The decision to not include home grows in Washington’s 2012 cannabis legalization initiative continues to haunt the state, which again this year has failed to pass a cannabis home grow bill. With Democrats holding both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s office this year, cannabis supporters thought there might be progress on that front — however, despite the House version passing overwhelmingly out of its first committee and both Senate and House bills having bipartisan support, each bill failed to pass out of committee before a key cut off date.
Washington remains the only state that has successfully legalized adult-use cannabis but does not allow individuals to grow or possess cannabis plants.
The Republican sponsor of the House version, Rep. Cary Condotta said, “The bill failed again because there are not enough votes on the House floor to get it passed. Part of that has to do with opposition from law enforcement. There’s no reason Washington should not have home grows like other states.”
“Each year we get closer, but next year there will be the same opposition,” said Rep. Condotta. “People should keep writing and calling their representatives if they want this passed.”
Adding further insight, Rep. Steve Kirby (D) told his constituents on Saturday at the 29th legislative district monthly meeting, he chalks up some of the opposition in Olympia to old-fashioned “reefer madness.” He says there are many Democrats from areas of the state that have cannabis bans, admitting these would be hard votes to sway.
But John Kingsbury, an activist and home grow supporter who worked on both the House and Senate bills, sees things differently:
“We started working on this in August to try and knock down the two most common arguments against home grows. Federal intervention and lack of industry support. We were able to combat those arguments, but always received stock answers to why the bill wasn’t getting a hearing. The bill failed two years in a row in the same committee. That tells me orders are coming from higher up in Washington government to not pass a home grow bill. In my opinion, there are powerful forces in the I-502 system and Washington government who don’t want this to pass. It seems they’re not willing to give up that 4 to 6 percent market share they think home grows will take from tax and corporate revenues.”
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