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.”
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.
Don’t buy grow lights anytime soon.
By Benjamin Cassidy 2/14/2020 at 10:45am
“The volume frustrated the committee,” Blake wrote in an email.
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.
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.
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.
The committee could vote on the bill in the coming weeks.
OLYMPIA – Washington could follow other states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use and allow residents to grow a limited number of plants at home, but such a law might be hard to enforce, a House committee was told Monday.
But Jennifer Monds of Kennewick said the Legislature may be moving too quickly to allow recreational marijuana to be grown at home: “We have no safety provisions in place protecting our children from the serious issues surrounding home grows.”
The House is considering a bill that allow Washington residents to grow as many as six marijuana plants for recreational use in their home and have up to 24 ounces of the drug on hand. Current law allows medical marijuana users in some cases to grow their plants at home, but not recreational users.
One of David Taylor’s marijuana plants are seen at his growing facilities on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Spokane, Wash. Taylor said that regulation makes it hard for small growers to stay afloat financially. Licensed marijuana stores would face a statewide ban on billboards ads under a bill considered Tuesday by a Washington House committee. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Mitch Barker, of the Washington Association of Police Chiefs, said local agencies will have trouble enforcing the law, particularly if they get reports that someone is growing a few more plants than the limit.
“It’s a God-given herb. I should be able to have it in my garden,” Dawn Darington told the House Commerce and Gaming Committee, which has jurisdiction over most marijuana legislation.
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board, which oversees legal marijuana operations in the state, is concerned about the risk of home grows spreading, Justin Nordhorm, the agency’s chief of enforcement, said. And it also doesn’t have the resources available to enforce such a limit.
UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 15, 2018
House panel considers letting recreational marijuana users “grow their own.”