The fight for proper legalization of cannabis and homegrow continues in the State of Washington, even though tourists can come to buy an ounce of cannabis here, citizens don’t have a right to grow for themselves. Washington State citizens don’t have a chance to be adequately educated through experience on what it takes to grow the plant.
Passing A Bill
Homegrow almost happened last legislative session with bills in the House and Senate by homegrow activists and NORML’s lobbyist but its a convoluted process.
First, there were the bills. Two separate bills went through were HB2559 and companion bill SB6482, based off of HB1212. One for the House of Representatives and the other for the Senate, a bill needs to go through both to be considered by the legislators. With the same verbiage, the two were needed to pass through their perspective chambers simultaneously, so it could be later merged as one to be signed by the Governor. You could run one bill through both, but this will take twice as long.
Another reason for the two bills is that each chamber is presently pointing fingers at the other as to why they should care about this, why should they even bother. According to NORML lobbyist Bailey Hirschburg “With homegrow, we were regularly told, “Why should we vote for it if the other chamber won’t take action?” Hence two bills both trying to move simultaneously.”
But wait there’s more (said in a coked out Billy Banks voice) before their perspective legislators will hear a bill, it has to be approved by several committees in each chamber. The House and Senate both have committees on various topics, and both have a Rules (leadership) committee. The rules committee decides if it needs to be assigned to other sub-committees, and which ones. Those committees can do any of the following: Not hear the bill, hear it but not take any action, hear it and pass without recommendation (meaning committee members are indifferent) or give it a pass (With or without Amendments or suggestions for change).
Once it passes each assigned committee the bill is returned to the Rules Committee where they decide to pass it on to the legislator to be voted on the floor or on to another Committee, this is where things get murky. The Rules Committee is comprised of the chamber’s party leadership, people who are supposed to look out for the will of their constituents (people they represent) which in this case is the Washington State citizen who in turn is the Washington State cannabis consumer. At this point in the process, the Rules Committee can let it pass for a floor vote or send it to another committee for some rulemaking consideration for the financial concerns.
The bills failed in their perspective chambers, not due to any lack of will of the people (which can be seen by the outnumbering pro messages sent to the WSLCB via their “Homegrow Study Report”); but due to the still lingering reefer sadness that resides in the minds of those in charge of enforcing policy for cannabis and the politicians who are suppose to serve the will of the people.
Transparency is weak, a bill can be passed from committee to committee until it dies or as in the case of the Senate, the Rules Committee assigned the bill to a Committee that didn’t even hear the bill making it, so politicians don’t have to take a stance against a billion dollar industry or one for social reform.
The people supporting SB6482 couldn’t get a hearing in the assigned Labor and Finance Committee, stopped by Senator Karen Keiser the Committee leader who represents parts of Burien, Normandy Park, Seatac, Kent, and Des Moines. In her infinite wisdom, she chooses that this is not important enough to be considered by the people when her district holds recreation shops.
In the House of Representatives the Rules Committee didn’t send the bill to die; instead, it was passed by the Commerce and Gaming which you think would be efficient enough but from there was handed to the Finance Committee headed by Representative Kristine Lytton where it died.
In both cases where the bills died the Committees were headed by Democrats, the supposed justice warriors of politics but yet don’t find it important enough for me to have a fundamental right in my home with this thing we call legalization in the United States of America or at least in Washington State.
If not for the passion of activist (or business as in the case of SB5052) and NORML nothing cannabis related would ever get through the bicameral State process and as seen on the Federal level. You can’t drain a swamp there’s no plug for. Cannabis issues are not issues for State legislators when they have potholes, budgets, and campaign promises to fill but it is to me, it’s one of the few ways where we could invoke positive change for all in the country and state we live.
Homegrow for 2019
The homegrow effort is underway and you can help by joining the conversation. Big marijuana is not stepping up for you. Yes, many stores and grows support homegrow but last year I mostly saw activist with no ties to the industry and NORML lobbyists stand up for what’s right, and that’s putting the nail in prohibition.
Washington State is the last holdout State when it comes to an individual’s right, and this is our greatest stain when it comes to equality for its citizens. We need you to help give ideas, contact your legislators in both the House and Senate, be involved. If you would like to help and be a part of the grassroots effort to get homegrow passed please contact Homegrowwashington@gmail.com and ask what you can do or come to the first meeting on September 9th in North Seattle.
The passing of a homegrow bill is more important than ever for the Washington State consumer as the recreational market thrives the average citizen remains ignorant of a product they’re consuming. The present Washington State recreational has created a market of willful ignorance. The average consumer isn’t a gardener but should have a chance. I am more concern about azamax in my cannabis than I am fentanyl and that should be everyone’s priority because it’s more of an actual hazard to my life.
It’s Up To Washington State Citizens To Shape Washington State Law
One of the most common replies to complaints in the original I502 was “we can fix that later.” That the will of the people will prevail to change things and after seeing the actual process and seeing politician’s enthusiasm for the passing homegrow, especially that of the democratic party, it is more evident that people need to step up as consumers and be more involved. We are six years into this so-called experiment, 20 years into Washington State having a form of marijuana legalization.
During the days when medical marijuana was the rule of the land, I was able to buy seeds and clones through storefronts, during this 14 year period before the creation of the recreational market, homegrows, clone and seed purchases were never an issue for the average citizen. Instead, it gave the citizen a chance to be a part of the market because they had a better understanding of the plant by working with the plant.
Homegrow will give the end consumer who chooses to be an enthusiast a better understanding of this beautiful plant because one thing is for sure, not everyone has a green thumb or time, some have higher standards than others, and that’s o.k.