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We Support Patients’ Rights to Grow Their Own Medicine

"The benefits of home grow – including improved health, decriminalization and access -- are key markers for a healthy population and cannabis industry."

December 13, 2022
Lynnette French — COO - Parallel (Surterra)

An effort to put a cannabis legalization measure on Florida’s 2024 ballot is already underway. However, given the restrictive nature of that legalization measure—it does not do nearly enough to expand the industry equitably—many cannabis advocates, including myself and Surterra leadership, are shifting our energy to pushing for the right for Floridians to grow their cannabis at home. We call on Florida’s legislative leadership to pass a measure allowing for home grow during their upcoming legislative session, which begins in April.

Much debate has taken place over whether patients should be allowed to grow cannabis medicine in the privacy of their homes. When the industry was in its infancy, Surterra’s initial position was that home grow could undermine the legal cannabis market. Yet, over the last two years, we have learned that data does not back this argument up. Additionally, the benefits of home grow – including improved health, decriminalization and access -- are key markers for a healthy population and cannabis industry.

One of the primary arguments that support home grow is that it is an essential part of a robust market with clear patient benefits, including lowered costs for patients and better access.

In some areas of the state, patients must drive upwards of an hour each way to their nearest medical cannabis dispensary. That is simply unacceptable. Allowing patients to grow their own medicine would help alleviate that burden, especially during increased fuel prices. Additionally, the cost savings patients could realize by growing their own medicine cannot be understated.

Legalizing home grow is also another step toward criminal justice reform. For decades, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibitions and the War on Drugs. No one should face the potential of jail time for growing a plant. Yet, it is illegal to grow weed at home in Florida and you can be arrested for growing just one plant.

Home grow policies have already been implemented in most states where cannabis recreationally legal and in medical-only states. Allowing home grow in Florida would put us in line with states like Utah, Arizona, and Missouri, which allow their patients to grow a limited number of plants for personal use.

To be clear, home grow and grow houses are two different things. Florida’s home grow initiative will place limits on the number of plants an adult grows at one time and the amount (in weight) of cannabis that they can possess from what they’ve cultivated at home. This important caveat will ensure that grow houses remain illegal in the state. Surterra supports this initiative because we recognize a patient’s right to grow their own medicine for personal use, and it guards against sophisticated grow house operations meant to circumvent the law.

Even though it’s called a weed, growing cannabis takes patience, dedication, and skill – it’s not easy. We would appreciate the opportunity for our patients to understand the work that goes into growing premium cannabis with consistent quality. Also, home-growing cannabis is a legitimate hobby, like microbrewing beer or harvesting veggies from your backyard garden. And if the past two years have taught us anything, having a relaxing hobby is not a bad thing. Not to mention, some of the best innovation has come from hobbyists. We should foster the next generation of great growers in the Sunshine State.

Surterra is committed to bridging business with social responsibility in the cannabis industry and building a more inclusive, equitable industry. We look forward to working alongside Florida’s cannabis advocates in the push to ensure patients and innovators have the right to grow their own medicine and can take control over their well-being.

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