Washington State Considers Allowing Recreational Marijuana Home Grows

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (the “LCB”) will be holding a hearing on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, to receive public input on whether the State should allow recreational marijuana home grows. Written public comment on this issue may be submitted to the LCB through October 11, 2017.

Currently home grows of recreational marijuana are prohibited. The only type of marijuana that can be grown at home is medical marijuana. Qualified medical marijuana patients may grow a limited number of plants in their home per RCW 69.51A.210 or be part of a four member medical cooperative per RCW 69.51A.250.

The LCB is seeking input on three options for recreational home grows:

Option 1 – Tightly Regulated

  • Requires a permit
  • 4 plants maximum per household
  • Plants must be entered into traceability system
  • Security requirements to prevent youth access, diversion, etc.
  • Jurisdiction shared between LCB and local authorities
  • Permitted recreational growers allowed to purchase plants from licensees
  • No combustible processing

Option 2 – Local Control

  • State would allow 4 plants maximum per household,but local jurisdictions could be more restrictive
  • Requires a permit, but authorized, controlled and enforced by local jurisdiction
  • Home grows prohibited without local jurisdiction
  • No requirement to enter plants into traceability
  • Permitted recreational growers allowed to purchase plants from licensees

Option 3 – Recreational Home Grows are Prohibited

  • Preserves status quo

Of the eight states that have legalized marijuana, Washington is the only state that does not allow recreational marijuana home grows. Allowing limited home grows make sense in order to ensure the further curtailing of the black market.

Given the reluctance of many local jurisdictions to allow any legal marijuana activity, it does not make sense to allow cities and counties to have control over this issue. The LCB should enact a set of regulations to apply throughout the state providing for a consistent regulatory and enforcement framework. Otherwise, we will have inconsistent and in some cases arbitrary regulations throughout the state regarding marijuana home grows.

For more information on the regulation of marijuana businesses in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.