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Liquor and Cannabis Board Marijuana Home Grow Study

Below is a notice from the WSLCB with 3 options for Washington State Home Grows.  They all disappoint us here at Hempfest Central were we’d like to see non registered home grows of a dozen or so plants, giving allowances for clones, and not putting such low limits on seeds.  We also feel the felony prosecution of those having as few as 5 plants or seeds in this new plan is ridiculous!  Prohibition 2.0  Apparently it’s a felony to grow any now so while it’s a step up, it’s still lame in our book!

Legalization is a process, not an event.  We all need to stay in touch with not only our legislators but the organizations, like the WSLCB, who make the rules we live under.  Hempfest is a thing.  A once a year event.  YOU need to take what you’ve learned and heard and put it to use or they’ll continue to create the new wave or prohibition we now live under.  Find your voice!

Please read their 3 ideas for home grow send constructive comments to the WSLCB per their instructions below.  Please also write your legislators and let them know what you think!  You can find your legislator HERE  and an analysis of their options done by CASP HERE

Liquor and Cannabis Board to Hold Public Hearing on Recreational Marijuana Home Grows

Agency tasked by new law to conduct study and make recommendations to Legislature by Dec. 1, 1017

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will hold a public hearing on Wed. Oct. 4, 2017, to receive public input on whether the State should allow home grows of recreational marijuana. The public hearing is during the regularly scheduled 10:00 a.m. Board meeting at its headquarters at 3000 Pacific Avenue in Olympia. Due to space and parking restrictions, the WSLCB encourages written public comment. Written public comment may be submitted by email through Oct. 11, 2017 at [email protected] or hard copy at PO Box 43080, Olympia, WA 98504. 

Note: The Board may adjust the testimony time allotted to each speaker based on the number of attendees to ensure that everyone has time to testify. 

Legislation enacted in 2017 directs the WSLCB to “conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users.” The study must take into account the “Cole Memo,” issued by the United State Department of Justice in 2013, which outlines the federal government’s enforcement priorities in states where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. The study and recommendations are due to the Legislature on Dec. 1, 2017

“The agency is actively engaging other states, the public, the industry and stakeholders. We know there are many perspectives to this issue and we want to ensure they are captured for our report and recommendations,” said agency director Rick Garza.

The WSLCB is seeking input on three options at the public hearing

·         Option 1: Tightly Regulated Recreational Marijuana Home Grows

  • This option allows recreational home grows under a strict state regulatory framework based on the Cole Memo:
  • Requires a permit;
  • Four plants maximum per household;
  • All plants must be entered into the state traceability system;
  • Requirements for security, preventing youth access, preventing diversion, etc.;
  • Jurisdiction is shared between WSLCB and local authorities
  • Statutory provision that allows law enforcement to seize and destroy all plants if beyond limit;
  • Allows recreational growers to purchase plants from licensed as long as growers have a permit;
  • Same restrictions on processing marijuana that apply to medical marijuana (no combustible processing).

·         Option 2: Local Control of Recreational Marijuana Home Grows

  • This option is based on statewide standards including requirements for security, preventing youth access, preventing diversion, etc.;
  • Limits plants to 4 per household;
  • Allows recreational growers to purchase plants from licensed as long as growers have a permit.
  • Requires a permit to possess plants.

Difference from Option 1

·         Does not require plants to be entered into traceability

  • State sets minimum requirements. Local jurisdictions can be more restrictive.

·         Authorized, controlled, and enforced by local jurisdictions;

  • Home grows are prohibited without local permission; 

·         Option 3. Recreational Home Grows are Prohibited

  • This option preserves the status quo. Recreational home grows continue to remain prohibited:
  • A regulated market exists today with statewide access;
  • Recreational home grows may provide a cover for diversion;
  • The Cole Memo is concerned with diversion, youth access, and the criminal element;
  • Home grows for medical marijuana are allowed as well as cooperatives.

Among the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Washington is the only state that does not allow marijuana home grows. Washington allows authorized patients to have limited grows for medical purposes or to be part of a four-member medical marijuana cooperative if the cooperative registers with the WSLCB and the local jurisdiction does not object.

