[Canniseur: This definitely is a case of follow the money. You’ll see who is behind this asinine concept. Homegrown should be an American right, just like home brew. Everyone needs to voice their opinions to counteract this movement. ]
Illinois is about to make history as the first state to legalize recreational cannabis and allow commercial sales through the state legislature instead of via a voter initiative, pending the governor’s signature. But this historic piece of legislation almost died along the way over the increasingly contentious issue of homegrow.
Eventually, lawmakers compromised by allowing only medical cannabis patients to cultivate for themselves; recreational consumers can’t grow at all. This may sound like politics as usual, but it actually represents a worrying trend for those who believe that the right to grow your own cannabis is an essential part of a truly equitable legalization plan.
Currently, every state—except for Washington—that allows recreational cannabis dispensaries also allows homegrow. So far, none of these states have seriously considered rescinding the policy, and in Washington, there’s a growing push to add homegrow to the mix.
So what gives? Why has growing six plants at home become so controversial?
Illinois lawmakers actually passed an admirably equity-centered legalization bill, other than deciding that non-medical-patient adults can’t grow their own. And now lawmakers in New York and New Jersey appear poised to make the same mistake when considering their own legalization bills.
To find out why, let’s follow the money a bit.
It’s Like Home Brewing, But for Cannabis
In a recent interview with Cannabis Wire, New York State Senator Diane Savino described homegrow as a major sticking point in trying to pass legalization.
“The truth is, if you’re going to have a legal, regulated market, it’s hard to manage homegrow. I don’t know how you really do that. And every state that has it, has said to us, ‘Don’t do it,’” said Savino.
Savino’s office did not reply to several inquiries from Leafly seeking clarification on which states advised against homegrow and for what specific reasons. But apparently she hasn’t spoken with Shaleen Title—one of five members of the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts—because Title put “Allow Homegrow” at #1 in her widely disseminated list, “10 Must-Haves in Any Cannabis Legalization Bill.”
Meanwhile, we do know that some of the biggest players in New York’s nascent cannabis industry have been aggressively lobbying against allowing individuals to cultivate their own cannabis for personal use.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the advocacy website Marijuana Moment gained access to a 29-page document that was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association (NYMCIA) roughly a month before he announced a legalization plan that specifically excluded homegrow.
The NYMCIA represents a who’s who of Big Marijuana in the state, including Acreage NY (featuring John Boehner), and MedMen (yup, those guys). The industry group’s policy statement featured an entire chapter titled “The Fallacy of Home Grow” that cited five reasons why allowing at-home personal cultivation poses a supposed risk to public safety.
Here are those five reasons, and my response to each:
1. Homegrow will make it impossible for the state to eliminate the black market.
An adult growing six plants securely in their backyard or basement no more represents a dangerous black market in cannabis than someone who brews small batches of beer at home.
Read the rest at Leafly: