PUEBLO, Colo. - A bill in the Colorado Legislature aims to crack down on the marijuana black market. House Bill 1220 passed 65-10 in the house and now heads to the Senate before going to the hovernor's desk.
This move is something Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace has been pushing for.
“The voters of Pueblo County voted yes on 1C, saying they don’t want large-scale home grown in residential areas," Pace said.
He added it comes down to stopping people from selling marijuana illegally.
“It’s preventing the black market, those under age, those wanting to divert from getting a license," Pace said.
The bill would change the home grow limit of 99 plants to 16.
“I don’t think they should regulate it," said Marquos Blea, an opponent of the bill.
Blea has family in California that grows at home. He uses marijuana for medicinal purposes and said limiting home grows would hurt users like him.
“That’s pretty extreme. It’s not a harmful plant. It hasn’t killed anyone. It's nothing but good for people," Blea said.
One of the sponsors on the bill, Rep. Cole Wist argues it's not about depriving people of medicine. Instead, he said, it's about public safety.
"We're concerned about what this has created about attracting a criminal element to our state. These are growing in residential areas. It's produced a safety factor for people in their homes," Wist said.
Pueblo has been notorious for illegal grows. In March 2016, federal agents raided five Pueblo West homes, seizing 2,00 plants worth $7 million making seven arrests.
If the bill passes, the penalty for exceeding the grow limit will be a class 1 petty offense and a felony for a second offense.