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Home grow & sharing bill

HB 1212 Ÿ ŸLegalizes transfers of specified quantities of marijuana products between adults provided the transfer does not involve the exchange of money or other valuable consideration.  Legalizes the home cultivation of up to six recreational marijuana plants, subject to specified conditions. Legalizes the residential possession of up to 24 ounces of useable marijuana harvested from plants lawfully grown in the residence, subject to specified conditions. Ÿ Revises and restructures the penalties for criminal offenses related to the possession of marijuana products and marijuana plants.

You can read the full text of the bill HERE

Baby cannabis plant in a flower pot

While the bill does not allow as many plants at HB 1092, which allows up to 12 presuming there are 2 adults over 21 in the household, it does allow the ability to share your cannabis which is vital to the medical cannabis community.

It’s silly that I can’t buy my sister cannabis for her birthday or simply pick some up for her while I’m at the store.  Liquor, which I do not like comparing cannabis to, but since it’s ran by the same state department I will, is given freely as a gift to adults 21 and over.  Why are we not allowing cannabis to flourish in the same manor?

HB 1212 has been scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming on January 26 at 9:00 AM.  I believe it’s in the O’Brien Building.  It’s important that people show up ready to be respectful and thoughtful.   

Remember to show up early!  Parking is a pain.  You also need to sign up at the kiosk at the west entrance so that they know you came to  hear this bill and that you support it!  This step is important!  It shows them how many people showed up in support of the bill.

While you’re there, why not set an appointment with your representatives to let them know you support HB 1212  You can find your legislator’s info HERE  Just click on their name & it will bring up their contact information.

Can’t come to Olympia?  That’s ok you can read & comment on the bill HERE

The comment button is on the right side of the page, in the dark green bar, “Comment on this bill”. 

Be sure and send your comments to both of your House Representatives & your Senator.  Ask for a reply back.  This is a great way to start dialogue with your Legislators and forces them to acknowledge receipt of favorable comments on the bill.

Thank you!!!

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End job discrimination against medical cannabis patients

HB 1094 Revises the medical use of cannabis act to prohibit an employer from refusing to hire a qualifying patient, discharging or barring a qualifying patient from employment, or discriminating  against a qualifying patient in compensation or other terms and conditions of employment because of the qualifying patient’s: (1) Status as a qualifying patient; or (2) Positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites.

You can read the full text of the bill HERE

Break throughs in medical cannabis are happening continually.  Nationally 42 states have lifted cannabis prohibition at some level.  8 have legalized, 3 have decriminalized, 10 have medical with CBD only, & 21 have full medical with THC & CBD.  The public, especially mothers, are becoming more aware of the medical benefits of cannabis.

A pretty middle aged woman looking upwards.

Take the medicine type away for a moment.  Should anyone face job discrimination due to their medical needs?  We have laws to protect the privacy of our health needs.  Why would we allow this to happen to medical cannabis patients?  Why would we treat them differently than everyone else?

Washington needs to continue to be a thought leader in how we treat health care & the well fare of our citizens.  Please support this bill as it is a step towards assuring we have fair & balanced practices for our the sick in our state and helps end discrimination against medical cannabis patients

This bill has its first hearing on Thursday January 26 at 8:00 AM in the O’Brien Building.  It’s important that people show up ready to be respectful and thoughtful.   

Remember to show up early!  Parking is a pain.  You also need to sign up at the kiosk at the west entrance so that they know you came to hear this bill and that you support it!  This step is important!  It shows them how many people showed up in support of the bill.

While you’re there, why not set an appointment with your representatives to let them know you support HB 1094  You can find your legislator’s info HERE  Just click on their name & it will bring up their contact information.

Can’t come to Olympia?  That’s ok you can read & comment on the bill HEREolympia january

The comment button is on the right side of the page, in the dark green bar, “Comment on this bill”. 

Be sure and send your comments to both of your House Representatives & your Senator.  Ask for a reply back.  This is a great way to start dialogue with your Legislators and forces them to acknowledge receipt of favorable comments on the bill.

Thank you!!!

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Want to grow cannabis in your home? Hearing Jan 23!

HB 1092  Allows the possession of no more than six cannabis plants and up to twenty-four ounces of usable cannabis harvested from lawfully grown plants if the person in possession is at least twenty-one years old.   It also allows the possession of no more than twelve cannabis plants and forty-eight ounces of usable cannabis, in the aggregate, by the adult residents of a single housing unit, regardless of the number of persons who are at least twenty-one years old residing in the housing unit.  

One marijuana plant in four growing phase

Of the eight states that have legalized cannabis for recreational sales, all allow personal cultivation – except for Washington!  We need to catch up!  

