Washington’s Pot-Growing Acreage Could Quadruple

WASHINGTON:  Washington may soon more than quadruple the amount of land where legal marijuana can be grown.

The state Liquor Control Board is considering changes to its recreational marijuana rules, and one of them would increase the allowable land for legal pot to 8.5 million square feet, up from the 2-million-square-foot limit established last year when the system was set up.

That doesn’t mean recreational marijuana will overtake the state’s other cash crops like wheat, peas, lentils or apples anytime soon; 8.5 million square feet is only about 195 acres.

Becky Smith, the agency’s marijuana licensing and regulations manager, told the board Wednesday that staff already had licensed growers to plant on nearly 3 million square feet of land, although all of the licensed land isn’t in production at one time. The state has more than 260 licensed growers, but not all have started operating yet, she said. Some are in counties that have a moratorium on marijuana businesses, and some Eastern Washington licensees plan to grow outdoors, where the planting season is past.


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