Should Washington allow for the private cultivation of cannabis?

As the owner of The Herbery, a regulated cannabis retail store in Vancouver, and board president of the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA), I am often asked if Washington’s current ban on the private cultivation for cannabis should remain in place. The first thing I always say is that our current state regulations already allow registered medical patients to grow up to six plants at a time for their personal use, so there is a version of “home grow” for those who need it in place. The second thing I usually say is that changing state law to allow for the general public – patients and recreational users, alike – to grow cannabis at home for personal use has just not been a priority. We’ve had bigger fish to fry – creating a regulated marketplace for medical and recreational cannabis, ensuring products aren’t sold to minors and supporting a highly-regulated marketplace to assure a very skeptical federal administration that we continue to honor the tenets set forth by voters in Initiative 502 and the Cole Memorandum.

The bottom line is that for now, the nascent but maturing nature of our marketplace has given us the confidence to take an official “neutral” position on efforts to legalize the private cultivation of cannabis in our state.

If you scroll through our blog and Google News, you’ll see several comments by members, myself and WACA spokespeople sharing concerns about private cultivation of cannabis. Our past opposition was based on the context of the times – a very new and unstable marketplace that required significant regulatory and legislative action in order to remain viable and an actively hostile Attorney General, to name just a few. How could the licensed industry thrive in the spotlight of regulation, when non-license holders could still grow in the shadows?

But we’re seven years in. And, just as the fears that many people hold about cannabis have not come to fruition (e.g. reefer madness), our association has continued to evolve. We are a democratically-run organization and our members set our legislative priorities. Today, the 2019 Legislative Session is featuring critical bills to support compliance reform that holds the LCB more accountable, allows for out-of-state investment in Washington’s cannabis businesses and the talent that supports our industry, our marketplace (Washington is the only recreational legal cannabis state that does not allow some type of recreational home grow for adult use), updated rules for making disease claims and other important cannabis-related legislation. These bills are and will continue to be our priority. But for now, when friends, patients, customers, reporters and elected officials inquire about our position on home grows, I’ll say “We’re neutral.”

I look forward to our shared work ahead to help make sure our state continues to lead the world by supporting a safe, quality-controlled and regulated cannabis marketplace that keeps products out of the hands of minors.

Share this post:

Comments on "Should Washington allow for the private cultivation of cannabis?"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment