A bill has been introduced in the state Legislature that would allow marijuana users to grow their own supply at home.
Washington is the only state that allows for retail, recreational marijuana but doesn’t also permit cannabis to be grown at home unless by registered medical patients. The new legislation, HB 1092, introduced Wednesday by state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, would change that.
If enacted, all adults (21 and over) would be able to grow up to six plants on their private premises so long as the yield is no greater than 24 ounces. Homes with more than one adult would be permitted 12 plants for up to 48 ounces of usable marijuana.
As Washington law stands now, only medical marijuana patients can grow as many as 15 plants, depending on their registration status in a state database, in addition to greater limits on the sale of retail products.
“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.
The bill was only read on Wednesday, so it has a long way to go before passing. Still to be answered are questions about enforcement, tax revenue and how it will work in conjunction with the current medical marijuana rules.
One thing Shortt anticipates is that a new law will have to answer for how home growers would be able to acquire seeds.
“The way the entire marijuana market is set up, producers and processors can sell to retailers, who can sell to the public. Would that mean that now, to get these seeds, potential home growers are getting seeds from the retail store?” said Shortt. “If those seeds are being sold, that’s really the only place where the government could actually get revenue from taxes.”
And that’s all assuming that the Trump administration doesn’t put the kibosh on states’ recreational marijuana markets.
The introduction of the bill comes only a day after Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who’s favored to be the attorney general under the new administration, seemed to imply in his Senate confirmation hearing that he would take a stricter line on marijuana than his predecessors.
“Well, I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state, and distribution of it, an illegal act,” said Sessions. “So, if you need — if that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we’re able.”
Appleton represents the 23rd legislative district, which covers the Kitsap Peninsula from Silverdale north and Bainbridge Island. Ironically, Poulsbo has prohibited the establishment of retail marijuana businesses.