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Is Home Cultivation Finally Coming to Washington State?

January 18, 2017
Close up of a human hand watering marijuana plant
A new bill in the Washington state Legislature would add a long-awaited provision to the state’s cannabis law to allow adults 21 and over to grow their own supply of cannabis at home.

The new legislation, HB 1092 introduced last week by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo), would allow adults to grow cannabis plants at home for personal use—a move that would align Washington with the rest of adult-use states.

As it stands, Washington is the only state that allows retail sales of adult-use cannabis but still bars home cultivation. Currently only registered medical patients with a state-issued permit can legally grow at home.

If the bill is enacted, adults 21 and over would be able to grow up to six plants on their private property. Yields would be limited to no more than 24 ounces, or a pound and a half of useable cannabis. Homes with more than one adult resident could legally house up to 12 plants, for up to 48 ounces, or three pounds.

A big question that remains is how consumers would go about getting cannabis seeds in the first place. The purchase and sale of seeds is still illegal under state and federal law, despite the fact Washington has legalized cannabis itself. Under the current proposed bill, there is no mention of where consumers would be able to purchase cannabis seeds were the bill to become law.

As it currently stands in Washington, non cannabis patients to grow 15 plants of their own. The bill was only read last Wednesday, so it may take some time for the measure to get passed—if it even does– considering some of the questions that linger in relation to homegrow.

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Daniel Shortt, a Seattle-based cannabis lawyer at the firm Harris Bricken, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he believes the new bill will have to answer how home growers can 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.”

In 2016 alone, Washington lawmakers introduced 44 bills that deal with cannabis in some fashion. The list includes bills that relax residency requirements for licensed marijuana business owners as well as legislation around medical marijuana patients and their employers.

The recently introduced House Bill 1060 has garnered bipartisan support. The measure would allow medicinal marijuana to be administered on school grounds to children who need cannabis to function normally, such as those who suffer from daily seizures.

A full list of cannabis bills that have been introduced in the state is available online.

Gage Peake's Bio Image

Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • Andrew Kimmey

    I hope that all of the wrinkles get sorted out and this bill passes. Although I don’t think they should limit your yields… I mean come on. That’s impossible. Planting the seed, you have NO idea how much you’re going to get out of that plant. It could be 1 ounce, it could be 16 ounces. Don’t try and legally regulate something that you can’t even regulate through natural means.

    • Jim Jackson

      This is one of the problems with the Oregon law. I regularly get 3 to 7 ounces per plant which means if I grow four plants that I’m allowed I will go over the 8 ounce limit. Right now I’m only growing one plant at a time to remain legal. Most of the other legal states don’t have a limit on the amount of home grown. If you grow it you can keep it.

      • Paul Sorensen

        Yeah Jim, I know what you mean. I live in Oregon too. I got two harvests from my two plants last year (first in a grow tent and then transplanted into the garden) It makes you start giving pot away to keep things legal. I think they should increase the legal ounce total. (people in non-legal states are rolling their eyes right now)

        • Jim Jackson

          Since I started growing again when the law changed I’ve grown (all indoors, hydro, in tents) 5 plants for a total of 25 ounces but always found friends to take my extra. I’ve been very popular :-).

  • disqus_O8IyFSeLra

    You should have listed the Representatives email addresses so people reading this article know who to contact to urge support of this bill.