Question: I have a small parcel of land in Yakima and for the last couple years I’ve grown wine grapes for myself and friends. The wine we made did pretty well, so I’m wondering if I can plant marijuana this year instead, now that it’s legal in Washington state. Also, can I sell small amounts that I grow, like I did with the grapes at our local farmer’s market?
Answer: Unless you have glaucoma, better stick to the moonshine.
In 2012, the states of Washington and Colorado passed laws making personal, recreational use of marijuana by adults legal. Washington’s initiative 502 legalized non-medical, recreational use of marijuana by people 21 years of age or older. However, only licensed growers, called “producers” under the law, can legally raise pot plants under Washington’s recreational use law.
So, while recreational use of pot is legal, recreational pot users cannot grow their own marijuana under Washington law. On the other hand, a medical marijuana patient in Washington may legally grow a limited amount of plants for medicinal use. Upon the written recommendation of a physician, a person with certain specified medical conditions is allowed to possess up to 24 ounces of medical marijuana and may grow up to 15 plants for his or her own medicinal use under Washington’s medical marijuana law.
Production and retail of recreational marijuana in Washington is administered by the Washington Liquor Control Board. In order to obtain a marijuana producer’s license, a person must pay an application fee, an annual renewal fee, and show that the applicant and his or her property meet the requirements set out in the Washington Liquor Control Board regulations. Among other conditions, a licensed producer may grow marijuana onlyin an enclosed area, either a greenhouse or other structure, or a field with a physical barrier that blocks the plants from public view. An applicant for a producer’s license must also submit to random criminal history checks.
Under initiative 502 and the Liquor Control Board regulations, only licensed retailers may sell the drug. Under the marijuana retail regulations, an applicant for a retail license must pay an application fee of $250, an annual renewal fee of $1,000, submit fingerprints for random criminal history checks, and meet various additional financial and other requirements. Licensed marijuana retailers may legally sell to buyers 21 years of age or older.
You seem to have an admirable DIY ethic, given your home fermentation operation. But, you cannot legally apply your talents to baking, cooking, or infusing marijuana-based goodies. So, let go of those dreams of “kind” Red Velvet cupcakes (dangerous in so many ways). Washington regulations allow only licensed processors to create consumable marijuana-infused products. As with the licensing of producers and retailers, the licensing of processors in Washington involves fees and detailed requirements that must be met, including labeling, testing, and quantity of drug in each processed item.
Check out the sites linked above to find out what Washington law allows and requires. Get familiar with state law, follow the rules, and enjoy your Evergreen State liberty.