Washington: Home Cultivation Legislation Receives First Committee Hearing of 2021

Legislation to allow adults in Washington to cultivate marijuana for personal use received its first public hearing last week in the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming.

House Bill 1019 allows adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal use. Under current state law, the cultivation of marijuana is a felony offense punishable by thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time.

Representative Kloba (D), who chairs the Committee, is among the sponsors of HB 1019.

Since Washington voters legalized adult-use marijuana via a ballot initiative in 2012, the issue of providing limited personal marijuana cultivation rights to adults has come before lawmakers year after year, and these proposals have previously been defeated.

However, 2021 could be the year that this changes, as lawmakers this session are taking a more receptive approach to the concept of permitting home growing — a practice that is already allowed in the majority of legal states.

“Permitting home cultivation would comport Washington’s existing cannabis laws in line with the state’s alcohol regulations,” said NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf in written testimony submitted to the committee members. “Washington citizens can brew their own beer and make their own wine for personal consumption, and it is consistent with this policy to similarly permit personal cultivation of cannabis.”

Among those that testified during the hearing were representatives from Washington NORML and NORML Women of Washington.

“Passage of this legislation would comport Washington law with those of the other states that have enacted policies regulating the adult use of marijuana — 13 out of 15 of which no longer criminalize adults who grow limited quantities of cannabis in private,” NORML’s Wolf continued. “None of these jurisdictions have ever repealed their home-grow laws, and these regulations have not created any tangible public safety risk.”

Members of the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming could vote to advance HB 1019 as soon as Friday 1/22, as an executive session is scheduled by the Committee for 10am.

If you live in Washington state, send a message to your lawmakers now in support of personal marijuana cultivation rights for adults.