Washington Pot

It’s been 6 years since the cannabis laws were written in Washington state (Colorado, too) and like all man-made things, some maintenance is needed. The legislature convened yesterday, and I’ll be watching what they do this year.

The first bill filed deals with the oldest bone of contention, distance setbacks of cannabis businesses from places where children congregate. A couple of anti-pot representatives, there aren’t many left, continue to try to expand the provisions with the goal of keeping any cannabis business out of their community. There haven’t been any issues with this provision anywhere, except that existing laws specifying 1000 feet from schools and parks can be quite difficult to work with. I expect very few will be in support of expanding the provisions, likely not even getting out of committee.

As an aside, the committee responsible for all things cannabis in Washington tends to favor the cannabis industry. Not because they necessarily like cannabis, but because they like the revenue that’s being generated.

Washington has always been a loner of all states in not allowing “home grows”, but this year a bill was submitted to correct that. Residential marijuana agriculture, as it’s been renamed, has been professionally written and has good support in committee, so it will likely pass this year. Growing for personal use will be allowed, with a limit of 6 plants per person, 15 plants per household. Done right, those limits can produce a lot of cannabis, but relatively few people are any good at this. It won’t present any problems, and the impact on taxes or the market will be trivial. I wish the hobbyists good luck, I’m glad they won’t be going to jail, but it’s a lot simpler to go to the neighborhood store.

Washington will, no doubt, be modernizing it’s testing requirements for cannabis to better align with other states. Cannabis is by far the most-tested of any agricultural crop in all states, and Washington will be adding pesticide testing. This will add a considerable cost to the products, but that has proven acceptable in other states.

In coming days more bills will be submitted for consideration.

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