Washington’s ban on home growing puts the state at odds with most others that have legalized recreational pot use. Of those 15 states, at least 10 allow home growing, including Oregon, Vermont, Nevada, California and Colorado. Last fall, voters in South Dakota, Arizona and Montana also approved ballot measures that legalized growing marijuana at home.
Still, some new provisions have been added to the bill this year to try to address public safety and nuisance concerns.
“It is time for us to evolve in this space,” said Kloba, the prime sponsor of the bill to allow home growing.
He added that most people won’t choose to cultivate cannabis at home, simply because “growing it is hard, and the product is readily available in stores.”
Law enforcement officials still worry, however, that homegrown pot could be easily sold on the illicit market, or that backyard cannabis plants could prove an attractive target for thieves and burglars.
Timothy Nadreau, a research economist at Washington State University, said he studied how allowing marijuana home growing would affect state revenue. He concluded that cannabis tax collections would most likely continue to increase if HB 1019 passed, in part because home growing could boost people’s interest in cannabis products.
Other states that have legalized recreational cannabis already allow home growing, but Washington does not.
More than eight years after Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis, some state lawmakers say it’s past time to let people grow their own pot at home.
Washington state residents have long been able to brew their own beer in their basement, or ferment homemade wine in their living room. If they want to smoke a joint to unwind, though, their only legal option is to get dressed and buy one at a store.
That concern was echoed by substance-abuse prevention advocates, particularly because the bill says the state Liquor and Cannabis Board wouldn’t have authority to enforce the rules that would apply to home marijuana grows.
State Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, called Washington’s ban on home growing of cannabis “an antiquated policy.”
Last year, the bill died in the House Appropriations Committee, which reviews budget-related measures.
Washington legislators are considering a bill that would allow anyone age 21 and over to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. (Richard Vogel/AP)
But it’s not clear that the state’s tax collections would be hurt by allowing people to grow marijuana at home.
House Bill 1019 would limit each adult to six home-grown plants. No more than 15 plants could be cultivated per household, limiting the ability of roommates to band together and create a small-scale marijuana farm.
The measure has been introduced several times in the past, but has stalled. Kloba thinks that the number of states that have recently embraced home growing builds the case for Washington to do the same.
“I don’t see this having a significant impact on the state budget,” said state Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, who is co-sponsoring the measure.
“What I often hear is conflation of large-scale illicit activity with what we are actually advocating for here, which is legalizing six-plant, noncommercial home gardens,” Kingsbury said.
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All of our dispensaries (even our Alaska dispensary) pride themselves in sourcing the best products from the state. The growers we work with are well-versed in creating the best plants to create a variety of cannabis products.
Unfortunately, Washington state is already home to a saturated cannabis market. As such, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is not currently accepting applications for new retailers, processors, or producers.
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Permission to grow up to six plants only applies to medical patients who have opted into the voluntary medical marijuana database. The database protects medical users against the threat of arrest and also allows for tax-free purchases and access to more potent products.
Frustrated that you have to stop by our Spokane dispensary, Bellingham pot shop, or other stores to pick up your goods? If you know you have a green thumb and wish you could cultivate marijuana, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s a growing push to allow adults over 21 to grow their own cannabis in Washington. Until then, you’ll have to stick to buying weed at a dispensary.
Washington state has had the luxury of legal recreational cannabis since the beginning of the recreational industry in 2012. Nearly a decade later and there are still many questions regarding the rules. We often hear people ask “is growing cannabis in Washington legal?” when visiting one of our Washington dispensary locations.
As officials in states that permit marijuana cultivation can tell you, these fears are often unfounded. Allowing residents to grow their own personal-use cannabis has not caused any neighborhoods to collapse.
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Your average 21+ year-old is not permitted to grow weed plants in their backyard or hallway closet. In fact, cultivating marijuana for personal use is prohibited in the state. This is a surprise to many out-of-state visitors who come from other legal states where home cultivation is permitted under certain terms.
If applications open again, the fee to obtain a producer license is $1381. Additionally, you will have to pay a $250 application fee to be considered.
House Bill 1019, “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture” was proposed in early 2021, only to be dropped in February. Legislators explained that it was not a high-priority topic when they were busy focusing on COVID-19 economic relief, racial equity, and climate change.
