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Washington Lawmakers Advance Marijuana Homegrow Bill While Nixing Proposal To Ban High-THC Product Sales To People Under 25



A House committee in Washington State has advanced a bill to legalize the home cultivation of marijuana, though lawmakers first reduced the proposed number of plants that would be allowed from six per person down to four.

The panel also gutted a separate bill that would have banned the sale of high-THC cannabis products to people under 25, replacing that provision with one instead requiring retailers to warn customers about the potential dangers of high-potency products.

Both bills were before the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee on Monday. Members voted 7–4 to approve the marijuana homegrow measure and 9–2 to advance the modified THC bill.

The cultivation bill—HB 2194, introduced by Rep. Shelly Kloba (D), who co-chairs the committee—originally would have let adults grow up to six cannabis plants, with no more than 15 per household. An amendment from Rep. Greg Cheney (R), however, reduced those limits to four plants per person and no more than 10 per household—a change approved unanimously.

“I heard back from a few folks who thought that six plants or more for personal home consumption might be a little too high,” Cheney explained, adding that he thought the amended bill “a great compromise.”

Kloba thanked Cheney “for his graciousness and willingness to work together.”

“This bill is actually a long time coming,” she said. “This is something that many other states have done, and it is time for us to do it, as well.”

But other Republicans—as well as one Democrat—voted against the homegrow bill.

Rep. Kelly Chambers, the committee’s ranking GOP member, said many in her party are still worried about exposing children to marijuana. “This is sort of a Pandora’s box,” she said.

Rep. Kristine Reeves (D), the lone Democrat to vote against the bill, commented that there “are a lot of unanswered questions in this bill, with serious unintended consequences.”

As Reeves complained in a hearing about the bill earlier this month, it does not contain any provisions about how to dispose of plant waste.

“This bill is silent on how we best protect our waste management folks,” she said.

Reeves also said the bill “falls short on addressing our equity concerns and making sure that we are protecting Black and brown constituents,” as well as people with unstable housing.

“This bill is silent on how we would potentially impact consumers who are currently living in motels or hotels,” she said.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Growing marijuana is currently a Class C felony in Washington unless someone is a registered medical marijuana patient, carrying up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Under HB 2194 as amended, it would be a civil infraction for an adult to grow between five and 10 plants, while growing 11 or more would remain a Class C felony. Police could also seize any plants beyond the allowable threshold.

The bill would also clarify that growing up to 10 plants could not be used to justify asset forfeitures.

Meanwhile the high-THC measure, HB 2320, from Rep. Lauren Davis (D), would have originally outlawed the sale of cannabis products containing more than 35 percent THC to adults ages 21 and 24—a measure aimed at reducing potential risk to developing brains.

But a substitute amendment to the bill, from committee co-chair Rep. Sharon Wylie (D), removed that provision entirely. As amended, the bill would instead require that licensed retailers would have to post notices with information about the potential health impacts of high-THC cannabis products, especially with regard to people under 25 as well as people who have or are at risk of developing certain mental health conditions.

Wylie said at the committee meeting that she reviewed medical literature and found that “there are credible studies that don’t have a strong an indication of youth harm as some of the language in the original bill had… But the fact that any of the data shows a harm to young people to me meant we had to have a bill.”

The bill’s findings section, as introduced by Davis, originally said that concentrated products are “as close to the cannabis plant as strawberries are to frosted strawberry pop tarts.”

Wylie’s amendment to the measure also removed a requirement that the University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute develop guidance around people at risk of developing serious complications from cannabis use. Instead, the state’s Health Care Authority would issue a request for proposal to contract an entity to do that work.

Also during Monday’s executive session, the panel also unanimously advanced a separate bipartisan bill, HB 2182, that would have regulators at the state Liquor and Cannabis Board create a data dashboard that would publicly track trends, including enforcement, involving licensed busineses.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Rep. Kristine Reeves (D), the bill’s sponsor, said the measure will not only provide more transparency to consumers, but also help inform lawmakers working to respond to market trends.

Versions of both the homegrow and THC proposals have been bandied about for years in Olympia, but neither has managed to get enough traction to reach a full chamber vote.

“This is the fifth legislative session that I have been working to address this issue of the public health harms of high-potency cannabis products,” Davis told the committee at a hearing earlier this month. She initially introduced legislation in 2020 that would have capped cannabis concentrates at 10 percent THC, but that proposal failed to make it out of committee.

Efforts to allow personal cultivation, meanwhile, predate Kloba’s 2017 election to the legislature, stretching back at least to 2015.

Another recently introduced cannabis bill in Washington would roll back recently enacted protections for job applicants who use marijuana, undoing the anti-discrimination protections for people seeking to work in the drug treatment industry.

Lawmakers have also introduced legislation to create a legal system to allow veterans and first responders to access psychedelic-assisted therapy. The measure would build on a limited pilot program signed into law last year.

The psychedelics legislation comes as grassroots efforts across the state seek to decriminalize entheogens at the local level by deprioritizing enforcement of state laws against the substances. Organizers in at least six Washington cities are working to enact the reform, which they also see as a way to build support for state-level change.

Late last year, the state Department of Commerce issued recommendations regarding how $200 million should be spent to address racial, economic and social disparities created by the war on drugs. The state has also approved $10 million in refunds for vacated drug convictions.

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Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


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