In 2012, Colorado and Washington paved the way for the legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis. Now here we are, almost five years later, and eight states and D.C. have all legalized adult use of cannabis – but five years ago, when the two states daring enough to pass such an initiative first did so, they had two different approaches.
When Colorado legalized a commercial industry, they also gave residents of the state 21 and older the option to grow their own cannabis; Washington – on the other hand – did not, and retail outlets remain the only way to legally obtain recreational cannabis in the state.
“Washington has been fairly unique, in that it doesn’t allow for recreational home grow(ing); even Colorado, who legalized before Washington, allows for it. So in some ways it makes sense that we’re seeing this kind of legislation,” said Daniel Shortt, an attorney at Seattle law firm Harris Bricken, who specializes in cannabis law.
This may all finally be coming to an end as State Representative Sherry Appleton has sponsored a bill that would finally allow adults 21 and older to cultivate cannabis for personal use in their homes. The passing of this bill would certainly bring their current marijuana laws into line with other states that have legalized so far.
If passed, it would be legal for an individual to grow up to six plants in your home – as long as you only have 24 ounces of usable marijuana in your home at a time. Depending on the plants you have growing, this may mean some tricky coordinating to ensure not too many of your plants are ready for harvest at a time.
For households with more than one adult over the age of 21, the bill cuts off the number of plants allowed to be grown at 12, with no more than 48 ounces of usable marijuana in the home at a time – basically, double the amounts for an individual. All in all, it would be a big improvement on the current system in the state, and hopefully stands a fair chance at passing.
The only downside to allowing home growing is for the state – it can be harder to regulate and it is certainly not very profitable for the state either. However, sales from seeds (through retailers, likely from the cultivation facilities in the state) and the possibility of selling young marijuana plants (in a similar fashion to how you buy any potted plant) would be potential revenue streams that the state should consider.