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Places to grow weed

The marijuana business in the U.S. is growing like a weed.

Nationwide, legal sales of marijuana reached $5.7 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion the previous year, according to a report from ArcView Market Research . For 2016, the market is projected to grow to $7.1 billion. And by 2020, ArcView says, sales of legal marijuana in the U.S. could top $22 billion.

As it stands now, about two-thirds of America’s marijuana crop — the legal and illegal kinds — is grown outdoors, according to Mother Jones magazine.

Magnets for Marijuana

Data from 2006 shows California is the leading state for outdoor production of marijuana, followed by Tennessee, Kentucky and Hawaii, according to the Bulletin for Cannabis Reform.

However, the marijuana-growing landscape likely has shifted since then, as four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — along with the District of Columbia have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in recent years. This November, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, CNN says.

Given the rising national interest in pot and our obsession here at LawnStarter with plants of all kinds — including the weeds that invade our lawns — we thought it would be cool to pinpoint where the best places are to grow weed (the kind you smoke) outdoors.

In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and the District of Columbia, adults can grow marijuana for recreational use, says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML , a group that favors pro-marijuana laws. In these four places, laws don’t make a distinction between indoor and outdoor marijuana growth, he says.

As for growing medical marijuana, it’s permitted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, according to Armentano.

Editor’s note: We don’t condone growing marijuana indoors or outdoors in places where it’s illegal. Our ranking is meant to be a conversation starter rather than a blueprint for where to grow marijuana.

Where the Weed Grows Best

To compile our ranking of the 12 Best Cities for Growing Marijuana Outdoors, we examined seven factors.

Average annual percentage of sunny days

Most plants, including marijuana, don’t grow well without sunlight.

Average annual precipitation

Plants typically need water to grow, right?

Average annual high temperature

You don’t want the temperature to be too hot or too cold. Like Goldilocks, you want it to be just right. For optimal growing purposes, we settled on 72 degrees, so the closer a city came to that mark, the higher its score was in that category.

Population density (number of residents per square mile)

If you’re cultivating marijuana outdoors, you probably don’t want your neighbors — or anyone else — to know about it. For this factor, a lower number is better.

“When picking a location and setting up your [marijuana] garden, remember to plan for security. This means keeping people from finding it, and keeping animals out,” according to Marijuana Growers Headquarters. “Visible plants will bring unwanted attention.”

Legalization of medical marijuana and legalization of recreational marijuana

If a metro area is in a state where medical marijuana is legal, it got a 5 percent bump. If it’s in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it got another 5 percent bump. A state’s stance on marijuana legalization is one barometer of its attitude toward growing pot outdoors.

Seizure of marijuana plants grown outdoors

Using 2015 data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, we calculated the number of people per outdoor marijuana plant seized in each state. While it may seem counterintuitive, a higher number is better for this factor, as it indicates favorable growing conditions for marijuana.

Growing marijuana outdoors is prohibited in Sacramento, CA.
Photo: Flickr/Jeff Turner

Top Pot Spots

Once we weighed the seven factors for the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., Sacramento, CA, claimed the top pot spot. However, this doesn’t mean you immediately should begin cultivating pot plants if you’re in the Sacramento area.

Generally, growing marijuana outdoors is frowned upon in the Sacramento area. City of Sacramento code “prohibits outdoor cultivation of all kinds of marijuana, but it allows indoor cultivation of medical marijuana under certain circumstances.” In suburban Folsom , growing marijuana indoors or outdoors is banned.

Passage of the Sacramento ordinance in February made the city the largest city in California to embrace large-scale cultivation of medical marijuana, according to local TV station KCRA.

“It’s phenomenal that a conservative town like Sacramento chose to recognize this industry instead of pretending that it’s not there like a lot of other local governments do,” Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association , told KCRA.

With Sacramento at the front of the pack, here’s our ranking of the 12 Best Cities for Growing Marijuana Outdoors.

