Two Views Of Personal Cultivation Of Cannabis: NORML Vs. LCB

Home grow is a good thing

By Bailey Hirschburg

The following is one section of a report presented by Washington NORML to the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) regarding their study of regulatory options for home growing. WA NORML’s full report, “Personal Cultivation of Cannabis: A look at policy alternatives” can be found here: (MJNN link to .pdf file “WA NORML Home Grow Report1”)

As written, none of the LCB options were practical or addressed the issue. Option 1, which requires a permit and plants to be in a state traceability system, with greater authority shared between the LCB and local authorities, and option 3, status quo home grow prohibition, are discussed further in the report.

This excerpt focuses on the questions the LCB encourages the public to address, option 2 “State Framework, local authority” and WA NORML’s revised “Civil Liberties Option, with State Framework & Local Authority.”

The LCB is taking public comment on three regulatory options, found here. Email your comments to rules@lcb.wa.govby October 11th to see they’re included in the study’s public response.

EXCERPT:

What cultivation policy is best for our state? On Sept. 13th, the LCB released a request for stakeholder input on three draft options for personal cultivation along with specific questions on a “Stakeholder Outreach Questionnaire.” Those questions were:

1. Which of the above options best protects the state under the Cole Memo from intervention by the federal government?

2. What resource impacts (work hours, costs, etc.), positive or negative, do you foresee for the regulatory options listed above?

3. What are the challenges or benefits (or both) associated with each of the regulatory options listed above?

4. Please provide any additional feedback you believe would be helpful to consider as part of this study.

This paper itself broadly addresses question #4. “Constitutional Concerns & The Cole Memo” addressed Question #1 specifically.  What follows are the three LCB options with answers to stakeholder questions #2 and #3, a revised Option 2, and evaluation of recent legislative bills on the issue.

2. State Framework, Local Authority

• Allow recreational home grows under a regulatory framework based on statewide standards set in statute, but authorized, controlled, and enforced by local jurisdictions (counties, cities).

• Include statutory requirements for security, preventing youth access, preventing diversion, etc. (Cole Memo).

• Require a permit to possess plants. Absent a permit, growing marijuana for any purpose is illegal.

• Limit of no more than 4 plants per household.

• Include a statutory provision to allow recreational growers to acquire plants from licensed producers so long as the person possesses a valid permit.

• Include a statutory provision that allows law enforcement to seize and destroy all plants possessed by a person if the person has more plants than the law allows.

• Include the same restrictions that apply to medical marijuana patients on processing marijuana in recreational home grows (no extraction with combustible materials. See WAC 314-55-430).

• The Legislature may choose to allow local jurisdictions to “opt-in” for or “opt-out” of allowing recreational home grows, similar to the approach the Legislature took with marijuana licenses and registered medical marijuana patient cooperative grows.

2. What resource impacts (work hours, costs, etc.), positive or negative, do you foresee for the regulatory options listed above? By losing individual plant tracking and deferring to local authorities while giving them a clear “opt in/out” option the state shifts some costs (except for permitting) from option 1 somewhat or largely over to local authorities.

3. What are the challenges or benefits (or both) associated with each of the regulatory options listed above? This gives local governments too much control over residents’ private affairs. Similar to the challenges to option 1: fair enforcement, securing citizen information, legal challenges against a commercial regulator doing residential policing or civil suits on biased, aggressive, or improper enforcement. Like Option 1, this regulates recreational grows more strictly than medical grows. This option is also susceptible to claims that it unjustly limits civil liberties by allowing jurisdictions to opt in or out of honoring them.

Revised Option 2. Civil Liberties Option, with State Framework & Local Authority

• Allow recreational home grows with restrictions based on statewide standards set in statute, but controlled and enforced by local jurisdictions (counties, cities).

• Limit of no more than 15 plants per household.

• Maintain existing statutory requirements and penalties for public use, youth access, unlicensed sales, preventing diversion, etc.

• Include a statutory provision to allow recreational growers to acquire plants from licensed producers, and allowing accredited testing laboratories to contract with adults over 21 directly to have recreational home grow samples tested.

• Include a statutory provision that allows law enforcement to seize and destroy any plants possessed by a person beyond established limits.

• Include the same restrictions that apply to medical marijuana patients on processing marijuana in recreational home grows (no extraction with combustible materials. See WAC 314-55-430). Clearly establish that authorized and registered medical marijuana patient grows and registered cooperative medical marijuana grows are separate from any recreational home grow limits.

• The Legislature may choose to allow local jurisdictions to “opt-in” for or “opt-out” of allowing outdoor home grows plainly visible from public or federal properties.

2. What resource impacts (work hours, costs, etc.), positive or negative, do you foresee for the regulatory options listed above? Significantly less costs than any LCB option. Minor retraining for producers or retailers selling seeds/clones. Updated rules for law enforcement, traceability system requirements, and regular zoning issues for local jurisdictions. Eventual savings or revenue from seed/clone sales, ancillary products/services, and increasing effectiveness of eradication efforts.

3. What are the challenges or benefits (or both) associated with each of the regulatory options listed above? Increased tracking of sales and distribution to estimate home grow markets. Distinguishing between medical and recreational gardens. Outdoor zoning may impact property values based on preferred outdoor growing options. More testing of home grown samples, and judicious use of enforcement by not expecting a single extra plant to warrant removal of a person’s entire garden. This regulates recreational growing on a similar scale to medical growing.

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