Could Washington Allow Home Grows Of Recreational Pot? Quite Possible

Dec 5, 2017

Of the states that have legalized marijuana, Washington is the only one that doesn’t allow recreational users the freedom to grow their own cannabis.

Now the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board is offering the legislature some home grow options.

At the request of the state legislature, the LCB has come up with a minimum of options for those who would like to grow their own recreational marijuana.

They are, allowing the growing of four plants in the home, with the regulation done by city or county governments, or allowing the grow operation under strict state control.

“A tightly regulated home grows system, where you’d have up to four plants, those plants would have to be regulated into the state seed-to sale traceability system, the state and local government would retain enforceability over that,” said Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith.

Smith says the third option was no change in the system, or continued prohibition of home grows for recreation purposes.

In contrast, medical marijuana users in Washington can grow as many as 15 plants.

Smith says public input, including stakeholders like law enforcement and local government officials, was taken on the concept, but many ideas didn’t make it to the final recommendations because of concerns with what is known as the Cole Memorandum.

That was a 2013 memo from the U.S. Department of Justice that outlined priorities for legalization for states, including keeping pot from children, cartels and other states.

Smith says Colorado officials had expressed concerns with home grows where marijuana was being diverted to others that didn’t fit the Cole guidelines.

“It’s a whole other level of enforcement challenge when it’s taking place in someone home, because of course people have different levels of protections of who they allow in their home, which is very different from a licensed business where enforcement can have free access to entrance," he said.

Because of diversion concerns, Colorado reduced the number of plants allowed by citizens from 99 to 12.

The Commerce and Gaming Committees in both the House and Senate will take up the concept when the legislature convenes in January and will likely hold public hearings on the proposals.