ACLU Lobbies for Private Cultivation in Washington

The ACLU of Washington has asked the state to allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home.

In a seven-page letter to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Alison Holcomb – who penned the measure legalizing adult-use marijuana (I-502) and serves as the ACLU ‘s local drug policy director – argues that some medical patients will be unable to access their preferred strains of marijuana when recreational retail shops replace medical dispensaries in 2014.

Growing at home, Holcomb says, is their only choice.

The kiquor board has advised the state Legislature to forbid home growing, which would in essence funnel all medical cannabis users in the state to retail shops.

If the ACLU is successful in swaying the board, a fair share of consumers would no doubt grow their own cannabis rather than buy it, taking potential customers away from retail shops.

Currently, medical patients can grow 15 marijuana plants and possess up to 15 ounces of marijuana. But under the I-502 rules, all citizens will be allowed just one ounce. Home growing and collective marijuana gardens would also be outlawed, and the state’s medical marijuana retail structure would essentially be dismantled.

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles is currently working on another bill for the state’s next legislative session to create a structure for medical marijuana.