Another way Prop. 64 is deceptive is by appearing to legalize personal cultivation. Once again, the text proves this is not what it seems. While proponents claim the initiative will legalize home grows of six plants or less, what they neglect to mention is that the freedom to grow outdoors would apply only to residents of a few localities; that number is per residence, not per person; it would be legal only under highly restrictive conditions, including written permission from the landlord; and if you break the rules, you could go to jail for 6 months or prison up to 4 years -- under legalization.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.1, a city, county, or city and county may completely prohibit persons from engaging in actions and conduct under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.1 outdoors upon the grounds of a private residence.

While literally anyone can throw a seed outside and let Mother Nature do the rest, Prop. 64 does not grant the right to simply plant a seed in the ground and let it grow. In fact, since Prop. 64 gives cities and counties broad rights to ban outdoor growing – and, to show their opposition to the initiative, 75 percent of local governments already have, or are considering bans – the majority of Californians will only have the option to grow indoor. But indoor cultivation requires careful attention to every minute detail – from temperature, to humidity, to nutrients, to pests; not to mention sophisticated knowledge of horticulture. And growing indoors requires written consent from the landlord, a dedicated space and carries extremely high potential for creating mold.

(3) Not more than six living plants may be planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed within a single private residence, or upon the grounds of that private residence, at one time.

If you take advantage of the privilege to grow six plants, but you live with a roommate who also grows a plant or two, you both will be criminals under Prop. 64. And the punishment for growing seven plants or more under so-called “legalization”? A harsh six (6) months in jail and/or a $500 fine – unless you have certain prior convictions, in which case Prop. 64 allows for prison time – actual state prison, not county jail – for two, three or four years... for growing a plant that would be “legal.”

It seems that what Prop. 64 considers “legal” is much different – even the opposite – of how the rest of California defines the word.

Sec. 11358
(c) Every person 18 years of age or over who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes more than six living marijuana plants shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), a person 18 years of age or over who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes more than six living marijuana plants, or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, may be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code if: (1) the person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 of the Penal Code.

And since Prop. 64 allows cities and counties to override state law by “allowing local governments to regulate marijuana-related activities” (Section 2, E), what is legal for the rest of the state might be banned for you – including simple possession. So, unless you live in one of the rare localities that permits outdoor cultivation, you'd better school yourself on synthetic nutrients, hydroponic growth mediums and industrial lighting, all of which have significant start-up costs and will increase your PG&E bill substantially.

If this sounds daunting, it's because it is. Practically speaking, having a home grow would be extremely difficult for most residents. And this is intentional: Since Prop. 64 was written not to decriminalize cannabis, but to legalize a recreational commercial cannabis industry, its goal is to get as many people as possible to buy cannabis. And the easiest way to do that is to make it nearly impossible for them to grow their own.


  1. Message From Joe Hemp. Industrial Hemp would require a tenth of an acre of densely planted crop to be allowed under a license, thats roughly 50 by 90 feet and it has to be .03 % THC, a type of Hemp that only MONSANTO would have access to, patents on and potentially modify with genetic markers to prove it is theirs. So if you grow a variety of HEMP that is OVER .03% THC it wont be considered Industrial Hemp, it might be ruderalis, the three leaf variety, you might want to breed with it in an experimental fashion, but it too will be included in that 6 plant per property limit. Because of Prop 64, even the Hemp plants are screwed up.

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