The House Committee on Commerce & Gaming has scheduled a public hearing on Monday January 23 at 1:30 PM in the O’Brien Building.    It’s important that people show up ready to be respectful and thoughtful.  

Baby cannabis plant in a flower pot

Baby cannabis plant in a flower pot


Remember to show up early!  Parking is a pain.  You also need to sign up at the kiosk at the west entrance so that they know you came to hear this bill and that you support it!  This step is important!  It shows them how many people showed up in support of the bill.  

IMG_20150122_155657While you’re there, why not set an appointment with your representatives to let them know you support HB 1092.  You can find your legislator’s info HERE  Just click on their name & it will bring up their contact information.

Can’t come to Olympia?  That’s ok you can read & comment on the bill HERE

The comment button is on the right side of the page, in the dark green bar, “Comment on this bill”. 

Be sure and send your comments to both of your House Representatives & your Senator.  Ask for a reply back.  This is a great way to start dialogue with your Legislators and forces them to acknowledge receipt of favorable comments on the bill.

It’s now time Washington.   If we as individuals do not stand up for what we need from our legislators we will never get it!  Please attend the hearing & comment on the bill!   Share this blog to get the word out! 

It’s time to grow!

marijuana bush on a background of the cloudy sky at sunset

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Children who are medical cannabis patients take one step forward in Washington State today

hb 1060 cropped

HB 1060 Requires a school district to permit a student who meets certain requirements to consume marijuana for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event. Requires the board of directors of a school district to adopt a policy that authorizes parents, guardians, and primary caregivers to administer marijuana to a student for medical purposes while the student is on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or attending a school-sponsored event.

You can read & comment on the bill HERE

hb 1060 aThe Health & Wellness Committee held a hearing for HB 1060 on Tuesday January 17.  Most testimony was in support.  The opposition seems to be the school’s not wanting to touch something that is federally illegal.  Well, as I others pointed out, our entire legalization system is in opposition to federal law so if they can figure out a way around federal law to garner tax revenue, they can find a way around it for the most vulnerable in our society, our sick children.

Ducky’s Bill founder, River’s father testified first about how his daughter was highly capable prior to developing seizures during kindergarten.  Like most parents of children who are medical patients, once the pharmaceuticals had failed & taken their toll turned to medical cannabis which has greatly increased his daughters capability to learn and redevelop skills she had lost.15977707_10211563662507920_1218686030740493248_n

Maddie’s Law founder, Megan Holt’s testimony made not only the audience but members of the committee tear up.  How can you not hear the struggle these parents have gone through and not want to see them and their children succeed!

As one person testifying put it, the quality of these children’s lives is in your [the legislature’s] hands!

The Principles Association had the awesome answer.  Let the nurses dispense it instead of having parents come on site and doing so.   They opposed parents dispensing medicine on site but not the type of medicine. As the gentleman statesd, since it is medicine, why not treat it like all the other medicines!  How about that!  Someone with common sense and a no nonsense approach that would immediately resolve the issue.  Let the nurses dispense it like they do every other medication children require during the school day! olympia january

Oh no, hold on there a minute, the next person up is about to challenge that!  How can we expect school nurses to dispense a schedule 1 narcotic that federally has no medical value at all?  They’d have to like, dispense a cookie, or a gel cap, to a child.  How could we possibly have such a thing happen!  Surely our federal aid would be pulled!

I get it.  Trump is one scary SOB but come on!  I just can’t buy the federal boogie man argument when they are all more than happy to reap the benefits of the tax revenue.

There are currently 57 children in the medical cannabis registry that face varying challenges with the public school system due to the lack of guidelines for dispensing their medicine.

Let’s hope HB 1060 passes out of committee.  I will keep you posted!!

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I’m shocked and saddened by the death of Senator Any Hill.

I’m shocked and saddened by the death of Senator Any Hill.  I reside in the 45th District which he served.  Over the years I’ve visited his office countless times lobbying for cannabis, education, & other various things.   We connected on many levels.  A few years back we both had kids LWYSA soccer teams that made it to the state championship level.  Family & soccer always were in the mix.  These were good ways to connect.  One of our larger shared experiences was being cancer survivors.  That really makes this a hard blow.

andy hill

I had no idea he was having a recurrence.  We’ve spoken so many times about medical cannabis, my decision to use it in my cancer treatments & his decision to not use it in his.  These are deeply personal matters.  He was always very open to hearing my story & that of those I’ve lobbied with.  I’ve seen powerful first hand testimony about medical cannabis in his office and always felt great connection with him.  

