Washington Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Marijuana Sharing and Distribution of Seeds/Plants to Patients

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law yesterday that makes several positive changes to the state’s marijuana law.

Included in Senate Bill 5131 is the legalization of sharing marijuana from one individual aged 21 and older to another individual also at least 21 years of age. Up to this point sharing marijuana – including passing a joint or bong – has remained a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, despite the fact that marijuana possession was legalized by voters in 2012.

The new law also allows licensed producers of marijuana to legally sell marijuana seeds and plants to medical marijuana patients 18 and older, which are allowed to cultivate cannabis even though it remains illegal for personal use. However, the new law also directs Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board to study the feasibility of allowing everyone 21 and older to grow marijuana.

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Washington House Unanimously Passes Bill to Regulate Marijuana Edibles Same as Other Foods

A Washington bill requiring state officials to regulate marijuana-infused food products the same as other foods has been passed unanimously by the state’s House of Representatives.

Marijuana cupcakes. (Photo: Jason Redmond/Reuters)

House Bill 1462 has also been approved by the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development Committee. The proposal “Requires the department of agriculture to regulate marijuana-infused edible processing the same as other food processing under the state food processing act.”

It also “Requires a marijuana processor that processes, packages, or makes marijuana-infused edibles to obtain an annual marijuana-infused edible endorsement.”

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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.

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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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