WA Bill to Legalize Cannabis Cultivation, Shutdown Dispensaries, Unanimously Passes Senate Committee
Washington State’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has given unanimous approval to Senate Bill 5519, a proposal to legalize cannabis cultivation for everyone 21 and older, while shutting down dispensaries and reducing the amount of cannabis a patient can possess and cultivate.
Senate Bill 5519 would combine the medical and recreational cannabis systems by phasing out collective gardens and dispensaries beginning summer, 2016. To accomodate these closures, the Liquor Control Board – which would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board – would be directed to increase the number of licensed cannabis retail outlets, with these outlets given the opportunity to apply for a medical cannabis endorsement indicating that they’re knowledgeable in the use of medical cannabis (employees would be required to attend a Department of Health-approved class to receive the endorsement).
Qualified patients would be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver to receive cannabis tax-free, with low-THC cannabis products being tax-free without a waiver.
The proposal would legalize the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for everyone 21 and older. The bill would simultaneously decrease the amount of plants a patient can cultivate from fifteen to six, though they could apply for a waiver from the Department of Health to cultivate more. The amount of cannabis a patient can possess would be reduced from twenty four ounces, to three.
An alternative proposal was recently introduced – House Bill 2058 – which would provide defined arrest protection for patients without reducing possession limits, and would allow dispensaries to become legally licensed with the state.