Yo, what’s good? It’s your boy Dan and today we’re talking about co-ops. Now, I know what you’re thinking, what the heck is a co-op? Well, let me break it down for you. A co-op is short for co-operative. Basically, it’s when a bunch of people come together to meet their cultural, social, and economic needs. It’s all about working together for the greater good.
Now, let’s talk about co-ops in the world of cannabis. A cannabis co-op is a group of medical or recreational marijuana users who come together to make sure they have legal access to high-quality weed. They’re also known as marijuana collectives. Within the co-op, you can get all kinds of weed products like flower, edibles, concentrates, and more. And get this, some co-ops even encourage members to work together to grow their own cannabis plants within their state’s legal limits.
But hold up, don’t go trying to start your own co-op just yet. You need to file papers within your state to begin the process of cultivating cannabis. So before you go off and do something illegal, make sure you check out your home state’s co-op formation rules. And keep in mind that typically a collective member is not allowed to grow or sell weed to non-members.
Now let’s talk about Washington state for a minute, where recreational cannabis is legal but it’s only legal to set up a co-op for medical marijuana. The collective can only have a maximum of four members who must be MMJ cardholders or their designated providers. The co-op can only grow cannabis for the patient’s personal use and all members must be in the state’s medical marijuana authorization database and have an MMJ card.
In total, the maximum amount of cannabis plants that members can grow is 60. That might sound like a lot, but MMJ cardholders in Washington are only allowed to grow a maximum of six plants when they have registered. Co-ops in Washington must register with the State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). And get this, co-op members may only be involved if they’re aged 21 or over, belong to one co-op, grow plants in the co-op and nowhere else, and use the marijuana and its products.
But wait, there’s more! A co-op must be located at a member’s home and limited to a single co-op per tax parcel. In addition, members must surround the crop with an eight-foot fence if outdoors where it can’t be easily smelled or seen by a member of the public. Finally, co-ops in Washington state cannot be located within a mile of a cannabis retailer or within 1,000 feet of recreation or daycare centers, playgrounds, or any other facility restricted to individuals aged 21 or over.
But not every state is as chill about co-ops as Washington is. In Colorado, for example, marijuana is legal recreationally but the state decided to crack down on co-operatives in 2017. It used to be legal for medical marijuana patients to grow up to 99 plants in their home! The law also enabled recreational users to group their maximum limit of six plants into large co-ops.
As you can imagine, this led to entire greenhouses of untracked and untaxed cannabis. But all of this changed when Colorado passed a bill that made it illegal for residents to grow recreational marijuana for other people. The bill limited the number of weed plants grown in a residence to 12 plants and was necessary legislation to tackle a major problem in Colorado.
Over in California, it’s a similar story. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) announced in January 2018 that as of January 9th 2019, the Health and Safety Code section about co-ops would no longer be in effect. Being forced to join a regulated system is unquestionably bad news for many operators within the state.
But hey, depending on where you live you could still be breaking the law if you’re part of a co-op so make sure you check your state’s laws before you get involved with anything sketchy. At the end of the day though, there are some serious benefits to being part of a cannabis co-op like greater access to quality weed products and meeting cool new people who share your interests.
So there you have it folks! That’s everything you need to know about cannabis co-ops. Stay safe out there!