Once Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana sales two years ago, some pot advocates thought that everything would be smooth sailing from that point on. Unfortunately, the process has had more than its share of hiccups since then, with retailers slow to be approved for licenses and supply shortages hindering the industry's growth.
One byproduct of these problems has been a trend toward purchasing pot from medical marijuana dispensaries - even though buyers are consuming it recreationally. That's because medical marijuana cards are easy to obtain, there's a steady supply of product, and there's already plenty of dispensaries open across the state.
Naturally, some lawmakers want to fix this problem by imposing tighter regulations on either medical marijuana dispensaries or pot sales in general. But one publication has a novel solution to this entire dilemma: legalizing home-grown marijuana.
As outlined in the Seattle Post-Intellgiencer's "Pot Blog," here are some of the concepts being floated in draft legislation being spearheaded by state senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle:
Any Washington resident over 21 years of age would be allowed to grow up to six plants of marijuana in his or her home for personal use. No medical marijuana licensing would be necessary.
This home-grown pot could not be sold; although up to an ounce could be shared with another person who is of age.
People who need medical marijuana but don't wish to grow it themselves can obtain it tax-free from licensed retailers. These people would have to have their physician contact the Washington Department of Health in order to obtain a medical marijuana ID that makes them eligible for this tax break.
Proponents say that this law is bound to be more enforceable and easier to follow than some new byzantine government bureaucracy that oversees medical marijuana only. Plus, it would allow recreational and medical pot retailers to operate under a single set of regulations, while consumers could buy their marijuana at any licensed retailer (with the only difference being that medical marijuana patients would pay not tax on their purchases).
Kohl-Welles says she plans on introducing a formal bill in less than a month's time. What do you think about this approach to solving Washington's medical (and recreational) marijuana problems?