I can’t help but wonder if cannabis would not have saved him, or at least made him more comfortable.  Were all my visits in vain?  While he was certainly not anti cannabis at all, I wish he would have been more open to using it as a treatment for his cancer.  Possibly he did this time.  I’m just so saddened to hear of his passing and kinda pissed off too. 

Prohibition is killing people.


I’m going to quote from ABCNews

“Harvard University researchers have found that, in both laboratory and mouse studies, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cuts tumor growth in half in common lung cancer while impeding the cancer’s ability to spread.”  

This is as far back as 2007 yet the stigma of cannabis as a medicine keeps those it would save away from it.  Prohibition has stymied medical research on so many fronts keeping this wonderful – natural medicine away from the people who need it most!

hb 1020

Opioid addiction is a national epidemic.  Yet to qualify for medical cannabis, you must have tried pharmaceuticals and have them fail you. Shouldn’t the answer be try the natural plant first and if that doesn’t work move to the addictive, side effect list a mile long, might kill you, pharmaceuticals? 

We have this so backwards – again – due to the stigma attached to being a cannabis user.  


Now the world is missing a really great guy who loved his family, community, and listened to all my cannabis, hemp, & other stories with an open heart.  I’m going to miss you Andy Hill!  I will be in Anchorage for my own father’s memorial service so will miss yours! 

My deepest condolences to the Hill family and all our other legislators in Olympia.  I cannot image this loss for you!

Cancer Sucks!


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Support Home Grow For Everyone in Washington State!

Below is my letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor who are having a public hearing in the Cherberg Building  tomorrow, Friday November 20, 2015 at 10:00 AM for SB 8063 which will allow all adults to grow 6 cannabis plants per home.


If you cannot make it to the hearing please comment on the bill HERE – 


The comment button is in dark green next to where is says SB 6083 – 2015-16


This is your chance to make a difference and help preserve medical cannabis in Washington!


Here’s my letter- write your own!  Find your voice!  The time is now!!


My name is Sharon Whitson.  I’m a PTSA Member & a proud soccer mom who lives in Kirkland’s 45th District.  I’m also the General Manager of Seattle Hempfest, Washington’s oldest cannabis business going into our 25th year.   Our hemp boutique is in Seattle’s 46th District.


As a Washington citizen I’d like to see our recreational system evolve by allowing us the same rights & successes we see emerging in other states, like home grow & reasonable tax rates.  


As a cancer survivor I understand the medicinal qualities of cannabis and want to assure that patients are not suffering under legalization.  That’s not what Washington voted for.  We didn’t vote to end medical cannabis which we enacted in 1998, we voted to stop sending people to jail for smoking cannabis and to begin retail sales to adults 21 and over.  We anticipated a sensible system would be enacted by our legislators, not one that hurts some of our states most vulnerable.   

Allowing everyone to grow 6 plants preserves the right to grow and assures that patients are protected from further having their rights eroded.  This is the compassionate & right thing to do.


We have a huge opportunity here.  We have the world’s largest legalization region.  Oregon, Washington, & Alaska have 11 million citizens soon to be joined by California’s almost 39 million.   We have a responsibility to create a system of commerce that can eventually cross state lines & is similar to our neighbors who both allow home grow.   


By sequestering ourselves we’re hurting Washington brands who will not emerge as national leaders as legalization spreads throughout our nation.  Polling shows that 58% of people nationally approve of cannabis legalization.  This is a national industry in its infancy and we have a chance to be its leader.


Besides serving medical patients supporting SB 6083 and home grows of 6 plants also is going to start a thriving hobby market for home enthusiasts.  This will help drive industry like – home grow kits, closet grow systems built for 6 plants, nutrients, lights, books, seminars, & classes, the list is endless!


An example of this is the beer industry & the home brewing of beer industry which exist side by side today and both flourish.   This actually gave birth to the craft beer industry which is now the fastest growing segment of the beer industry.  How exciting to be at the birth of a new industry and have the opportunity to be laying the seeds from which new business will be sown. 


Home grow will not hurt business, it will create more business.


