Recreational marijuana was approved by Washington state voters in 2012. It’s been legal to buy for about seven years. Yet, it’s not legal for an individual to grow even a small amount of marijuana for personal use.
That seems incongruent with the law — and reason.
But that could change under a proposal sponsored by Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place.
It’s time to allow Washingtonians to grow a small amount of recreational marijuana for their personal use. It is already legal to grow pot for medicinal use.
“We’re past the ‘Reefer Madness,’ days,” said Walsh, arguing that allowing adults to grow up to six plants is a logical and reasonable extension of the voter-approved law.
It certainly is. Marijuana use has not been particularly problematic since it became widely available in Washington (or Oregon).
Walsh’s proposal, Senate Bill 5155, has reasonable safeguards aimed at ensuring the personal home grows aren’t being used as a cover for full-scale growing for the black market.
Each adult 21 and over would be allowed to grow six plants. The limit in household would be 15 plants. Each plant must be labeled and identify the owner and none of the marijuana produced can be sold, traded or bartered. Property owners can prohibit a renter from growing marijuana.
Eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana, but just Washington and two other states forbid growing pot at home.
It’s time Washington caught up. The reasons people might want to grow their own marijuana rather than purchase at the store vary.
For example, some people might be concerned additives are used in some of the products in store. Perhaps they have had a negative reaction to something they purchased. Or maybe they want a very specific strain not available in the stores.
And some folks simply enjoy the growing process. Growing their own could be a hobby like those who likes to grow tomatoes or make their own wine or brew their own beer.
Cannabis growers would need supplies, just like those growing tomatoes or corn, so in a way, it does generate a tiny bit of tax revenue.
This is ultimately an issue of personal freedom and responsibility.
Recreational marijuana is easily accessible in Washington (and Oregon). Its use is allowed in private residences. It makes little sense to prohibit someone from growing a small amount of something that is legal to use in their homes.
Walsh’s proposed legislation, as well as a similar proposal going through the House, seem reasonable and should be approved.