violating these laws could result in legal action, even in states where home cannabis cultivation is allowed. This is especially true for plants in public view. If people can see the plants, they can report them. 

It’s always best to use discretion and secure your cannabis plants when cultivating at home.

What States Can You Grow Your Own Weed? States That Allow Medical or Recreational Home Growing

is it legal to grow your own weed

Not all states with legal medical or recreational cannabis programs allow home cultivation of cannabis. Each state has its own laws and limitations on cultivation. Some regulations are actively changing and evolving, so it’s best to double-check the current cannabis laws in your state before setting up your home grow.

StateMedical, Recreational, or BothCultivation Laws
AlaskaBothUp to 3 mature and 3 immature plants are allowed.
ArizonaBothUp to 6 plants allowed at private non-commercial residence. 
CaliforniaBothAdults over 21 may cultivate up to 6 plants. Medical users have no limit on cultivation unless imposed by their municipality. 
ColoradoBothUp to 6 plants.
ConnecticutBothUp to 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants.
HawaiiMedicalUp to 7 plants.
IllinoisMedicalUp to 5 plants.
MaineBothAdults over 21 may cultivate up to 3 plants. Medical patients may cultivate up to 6 plants.
MassachusettsBothUp to 6 plants.
MichiganBothUp to 12 plants.
MissouriBothUp to 6 mature plants, 12 mature per residence.
MontanaBothAdults over 21 may cultivate up to 2 mature and 2 immature plants. Medical patients may cultivate up to 4 mature and 4 immature plants.
NevadaBothAdults over 21 may cultivate up to 6 plants as long as they liver more than 25 miles from a dispensary. Medical patients may cultivate up to 12 plants as long as they live more than 25 miles from a dispensary or they’re cultivating a strain that’s not available at the dispensary.
New MexicoBothAdults over 21 can cultivate up to 6 plants. Medical cannabis patients can cultivate up to 4 mature and 12 immature plants.
New YorkMedical (Both 18 months after adult-use market opens)Up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants.

States Where Home Cultivation is NOT Allowed

The following states do not have medical or recreational cannabis programs (or have low-THC programs only), and they do not allow their citizens to cultivate cannabis at home.

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Idaho
  4. Indiana
  5. Kansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. Mississippi
  8. Nebraska
  9. North Carolina
  10. South Carolina
  11. South Dakota
  12. Tennessee
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Wyoming

Medical Cannabis States Where Home Growing is NOT Allowed

The following states have medical cannabis programs but do not allow patients to grow their own cannabis. With the exception of Connecticut and New Jersey, none of these states have legalized recreational cannabis as of Jan 2023. 

  1. Arkansas
  2. Delaware
  3. Florida
  4. Iowa
  5. Louisiana
  6. Maryland
  7. Minnesota
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New Jersey
  10. North Dakota
  11. Ohio
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Utah
  14. West Virginia

Benefits of Growing Your Own Cannabis At Home

cannabis cultivation

Growing your own cannabis has a number of benefits, especially for medical patients. Even though growing cannabis can be tedious work, especially for indoor cultivation, for many cannabis consumers, the advantages far outweigh the effort.

The most obvious benefit of cultivating your own cannabis is the savings in cost. You’ll have to pay a bit more for the initial set up, but once that’s done you’ll have access to a steady supply of cannabis at a much lower rate than found in most legal dispensaries. Exactly how much you’ll save depends heavily on state limits and your crop yields, but it can be significant.

Home cultivation is also very useful for ensuring that you get the cannabis strains that work best for you. Cannabis dispensaries regularly rotate their flower selection, which could mean the particular cultivar that has worked so well for your condition is unavailable for months at a time. This is an especially big problem in states with very few dispensaries. But if you grow your own cannabis you can ensure you always have access to the strain or strains that work best for you. 

