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STATE OF THE STATE: Washington State Marijuana Policy

Always pushing the boundaries of progressive social experimentation, Washington State was one of the first two states to decriminalize marijuana for both medical and recreational possession and use.

Washington State’s Initiative 502 (I-502), decriminalized recreational marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012.

Originally, recreational and medical marijuana were regulated by separate agencies but since 2016 regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana are regulated jointly by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

To legally possess and use marijuana in Washington State you must be 21 years of age or older. Users may possess:

• One ounce of usable marijuana
• Marijuana-related paraphernalia
• 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product
• 72 ounces of liquid marijuana-infused product

Washington State residents may not grow marijuana plants in their homes because Washington State law requires police to have 24 hour a day access to a growing facility without a warrant. However there is an exception for medical marijuana in which case cultivation of plants is limited to medical use:

• Growers must be 21 or older
• Up to four plants can be grown without registration
• Cooperative gardens are allowed
• Registration is recommended but not required

Registered medical marijuana users can purchase cannabis at any retail cannabis outlet holding a medical marijuana authorization. Registered medical marijuana users can purchase any combination of the following:

• Forty eight (48) ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
• Three (3) ounces of usable cannabis
• Two hundred sixteen (216) ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
• Twenty one grams of cannabis concentrates

As a registered medical marijuana patient, you will also be authorized to grow and possess in your home:

• Up to six (6) plants for personal medical use
• Up to eight (8) ounces of usable cannabis produced from said plants

Washington State has approved medical marijuana for a wide variety of conditions including:

• Cancer,
• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
• Multiple sclerosis,
• Epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
• Intractable pain,
• Glaucoma,
• Crohn’s disease,
• Hepatitis C,
• Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
• Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
• Posttraumatic stress disorder.
• Traumatic brain injury.

In general legalizing marijuana use has been a good thing for the Evergreen State. Violent crime and opioid use are down and tax revenues are up. But it’s not all good news. So many individuals and enterprises have gotten into the marijuana cultivation and distribution business that the state is suffering from a glut of over production.

In recent years annual production has increased by 60% driving the retail price of an ounce of legal marijuana flower to as low as $40 (in some states the price for an ounce of flower exceed $400). Both shop owners and producers are seeking changes to Washington’s cannabis regulations.

Medical and recreational marijuana cultivation and distribution is still an industry in its infancy in the U.S. We will continue to follow its evolution and keep you informed of trends and developments.

A marketing and publishing professional and the Director of Publicity at GB Sciences, Liz Bianco monitors media activity and the “State of the States” on cannabis in America.

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STATE OF THE STATE: Washington State Marijuana Policy Always pushing the boundaries of progressive social experimentation, Washington State was one of the first two states to decriminalize

Home Grow Regulatory Options

Sec. 24. (1) The state liquor and cannabis board must conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users. In conducting the study, the state liquor and cannabis board must consider the federal guidelines provided by the Cole memorandum, issued by the United States department of justice on August 29, 2013, which allows individual states to implement marijuana legalization policies, provided such states enact strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that address public safety, public health, and law enforcement concerns as outlined in the memorandum.

(2) Not later than December 1, 2017, the state liquor and cannabis board must provide the appropriate committees of the legislature written findings and recommendations regarding the adoption and implementation of a regulatory and enforcement system for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users, in light of the guidelines set forth in the federal Cole memorandum.

(3) The study, findings, and recommendations required under this section must be done through the use of the existing resources of the state liquor and cannabis board.

Home Grow Regulatory Options

1. Strictly Regulated Recreational Home Grows

  • Allow recreational home grows under a strict state regulatory framework that requires a permit and tracking of plants throughout the state, with enforcement jurisdiction shared between the WSLCB and local authorities.
  • Absent a permit, growing marijuana for any purpose is illegal.
  • Require tracking of all plants in the traceability system to help prevent diversion.
  • Limit of no more than 4 plants per household.
  • 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 a statutory provision to allow recreational growers to acquire plants from licensed producers so long as the person possesses a valid permit.
  • Include requirements for security, preventing youth access, preventing diversion, etc.
  • 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).

2. State Framework, Local Authority Recreational Home Grows

  • 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.

3. Prohibit Recreational Home Grows.

  • Do not allow recreational home grows. Maintain current status.
  • A regulated market is in place and widely available throughout the state.
  • Home grows for medical purposes, including cooperatives, are currently allowed under state law.
  • Allowing recreational home grows may provide a cover for the illicit market. This has been seen in other states that permit home grows for both medical and recreational purposes.
  • Recreational home grows may contribute to diversion, youth access, etc., primary considerations under the guidelines set in the Cole Memo.

Home Grow Regulatory Options Sec. 24. (1) The state liquor and cannabis board must conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by ]]>