The growing predicament is just the latest quandary for these states that last year flouted federal drug law by removing criminal penalties for adults over 21 with small amounts of pot. In Washington, home-growing is banned, but it will be legal to grow pot commercially once state officials establish rules and regulations.
In Colorado, adults are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own homes, so long as they're in a locked location out of public view.
At least two Colorado entrepreneurs are taking advantage of that aspect of the law; they're offering growing classes that have attracted wannabe professional growers, current users looking to save money by growing their own pot, and a few baby boomers who haven't grown pot in decades and don't feel comfortable going to a marijuana dispensary.
"We've been doing this on our own, but I wanted to learn to grow better," said Ginger Grinder, a medical-marijuana patient from Portales, N.M., who drove to Denver for a "Marijuana 101" class she saw advertised online.
Grinder, a stay-at-home mother who has lupus and fibromyalgia, joined about 20 other students last month for a daylong crash course in growing the finicky marijuana plant.
Taught in a rented room at a public university, the course had students practicing on tomato plants, because pot is prohibited on campus. The group took notes on fertilizer and fancy hydroponic growing systems, and snipped pieces of tomato plants to practice cloning, a common practice for nascent pot growers to start raising weed from a "mother" marijuana plant.
Ted Smith, a longtime instructor at an indoor-gardening shop, led the class and warned students that their task would not be easy. Marijuana is fickle, he said. It's prone to mildews and molds, picky about temperature and pH level, intolerant to tap water.
A precise schedule is also a must, Smith warned, with set light and dark cycles and watering at the same time each day. Left alone for a long weekend, marijuana can curl and die.
"Just like the military . . . they need to know when they're getting their water and chow," Smith said of the plants.
The class was the brainchild of Matt Jones, 24, a Web developer who wanted to get into the marijuana business without raising or selling it himself. As a teenager, Jones once tried to grow pot himself in paint buckets. He used tap water and overwatered, and the marijuana wilted and died.
"It was a disaster," he recalled. Jones organized the class and an online "THC University" for home growers, but his own thumb isn't green. Jones said he would be buying his marijuana from professional growers.