More than eight years after Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis, some state lawmakers say it’s past time to let people grow their own pot at home.
A bipartisan group of legislators is proposing a bill that would let adults 21 and over grow cannabis plants at home for recreational use.
House Bill 1019 would limit each adult to six home-grown plants. No more than 15 plants could be cultivated per household, limiting the ability of roommates to band together and create a small-scale marijuana farm.
Under Washington state law, qualified medical cannabis patients can already grow a limited amount of marijuana plants. But for nonpatients, growing marijuana at home is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Washington’s ban on home growing puts the state at odds with most others that have legalized recreational pot use. Of those 15 states, at least 10 allow home growing, including Oregon, Vermont, Nevada, California and Colorado. Last fall, voters in South Dakota, Arizona and Montana also approved ballot measures that legalized growing marijuana at home.
State Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, called Washington’s ban on home growing of cannabis “an antiquated policy.”
“It is time for us to evolve in this space,” said Kloba, the prime sponsor of the bill to allow home growing.
The measure has been introduced several times in the past, but has stalled. Kloba thinks that the number of states that have recently embraced home growing builds the case for Washington to do the same.
She said many of the fears associated with allowing home growing — that it would fuel illegal activity, or create neighborhoods that constantly reek of weed — haven’t come to pass in other states.
Law enforcement officials still worry, however, that homegrown pot could be