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Among the states that have legalized recreational cannabis, Washington was a pioneer. Back in 2012, the Evergreen State was the first to move forward with legalization, along with Colorado.

Over a decade later, Washington is now playing catch up.

Since Washington and Colorado broke down the doors in 2012, 24 of 50 states have now legalized recreational cannabis. Of those 24, only five still prohibit home-grow. Washington is one of those five. That’s right, the first state to legalize cannabis is one of the few that still criminalizes growing your own.

Lawmakers in Olympia, once on the vanguard, now have a chance to bring the state in line with other cannabis-friendly states. State legislators this session will consider if Washington will allow cannabis to be grown at home by consumers with House Bill 2194. If passed by the Legislature, adults in Washington state would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants in their residence — with as many as 10 plants allowed per household.

Think of it as treating cannabis like home brew.

As it stands now, of-age Washingtonians can produce a reasonable amount of beer through clandestine home brewing without any sort of license. You may not be able to turn it around to compete with Anheuser-Busch on the open market, but you can brew enough to satisfy yourself.

When it comes to cannabis, that’s currently illegal.

Colorado opened its legal market well over a year before Washington did, despite voters in the two states passing legalization measures on the same November election night in 2012. The fact that Washington still refuses to allow home-grow is a vestige of the cautious approach from over a decade past.

Medical cannabis patients have been allowed to grow up to six plants for years now, but the recreational market has been treated separately.

If HB 2194 is passed, the state’s relatively newer recreational rules would start to catch up with its medical regulations.

HB 2194 advanced out of the House Committee on Regulated Substances and Gaming by a 7-4 vote late last month. State Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, is the only local, east side legislator to sponsor the bill.

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