As I’ve often said, there are several central things that legalization must include if it is to live up to the name. One of the main components legalization must come with is allowance for home growing.
As lawmakers in New York continue to battle over adult-use legalization as time runs out, one of the new bills put forward would include home growing of up to six plants by those 21 years of age and older – something not included in Governor Cuomo’s legalization plan.
Not only is home growing a necessary part of legalization, it is inevitable. In a world where marijuana is being sold out of stores all across town, how would a prohibition on home growing be enforced? A ban on home growing is hard enough to enforce under full prohibition, how would it work under quasi-legalization?
And along with legalization comes advances in cultivation technology like automated grow boxes, making stealth growing even easier, if necessary. But it shouldn’t be necessary. What purpose is served by trying to track down those growing a few plants in their house in an era of retail shops and home delivery and social consumption lounges?
People growing marijuana plants at home are not a danger to anyone else and they are not infringing on the rights of anyone else. Why should people without transportation or who are too sick to get to a retail store or dispensary have to suffer, criminalized for growing their cannabis at home?
The overall purpose of legalization should always be to leave these people – cannabis consumers, sellers and growers – alone. They are not hurting you. They are not creating nefarious chemical concoctions in their homes. It’s a plant, something that many seem to forget. It’s just a plant.
Whatever happens in New York or elsewhere going forward, it’s clear that legalization is going to happen through uneven evolutions across the country: social use lounges here, less restrictions on marijuana delivery somewhere else, added medical marijuana qualifying conditions in a third place, credit and banking access for cannabis companies in another place. There may never be an end to attempts to improve cannabis laws in any real sense; it will just be a constant slog forward.
In many ways, that’s a shame. All of this energy wasted in battling over the precise legality of a plant that has been on this planet for millions of years. I guess if there is one thing humans are proficient at, it’s wasting time and energy.