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Washington State considers three alternatives for cannabis home-grows

Sara Tiradossi

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In Washington State, adult social cannabis users are able to purchase cannabis from retail stores, but are prohibited to grown their own. With the most recent recommendations released by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), the state may now allow alternatives for home-grows.

The recommendations are the result of a study on the potential impact and legal ramifications if home-grown cultivations were allowed.

The board spoke with the health departments and local prevention and public health programs, and discussed the issue with officials from Colorado, Oregon, and Rhode Island. After these consultations, the board came up with three possibilities on the matter.

The first possible alternative is that the state would tightly control and enforce all aspects of home-grows. Through this framework, any adult would be able to grow up to four plants, as long as they received an official permit; and the state would track each plant. To enforce the regulatory framework, this alternative would involve additional costs for the state.

The second option would allow local governments to authorize, control and enforce a number of guidelines set by the state. Adults would still be limited to four plants per household. In this case, local communities would have more say in regulating their own areas, but at the same time, this could generate a confusing patchwork where rules varied in every community.

The third alternative, recommended by all of the law enforcement agencies, would not allow any home-grow altogether. Medical cannabis users would still be allowed to grow their own plants. The agencies were concerned home grows would increase youth access to cannabis, increase black market activity and weigh on law enforcement resources.

Moreover, the WSCLB is concerned an increase in cannabis cultivation would mean a bigger intervention on behalf of the federal government.

During next year’s legislative session, which starts on Jan. 8, the state will decide which option to adopt out of the three.

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