Washington medical marijuana patients might be able to grow their own cannabis plants at home after all, a move that could shake up the expected market for retail shops.
The state Liquor Control Board has signaled it will officially recommend to lawmakers that MMJ patients be able to cultivate cannabis at home, rejecting proposals by three other government agencies that have come out against all home growing.
Under the liquor board plan, qualified patients and caregivers could grow up to six plants.
The final decision on this issue is extremely important for Washington marijuana businesses.
Hydroponics stores and companies that sell small-scale growing equipment could lose business if the state completely bans home cultivation, which is currently allowed for medical cannabis.
On the other side of the equation, a ban would benefit state-licensed retail shops, commercial cannabis grows and edibles companies by forcing everyone to buy marijuana. That could lead to tens of millions of additional dollars in sales for these companies.
The Liquor Control Board’s suggestion on home grows will carry a lot of weigh with lawmakers, as the agency is developing the overall list of recommendations for marijuana rules and regulations. Board members will vote on the final list of recommendations this week and send them to the Legislature by Jan. 1.
While lawmakers can change the recommendations, most of the major suggestions likely will stand.