Although most states have laws regarding the testing of cannabis products, that doesn’t mean every batch is the same quality. And while some brands and dispensaries are transparent about the growing methods used in the flower they sell (eg was it organically grown or were plant growth regulators used), that isn’t always the case. When you grow your own cannabis, you know exactly what went into the cultivation process, and you can control the quality of the final product.

Some medical cannabis patients also need a large volume of cannabis for effective treatment. In those instances, extracts like Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) may work best. It’s a highly concentrated, highly potent cannabis extract that can be difficult to find. And making RSO at home requires a large amount of cannabis flower to produce. By growing cannabis at home, many patients are able to secure enough flower to create their own extracts that they might otherwise have a hard time finding or affording.

Finally, cannabis cultivation allows patients to make or breed their own cannabis strains. It’s one of the best ways to get the ideal set of qualities from your cannabis to truly tailor the effects to your needs. This isn’t something that’s possible when purchasing cannabis from a dispensary, but it’s common practice among home cultivators.

How to Cultivate Cannabis at Home

Cultivate Cannabis at Home

The cannabis plant is an annual flower. In nature, it begins its life as a seedling in the spring and grows throughout the summer, flowering near the end of the summer and into the fall harvest season. The cannabis flowers produce seeds that are embedded in the ground in fall. The plant dies off in the winter, and the new seeds sprout again in the spring. 

When growing cannabis at home, you’ll want to mimic the plant’s natural lifecycle.

The cannabis plant has four stages of growth

  1. In order to cultivate cannabis, you’ll first need to germinate cannabis seeds, or find seedlings that are available for purchase. 
  2. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can put them into a pot with soil. They’ll continue to grow for the next few weeks before entering the vegetative stage. 
  3. Cannabis plants spend the majority of their life – and do a bulk of their growing – in the vegetative stage.
  4. Finally, the plant enters its flowering phase when the plant produces buds. This stage typically occurs 8 to 11 weeks after planting the seed. 

After the flowering stage, it’s time to harvest your buds. From here, you’ll need to dry and cure the flower (and trim) so it’s ready to consume. Finally, you can store the harvested nugs in air-tight containers.

So what materials will you need?

The supplies you need to grow cannabis at home will depend heavily on where you plan to grow them. Indoor cultivation tends to produce a higher quality product, but it requires more equipment to get started. Outdoor growing can be done with minimal supplies, but you may have less control over the final quality of your crop. 

To grow cannabis you’ll first need seeds and trays (to start the seedlings). You may want heat mats and small indoor grow lights to ensure that your seedlings get off to a healthy start. It’s also a good idea to purchase a quality potting mix and fertilizer. 

Once the seedlings are ready to re-pot and enter the vegetative state, you’ll want to move them into a grow tent or enclosure to make it easier to control conditions, like light and humidity. If you’re planning an outdoor grow, most states require a grow tent or other enclosure.

Next, you’ll need a grow light. It’s a good idea to get a light with a timer so you can simulate the shorter days at the end of summer that typically trigger the flowering stage.

If you really want to maximize the yield from your cannabis crop – or the space you have available – you can employ more creative tactics like micro grows or light deprivation, which will actually allow you to get multiple harvests per growing season. 

Get Your Medical Card Online Get approved today in minutes with the nation's #1 trusted medical card provider.
No appointment needed. Only billed if approved.

How to Get a Cultivation License?

Home cultivation laws restrict cannabis consumers to growing a limited amount of plants under strict conditions and are often enacted to allow people to grow what they need for personal use only. In order to grow cannabis commercially at a mass scale, or to grow cannabis you can sell to state-licensed dispensaries, you’ll need to apply for a commercial cultivation license

Most states with legal adult-use sales have a separate government office that governs cannabis regulation, like California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. Other states handle cannabis licensing through their department of health or a similar government office. When seeking licensing, contact the appropriate office for your state.

Conclusion 

Home cannabis cultivation has plenty of advantages and it can be a rewarding pursuit. But just because your state has a medical marijuana program doesn’t mean you can grow as much cannabis as you want, and it’s important to know and abide by the laws where you live.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

Continue Reading:

You might also like: