Washington State Marijuana Legalization Supporters, Here’s Your Top Enemy

Several regressive marijuana-related bills have been filed in Washington’s Legislature this year, but two stand out as being particular wrongheaded, including one to repeal legalization entirely; and both were filed by the same person.

brad klippert
Republican State Representative Brad Klippert. (Photo: HROC.us)

This session Representative Brad Klippert filed House Bill 2096 to repeal marijuana prohibition entirely, as well as House Bill 1625 to make it illegal for someone using marijuana legally to do so in the presence of someone under 18. Klippert is a Pentecostal minister with over 20 years of both law enforcement and military experience, making his opposition to marijuana a little less than surprising.

The good news? Both bills are officially dead for the year; neither received a single cosponsor or a public hearing. But beyond that, Klippert, as with all state representatives in Washington, is up for reelection next year. This gives legalization supporters the opportunity to help remove him from office, and soon. And this is definitely something they should do; if Klippert is going to go as far as introducing a measure to repeal voter-approved legalization, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes it’s bringing in for the state and despite its widespread support, he clearly won’t stop working towards regressive proposals until he’s no longer a lawmaker.

Read moreWashington State Marijuana Legalization Supporters, Here’s Your Top Enemy

WA: Bipartisan Bill Would Prevent State from Assisting in Federal Marijuana Crackdowns

A newly filed bipartisan measure would prohibit government employees (including any law enforcement official) in Washington from assisting in a federal crackdown of marijuana businesses that are legal under state law.

Individually packed grams of cannabis being sold in Washington.

House Bill 1895 was filed by State Representative David Sawyer (D), and is cosponsored by Representatives Cary Condotta (R), Brandon Vick and David Taylor (R); it has been assigned to the State Government, Elections & Information Technology Committee.

According to the legislative digest of the measure, it; “Prohibits a public employee from assisting or expending state resources to aid or assist the federal government with respect to an activity or inquiry related to a federal action or effort that might have the effect of impeding, obstructing, or interfering with the functioning or continued operation of the state laws, regulations, procedures, systems, or public agencies related to marijuana.”

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Bill to Allow Unlimited Number of Marijuana Retail Outlets Filed in Washington

Currently the number of marijuana retail outlets in Washington is limited to what the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board feels is best. A newly filed bill in the House of Representatives would change this, allowing an unlimited number of outlets.

This move is one that cannabis advocates have called on for years; to simply let the free market determine the appropriate number of cannabis outlets rather than setting an arbitrary limit that benefits a few select business owners.

According to the legislative digest of House Bill 1096, it; “Eliminates the limit on the total number of marijuana retail outlets that may be licensed or medical marijuana endorsements that may be issued in the state or in any county, city, or town. Allows the state liquor and cannabis board to establish a limit on the total number of marijuana licenses that an individual licensee and all other persons or entities with a financial or other ownership interest in the business operating under the license may hold, in the aggregate.”

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Bill to Legalize Marijuana Growing for Everyone 21+ Filed in Washington Legislature

Washington State Representative Sherry Appleton has filed legislation to legalize marijuana growing for everyone 21 and older.

Marijuana GrowingHouse Bill 1092 would allow anyone in Washington to grow six cannabis plants for personal use, at a private residence. The measure allows up to two people to grow in the same place at once; this means a total of 12 plants can be grown per residence.

Currently Washington’s possession limit for cannabis is one ounce. Given six plants will typically result in much more than this, the bill would alter the law to allow up to 24 ounces to be harvested from these plants; or up to 48 ounces per residence.

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Over $1.4 Billion in Legal Marijuana Sold in Washington State in 2016

There was over $1.4 billion in legal marijuana sold in Washington State in 2016; this is according to data released by the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

legal marijuanaIn total there was approximately $1.41 billion in legal marijuana sold between January 1st and December 31st of last year. This resulted in over $260 million in taxes for the state. These numbers are based off of the sale of roughly 155,000 pounds of cannabis.

According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, 467 cannabis retail outlets have been licensed; 917 licenses have been issues for cannabis producers and processors.

For fiscal year 2017, which began on July 1st, 2016, there has been $697,758,162 in legal cannabis sold, resulting in $130,066,915 in taxes for the state. This is based on the sale of 88,174 pounds of cannabis, and over 6 million units of cannabis extracts; this includes edibles, topicals and oils.

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WA: Legal Cannabis Sales Surpass $140 Million in October, New Record

Washington State has once again broken a record for legal cannabis sales.

salesIn October there was $141,031,391 worth of legal cannabis sold in Washington. This surpasses the previous record set last month, when roughly $139 million was sold. For comparison sake, there was $126 million in legal cannabis sold in the last full month data is available in Colorado, the other state where a legal cannabis market has been up and running for at least a couple years.

The $141 million sold in October resulted in $25,623,780 in taxes for the state.

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More Legal Cannabis Sold in Washington than Colorado in August

money2For the first time legal cannabis sales in Washington State have surpassed those in Colorado.

According to new data released by the Colorado Department of Revenue, there was roughly $126 million in legal cannabis sold in the month of August. Although this is a record for the most amount of legal cannabis ever sold in Colorado in a single month (by comparison there was roughly $100 million sold last August), there was more sold during the same period in Washington State.

In August, there was $130 million in legal cannabis sold in Washington State, which remains the highest amount of legal cannabis sold in a given month in U.S. history.

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Average Legal Cannabis Sales at $4.5 Million Daily in Washington State, Record High

Cannabis SalesLegal cannabis sales in Washington State are on the rapid increase as more outlets open their doors and as patients continue to shift away from the hundreds of unlicensed dispensaries that were forced shut in July. For the month of September the average daily cannabis sales have been $4.5 million, according to data from Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. This is a $300,000 per day increase from the last time we reported on daily cannabis sales in the state roughly a month ago; and that was already a $400,000 increase from the month before.

The state garners over $800,000 in taxes every daily from the $4.5 million in legal cannabis sales. Earlier this month we reported that there was more legal cannabis sold in Washington in August than any state in history, roughly $130 million. From this the state garnered around $25 million in taxes.

Read moreAverage Legal Cannabis Sales at $4.5 Million Daily in Washington State, Record High

Possessing Over 40 Grams of Cannabis, or Sharing Any Amount, is a Felony in Washington State

cannabisjarmotherjonesIt’s been over three and a half years since voters in Washington State gave approval to Initiative 502, legalizing the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. Thousands of arrest have been prevented since the law took effect, and millions in dollars of taxes have been garnered for the state. With this in mind, it can be hard to believe – and is incredibly eyeopening to see –  some of the laws currently on the books in the state regarding cannabis.

For example, possessing up to 28 grams of cannabis is legal if you’re 21 or older, as established above. However, if you possess 41 grams – less than an ounce and a half – you’re committing a class C felony; this is also true of sharing any amount, including passing a joint or pipe to another person who’s 21 or older. If you’re caught, and prosecuted, you could be imprisoned for up to five years.

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WA: Enough Cannabis Sold in Past 7 Months to Fill 45 Million Joints, Enough Oil for 40 Million Dabs

joint1In Washington State, cannabis is big business. Despite the state having a system that puts arbitrarily low caps on the number of cannabis businesses allowed, we recently reported that there is $2.3 million in legal recreational cannabis sold each day, according to the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board. Further data from the Board, however, paints a clearer picture of just how much cannabis is being purchased in the state.

According to the Board, there has been 50,232 pounds of usable cannabis sold during fiscal year 2016, which began on June 30, 2015. This comes out to roughly 22.5 million grams. If you determine that the average joint weights around half a gram (not a particularly large joint), this comes out to around 45 million joints worth of legal cannabis sold in less than 7 months.

Read moreWA: Enough Cannabis Sold in Past 7 Months to Fill 45 Million Joints, Enough Oil for 40 Million Dabs