Despite having one of the oldest recreational cannabis programs in the country, the state of Washington is one of the few to forbid home cultivation. The reasoning behind it is mostly to do with the lack of resources to regulate homegrown cannabis. But lawmakers in the state House are introducing legislation aimed at changing all that. Could Washington residents grow their own recreational pot sometime this year?
Many advocates and patients are in favor of the move to end the ban on home grows. Others, however, are expressing concern about the state’s ability to regulate them. After all, if someone were to grow the green in their own home, who would know if they were only growing the allotted amount?
From the perspective of Mitch Baker, of the Washington Association of Police Chiefs, law enforcement agencies would lack the resources to enforce a limit, let alone respond to every suspicion of someone growing more than the set number of plants.
The State Liquor and Cannabis Board also said it could not marshal enough resources to monitor and regulate home grows. Legalizing them would cause them to become too numerous to effectively regulate, according to Justin Nordhorm, the agency’s chief of enforcement.
Finally, some oppose the bill out of concern for public health and safety. “We have no safety provisions in place protecting our children from the serious issues surrounding home grows,” Jennifer Monds told the Spokesman-Review.
Despite concerns, however, the House has already introduced HB 2559. Currently, the bill is under review by the House Commerce & Gaming committee. This committee is in charge of the majority of marijuana policy in Washington state.
The bill the House is currently considering would dramatically change the home growing landscape in Washington.
At the moment, recreational users can’t grow weed legally in their residence. Most medical cannabis users are also unable to cultivate at home.
It’s a generous amount, considering that those limits would surpass those of their neighbors to the south, in the state of Oregon. There, residents can cultivate only four mature plants at home and possess up to 16 ounces of cannabis.
Ultimately, the issue over allowing home grows in Washington boils down to giving state agencies enough time and resources to regulate it and enforce limits. Without such a system in place, it’s hard to imagine anything less than a home grow boom in Washington. Could Washington residents grow their own recreational pot in the near future? For now, we will simply have to wait to see if this new bill becomes a law.