Why Homegrown Medical Marijuana Is a Hard Sell

Marijuana plants grow in a home garden.

Utahans can go to one of fourteen state-licensed pharmacies to buy a variety of Medical Marijuana products. They can buy everything from raw flour to tinctures and oils. Still, even though medical weed is legal in Utah, users cannot grow their own plants at home. And they are not alone. Many of the other states that allow Medical Cannabis do not allow home growing.

Truth be told, homegrown Medical Marijuana is a hard sell. Lawmakers just don’t want any part of it. They may cite any number of reasons, depending on the audience being addressed. But when you get right down to it, resistance to home growing is about three big issues.

1. Quality and Safety

Utah is among the many states with strict regulations governing quality and safety. As Utahmarijuana.org explains, their regulations cover everything from THC content to how processors can turn plants into usable medical products. All of that goes out the window if people start growing their own plants at home.

Lawmakers want to maintain strict control in order to guarantee patients are getting high quality products that are safe to use. Allowing home growing reduces their ability to keep a tight lid on things. As the thinking goes, home growing opens consumers to a myriad of potential risks lawmakers are trying to protect them from.

For right or wrong, the most conservative states want desperately to keep their medical programs strictly medical. In so doing, they provide patients with needed medicines while simultaneously protecting them from perceived harm.

2. Protecting License Holders

Maintaining maximum control forces states to limit the number of licenses they issue. Simply put, not anyone looking to grow Medical Marijuana in Utah can do so. Growers must be licensed, and state regulators have only issued a certain number of them.

Allowing home growing would be harmful to those growers who have paid large sums of money to obtain their licenses. It would make it difficult for them to make a profit. And if they cannot make money, they pull out. The end result could eventually be an insufficient number of growers to keep weed dispensaries stocked.

In essence, what you have is a situation in which lawmakers don’t want to touch home growing because they’re trying to protect license holders. It is a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ sort of thing. Growers have done their part by paying their licensing fees and complying with state regulations. Lawmakers are doing their part by not allowing competition from home growers.

3. Controlling the Recreational Market

Finally, the most conservative states are reticent to embrace home growing because they suspect doing so will make it tougher to keep a lid on the recreational market. As the thinking goes, home growing is nearly impossible to control once it is allowed. That frees home-based growers to produce plants they can either use recreationally or sell to other recreational users.

The prospect of unregulated home growing scares the daylights out of some lawmakers. They see home growing as an open door to creating industry they would no longer be able to control. Are their concerns legitimate? Perhaps. Studying what home brewing has done for alcohol consumption might provide a bit more clarity to lawmakers who really want to know.

No matter how you cut it, states resistant to unregulated Medical Marijuana believe it is best to stay away from home growing altogether. They want to keep everything in a highly regulated environment through which control can be maintained. They will continue to resist home growing until they believe they have a compelling reason not to.

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