Growing cannabis in Washington is not legal…usually.
So why is it that Washington can’t follow their lead and allow residents to grow personal use cannabis?
Medical marijuana patients in Washington state are permitted to grow up to six plants for medical use. If there are multiple qualified patients in one household, up to 15 plants are allowed.
Those who have grown cannabis for medical use may legally possess up to eight ounces if they are enrolled in the database and six ounces if not. Recreational users are only allowed to possess up to an ounce at a time.
We think it’s only a matter of time before personal-use cannabis cultivation is legal in Washington. Don’t get your hopes up just yet, though. We’ve seen the topic brought up and dismissed again and again since Washington legalized recreational weed in 2012.
If you are a medical patient who is not enrolled in the state’s database, you can still grow up to four plants.
“It makes no sense that you can be charged with a felony for growing a plant whose derivative products you can buy at a store…This bill will correct an injustice in our system and give people the freedom to grow small amounts of cannabis on their own property.”
Know someone who grows their own weed in Washington? Before assuming they’re breaking the law, consider they may have a medical marijuana license.
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Many other states with legal recreational cannabis allow home cultivation. Oregon, Vermont, Nevada, Colorado, and California are just some examples.
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The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States.
There have been several attempts to legalize personal-use home grows in Washington state. None have been successful yet. The main reasons are fears of illegal and unwanted activities, including burglaries and exposure to children. Some even worry that neighborhoods would begin to reek of marijuana smells.
So who are the exceptions? Medical marijuana consumers and licensed cultivators can grow cannabis in Washington state.
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Shelley Kloba, a member of the Washington House of Representatives, sponsored HB 1019. A spokesperson for Kloba said:
All hope is not lost, though. The Washington State Legislature will not return to this topic in the 2021-2022 session but may reintroduce the topic next year. Since the proposed bill was passed for review during the 2021 session, it is not off the table for next year’s session.
Registered agents are required for any business entity registered with the Secretary of State. When you hire Northwest Registered Agent as your registered agent, it’s a flat rate yearly price of $125 a year. You’ll have an online account that tracks your report due dates and when your yearly service with us is up. Any documents we receive locally for you are uploaded into your account immediately for complete viewing. If or when you get served with a lawsuit, we can email up to 4 people and your attorney at the same time for real-time complete viewing of a lawsuit. You’ll receive annual report reminders as well. Our service is the same price every year, and there are no weird fees or cancellation fees.
Not currently. The number of licenses is capped, and the WSLCB isn’t opening up applications for new licenses anytime in the foreseeable future.
All employees on licensed premises must hold and properly display an employer-issued ID badge at all times while at work.
Originally, I-502 rules dictated that all financiers must be Washington residents, living in-state for at least three months. Legislative changes have relaxed somewhat since then. It’s possible to apply to the WSLCB to accept funds from an out-of-state financier. You’ll have to submit an Application for Additional Funding to the WSLCB and receive approval. Out-of-state financiers have to be US residents.
You have to be at least 21 years old and have been a Washington resident for at least 6 months. Business entities (like LLCs and corporations) can also hold licenses, but the entity must have been formed in Washington and all members in the business must have been residents for at least 6 months. All licensees have to maintain their residency for as long as they hold their licenses.
How can Northwest Registered Agent help me?
We can serve as your Washington registered agent and receive all official mail and service of process, as well as keep you up to date on all that is required to keep your business entity active.
Some counties and municipalities have permits just for the privilege of being a marijuana business. For example, the City of Kenmore charges $500 a year for their annual Marijuana Business License.
Counties and municipalities can also prohibit marijuana producers or processors in areas zoned for residential or rural use. Moses Lake, for example, limits producers and processors to specific industrial areas. Some Washington cities don’t allow marijuana businesses at all, including Leavenworth, Poulsbo, Pomeroy, Othello, and Richland.
No. While you can hold both producer and processor licenses, retail is always separate. You can’t hold a retailer license AND a producer or processor license.
One nice thing about growing marijuana (as opposed to selling it as a retailer) is that you don’t have to sweat finding the most convenient place for customers. In fact, for security purposes, an out-of-the-way location can be a bonus. This can make it a little easier to abide by the state’s zoning requirements.
Tier One: less than two thousand square feet. Tier Two: two thousand square feet to 10 thousand square feet. Tier Three: 10 thousand square feet to 30 thousand square feet.
