Today, a bill hit Olympia that would allow everyone in the state over the age of 21 to grow a few marijuana plants (and deploy ladybugs to eat marijuana-loving aphids).
Yesterday, a bill hit Olympia that would allow everyone in the state over the age of 21 to grow a few marijuana plants (and deploy ladybugs to eat marijuana-loving aphids). Kelly O

Yesterday was another lively one for medical marijuana.

While the Department of Health held its disciplinary hearing for a 74 year-old naturopathic doctor/nurse practitioner who was busted for giving a medical-marijuana authorization (while recommending cannabis lotion) to an undercover DOH investigator, a flurry of proposals about medical cannabis continued battling their way through Olympia.

The most prominent one at the moment comes from Republican Sen. Ann Rivers, written under the influence of the millionaire-funded lobbying group the Washington CannaBusiness Association, whose members include former Mircosoftie Martin Tobias and businesses associated with David Meinert (nightlife magnate), Ian Eisenberg (of Uncle Ike's pot shop), and others. As you might expect, the Republican and CannaBusiness-driven bill 5052 is not beloved among medical-marijuana types and home growers.

Yesterday, in part to combat 5052's more market-consolidating provisions, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles introduced Senate Bill 6083—a narrowly focused, bipartisan law that would allow any person over 21 in Washington State to grow up to six plants, possess up to eight ounces, and give away up to one ounce of marijuana. (It prohibits a financial transaction, stipulating that "remuneration for the provision of this marijuana is prohibited.")

This, Kohl-Welles argues, is good for both recreational users and medical-marijuana patients who don't want to be forced into a recreational shop to buy what they could grow for themselves.

The bill began its life as a home-grow amendment to 5052 mentioned above, which Sen. Rivers emphatically rejected during Senate floor debate on Feb 13. "My colleagues in Colorado," she began, "when asked about their cannabis system—their marijuana system—what one thing they would change, universally they say Do. Not. Allow. Home. Grows. It is a genie you cannot put back in the bottle. It is difficult to regulate. They say over and over, 'don't go there, don't go there, you'll wish you hadn't.'"

Yesterday afternoon, Sen. Kohl-Welles—who has been working on cannabis issues for years, and had her own bill crowded out by Sen. Rivers's this session—said she's never heard more elaboration on that argument, or who these Colorado colleagues might be. "If you find anything out, let me know," she joked.

Sen. Rivers has not yet responded to a request for comment, but it's not difficult to imagine that she and the CannaBusiness Association would look poorly on home grows, preferring that marijuana users buy their products at their shops. (As Alison Holcomb, the ACLU attorney and architect of the state's recreational cannabis law said to Heidi Groover back in January: "It really does seem true that money ruins everything.")

But Rep. Brian Blake, who proposed a parallel House Bill this afternoon (HB 2196), compares home growing to home brewing or winemaking. "Just like alcohol, marijuana can be used safely and responsibly," he said in a press release announcing the bill, "so it makes sense to allow adults to home grow their own if they want to."

Sen. Kohl-Welles says she anticipates a few different kinds of opposition to SB 6083: potential access to minors (as opposed to all the weed minors can't get their hands on already?), an irritated-neighbors argument, and social conservatives who'll always vote against anything marijuana-related.

The reaction so far? "I don't think anybody knows about it yet," Sen. Kohl-Welles said late yesterday afternoon. "Everybody's been in committees all day."