Last month Gov. Inslee passed new CannaLaw regarding I-502.
What does that mean for weed in Washington State?
When we, as a state, helped pioneer recreational cannabis law in 2012, we already knew it wasn’t perfect. Without any other states as a model of how to safely legalize the herb, Washington did its best. But we always understood changes to legislation would come. And it’s beginning! Last month, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5131, offering the first set of legal adjustments to CannaLaw.
Quite a bit. From homegrowing, passing the pipe, and limiting advertising, get excited for new possibilities in the pot industry. Check out these changes to CannaLaw:
Puff, Puff, Pass is a thing again!
Remember the old days of legal recreational cannabis? When twenty-one-and-uppers would get together, individually pull out their own supply of weed, roll their own joints, and smoke up separately together? Yeah, we definitely followed that law too. Up until recently, passing the pipe could have landed you in a sticky position legally if the wrong folks saw you.
But thanks to the new law changes, stoners are finally allowed to share their stock with other adults over the legal age. So spread the love with confidence and puff up with your pals–it’s legal now!
(Sometimes, it’s the small victories…)
Organic-esque Standards for the Conscientious CannaConsumer
Despite consumers’ demand of regulation on the pesticides and chemicals used on their cannabis products, as a federal organization, the United States Department of Agriculture cannot certify any cannaproduct as “Organic.” But many consumers feel it’s critically important to know how their weed was grown and cared for. SB 5131 lays the groundwork for Washington State to develop its own version of an organic certification, including the marketing term used for qualifying products.
This sounds like great news for several producers and processors in the state who have previously gotten into hot water for trying to follow the specifications of Certified Organic standards, which deviates from current Washington growing requirements.
It will still take time to create the certification program for the Washington CannaIndustry, but public input is encouraged. If you have an interest in participating on an advisory board, contact WSDA Organic Program at [email protected]
Medical Patients Can Actually Get Starts, Clones, and Seeds
Medical cannabis patients in WA have long known about the ridiculous Catch-22 in our laws: though qualifying patients have been legally allowed to grow from home, there has been no way for medical patients to get their hands on clones, starts, or seeds since recreational cannabis took over, besides a seedy sack of something bunk.
Now licensed growers and producers can sell seeds and starts directly to patients. Many patients have been waiting for the ironing out of this law loophole for years. No one quite understood how you were supposed to grow your own weed if no one was allowed to sell you the plant. Within the next year we’ll see patients regaining access to their medicine across the state!
And it Won’t Just be Patients Growing from Home
Finally following in the footsteps of other legalized states which allow homegrows, SB5131 allows for the eventual, one day, maybe-kinda-sorta-it’ll-happen of non-medical patients producing their own pot in the privacy of their home. It may not sound like much (and for the immediate future, it isn’t), but it lays important groundwork to get us there.
By the beginning of December 2017, we’ll see the outcome of the state run study looking into the viability and practicality of legalizing recreational homegrows. We’ll have to wait and see how WA intends to regulate private growers, but it seems like personal grow operations are peaking over the horizon!
No More CannaMascots or Dancing Tube Men
Easily the most disappointing aspect of the changing laws.
In an attempt to keep cannabis away from the kiddos, WA plans to crack down on advertising. That includes restrictions like banning cannabusinesses from advertising with things like mascots, inflatable dancers, toys, cartoon or movie characters, sign shakers or spinners, or anything else that could entice America’s youth. (There goes this author’s lifelong dream of sign shaking for a pot shop. Sigh.)
Other restrictions on advertising inlude restricting signs and billboards to only brand names or logos, no ads on or at public transit stations or vehicles, and no advertising to those outside of the state (sorry Canadians).
Are There Any Other Relevant Changes Happening?
Yes! And irrelevant changes. But the most notable are these:
> Now business license owners in the state can hold up to five locations, where they could otherwise only own three.
> The State will also set up a study into the feasibility of allowing industrial hemp, which could be a major boon in the state’s ability to produce an affordable and renewable raw material for plastics, papers, fabrics, and other textiles. Hemp grows in a variety of climates and soil types, is naturally resistant to most pests, and grows very tightly spaced allowing it to outcompete most weeds. A natural substitute for cotton and wood fiber, hemp can also be pulped using fewer chemicals than wood because of its low lignin content. Its natural brightness can obviate the need to use chlorine bleach.
> Medical producers and processors will no longer be allowed to blast oil using butane as a solvent. BHO-lovers, fear not: recreational producers can still use butane when they make their concentrates.
> A single housing unit cannot produce more than 15 plants, regardless of how many patients or designated providers live there. That sounds a little lame, but don’t forget: it doesn’t matter how many plants you have, it matters how large your yield is.
In Washington, and across the country, cannalaws continue to change daily. How do you feel about the latest amendments to our industry? Let us know in the comments below!