1. Sacramento, CA

Average annual sunshine: 78%
Average annual precipitation: 34.3 inches
Average annual high temperature: 74 degrees
Population density per square mile: 3,660
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 16.3

2. Memphis, TN

Average annual sunshine: 64%
Average annual precipitation: 53.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 73 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,132
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 6.8

3. Providence, RI

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 47 inches
Average annual high temperature: 61 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,185
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 55,968

4. Nashville, TN

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 47.3 inches
Average annual high temperature: 70
Population density per square mile: 1,721
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 6.8

5. Hartford, CT

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 45.9 inches
Average annual high temperature: 61 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,792
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 9,160

6. Louisville, KY

Average annual sunshine: 56%
Average annual precipitation: 44.9 inches
Average annual high temperature: 68 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,040
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 7.8

7. Richmond, VA

Average annual sunshine: 63%
Average annual precipitation: 43.6 inches
Average annual high temperature: 70
Population density per square mile: 1,937
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 233.3

8. Boston, MA

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 43.8 inches
Average annual high temperature: 59 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,232
Medical marijuana legal: Yes
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 2,165.2

9. Charlotte, NC

Average annual sunshine: 62%
Average annual precipitation: 42 inches
Average annual high temperature: 71 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,685
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 4,087.4

10. Atlanta, GA

Average annual sunshine: 60%
Average annual precipitation: 49.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 72 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,707
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 212

11. Indianapolis, IN

Average annual sunshine: 55%
Average annual precipitation: 42.4 inches
Average annual high temperature: 63 degrees
Population density per square mile: 2,108
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 124

12. Birmingham, AL

Average annual sunshine: 58%
Average annual precipitation: 53.7 inches
Average annual high temperature: 74 degrees
Population density per square mile: 1,414
Medical marijuana legal: No
Recreational marijuana legal: No
Number of people in state per 1,000 seized marijuana plants grown outdoors: 350.3

Sacramento, CA, tops our ranking of the best places for growing marijuana outside.

Where is it Legal to Grow Weed at Home in the US in 2020?

Growing marijuana at home (so-called “home grows”) is illegal under US federal law. However, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the FBI 99% of marijuana arrests are made under state law, rather than federal law. Furthermore, states aren’t required to enforce federal law. As a result, in most (though not all) situations, state laws effectively determine whether marijuana growers face criminal risk for their home grows. And, state laws vary dramatically.

You can group states into essentially three groups, based on their cultivation laws:

  • States where growing pot for recreational and medicinal use is illegal;
  • States where you can grow pot for medicinal use
  • States where you can grow pot for recreational use

States that allow recreational cultivation typically have restrictions on the number of plants that adults are able to grow. Many of these states loosen these restrictions for registered patients growing for medicinal use.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Alabama.

Adults aged 21 and older can legally grow marijuana at home. The grower does not have to register with the authorities. One person can grow up to 6 marijuana plants, although only 3 of the 6 plants can be mature and flowering at any one time.

If there are at least two 21-year-old adults in the same household, that household can grow up to 12 plants at the same time. However, the limit does not increase if there are more than 2 adults in the household.

A qualifying patient or the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver who has been approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services may cultivate medical marijuana, so long as the qualifying patient resides more than 25 miles from the closest dispensary.

Any individual who cultivates medical marijuana must do so in a surrounded and protected area. The individual can grow up to 12 plants.

There is no higher limit if there are more than 2 qualifying patients who reside in the same household.

It is not legal to grow Marijuana at home in Arkansas.

Anyone who is above the age of 21 can grow marijuana. Each residence is allowed to grow 6 plants, no matter how many adults reside there.

There is a difference in what Prop 215 and SB240 says about growing marijuana by a medical card holder. The former states that a medical card holder can grow as much as needed, and the latter states that only 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants can be grown.

Adults over the age of 21 can grow marijuana. The individual can raise up to 6 plants with 3 plants flowering at once. A house with multiple qualifying adults can grow up to a maximum of 12 plants.

Connecticut

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Connecticut. There is no producer’s license for medical marijuana in Connecticut.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Delaware.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Florida.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Georgia.

It is legal for registered patients and registered caregivers to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes in Hawaii. However, growers must register with the state government, and they can grow a maximum of 10 plants

It is not legal to grow marijuana in Idaho.

While it is illegal to use marijuana for recreational purpose in Illinois, the use of medical marijuana is allowed. However, it must be procured from a dispensary. Only companies have access to the medical marijuana cultivator license, making it illegal for individuals to grow marijuana for any purpose.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Indiana.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Iowa.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Kansas.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Kentucky.

While recreational marijuana remains outlawed, medicinal use is allowed. It is not legal to grow marijuana in Louisiana. The only legal growers in the state are the agriculture centers at Louisiana State University and Southern University.

