Saturday, May 25, 2013

Washington Marijuana Reform Law has New Sponsor in Rep. Smith

Washington Representative Adam Smith has joined a coalition in Congress that is actively seeking to reform federal marijuana laws. Most importantly, this coalition wants the federal government to respect the rights of the states and their voters—especially those states that have already legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana. Smith has signed onto the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act which would immunize individuals and businesses that operate legally under their own state laws. This bill is a bipartisan bill and has the support of both Democrats and Republicans alike.

At the present time, 18 states have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries and 2 states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized recreational marijuana. As it stands, all of these states and individuals are still considered in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act which makes possession and distribution of marijuana a crime.

The Respect States Marijuana Laws Act has bipartisan sponsors such as Alaska Representative Don Young, Colorado Representative Jared Polis, and Oregon Representative Blumenauer. Smith is the first Washington lawmaker to fully support the Act and has the appreciation of the entire state's marijuana reform supporters and the ACLU of Washington.

The federal government's Federal Controlled Substances Act continues to stand in the way of marijuana reform and stands to jeopardize the new recreational marijuana industry in the State of Washington. Just last month, several medical marijuana dispensaries in the State of Washington received "cease and desist" letters ordering them to close up their shops—even though they were compliant with all state laws. If they fail to do so within 30 days, the letter stated that they would risk their property being seized by the federal government for being in violation of federal drug laws. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Washington Releases First Regulations Regarding Legalized Marijuana Industry

It's been nearly eight months since Washington voters legalized marijuana, and now they finally have a few rules in place regarding their new legalized marijuana industry. Last fall, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the sale of marijuana to adults over the age of 21. This historic moment, however, means that Washington and Colorado must pioneer the way for the new legalized marijuana movement and this requires putting the appropriate laws and regulations in place.

These new recently released regulations are based on hundreds of hours of internal research and deliberation. The staff at the state Liquor Control Board spent many hours visiting marijuana growing houses and studying the science behind what affects marijuana potency and how people get "high". They consulted with multiple industry experts and obtained input from over 3,000 individuals statewide. The board hopes that by creating a tightly regulated system, they can ensure that both large and small marijuana operations have a place in this emerging marijuana market.

Some of the new regulations are:
·         No sale of marijuana extracts allowed (such as hash)
·         All pot related businesses must have security systems and 24 hour surveillance
·         Any marijuana product sold would carry a label stating that this product may be "habit forming"
·         Marijuana will be tracked from seed to store
·         There will be a cap on the number of retail stores in each county
·         No cap will be placed on the number of licensed growers or processors
·         A criminal history point will be used in determining eligibility to grow, sell, or process pot
·         Criminal and financial background checks will be obtained on all financiers of pot businesses