I also want to point out that Washington made $2 million dollars in our first month of recreational sales.  Colorado did $5 million in the first week.  Oregon, our neighbor to the south did a whopping $11 million in their first week.  Oregon did 22 times the business in the first week of operations as Washington, 22 TIMES!  That is profound.  These figures show that home grow is not a threat. 


I thank you for your time and make myself available as a resource should you have questions or require any clarifications. 

Band, Girl on Fire, Greg Shaw-23-1925x924

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The New Age Of Reefer Madness


So I get this email from the 46th District Democrats, the “Demogram”.  It’s about their upcoming 2/19 meeting, How Do We Solve A Problem Like Marijuana?

As I read through the information they are sharing, my jaw is dropping, I felt teleported back to prohibitions roots when outlandish claims where levied against cannabis and led to its demise.  I can’t believe I’m reading an actual political newsletter.

Statements like –

“Medical marijuana outlets or cannabis dispensaries, as they prefer to be called, readily admit that not all their customers — as few as 25% — are diagnosed medical patients,”

So they are claiming that 75% of all medical patients are not medical patients or that 75% of all medical dispensary sales are to people without medical recommendations.  I’m also highly skeptical that any medical dispensary operators claimed to anyone that as few as 25% of their patient customers are authorized.


the needs of legitimate medical patients are significantly different from recreational users. They prefer a clinic-like dispensary atmosphere, rather than wild decorations, some unwanted incense (allergies) and wild music.”

Wow, way to stereotype marijuana users.  While I’ve only been in a few recreational stores I know of none with wild decorations or burning incense while playing wild music. What is wild music anyway?  I prefer Metallica myself.


“Doctors are forbidden to give advice, for fear of losing their medical licenses.”

Simply not true.  My Doctor at Swedish Cancer Care Institute wrote my medical recommendation when I was undergoing chemo & radiation.  I talked to my entire medical team about my medical cannabis use.  I was actually not on 4 of their recommended anti-nausea medications due to my medical cannabis use.  I readily did not use their anti-anxiety medication due to my medical cannabis use and I talked to them about it throughout all my treatment.  I talked to my Pharmacists about it too.   My entire medical team, to this days knows about my medical cannabis use.

Sure, the Federal boogie man is real but Doctors write medical recommendations and talk to their patients about their medical cannabis use.  How else have people gotten recommendations throughout time!  Again, they are making it seem like Doctors cannot be the ones writing recommendations when they are!


Of course for obvious reasons we became curious as to where they obtained this data from.  I issued them a formal Freedom of Information Act Request. Vivian took a more straight forward route and emailed the Chair and asked where their data came from.

Their response was swift and concerning.

“It’s from (name removed) who is currently handling our program scheduling for the meetings. I don’t have specifics but it came from talking to cannabis dispensary owners and going to forums like this one. Though there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hard data there. You should come to the forum and help contribute to the discussion. There are a lot of different opinions around there. And with 90 bills in the legislature we need more input.

The idea that the 46th District Democrats are presenting that kind of information in a public document is alarming.  Especially when they “readily admit” the information is not culled from hard data.

I have a huge problem with this.  Not just in regards to cannabis either.  You cannot trust a damn thing that comes out of the mouths of politicians or that they put in writing and this is an exemplary example of that.

The 25% accusation is actually damaging, and that statement marginalizes and minimizes the struggle that legitimate patients endure daily, especially in the face of memes that are presented like this that characterize the patient community (and their doctors) as phonies and charlatans.


I do plan on going to their meeting and talking about accountability, integrity of data, and loss of trust.  I also plan on being a great example of a citizen who uses medical cannabis and can work within the power structure to help them make good decisions.  It’s our responsibility and it’s time we stand up and help usher in legalization.  I’m wondering if any of you would like to go with me?


Thursday February 19, 2015 7:30 PM

Olympic View Elementary School

504 NE 95th St
Seattle, WA 98115
Sign in starts at 7:00 PM

I hope to see you there!


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Links To Washington’s Cannabis Bills

We spent an awesome day in Olympia yesterday registering attendees to the ASA Medical Cannabis Lobby Day.

Unlike last year, I found legislators eager to hear what I thought of the two major competing medical bills, SB 5052 & SB 5519. Today HB 1698 was introduced which throws a third medical dispensary model in the ring.

Our Legislature is ready to tackle this issue – whether we are or not!

lobby SB 5052 hearing olympia washington medical vs recreational marijuana

Let me walk you through how to interact with the States website as I’ve given you links to each bill below.

