Multiple Changes to Washington’s Medical Cannabis Law Now in Effect

washington-flagSeveral provisions found in Washington State’s Senate Bill 5052, signed by Governor Jay Inslee in April, go into effect today, July 24th. Although most of the changes are regressive, such as eliminating in-home collective gardens, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries have been added to the list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions.

One change that goes into effect today is a ban on the use of butane in the production of hash oil, unless the individual or company producing the substance has a license from the state’s Liquor Control Board. This means that currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries will need to cease producing and (unless it was produced before the new law went into effect) selling butane hash oil, commonly referred to as BHO.

Read moreMultiple Changes to Washington’s Medical Cannabis Law Now in Effect

King County Sheriff and Prosecutor Call for Immediate Closure of Dispensaries

Russ Hauge (far right), a member of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, also attended and spoke at the conference with Urquahar (far left) and Satterberg (center).
Russ Hauge (far right), a member of WA’s Liquor Control Board, also attended and spoke at the conference with Urquahart (far left) and Satterberg (center).

King County Sheriff John Urquhart and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg held a press conference today calling for the immediate closure of all medical cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated King County.

During the conference, which was held on the sidewalk in front of a sheriff’s office in White Center, Satterberg threatened that dispensaries which are still in operation a month from now can expect to “receive a visit”.

Prior to the press conference, dispensaries in unincorporated King County – including two popular cannabis farmers markers – were sent a cease and desist letter telling them they must shut down unless they receive a license from the state. This is despite the fact that such a license does not yet exist for medical cannabis.

Read moreKing County Sheriff and Prosecutor Call for Immediate Closure of Dispensaries

WA Liquor Control Board to Allow Roughly 400 Dispensaries to Become Licensed Outlets

washington-flagOn July 24th, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and will be tasked with deciding which of the state’s currently operating medical cannabis collective gardens – which are forced to close by July 1st, 2016 – will be allowed to become licensed and legal outlets.

According to the Associated Press, the Board will use a merit-based system to decide which outlets to license. The Board estimates that 825 outlets will apply for a license, and they expect to approve about half.

Read moreWA Liquor Control Board to Allow Roughly 400 Dispensaries to Become Licensed Outlets

WA Liquor Control Board Confused About New Medical Cannabis Law

walcbAs part of the recent passage of Senate Bill 5052 in Washington State, those under 21 are no longer allowed to participate in collective gardens, or even so much as enter a dispensary. The law establishes a misdemeanor penalty for those under 21 who do participate in collectives. However, the state’s Liquor Control Board (LCB), the entity tasked with overseeing the state’s cannabis laws, appears to be completely confused on the subject, and is giving bad advice to medical cannabis establishments.

We received a tip from several collectives in Washington that the LCB has told them that they can continue to serve those ages 18 to 21.

Read moreWA Liquor Control Board Confused About New Medical Cannabis Law

Washington: Those Under 21 Can No Longer Participate in Medical Cannabis Collective Gardens

jarIn April, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5052 into law, despite statewide protest from patient advocates. The majority of this measure, including the portion that shuts down medical cannabis dispensaries and the provision that drastically reduces the amount of cannabis patients can possess and cultivate, doesn’t go into effect until July 1st, 2016. However, some parts of the law, including a section prohibiting those under 21 from participating in collective gardens, went into immediate effect.

Section 32 of SB 5052 clearly states that no one under 21 may participate in a collective garden, regardless of whether or not they’re a qualified patient. A designated provider is authorized to purchase cannabis for those under 21, but the patient is not allowed to enter the facility themselves.

Read moreWashington: Those Under 21 Can No Longer Participate in Medical Cannabis Collective Gardens

Washington: $25 Million in Legal Recreational Cannabis Sold in April, Over $6 Million in Taxes Garnered

cannabismoneyThere was nearly $25 million in recreational cannabis sold in Washington in April, the largest amount sold in the state since legal sales began last July.

In total, there was $24.8 million in legal recreational cannabis sold in April, resulting in $6.2 million in taxes for the state. This is according to recent numbers released by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (soon to be renamed the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board).

Read moreWashington: $25 Million in Legal Recreational Cannabis Sold in April, Over $6 Million in Taxes Garnered

Proposal to Drastically Alter WA’s Medical Cannabis Law Approved by Senate Committee

A proposal to drasticallyMarijuana plants are displayed for sale at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle alter Washington State’s medical cannabis law has been approved 11 to 2 by the Senate Health Care Committee, and is scheduled for a public hearing today at 3:30PM in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, where its passage will set it up for a full Senate vote.

If approved into law, Senate Bill 5052 would combine the medical and recreational cannabis systems, would shut down all currently operating medial cannabis dispensaries and would establish a patient database, requiring all patients who wish to receive arrest protection to submit to a mandatory registry (which has been opposed by activists in the state for years given it would require patients to put their name on a list admitting to a federal crime).

Read moreProposal to Drastically Alter WA’s Medical Cannabis Law Approved by Senate Committee

Washington State Garners $16 Million in Taxes from Legal Cannabis in 2014

With less thanmoney 100 stores operating throughout the state, and despite sales not taking starting until July, Washington State garnered over $16 million in excise taxes from over $64 million in cannabis sold in 2014, according to recent figures released by the state’s Liquor Control Board.

In total, 99 cannabis retail outlets have been licensed to sale cannabis in Washington, though not all of them are currently operating. The Liquor Control Board plans to eventually distribute licenses to 334 cannabis stores. Of the stores currently operating, New Vansterdam in Vancouver brought in the most sales, with $2,748,875 sold. Herbal Nation ($2.6 million) and Cannabis City ($2,469,905), both in Seattle, were the second and third in total sales.

Read moreWashington State Garners $16 Million in Taxes from Legal Cannabis in 2014

Seattle Issues Hundreds of Cease and Desist Letters to Dispensaries Ordering Them to Shut Down

The City of Seattle has issued over 300 cease and desist letters to dispensaries throughSeattle-skyline-space-needleout the city, ordering them to shut down by July 1st, 2015, unless they can obtain a license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, despite no such license existing for medical cannabis facilities.

On Thursday last week, the city sent out letters to all businesses deemed to be engaged in “major marijuana activity”, defined as any activity involving 45 or more plants, or more than 72 ounces of cannabis. The letter reads as follows:

Read moreSeattle Issues Hundreds of Cease and Desist Letters to Dispensaries Ordering Them to Shut Down

Washington: Liquor Control Board Calls for Cannabis Cultivation Limit to be Quadrupled

Washington State Liquor Control Board Spokesman Brian Smith announcedcannabud Friday that the group is proposing that the state more than quadruple its legal limit for cannabis cultivation. The Board is calling for the amount of cannabis allowed to be grown throughout the state from 2 million square feet to 8.5 million.

The proposed change is in response to legal cannabis shops in the state not being able to meet demand because of the limited amount of producers. Some producers, looking to take advantage of the situation, have been charging exorbitant prices, sometimes $25 or $30 a gram. The hope is that such a large increase in allowable cannabis being cultivated will increase the competitive marketing, subsequently driving down prices for shop owners and consumers.

Read moreWashington: Liquor Control Board Calls for Cannabis Cultivation Limit to be Quadrupled