Here are some observations about new legislation in Washington’s state legislature to legalize adult home growing of cannabis.
My top takeaways:
- Home growing of cannabis legislation was prefiled in both chambers: HB 1131 in the House and SB 5155 in the Senate. They are “companion bills” meaning both versions are currently identical. As currently written, the bills:
- Allow a person 21-and-over to grow up to six marijuana plants at their “housing unit” and possess the full harvest of no more than six plants at their home subject to limits.
- Limits all residents to a 15 plant maximum.
- Requires labelling “…with the name, residential address, and date of birth of the person growing the plants, and the date on which the plants were planted” when growing cannabis; for harvested marijuana and on all containers of more than one ounce of useable marijuana: “…the name, date of birth, and residential address of the person who grew the plants from which the marijuana is derived, the date on which the plants were planted, and the date on which the plants were harvested.”
- Concentrates can be extracted using non-combustible methods and requires marijuana grown and possessed at a person’s residence.
- No requirement to register with the Department of Health.
- Modifies and expands civil forfeiture statute to meet the requirements of the bill. Growing and possessing marijuana under this bill may not form the basis of a seizure or civil forfeiture.
- Landlords have the right to prohibit renters from growing marijuana. A landlord’s failure to prohibit may not form the basis of a civil forfeiture or seizure.
- Defines “commercial activity” to mean an activity related to buying, selling, or bartering. A person who home grows is considered “an ultimate user who may not sell marijuana, usable marijuana, marijuana concentrate, or marijuana-infused products produced from the person’s plants…”
- Includes a severability clause: any part found unconstitutional in court does not invalidate the entire law.
- The grassroots legislative effort is led by “Homegrow Washington” activists John Kingsbury and Don Skakie who can be reached at HomegrowWashington@gmail.com.
- Home growing of cannabis has been raised before during Initiative 502’s original campaign and at the legislature over the past several sessions.
- Recent bills include:
- 2018: HB 2559 (fiscal note) & SB 6482 – “Allowing nonmedical home cultivation of marijuana.”
- 2017: HB 1212 (fiscal note) – “Concerning the possession and transfer of marijuana, marijuana plants, useable marijuana, marijuana-infused products, and marijuana concentrates.”
- 2017: HB 1092 – “Authorizing home production of recreational marijuana.”
- 2015: HB 2196 & SB 6083 – “Authorizing the growing of up to six marijuana plants per domicile.”
- In 2017, the legislature passed SSB 5131 which directed the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) to “[study] regulatory options for recreational marijuana home grows and provide its recommendations and findings to the Legislature.” Here is the WSLCB study report.
- In 2018, “Washington NORML asked I-502 architect Alison Holcomb to weigh in on the intent of I-502, and its relationship with the prospect of adult home grow in this State.” Here is a republication of her statement.
- Washington is the only state to legalize cannabis without permitting home growing.
- Recent bills include:
- The 2019 legislative session starts Monday January 14th in Olympia, Washington. The home grow cannabis bills begin their respective journeys in the House and Senate after being read in each chamber.
- The bills will be assigned to committees: HB 1131 to the House Commerce and Gaming Committee and SB 5155 to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. These committees have cannabis legislation in their portfolio.
- Both bills have direct bipartisan support among their sponsors and cosponsors as well as bipartisan support in the committees where they’ll first be heard.
- On the House Commerce and Gaming Committee, HB 1131 is sponsored by Democrat Brian Blake with Republican Committee Ranking Member Drew MacEwan and Democrat Shelley Kloba cosponsoring. Other cosponsors of HB 1131 are Democrat Lori Dolan and Republican Jim Walsh.
- On the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, SB 5155 is sponsored by Republican Maureen Walsh and cosponsored by Democrat Rebecca Saldaña. Other cosponsors of SB 5155 are Democrats Bob Hasegawa and Sam Hunt.
- Because both bills were prefiled before the start of the 2019 legislative session they are very likely to get public hearings in the coming weeks. Should either bill pass out of committee they’ll likely be assigned to a second committee for further review.
- You can submit comments and track updates from the bill screens on the legislature website: HB 1131, SB 5155.
Here are shared documents for your review:
- Cannabis Observer – Topic – Home Grow
- House Bill 1131
- Original Bill Text (PDF)
- House Commerce and Gaming Committee (Nov 28, 2018) – Summary of home marijuana cultivation bill – H-0075.5
- Senate Bill 5155
- Original Bill Text (PDF)
- Code Reviser’s Office
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