This week a House bill was passed by the Senate in Colorado to ban anyone from growing marijuana for anyone else, more commonly known as a 'co-op grow'. After passing the Senate 35-0 it is now on the way to the governor's desk, who supports the bill, though a date to be signed is unknown. Officials are worried that a black market is persisting in the state due to relaxed laws about growing marijuana at home. If the governor signs the bill, it would also allocate $6 million a year from marijuana tax revenue to help law enforcement investigate illegal marijuana operations. Another bill will see the governor's desk this week that would limit the amount of cannabis plants to be grown in a home to 12, meaning anyone authorized to grow more will be forced to move the plants to an agricultural or commercial location.
There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of electricity, water and fertilizer to grow their pot.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, but it has a nagging black-market problem. Law enforcement and state lawmakers attribute the black-market problem in part to weak restrictions on who can grow pot.
The Colorado state constitution authorizes people over 21 to grow their own pot, or to assist someone else in growing pot. That language allows groups to designate a single “farmer” to care for their marijuana plants, allowing them to avoid pot taxes that approach 30 percent, depending on the jurisdiction.