Tyler, a 32-year-old who lives in suburban Minneapolis, put together a sophisticated grow tent that will soon be home to several marijuana plants allowed under Minnesota law starting August 1, 2023. Credit: Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

Minnesotans can now legally grow marijuana in their homes, a relatively unique component of the state’s new recreational marijuana law.

Of the 23 states that allow recreational marijuana consumption, just 11 allow the plant to be grown at home. Three of those states allow an individual adult to grow more marijuana plants per household than Minnesota. But some states are more liberal, and allow multiple adults in one household to grow more plants. Meanwhile, Minnesota limits the number of plants by household and not the number of adults in a household. 

Recreational marijuana became legal in Minnesota on Tuesday.

“Minnesota’s home grow allowance is more generous than most states,” said Leili Fatehi, the  campaign manager for the pro-recreational marijuana group, MN is Ready. Fatehi worked closely with state lawmakers to pass the new law earlier this year.

All of this would seem to point to a coming boom in home marijuana cultivation. But some advocates say the regulations surrounding this part of Minnesota’s new marijuana law are unclear and, in some cases, contradictory to other parts of the law. 

For example, the law allows adult Minnesotans to grow up to eight marijuana plants per household, with no more than four of those plants being mature at a given time. But the same law also restricts Minnesotans from possessing no more than two pounds of marijuana per household—which growers could yield from two plants alone.

Contradictions like these have industry experts recommending that home growers adhere to more conservative growing habits for now to avoid breaking other parts of the law. 

Sahan Journal breaks down some of these recommended practices below. 

The law allows people to grow up to eight marijuana plants but limits possession of marijuana to no more than two pounds. Which part of this law should people follow?

Fatehi said she’s been critical of this contradiction in the new law and emphasized that the state Legislature needs to fix it in next year’s legislative session. For now, she says people should plan their growing habits around the two-pound possession limit. 

This could mean limiting growth to no more than two plants, since one plant can yield as much as one pound of marijuana. But this isn’t the only means to keep within the home possession limits. 

“The law allows gifting,” Fatehi said.

How much marijuana can someone give to another person?

The limit for gifting is the same as the limit for how much marijuana people can carry on themselves in public—two ounces. But people can give marijuana to the same person more than once, according to Bridgette Pinder, owner of the St. Paul-based cannabis business, Grounded Gardens.

“Our understanding is you could give two ounces to your friend, then they could come back and you could give another two ounces,” Pinder said. 

The person receiving the gift must be 21 or older. 

Leili Fatehi of the MN is Ready Coalition at her office in Downtown Minneapolis on November 30, 2022. Credit: Drew Arrieta | Sahan Journal

Can people sell their homegrown marijuana? 

No. Selling marijuana without a state business license could result in harsh fines. Selling two ounces of marijuana or less, for example, could lead to a $3,000 penalty. The fines only increase from there. 

However, some legal experts believe banning the sale of homegrown marijuana violates a more-than-century-old amendment to the Minnesota Constitution allowing people to sell products grown from their own garden or farm. 

Pinder, who gives home growth lessons to her customers at Grounded Gardens, still advises people not to sell, unless they want to make a legal challenge to this portion of the law. 

“Unless you have a lot of money and go and hire a lawyer, I wouldn’t do that,” she said. 

Can people grow marijuana plants outside?

Yes, but with many caveats. All plants grown outside must be grown on private property “in an enclosed, locked space that is not open to public view,” according to the law. 

That means all plants must be grown in an area that is not in public view from the sidewalk, street, or alley.

Completely enclosing your plants while they’re outside isn’t really possible, Pinder said, emphasizing that this part of the law needs to be clarified. 

“How do you lock and put away your plants outside?” she said. “That’s kind of confusing.” 

For now, she’s advising people to grow their plants inside using grow tents. It’s too late in the season to grow outside this year, anyway, she added.

“Next year will be a different story, though,” Pinder said. “There’s going to be a lot of people growing in their backyards next year.”

Fatehi said all of the people she knows who are planning to grow outdoors will be using greenhouses.

What’s the best way to grow eight plants and ensure that no more than four are mature at a given time? 

Marijuana plants typically take four to six months to mature, Pinder said. A plant is mature when it starts budding marijuana. The mature phase lasts for roughly two to three months before the marijuana flower has to be harvested.

The best way to meet the mature threshold is to start with four mother plants, Pinder said. Then, when they start to mature, cut stems off of the mother plants and use them to start growing four immature plants.

What part of the plant counts as weight under law? 

Only the marijuana flower counts as weight under the law. But the law isn’t clear about one thing—whether that weight is dry or fresh marijuana.

“When you cut it off the plant, it’s going to weigh more than it would when it gets dry,” Pinder said.  

Pinder said lawmakers need to clarify this issue in the future. 

What’s the best way to keep marijuana plants out of the reach of pets and children? 

Marijuana is toxic to pets and children.

Pinder advises that people cultivate the plant indoors in grow tents with locks, which will keep the plant secured.

Joey Peters is a reporter for Sahan Journal. He has been a journalist for 15 years. Before joining Sahan Journal, he worked for close to a decade in New Mexico, where his reporting prompted the resignation...