Another Hit to Washington Home Growing
Companion bills to legalize recreational cannabis cultivation never took root in Olympia.
By Benjamin Cassidy 2/14/2020 at 10:45am
Don’t buy grow lights anytime soon.
Another year, another pair of bipartisan home growing bills denied in the Washington legislature. House Bill 1131 and Senate Bill 5155 didn’t make it to the floor at the 2020 legislative session, one year after meeting the same fate in Olympia. The bills would have allowed weed enthusiasts (21 and older) to grow up to six plants at their homes for recreational use. Currently, Washingtonians can grow as many as 15 plants for personal medical use.
The legislation’s failure prolongs a cannabis oddity in Washington. While the state was technically the first to legalize recreational weed in 2012 (put that in your pipe, Colorado), Washington and Illinois are the country’s only states that permit recreational cannabis use but not home growing. (And Illinois just legalized this year.) Why is Washington averse to home growing? Some point to fears about enforcing cultivation limits and increasing crime. Others take an economic approach, suggesting that home growing will hurt the state’s cannabis businesses and, in turn, the state’s tax revenue from those retailers. At the House bill’s Committee on Appropriations hearing Feb. 5, however, Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg didn’t sound concerned about that at all. He spoke in favor of the legislation.
“Many of us have hobby home vegetable gardens, but it doesn’t affect what we purchase from the grocery stores,” the Seattle pot titan said. “If anything, I appreciate what is available in the stores and buy more.”
Too much of that kind of support may have actually been part of the problem this year. According to Rep. Brian Blake, one of the House bill’s sponsors, the sheer number of people who testified during the hearing may have led to its dismissal. During this year’s abbreviated session, time is of the essence.
“The volume frustrated the committee,” Blake wrote in an email.
Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Tim Ormsby admitted that he “chewed out” Blake, a fellow Democrat, for the lengthy testimony but doubted that it played a role in denying the bill a vote, according to The Stranger.
So next year, stay home if you want home grow to pass, I guess.
Companion bills to legalize recreational cannabis cultivation never took root in Olympia.
STATE OF THE STATE: Washington State Marijuana Policy
Always pushing the boundaries of progressive social experimentation, Washington State was one of the first two states to decriminalize marijuana for both medical and recreational possession and use.
Washington State’s Initiative 502 (I-502), decriminalized recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012.
Originally, recreational and medical marijuana were regulated by separate agencies but since 2016 regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana are regulated jointly by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board
To legally possess and use marijuana in Washington State you must be 21 years of age or older. Users may possess:
• One ounce of usable marijuana
• Marijuana-related paraphernalia
• 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
• 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product
Washington State residents may not grow marijuana plants in their homes because Washington State law requires police to have 24 hour a day access to a growing facility without a warrant. However there is an exception for medical marijuana in which case cultivation of plants is limited to medical use:
• Growers must be 21 or older
• Up to four plants can be grown without registration
• Cooperative gardens are allowed
• Registration is recommended but not required
Registered medical marijuana users can purchase cannabis at any retail cannabis outlet holding a medical marijuana authorization. Registered medical marijuana users can purchase any combination of the following:
• Forty eight (48) ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
• Three (3) ounces of usable cannabis
• Two hundred sixteen (216) ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
• Twenty one grams of cannabis concentrates
As a registered medical marijuana patient, you will also be authorized to grow and possess in your home:
• Up to six (6) plants for personal medical use
• Up to eight (8) ounces of usable cannabis produced from said plants
Washington State has approved medical marijuana for a wide variety of conditions including:
• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
• Multiple sclerosis,
• Epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
• Intractable pain,
• Crohn’s disease,
• Hepatitis C,
• Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
• Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
• Posttraumatic stress disorder.
• Traumatic brain injury.
In general legalizing marijuana use has been a good thing for the Evergreen State. Violent crime and opioid use are down and tax revenues are up. But it’s not all good news. So many individuals and enterprises have gotten into the marijuana cultivation and distribution business that the state is suffering from a glut of over production.
In recent years annual production has increased by 60% driving the retail price of an ounce of legal marijuana flower to as low as $40 (in some states the price for an ounce of flower exceed $400). Both shop owners and producers are seeking changes to Washington’s cannabis regulations.
Medical and recreational marijuana cultivation and distribution is still an industry in its infancy in the U.S. We will continue to follow its evolution and keep you informed of trends and developments.
A marketing and publishing professional and the Director of Publicity at GB Sciences, Liz Bianco monitors media activity and the “State of the States” on cannabis in America.
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STATE OF THE STATE: Washington State Marijuana Policy Always pushing the boundaries of progressive social experimentation, Washington State was one of the first two states to decriminalize