Should people be allowed to grow marijuana in homes?
SEATTLE - Should people be allowed to grow marijuana in their own homes?
That's the heated debate expected first thing Wednesday morning when people pack the Liquor and Cannabis Board public hearing in Olympia at its headquarters at 3000 Pacific Avenue.
Three options are up for debate.
The first option would regulate home grows under strict regulation based on the federal "Cole Memo" issued by the United State Department of Justice in 2013, which outlines the federal government's enforcement priorities in states where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized.
Some of the requirements for the first option require a permit, four plants grown maximum per household, and for plants to be traced.
The second option includes allowing statewide standards for home grows, limits plants to 4 per household; and requires a permit to possess plants. It does not require plants to be traced.
The third option would leave home grows illegal.
Cannabis reform activist Don Skakie has been advocating for legalized home grows in Washington but he thinks the three options presented by the Liquor and Cannabis Board are too restrictive.
Skakie is concerned the options bring too many costs for permits, inspections and security which would discourage people from growing.
He would rather the issue be debated in the legislature, rather than a regulatory board.
“The LCB thinks we are all criminals and we're going to divert everything and we're going to grow these monster plants. That's not going to happen,” said Skakie. “They're just ripping and tearing every last dollar they can and they want more control over our individual lives and we just want to be free to go about our lives in the peace and comfort of our homes."
Some advocates, like the head of the group Washington N.O.R.M.L said while they don't agree with all the options but they want the ball to move forward.
Board member Kevin Oliver said he would like to see any tracing removed.
“I can't agree specifically to all the options at but this is a good starting point, moving the conversation forward, normalizing marijuana,” Oliver said.
The board is expected to present all the recommendations to the legislature by December, 1, 2017.
Of the eight states that legalized recreational marijuana, Washington is the only one that doesn't allow recreational home grows. However, the law does allow 'patients' to have limited grows for medical purposes.