SB means Senate Bill.  SB’s are originated by our Senators.  We each have one Senator.

HB means House Bill.  HB’s are originated by our Representatives.  We each have two Representatives.

We’re going to use SB 5121 as our example.  SB 5121 is about establishing a marijuana research license so that cannabis researchers can grow the cannabis they are doing studies on.

Here’s an image of the screen you’ll see when you hit the link.

Screen Example

“History of the Bill” tells you who the sponsors are and hyperlinks you to their page.  It also shows you what has happened to the bill on what date and hyperlinks you to more information about these events.

I always read the “Original Bills” under available documents vs the “Bill Digest” as I want to see everything they are saying but the “Bill Digest” gives you a very short description to help wade through the list.

The button I want to point out most is the “Comment on this bill” button.  It’s under the big yellow box near the bills Name “SB 5121 – 2015-16” This button takes you to a screen that allows you to comment on the bill.  The comments go to your Districts Senator & Representatives as well as the Bill’s Sponsors and any Committee Members who are reviewing the bill.

The most effective way to communicate with them is in their language.  For example, If I don’t like the wording in Section  1, item A, state what you don’t like and how you would change it.

Don’t be emotional.  Be factual and tell them specifically what you would change by section.

Now let me introduce you to some of the other legislation working its way through Olympia.

First are the three that deal with how medical cannabis is dispensed and what to do with our medical cannabis industry.

SB 5519, would allow dispensaries a path to I502 compliance, allow everyone to grow 6 plants

HB 1698 creates dispensary system, allows home grows

SB 5052 creates a separate medical system but does not allow for dried cannabis sales, does allow medical grow

Next are a variety of Bills for both medical & recreational cannabis.

hb 1020 ric smith memorial act seattle hempfest

HB 1520 requires a finding of guilt prior to the  forfeiture of private property

SB 5051 & 5572 clarifying transportation and delivery services for marijuana producers, processors & retailers.

SB 5379 Adds PTSD to the qualifying conditions

HB 1020 makes a  qualifying patient’s medical use of cannabis may not be a sole disqualifying factor in determining the patient’s suitability for an organ transplant among other things.

HB 1041 & SB 5461 Providing for the vacation of misdemeanor marijuana offense convictions

HB 1165 Sharing cannabis taxes with local jurisdictions

HB 1334 & SB 5003 Concerning the taxes payable on rec marijuana

HB 1335 & SB 5417 Permitting cities to reduce the buffer zone

HB 1359 & SB 5402 Addresses marijuana violations of persons between 18 – 21

HB 1360 & SB 5398 Concerning marijuana use in public

HB 1361 & SB 5401 Allowing the Washington state liquor control board to accept donations for funding informational material for the purpose of improving public awareness about marijuana consumption.

HB 1411 Concerning the siting of marijuana facilities

HB 1412 Concerning municipalities prohibiting the operation of recreational marijuana production, processing, & retail facilities

HB1413 Revising licensing regulations pertaining to the buffer distances required between recreational marijuana businesses and specified public and private facilities.

HB 1414 Exempting marijuana producers from taxation for sales to other producers of marijuana seeds and cloned marijuana plants.

HB 1418 Providing for the enforcement of illegal marijuana production.

HB 1438 Permitting cities, towns, and counties to prohibit the production, processing, and sale of marijuana under Initiative Measure No. 502 only by public vote.

HB 1461 – Very vague, only says relating to marijuana

HB 1650 Clarifying provisions regarding the seizure and disposition of marijuana and processed marijuana products by state and local law enforcement agencies.

HB 1673 & SB 5245 Concerning substance abuse prevention and treatment programs funded by the marijuana excise tax.

SB 5002 Concerning traffic infractions for marijuana, marijuana-based substances, or marijuana-infused substances.

HB 5051 Clarifying transportation and delivery services

SB 5130 Restricting marijuana producer and processor businesses from being located in certain residential and rural areas.

SB 5450 Adding churches and licensed chemical dependency programs in the buffer distance requirements of recreational marijuana businesses.

SB 5467 Providing a single point of excise taxation on sales of recreational marijuana.

SB 5493 Distinguishing cannabis health and beauty aids from marijuana.

What a long list right?

Imagine being a legislator trying to make the right decision.  That’s why concise comments that speak directly to the bills language work best when communicating.

I am going to try to find someone to help me track each of these lovely bills so we can keep everyone informed where these go!

