ORONO – It’s been legal to grow marijuana for recreational use for nearly two years now but some people are breaking the law without knowing and being charged.
“Neighbors … get upset … because they can’t get rid of this stench in their neighborhood,” Detective Nathan Drost of the Orono Police Department said.
Orono police say they have recently seen an increase in marijuana growth violations.
“Within the last six weeks or so, we’ve had several grows that we’ve been looking into,” Drost said.
Drost said they’ve taken down some of those grow operations and some people have been charged.
“If they’re in violation of any of the laws that are in place, then they can be charged with the cultivation of marijuana which is in the criminal statute,” he said.
It is legal for people 21 or older to grow marijuana statewide but they have to comply with the law. Police say claiming ignorance won’t prevent consequences.
“The onus is on them to make sure they’re doing the checking and do their homework prior,” said Drost.
As of May of this year, those grow laws have changed regarding to the amount of plants per adult 21 and older within the home.
“It was originally going to be six, that is now three adult flowering plants,” Drost said.
For people who are leasing an apartment and want to grow on their property, police said there are certain documents they need in order to do so.
“Landlord permission and it has to be in written form. They have to have the written permission prior to the law,” said Drost.
Once with that written permission, and after staying within the legal amount of plants, there are still more guidelines in order to be in compliance with the law.
“The grows cannot be visible from a public way. They have to be fenced in in such a manner that it would prevent someone who’s under the age of 21 from getting access to the plants,” said Drost.
In addition, each plant needs to have identification.
“Each of the plants tagged with their name, their Maine drivers license or ID number,” Drost said.
Drost said the department is still investigating one grow operation in the town.
“We don’t want to force people to do what they need to do. We just want them to do their research on their own and be in compliance with the law,” Drost said.