Washington may have legalized marijuana in 2012, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal for you to grow your own ‘dro. Washington is the only state that has legalized marijuana for recreational use but has banned its adult citizens over 21 from cultivating their own extra-special houseplants.
Supporters of home-grow argue that if citizens over 21 years old are allowed to brew their own beer, ferment their own wine and distill their own liquor in the privacy of their homes then they should also be allowed to grow some weed. This new legislation, The Adult Home Grow & Criminal Reduction Bill, or HB 2629, would give adults the right to cultivate a small amount of pot plants in their home for personal use.
Supporters of the bill gathered this week in Olympia, WA to testify before the Commerce and Gaming Committee on why they support the ability to grow at home. Steve Elliott, editor of Toke Signals, argues that “Washington should catch up with the other states that have legalized, it’s important that we stay on the forward edge of this movement towards making our cannabis laws more realistic.” You can watch his entire testimony here.
Steve Elliott makes a great point – Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana at the same time, yet you rarely hear Washington referred to as a role model for legal weed. There are a couple different reasons why Colorado has gotten most of the spotlight. Citizens argued at this hearing that Colorado allowing home-grows stole a lot of Washington’s thunder. Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and even Washington D.C. allow any of their citizens over 21 to grow a limited amount of plants in their home. So, what’s up with Washington?
Alison Holcomb is the attorney who played a big role in writing the initiative that legalized recreational pot in Washington. She chalks up her decision to not include home-grow’s in the initiative to wanting the bill to be conservative enough to pass. The race was neck and neck, with i-502 winning only 55% of the vote. She assured Washingtonians at the time that home-grow would be added eventually. A similar attempt to allow home-grow already happened in April of 2015 called SB 6083, it crashed and burned. This hearing, like last year, was packed with hopeful supporters, but it’s apparent people are tired of the deja vu.
NORML Washington is doing a great job leading this fight to grow your own marijuana. They have even made it possible for you to help the movement from your computer/tablet/phone. Here’s a letter they’ve put together for you to send to your representatives and urge their support for personal cultivation. You can also share your own story with the Commerce and Gaming Committee by commenting here.