“It makes little practical or legal sense to try to enforce a complete ban on self-cultivation for personal use once possession for personal use is legal and legal supply sources have been established”, Transform, UK.
In 2013, Uruguay’s Government introduced legislation to establish a government-controlled cannabis market (alongside home growing and cannabis social clubs), the first such nation state reform in the world. Around the globe, reduction of the criminalisation of cannabis possession is increasingly common, with multiple jurisdictions including provisions for cannabis social clubs and home growing. Self-cultivation is tolerated or allowed in, among other places, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Self-cultivation (home growing) and cannabis social clubs reduce the size of the illicit trade and associated harms and removes the need for users to interact with the illicit market. Cannabis social clubs would require a legal basis or legislated regulatory framework to ensure best practice. Provisions for self-cultivation have specifically been included in the regulatory models for non-medical use of cannabis established in Colorado, USA and Uruguay.
Small-scale cultivation has been tolerated in a number of jurisdictions and has proved largely unproblematic. A range of jurisdictions have also allowed home growing for medical use for a number of years. Limits on the scale of self-cultivation, in the form of a maximum number of cannabis plants allowed, have already been adopted in most jurisdictions that permit such activity.
Similar to the pursuit of home brewing beer, home growing of cannabis is likely to become the preserve of hobbyists and connoisseurs in the post-prohibition era. As the experience of the Netherlands suggests, if a legal retail supply is available, most users will default to the convenience and reliability offered by this option, rather than the trouble of growing their own (even if there is an initial surge of interest).
Home growing will be a minority pursuit and, as such, a relatively marginal concern for regulators and law enforcement. A pragmatic approach would involve:
• Setting clear limits on scale of cultivation permitted in terms of number of plants (or size of growing area)
• Prohibiting unlicensed for-profit sales (some degree of sharing/gifting crops is inevitable)
• Establishing an age restriction for home growers and for access to cannabis seeds
• Establishing growers’ responsibility to restrict access to minors. Guidelines for cultivation in spaces not easily visible or accessible to children, potentially supported by regulatory approval of outdoor growing locations
• Regulating seed markets, potentially through licensing of sales or vendors
• Permitting home production of cannabis edibles, resin and other concentrates, in line with constraints listed above
Enforcement of any laws on home growing would inevitably be mostly reactive. Some flexibility would be needed (for example, dealing with cultivation of seedlings in greater numbers than the limit for mature plants), with key concerns being age controls and prevention of unlicensed larger scale commercial production.
Legalise Cannabis Australia’s own ‘Dr Pot’ suggested three levels of access;
1. Home grown, with around 20 plants maximum, including approximately 10 flowering females at any one time, to satisfy anyone’s/everyone’s personal needs
2. Compassionate, for those unable to grow their own but whom require an organic supply
3. Farmers, could include cottage industries and boutique grows.
Original source: How to Regulate Cannabis Guide