Marijuana in the Washington Legislature: What will pass?

Marijuana in the Washington Legislature

Each year, hundreds of proposed bills, amendments, initiatives, referendums, resolutions, and vetoes work their way through the Washington legislature. As elected officials work to represent their constituents, it only makes sense the state has a number of cannabis-related bills worming through Washington’s governmental pipeline. While the state continues full-immersion style into marijuana reform, Washington lawmakers have been busy at work crafting policy to achieve three interrelated goals:

  1. Logical economic or judicial evolutions to accommodate increased market size or new information
  2. Strengthening state laws in an effort to protect residents from any possible federal threats from the Attorney General or Trump Administration
  3. Ensuring product safety in a time of, for lack of better term, health consensus

As of April 2017, over 130 bills either introduced or carried into 2017 feature the word “Marijuana”. Of those, three have passed the Washington legislature, with two other bills having passed the House. Here is what we know:

Pending: HB 1060

HB 1060 was passed in the House on March 3rd, 2017 and has since been read in the Washington Senate once. Currently, the bill is being reviewed by the Rules Committee. Here is how it would change Washington’s marijuana laws:

Under current Washington medical marijuana laws, minors under 18 may only be given treatment at school if – and only if – the school district adopts a policy to allow such behavior. Due to the implications of Federal funding on public education and lack of guidance from the state when implementing or adhering to the use of medical marijuana by a minor at school, the market provided scarce educational options for parents and children in regions of the state.

In an effort to provide equal access to education to those children who cannot otherwise manage their condition’s symptoms without medical marijuana can be enrolled and, under the guidance of their parent or designated caregiver, receive treatment while at school. The bill requires school districts to create a policy authorizing parents, guardians, and designated caregivers to administer marijuana to a student for medical purposes while the student is at school, on school property, on the school bus, or even at a school-sponsored event.

Pending: HB 2021

Passing the House March 7th, 2017, the bill has been passed along to the Washington Senate where it was referred to the Health Care Committee. When Washington overhauled their medical marijuana program in 2015, the state created a database for patients. Though the database is voluntary, registration is incentivized by increased legal protections, larger possession and grow limits, and access to cooperative grows. Though medical patients who do not register on the database may still grow marijuana at home, the program does not allow dispensaries to sell seeds or immature plants to these patients.

 

Under marijuana laws in Washington, cooperative growhouses must be licensed by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, allowing the growers to purchase tracked seeds and immature plants for their garden. HB 2021, as proposed by the Washington legislature, would give non-registered patients the ability to legally buy seeds from licensed dispensaries.

Passed: HB 1462

HB 1462 has major implications for the edible segment of Washington’s marijuana laws. First, the bill has passed both the House and Senate, being signed by the Senate president on April 17th, 2017. It has not yet been signed by the Governor.

In an effort to further ensure public health and safety at this time of expansion in the industry, the Washington legislature has overwhelmingly passed what will become a Department of Agriculture (DOA) endorsement for edible product manufacturers. The bill authorizes instructs the DOA to regulate the infused-product industry in line with every other food processor in the state. In so doing, the DOA is charged with the creation of an endorsement, similar to a license for food processors, for cannabis-infused product manufacturers. The endorsement would be applied for and would be renewed annually at a cost not decided.

Passed: HB 1250

HB 1250 has less of an direct impact on a marijuana business, functioning only to allow marijuana businesses a bit of wiggle room in the products they may sell. Exclusively, this allows a person or entity to donate or sell lockboxes to a dispensary. The lockboxes would be provided to medical patients or recreational consumers at the cost of acquisition or, in most cases, for free and would function as a secure storage place for marijuana. s a clarifying note. That being said, the bill does not require any action from a dispensary or retail marijuana facility. Instead, it is on the judgement of the dispensary whether they will carry such lockboxes.

Read more about it here.

Passed: HB 2064

HB 2064 passed both chambers of the Washington legislature, being signed by the Senate president on the 17th of April, 2017. Simply put: the bill will separate and remove hemp from the definition of “marijuana” and “controlled substance” as accepted in the Washington Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA currently lists hemp as an illicit substance which is illegal to produce or possess.

Though the federal government has taken steps to allow states more freedom when processing hemp or hemp products, the Washington legislature has – unless it is vetoed – ensured the future of industrial hemp production in the state. By changing the definition of “marijuana” in the CSA, hemp is no longer included in the CSA.

For more information, check this out.