Regulators overseeing the Washington state adult-use cannabis industry are considering a change in the law that would allow adults to cultivate cannabis at home. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) conducted a hearing yesterday and is accepting written testimony through Wednesday, October 11.
We strongly encourage Washington residents who support home cultivation to submit comments. Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All seven of the other adult-use states allow at least some adults to grow their own cannabis at home, and every state allows adults to brew their own beer.
The law directs the board to study home cultivation in light of federal policy and consider options. One option would be for the state to oversee home cultivation activities directly. Another option would provide more local control. A third option would simply leave the law as is and continue to prohibit non-medical home cultivation.
Earlier this month, patients practically begged the New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee to approve HB 1622, a bill that would allow them to grow up to two mature marijuana plants until a dispensary opens within 30 miles of their residences.
Sadly, even though this bill had already passed the New Hampshire House with 227-73 (76%) support, and even though all five senators on the committee had previously supported home cultivation, the committee refused to move HB 1622 forward. Only Senator John Reagan(R-Deerfield) spoke up on behalf of patients who can’t afford to wait for dispensaries to open, but his appeals fell on deaf ears. After very little discussion, the committee voted 3-1 to recommend the bill for “interim study,” which would effectively kill it for the year.
It’s clear that the Senate has no actual intention of studying this bill. Less than a week after the Senate refused to consider a House-approved decriminalization bill, senators are again attempting to avoid a vote on whether or not patients should be allowed to grow their own cannabis.
We are pleased that the Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to approve HB 573 and send it forward to the Senate floor. However, we were sad to watch as the bill was compromised by several amendments that were insisted upon by Gov. Hassan.
The worst was the removal of the home cultivation provision. If no patient or caregiver in the state is allowed to cultivate, patients will likely have to wait two or more years for safe, legal access through alternative treatment centers. Another offensive amendment requires patients to secure written permission before using marijuana on private property.
Senators felt they had little choice but to accept these mandates, because to do otherwise would be to risk having the bill vetoed. MPP held a press conference following the Senate vote, and our concerns were reported by media outlets including NHPR, The Union-Leader, The Concord Monitor, and The Nashua Telegraph.
Please share this news and add your voice to the voices of patients like Clayton Holton, who published this excellent letter in The Portsmouth Herald, and Hardy Macia, a cancer patient who recorded a sad, compelling video message for Gov. Hassan from his hospital bed.
As New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan attempts to strip the provisions allowing patients to grow a limited amount of marijuana from the legislation being considered in the state Senate this week, patients are speaking up.
Clayton Holton, a 28-year-old with muscular dystrophy and an outspoken supporter of medical marijuana, wrote in Seacoast Online:
I have spent the better part of a decade asking New Hampshire legislators to allow patients like me to use medical marijuana, and it finally appears that a medical marijuana bill is going to pass this year. Unfortunately, it appears this law may not be of any benefit to patients like me who are fighting for our lives.
HB 573, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, allows patients to access medical marijuana from one of five state-regulated alternative treatment centers or grow up to three cannabis plants. The centers will not begin serving patients for at least two years, and many patients, including myself, cannot wait that long for relief. Thus, it is critical that we be allowed to grow for ourselves or designate a caregiver to do so for us, as the bill allows.
Sadly, Gov. Maggie Hassan is now insisting that home cultivation be removed from the bill before she will be willing to sign it. This means patients will continue to suffer without legal access to marijuana. Frankly, I do not expect to live another two years, so for me, this may as well be a death sentence.
While Gov. Hassan should be commended for supporting the rights of patients to use the medicine that works best for them, she needs to realize that we should not be forcing patients to either wait years or put themselves in danger getting their medicine from the criminal market.
If you live in New Hampshire, please contact Gov. Hassan and ask her to remove her opposition to patient cultivation.