You can make a list of Bills you’d like to track HERE

You can read more about contacting your legislators in both Washingtons HERE

I gotta go do some reading!


washington capitol

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Don’t Drink the Blame it on Medical Marijuana Kool-Aid.

My name is Sharon Whitson and I’m the General Manager of Seattle Event’s A Non Profit Corporation, the producers of Seattle Hempfest, Hempfest Business, & Hempfest Central.

Let’s talk about why I502 is faltering and instead of drinking the blame it on medical marijuana kool-aid we’re going to evaluate some facts.

First a history lesson.  Medical cannabis was legalized by the voters via I-692 in 1998, 14 years before recreational cannabis.  Medical cannabis began being a legitimate industry at this time.  Our legislators where just too afraid to touch it via enacting regulation so they allowed the citizen’s initiative to be enacted but treated it like a green haired step child sitting in a corner that they didn’t want to see.

Mean while, the medical cannabis industry blossomed, with some jurisdictions, like Seattle supporting it, and others banning it.  Despite Federal raids on people like the Kettle Falls 5, the industry persevered.  Knowing they needed to be regulated and tired of being ignored by the state in 2011 the medical industry worked with both the Washington State House & Senate and passed SB 5073 that would regulate the medical cannabis industry.

Chris Gregoire, who was then Governor, afraid of the Federal boogie man, vetoed much of 5073 and instead of regulating the medical cannabis industry instead made it even more of an unanswered industry.

In 2012 the people over whelming voted to add recreational cannabis use to our legalization system along side medical cannabis.  The voters did not vote to abolish medical marijuana.  They voted to stop sending people to prison for a plant and to create a new system for recreational sales.

Right now 40% of Washington State Cities have enacted an I502 moratorium.  This means they will not allow I502 to be implemented in their cities.   Now I’m all for jurisdictions being able to enact their own rules but this also means the states needs to reduce its financial projections for I502 revenue by 40% – as only a maximum of 60% is achievable since 40% of the stores cannot even open.

This also means that under an I502 system, 40% of the states medical cannabis needs will not be met if medical is put under I502.

There are 330 possible I502 retail store licenses and we have 86 retail stores open.  That’s only 26% and they opened at varying points throughout the entire year.  This means that we should have expected less than 26% of the projected revenues thus far.

The high tax rates are helping keep the black market alive.   The way to compete is to be economically competitive.  That’s simple business 101.  If your product is 3X the price of someone selling a similar product, your sales are going to be limited.

Medical Marijuana is not the black market.  According to the Washington Department of Revenue’s report to the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics, medical marijuana dispensaries contributed $832,000 in sales taxes in October of 2014 alone.

Medical Marijuana businesses, like all others, have Washington & City business licenses and pay Washington B&O as well as City taxes.  Those figures are not included in the $832,000 one month total.

They hire employees.  They pay employment taxes and their employees pay taxes.   They rent buildings, they buy some too!  Running a business is expensive.  The medical marijuana industry has been contributing to the communities and coffers of Washington State for over a decade.

Colorado is flourishing as it started it’s recreational market from its existing medical market.  Instead of taking this common sense approach, Olympia decided to give it to the Liquor Control Board – who the people had recently voted out of controlling liquor sales – to recreate the wheel.  To compound it, they create a blind lottery vs a merit based application acceptance system.  This means that anyone who could complete the application and pay $250 could be chosen to participate in I502 even if they didn’t have the money or business plan it require to operate.  This is why you only have 26% of the retail stores open.  If we’d of had a merit based system you could bank on us being at our 60% maximum rate – remember it’s only 60% due to the moratoriums.

Why not create a path for I502 producer/processors to sell into the medical market?

Why would you turn to the newly created Recreational system for advice on Medical Marijuana – oh yeah, your protecting financial interests instead of the interests of the sick.  Why else wouldn’t you turn to an organization like the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics or the Washington Cannabis Commission to gain insight since?  Expertise in medical cannabis is being ignored like it doesn’t even exist and hasn’t been here all along!

Astronomical tax rates, moratoriums, & a non-merit based selection process are what’s plaguing I502 forecasts, not medical marijuana.

Please don’t drink the blame it on medical marijuana kook-aid.  Instead let’s work with our legislature to strengthen I502 and create separate regulation of our already vibrant medical industry.

You can read more about contacting your legislators in both Washingtons here

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