Cannabis Cultivation in Washington State Lawmakers Approve Bill To Allow Home Growing

The bill to allow Washington State adults to grow home cannabis cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday

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It would be legal for people over the age of 20 to grow up to seven cannabis plants for personal use, with a maximum of 20 per household.

Plants need to be labeled and grown out of public view. Washington is one of only a few states, along with California and New Jersey, where commercial cannabis is legal. Still, home cannabis cultivation is not. The legislation moved us toward an evolution where we can start looking at cannabis as a plant, according to the bill's lead sponsor. She said it was legal to purchase products in the store and grow it at home.

The policy change was a recommendation of the state's Social Equity in Marijuana Task Force which called for the cannabis legalization of up to six plants per adult.

The bill does not include reclassifying the cultivation of seven to 100 plants as a misdemeanor and vacating past convictions. The vote was approved by all six Democrats on the committee and one Republican. After the amendment that would have required marijuana to be grown in locked areas was withdrawn, Rep. Greg Cheney voted against the bill. He said he was prepared to vote yes on the bill with some of the safety mechanisms. If it gets to the floor, we hope to work with the sponsor to address some security issues.

Adults who grow up to the six-plant limit won't need a license. Each plant must be labeled with the grower's name, date of birth, and address. With a health professional's recommendation, medical patients can grow up to six cannabis plants at home or up to 15.

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The bill allows landlords to prohibit home growth by tenants. If a minor uses or obtains a grower's marijuana, the bill would make it a civil infraction, with a fine of up to $500

The cannabis grower will face a fine of up to $850 if a minor is involved in a drunk driving incident after consuming cannabis. State marijuana regulators don't have the authority to enforce home grow laws. Despite several bills being introduced as early as 2015, Washington State lawmakers have not legalized home marijuana growing. The Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee passed a bill brought by the lead sponsor. Still, it didn't make it to the floor.

In an interview with Marijuana Moment, she said she was trying to find ways to get more of her colleagues to vote for her. Adding more restrictions to the bill to win support from law-and-order politicians was one option she considered. Still, she worried those rules would rankle both small-government conservatives and progressives.

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This bill has been a roller coaster this year. The committee was supposed to vote on the measure last week, but supporters weren't sure if they had the votes. Unsure of how to proceed, she contemplated stripping back the new proposal and re-running last year's bill.

She wants it to be legal to buy and grow it.The landscape is changing despite the failures of previous bills. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and State Police chiefs have been the most stubborn opponent of the proposal. 

At public comment on the cannabis bill earlier this year, the group's deputy policy director said she would like to see cannabis kept in a well-regulated commercial setting. 

If lawmakers decide to allow it, Gardner gave recommendations on how to regulate home growth. The constructive comments were seen as symbolic. The lawmaker said that she had buried the leade. That alone was significant to me.

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The regulators at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, who have expressed hesitance in the past, have so far been silent.

She said the bill excludes LCB from enforcement responsibilities around home grow, which may be why they have not weighed in on it. Two other cannabis-related bills were advanced by the panel. Local governments can ban marijuana businesses only if voters approve. Operators of short-term rentals, such as AirBnbs, would be able to give complimentary alcohol or cannabis to adult guests under the new legislation. The committee heard public comments on the proposed expansion of the social equity program for cannabis business licenses. The amended measure allowing Washington cannabis businesses to engage in interstate commerce was approved earlier this week. 

The Senate bill cleared its own hurdle. The statements to promote social equity in the marijuana industry and provide employment protections for adults who use marijuana have advanced through initial Senate committee votes.

Lawmakers enacted a criminalization policy after the state Supreme Court invalidated the felony law against drug possession. The Bipartisan Marijuana Research bill was approved by the U.S. Senate committee.

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If a police officer is suspected of using or under the influence of marijuana on duty or if their position requires federal drug testing, they won't be tested for cannabis.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Law Enforcement Drug Testing Policy now allows officers to be tested for cannabis if they are suspected of using or under the influence of drugs while on duty.

If an officer works or holds a license regulated by the federal government, they can be screened for cannabis.

The task force was assigned to. A pilot license or commercial driver's license is required to be tested for drug use. Drug testing is necessary for law enforcement agencies that receive federal contracts.

The president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association didn't respond to the request for comment. The revisions came after months of back-and-forth negotiations and provided officers with clear guidelines and protection.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office spokesman didn't reply to the request.

The issue of police officers and legal cannabis has caused a lot of controversies. Law enforcement agencies may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off-duty, according to a memo issued by the Attorney General.

The September 2011 memo by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explicitly stated that firearms licenses cannot be issued or sold to anyone addicted to any dangerous substance. There is an exception for firearms for the use of the United States or any department or agency. In the last decade, Mike Davis has covered everything from cannabis legalization to transportation. His parents are very proud of the awards he has won.