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So You Want to Grow Cannabis at Home in Massachusetts

Massachusetts legalized adult-use cannabis in 2016, but it took more than two years before retailers across the state could begin legal sales. Even today, fewer than a dozen adult-use shops operate in the Bay State.

But the Massachusetts cannabis law also contains a section that allows for folks to grow their own cannabis at home—and that provision kicked in immediately as the new law took effect. Whether you’re wanting to avoid long dispensary lines or are just curious about flexing your green thumb, here’s what you need to know if you want to grow cannabis at home.

No Green Thumb? No Problem

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Who Can Grow?

Are you an adult 21 and over? You can grow up to six plants in your home. Married? Living in sin? Got a couple roommates? A household that consists of more than one 21+ adult is allowed to grow up to 12 plants. But that’s it! No more, regardless of how many grad students you can stuff in an old Victorian.

Where Can You Grow?

If you own your home, you’re good. For those who rent, keep in mind that landlords can set their own policies and may legally restrict cannabis cultivation. Check your lease to see if anything is written, and if you’re unsure, ask your landlord.

Whether indoors or out, your grow space needs to be protected with a lock or some sort of security device. Also, you need to keep your plants out of sight. State law says plants may not be visible from a public place without the use of “binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.”

At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts.

While these restrictions may induce eyerolls, breaking the state’s home cultivation law could cost you. In addition of a fine up to $300, you could lose your plants—so keep them locked up and out of sight!

For growers just starting out, growing indoors is a popular choice. You can designate a small grow space in your home, add some locks, and ensure that nobody can see them from outside.

If you’re dedicated to growing outdoors during the warmer months, we can help with that, too. Plan to find a space that is more discreet than where you keep your prize rose bushes.

How Do I Start?

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Sure, you can head down to your local grow store (more on that in a future article) or even online and stock up on lights, fans, and a grow tent… but what about the plants themselves?

At the moment, there is no legal way to purchase seeds or starters in Massachusetts. Neither state-licensed cannabis retailers nor anyone else can legally sell them. Under state law, however, gifting is allowed. So if you know someone who is already growing, perhaps you can persuade them to clip you off a clone.

If that doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt to ask around. Groups of local home growers often set up trades to exchange seeds and diversify the strains they grow. Check to see if your local grow store has any information, or look on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram for cannabis seed or plant exchanges.

There are also online outlets that advertise cannabis seeds. These businesses are generally based in other countries and operate in a gray area of the law.

What Can I Do With What I Grow?

Enjoy it! You are welcome to smoke, vape, cook, make tinctures, or do pretty much whatever you want with your harvest—with just a few exceptions.

First, extraction. The law prohibits the production of “cannabis-based extracts or concentrates at home by means of any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.” This is meant to prevent home-extraction using volatile compounds such as butane, which can be incredibly dangerous if used incorrectly.

You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too!

If you’re all about concentrates, there are plenty of other options to explore. Try making hash by hand, pressing rosin, or even whipping up a batch of bubble hash.

If you’re feeling generous, you can also gift your stash. While you can’t legally sell anything you harvest, state law says you can gift up to an ounce of cannabis flower at a time to other adults 21 and older.

And remember: You can gift seeds and cannabis clones, too. It’s a great opportunity to pay it forward as a home grower while plants are still hard to come by.

Whether you want to avoid long dispensary lines or are just curious about flexing your green thumb, here’s what you need to know to grow cannabis at home.

With Pot Legal In MA, Dispensary Giving Away Seeds For Free

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — It’s a new day in Massachusetts, with marijuana legalized for recreational use as of midnight.

Pot can’t be sold legally in the Bay State until 2018, and only with a license to do so–but many are opting to grow their own at home, and one local dispensary is helping them get started.

“People are really excited that they’re able to grow their own,” Eli Constantinou, owner of a marijuana dispensary called Grow Your Own Stuff in Cambridge, told WBZ-TV’s Nicole Jacobs.

A sign outside GYO Stuff in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

Constantinou said that, on day one, he’s already seeing a boom in business, with a line much longer than what he’s used to on a random Thursday–though this one isn’t so random. It was the November ballot vote that pushed inquiries for Grow Your Own over the edge.

“They’re kind of coming out of the closet if you will,” said Constantinou. “The grow closet.”

And since they aren’t allowed to sell seeds to customers until 2018, Grow Your Own is helping them out by giving away free seeds.

A bag of free marijuana seeds given out by GYO Stuff in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

“It still has a little bit of a stigma associated with it, but that’s fading,” Constantinou said.

It’s now legal to possess and home grow pot in the state, though the language of the law is not final.

“There are a lot of details to be worked out, and we’re just going to continue to monitor this,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey regarding legalization.

It’s raising concern even for law enforcement, especially concerning how to keep it out of the hands of kids and manage drugged driving.

“We’re going to have to deal with this problem with arrests,” says a local police chief when it comes to drug driving #LegalMarijuana #WBZ

Currently, adults aged 21 and older can possess up to 10 oz inside their home and 1 oz outside, and a household of two adults can grow up to 12 plants.

“I think the law was written pretty responsibly,” said Constantinou.

Various plants inside GYO Stuff in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

Law enforcement are still concerned that decriminalizing marijuana opens the door for black-market sales, and lawmakers have been very clear that they think provisions need to be made to certain areas of the law.

But until the grey areas of the legislation are worked out, there’s certainly a good amount of demand for the newly-legal home grow industry–Grow Your Own completely ran out of the free seeds by noon Thursday.

Pot can't be sold legally in the Bay State until 2018, and only with a license to do so–but many are opting to grow their own at home, and one local dispensary is helping them get started.