Only adults who are above the age of 21 can grow marijuana. In each residence, a maximum of 6 mature plants and 12 immature plants can be cultivated

It is not legal to grow marijuana in Maryland. It is only allowed for medicinal use, and it must be purchased from state-licensed dispensaries.

Massachusetts

Only adults who are above the age of 21 can grow marijuana. In each home, up to 6 plants can be grown. If there are more than 2 adults, 12 plants can be grown

Adults who are older than 21 can grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home. Medical caregivers can grow up to 12 plants for up to 5 patients, meaning that caregivers can grow up to 60 plants for patients and an addition 12 plants for themselves. Caregivers must register with the state.

It is not legal to grow marijuana in Minnesota. It is only allowed for medicinal use, and must be purchased from one of the 8 Cannabis Patient Centers located around the state.

Mississippi

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Mississippi.

Growing marijuana for recreational use is illegal in Missouri. Beginning in July of 2019, Missouri will accept applications for medical marijuana cards. The state plans to allow medical marijuana cardholders to grow marijuana at home in “a n appropriately secured facility”.

Patients who require marijuana for medicinal use can grow up to 4 mature plants or 12 seedlings. However, growing for recreational use is not allowed.

It is not legal to grow marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use.

Any individual above the age of 21 can grow marijuana at home but only if there are no state-licensed retail marijuana store within 25 miles of the home.

An adult can only grow up to 6 plants and a maximum of 12 plants per household. Registered medical marijuana user may grow up to 12 plants provided they live 25 miles from the nearest marijuana dispensary or if the person is unable to travel to a medical marijuana dispensary due to illness or lack of transportation.

New Hampshire

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Hampshire, for either recreational or medicinal use.

It is not legal to grow marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use.

A Qualified Patient who has a Personal Production License issued by the NM Department of Health can grow a maximum of 12 seedlings and 4 mature plants. A single location cannot have more than 2 personal production licenses

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in New York.

North Carolina

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in North Carolina.

North Dakota

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in North Dakota.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Ohio.

A registered medical marijuana patient who needs marijuana for medicinal use can grow it. Only 6 mature plants and 6 seedlings can be grown at a time.

It is legal to grow marijuana provided you are older than 21. For recreational use, 4 plants per residence can be grown. Patients registered with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program can grow up to 6 plants.

Pennsylvania

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

Qualifying Patients that register with the Rhode Island Department of Health can grow up to 12 mature plants. For residences with more than 2 adults, there is a limit of 24 mature plants per residence.

South Carolina

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in South Carolina

South Dakota

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in South Dakota.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Tennessee.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Texas

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Utah.

Adults older than 21 can grow marijuana. The limits vary depending on whether the marijuana is for recreational or medicinal use. For recreational use, 2 mature plants and 4 immature plants may be grown per residence. For medicinal use, registered medical marijuana cardholders can grow up to 2 mature plants and 7 immature plants

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Virginia

Cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes is not allowed in the state of Washington. However, registered medical marijuana patients may grow up to 6 plants at home. If the healthcare practitioner determines the patient requires more than that, they may authorize up to 15 plants.

West Virginia

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in West Virginia.

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Wisconsin

It is not legal to grow marijuana at home in Wyoming

Updated: October 1, 2020 Written by Moon Haze

2 comments

Virginia needs to go fully legal soon.it sucks I was a criminal because of a herb that was here on this planet long before the bullshit laws that made me a laybreaker.
Got busted with 47 g13 plants and others growing in my basement in caroline co Virginia. In 2014.they gave me 5 years .haha.in this county theygive marijuana possession more time than someone that killed somebody. I know.. or cops that are dirty rotten liars. I am on disability and had a roofing business for 17 years. Work stopped when OBAMA WAS FUCKING UP THIS COUNTRY. thankfully he’s out of here.worst president Ever.i have nothing now .the you you fucking asshole dick lippa.caroline co. Virginia sheriff.

Illinois is not up to date. You can grow medical in Illinois.

Growing marijuana at home (so-called “home grows”) is illegal under US federal law. However, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the FBI 99% of marijuana arrests are made under state law, rather than federal law. Furthermore, states aren’t required to enforce federal law. As a result, in most (though not all) situations, state laws effectively determine whether marijuana growers face criminal risk for their home grows. And, state laws vary dramatically.