The recent approval of a bill brings Washington one step closer to long-awaited at-home recreational cannabis cultivation.
A bill that would allow the at-home cultivation of cannabis plants for non-medical uses in Washington State was approved by the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee on January 29, 2024 (1). The bill, HB 2194, passed with a vote of 7-4 and will now move forward to the House Appropriations Committee (1). Currently, only cultivation for medical uses is allowed in the state, and patients are allowed to grow six plants, or up to 15 with a physician’s approval (1). The bill would allow persons 21 years old or older to grow up to four cannabis plants for personal use, or 10 plants maximum per household (1).
Though Washington was among the first to legalize cannabis for recreational uses over a decade ago, it has so far been one of only five states with legal cannabis laws that does not allow at-home cultivation (2). “This is a long time coming,” said Representative Shelley Kloba, the main sponsor of the bill (1). “It really does emphasize that it is for personal use only. Many other states have done it. It is time for us to do it.” Nearby Oregon is one of the states that does allow at-home cultivation (1).
Some have noted that growing cannabis at home allows the grower to choose the type of plant and gives them the option of using pesticides or not (3). Additionally, the state’s Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force recently analyzed data on how best to increase Black and Latino residents’ participation in the state’s cannabis industry and addressed at-home cultivation (1). “Legalizing residential cannabis cultivation for recreational use would reduce arrests and felony convictions that disproportionately harm Black people, while also potentially increasing social equity applicant eligibility,” they recommended in their 2022 report (1).
Those who oppose the bill voiced concerns about the potential for negative impacts on communities and excessive burdens being placed on law enforcement (1). There have also been concerns that tax revenue from cannabis bought at dispensaries could decline (1).
Hear a firsthand account of at-home cannabis cultivation from a medical cannabis patient in Washington State in our interview series installment, “Empowerment through Education, Part IV: Medical Cannabis Grow Laws and Cultivation.”