Marijuana grower Joe Rey works in a flower room at 3D Denver Discreet Dispensary on Wednesday.
Marijuana grower Joe Rey works in a flower room at 3D Denver Discreet Dispensary on Wednesday. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Denver residents will be allowed to grow only 12 marijuana plants per household for recreational use, the City Council decided Monday.

The council continues to work on developing rules and regulations about pot as the Jan. 1 deadline approaches, when it will be legal for stores to sell pot to adults 21 and older.

On Monday, the legislative body worked throughout the afternoon on several issues — making final decisions on where pot can be smoked on private property and how much cannabis can be grown per dwelling.

"In 22 days, the image of our city and state will change," said Councilman Charlie Brown. "Some won't be pleased with what we've decided, and some will. We are going to watch very closely what will happen. ... If we need to make adjustments, we will."

After several weeks of discussing whether to allow people to smoke pot on their front yards if it would be visible from the public street, the council made its final vote without much fanfare.

Earlier in the day, the 13-member body killed a bill in committee offered by Councilwoman Debbie Ortega that would have banned outside smoking on private property if it was within 1,000 feet of a school.

Later in the evening, the council, at its formal meeting, unanimously agreed to make the zoning rules for recreational marijuana the same for medical marijuana. In 2010, the council set a 12-plant limit for medical marijuana homegrows under the zoning code. Council members agreed the same limit should be extended to recreational marijuana, allowing six plants per adult with a 12-plant maximum per dwelling.

Amendment 64 that was passed by Colorado voters in 2012 didn't set a limit, but Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell said the amendment also didn't restrict the city from setting restrictions. Without limits, he said, there are several scenarios when the plant numbers could increase — several adults per household, people growing both medical and recreational marijuana, people growing for friends.

"The rationale is that it needs to be kept at a fairly manageable level," Broad-well said.

Councilwoman Jeanne Robb said the issue is a zoning concern, not a criminal one.

"It's not going to be a police state, where officers are going to go in and inspect your house," she said. "It's going to be complaint-driven."

Amendment 64 also states that recreational marijuana should be grown in an enclosed and locked space.

Broadwell said there should be no doubt that growing marijuana outside is not allowed in the city and county of Denver.

Finally, the council put to rest the controversial bill about where people could smoke marijuana on their own properties — an issue that flipped several times. Ultimately, the council decided that adults can smoke on their own front yards or anywhere on private property where they have permission.

A week ago, the council, with a one-vote majority, rejected Robb's "front-yard" amendment that would have banned smoking on private property if it could be seen from a public street or sidewalk.

On Monday, the council voted 10-3 to approve the bill that eliminated the front-yard ban.

Council President Mary Beth Susman called the vote a seminal one on recreational marijuana.

Councilman Paul Lopez said it won't be the last time the council talks pot.

"I am supportive of this bill," Lopez said. "It's a balance that we have to achieve, and we are doing our best."

Also Monday, the city debuted a website explaining the do's and don'ts about marijuana.

"We promised the people of Denver that we would implement Amendment 64 in a responsible manner, protecting our neighborhoods, our children and our quality of life," Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.

"We continue to work hard to balance the divergent needs and wants of many in the community."

Jeremy P. Meyer: 303-954-1367, jpmeyer@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jpmeyerdpost