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Should Washington Allow Home Grows Of Recreational Cannabis?


File photo of indoor cannabis plants. Washington state does not allow home grows.

File photo of indoor cannabis plants. Washington state does not allow home grows.

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Washington is the only state with legal cannabis, also referred to as marijuana, that doesn’t allow home grows. There have been efforts to change that in recent years and the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board is taking public comment on the issue through Oct. 11.


This year lawmakers told the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board to study the options and report back. 


The board has come up with three options.

  • Option one would allow four plants maximum per household. But they’d have to have bar codes and be part of the state’s traceability system.
  • Option two would also limit home grows to four plants, but would let local governments set the rules.
  • The third option would be to stick with the status quo and not allow home grows for recreational cannabis.

The argument in favor of allowing people to grow their own marijuana is that Washington law is too restrictive and out of sync with other states.

The argument against is that home grows could lead to diversion into the black market and defeat the state’s robust regulatory system.

“The agency is actively engaging other states, the public, the industry and stakeholders,” said Rick Garza, the Liquor and Cannabis Board director, in a news release. “We know there are many perspectives to this issue and we want to ensure they are captured for our report and recommendations.”

Washington officials are mindful that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is already unhappy with states that have legalized marijuana.

In August, he sent Washington officials a letter saying he has “serious questions” about how the state’s cannabis marketplace is functioning. Any loosening of the law could put the state at risk of even more scrutiny from the Justice Department.

The board’s study and recommendations are due to the legislature by Dec. 1, 2017.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board will hold a public hearing on home grows on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. in Olympia. The board will also take written comments through Oct. 11.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have now legalized cannabis. Washington was the first in 2012.

Washington does allow authorized medical marijuana patients to have limited grows or join a four-member marijuana “cooperative.”

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