A study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse shed light on the relationship between home cultivation and state-level policies. The number of states with legal recreational cannabis has significantly increased over the decade, and most of these states allow home cannabis cultivation. Since there is limited research on home grows due to past prohibition laws, researchers conducted a study to estimate the percentage of participants who reported growing cannabis, the average number of cultivated plants, and other insights regarding association between home cultivation, jurisdiction, and individual-level factors.
The researchers analyzed cross-sectional survey data from 51,503 participants aged 21–65 in 2019 and 2020. The researchers found that a total of 6.8% and 7.3% of the participants reported home cultivation in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Participants in states with adult-use home cultivation had greater odds of reporting home cultivation than respondents in states without medical or adult-use cannabis laws. The median number of plants participants cultivated was below state cultivation limits. In states with legal recreational cannabis such as Virginia, residents must adhere to plant number limits per personal property. Many states that allow home cultivation allow up to six plants at different growth stages.
The study found that home cultivation rates were higher in states that had legal adult-use home cultivation. However, other evidence indicates that these same states had higher rates prior to legalization. More research will be required to examine how home cultivation practices align with public health measures in states with legal adult-use cannabis policies.
Home cultivation regulation will be a critical component of future policy development. It offers a cost-effective option to retail cannabis, providing greater consumer access to their preferred strains and potency. However, there are several risks associated with home growing. Regulations ensure that minors cannot access plants by requiring plants be grown in secure areas not visible to neighbors, and other policies aim to prevent the diversion of cannabis products to illicit markets.