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News and Best Practices

Where Can You Cultivate?

July 27, 2016

Legal Brief

States that have legalized medical or recreational adult use of cannabis have set out comprehensive guidelines dictating where cultivation may be done and under what conditions it may occur. Professional growers must meet all regulations to stay in compliance and avoid revocation of their licenses.

To begin to understand what your state requires of a grow, start with the “Definitions” section of the law, which is common to every set of regulations; it is almost always located in the beginning of the statute. The section often defines the terms “cultivation site” or “grow site.” Additionally, almost every state that has regulated cannabis stipulates that at minimum the cultivation site must be “an enclosed locked facility” or “an enclosed secure facility.” Many states define this as a room, building or other enclosed area that has working and functioning locks or security devices that would allow access only to those who are permitted.

Professional growers must ensure that only authorized personnel are in the presence of plants, regardless of whether the state statute explicitly requires it. All steps should be taken to ensure that the site’s security discourages theft and creates a real restriction to those who are underage, so they may not access it.

Do greenhouses count?

Most states also clearly delineate that greenhouses are within the meaning of an enclosed secured facility, as long as they have locks or security devices that permit access only to approved persons. In certain states, greenhouses are required to take extra steps to ensure privacy and security by having fences, walls or gates of certain heights.

Growers also need to know that statutes often regulate more than just the physical aspects of cultivation and that grow site requirements may appear in various sections of the statute, not just in the Definitions. For example, many states define “an enclosed locked facility” and, in a  separate section of the statute, require that the cultivation site cannot be within a specified number of feet of schools, religious institutions or residential areas, depending on zoning ordinances. Another section in many state regulations requires specific security, such as video surveillance. So, it is important to read the statute thoroughly.

Growers should also be prepared for government inspections of their cultivation sites. A majority of states require initial inspections of the grow site location and specify that sites are subject to reasonable inspection by the department without prior notice. To avoid problems as a result of inspections, make sure all security devices are in place and working, are within grow limits and meet all other statutory guidelines. Inspectors can cite growers for violation of any of the regulations.

Additionally, since most states require the cultivation site location to be filed with the initial application, growers should notify the state of any plans to change in location.

Finally, growers should visit their state’s website as a resource to read the statutes and stay up-to-date on changes in regulations.


By Devon Landis
Cannabis Cultivation Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on grow practices. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cultivation consultant for specific compliance and cultivation advice.


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