What a concept! After years of American citizens being incarcerated for having everything from small seedlings to just a few mature plants, residents who live in states that allow for legal recreational cannabis can stroll into their local “recreational outlet,” and for under $10.00 legally purchase cannabis.
Lets go one step further. What if you could grow your own recreational cannabis at home? That is exactly what the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has in mind. On October 4, 2017, at its headquarters in Olympia at 3000 Pacific Avenue at 10:00 am the board is interested in hearing from you about your feelings on the home growing of recreational cannabis. If you are unable to make that hearing, you can submit an email to the board until October 11 with your input at email@example.com.
Sounds good right? Well not exactly according to some experts in the field. I-502 expert attorney Alexis Quinones with offices in Poulsbo, Edmonds and Olympia Washington as well as San Jose, California don’t think the time is right. In a phone interview with Attorney Quinones she states:
“Although it should be the ultimate goal in Washington state for recreational cannabis consumers to have the ability to produce limited amounts of cannabis for their personal use; the market has not yet sufficiently stabilized enough to withstand the loss that may be associated with home grows. Several recreational stores have recently been licensed by the WSLCB and have not yet opened, many producers and processors are struggling. It will take time for the market to stabilize and that is when the State should consider home recreational grows.”
Not only did the WSLCB give already established recreational stores the ability to create chain stores without opening the opportunity up to Mom and Pop applicants, many growers have had to sell their grows due to financial difficulty. One unresolved problem outside the scope of this article, but worthy of mention is the lack of a forum for producers, processors and retailers to exchange products. This has left many of the producers with quantities they can not sell. Many of the growers I talked to say that allowing home grows right now will financially impact their ability to run sustainable grows. See the figure below.
The WSLCB’s own statistics provides an analytical overview of the Licensee categories. Last year the producers made only 7% of what the retails made and 14% of the producers. Legalizing home grows would only create an additional barrier to the survival of the floundering grows. Additionally, Mega Corporate grows are being designed and built for the infiltration of the of the Mega Corporations into the mix which will further impact the smaller producers.
Let us be clear though, I love my 6 little plants that I grow once a year when Washington has enough light. I don’t have the cost of licensing, testing, electricity, insurance, accounting and compliance etc. manifesting in high cost and low ROI. If we, as a society are to support our State Cannabis Farmers without the Federal subsidies that other Farmers receive, we must implement infrastructure to support them. Right now might not be the right time to impact our Cannabis Entrepreneurs as we as a society work to end the prohibition on cannabis.
The WSLCB will submit the findings of its study to state lawmakers by December 2017. Delaying the legislation until 2020 would give Washington’s Entrepreneurs the opportunity to establish themselves and to rein back the infiltration of Mega Corporations into what most of the cannabis advocates consider as “Our Industry.” Your opinion is important so be sure to email them to the WSLCB either for or against the new legislation.