No, but the state has allotted that only so many square feet may be used in growing marijuana. It has set the initial limit at two million square feet. The kind of producer license you have will determine how many square feet of space you can use to grow cannabis. The state has broken quantities down into three tiers:
If you don’t use at least 50% of the square footage afforded to you, the WSLCB may knock you down a tier.
It’s not all bad news though—you can invest in or buy an already-licensed marijuana grow business. Over a thousand producer licenses have been issued in Washington to different types of businesses. Before investing in or buying a business, it’s important to understand and carefully consider the impact that a business’s entity type will have on your operations.
Yes. You can hold up to three of one kind of license (such as three producer licenses).
If I have a producer license, how much weed can I have on my premises at any given time?
You must keep extensive record of all inventories and upload records in the state’s database. The following needs to be kept completely up-to-date in the system:
In July 2018, the fee dropped from $1480 to $1381. New applications aren’t currently being accepted, but if applications open again, note that there is also a nonrefundable application fee of $250.
At bare minimum, your shop needs to install a video surveillance camera with a resolution of no less than 640×470 pixels, and the system needs to be Internet Protocol (IP) compatible. All cameras need to be running 24 hours a day and be able to identify any individuals on the premises and any individuals approaching any of the building’s entrance points at no less than 20 feet from the premises. Copies of all footage on the premises must be kept for at least 45 days. Perimeter fencing of all outdoor grows must be in the line of sight of the cameras. In areas where marijuana is grown, the cameras need to be able to identify an individual at all times. Lights, hoods, and other grow production items cannot obscure the camera’s view.
After you’ve obtained your marijuana producer license and gotten your grow shop in order, you should finally be ready to turn on the lights and let the weed grow.
You’ll also need a description of the grow facility and an in-depth operation description, including how (and in what) the marijuana will be grown and the types of equipment, soils, and fertilizers you’ll use.
The marijuana producer license application is only a small addendum to the Master Business License application. Even if you’re not filling out the application (if you’re investing in or buying an existing marijuana business), you’ll still need to have some of the same key information readily available, including:
For more information on differences between an LLC and a corporation, click here .
RCW 69.50.385 gave the WSLCB board the authority to create a licensing procedure so that common carriers can transport marijuana and marijuana products from one licensed facility to another. In other words, the person who drives your bud harvest to the processor needs to get a license from the WSLCB. The Marijuana Transportation License fee is $250.
Once you’ve decided you want to grow cannabis to sell for recreational use in Washington, you need to hammer out a business plan. This plan should include your financing, market analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, as well as what will separate your cannabis from the competition. If you plan on buying an existing business, learn everything you can about the company and its current processes. Take your time—there are still many unknowns in the relatively new recreational marijuana market. Study the new laws and make sure your plans fall within the bounds of the state’s rules.
Step 4: Choose a Business Entity.
Yes. Washington requires that you carry a commercial general liability insurance policy provided by a carrier with a rating of no less than A—Class VII. The WSLCB has to be listed as an additional insured on all of your general liability, umbrella, and excess insurance policies.
Not exactly. The licenses themselves aren’t transferable assets—a business can’t buy or sell a license to another business. You can, however, purchase a business entity that holds a license. When investing in or buying an already-licensed business, be sure to file a Change in Governing People, Percentage Owned and/or Stock/Unit Ownership form ($75) with the WSLCB. You may also have to submit forms (which vary depending on business entity) to the Secretary of State indicating changes in governors and owners.
Primarily, you need to be sure your grow location is located at least 1000 feet from any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter. As of June 2015, counties and municipalities have the right to enact an ordinance reducing the 1000 ft buffer to a minimum of 100 ft (with the exception of elementary schools, secondary schools and playgrounds). Olympia Ordinance 7046, for example, reduces the buffer zone in the state capital to 500 feet.
Whether you’re exploring the possibility of investing in or taking over an existing marijuana production business—or just waiting for the day the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) reopens applications for new licenses—the information below will let you know the steps you need to take to stay in compliance with Washington’s marijuana laws.
In a perfect world, you could start a brand new marijuana grow business and choose the business entity type that’s the best fit for you. Unfortunately, the WSLCB isn’t currently accepting applications for new marijuana producer licenses.