Washington House Panel Approves Senate-Passed Bill To Allow Interstate Cannabis Commerce!

On Thursday, a House subcommittee in Washington State advanced a Senate-approved bill that would eventually permit companies in the state to import and export marijuana goods, taking another step toward enabling interstate cannabis commerce.

The governor would have the power to negotiate agreements with other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana sales in order to allow for interstate trade between licensed cannabis businesses under the terms of Sen. Ann Rivers’ (R) bill, SB 5069.

However, the measure’s language states that it would not go into effect until either federal law is changed to permit the interstate movement of cannabis between authorized enterprises or the U.S. Department of Justice releases a statement endorsing or permitting interstate marijuana trade.

State regulators would be obligated to notify the public in writing of any modifications to state law required to permit the sale, delivery, and receipt of cannabis from out-of-state businesses in the event that either of the two federal conditions specified in the bill is satisfied. Authorities would also need to implement the guidelines required for international trade.

At Thursday’s meeting of the House Regulated Substances and Gambling Committee, Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) said that the bill positions us to compete fairly with other states should the federal government alter its course from what it has been able to do thus far. With one member excused, the panel decided 8–2 to move the bill forward.

ALSO READ: Top Federal Health Official Says Marijuana Scheduling Review Still Needs To Go Through ‘A Few Hoops’!

Washington House Panel Approves Senate-Passed Bill To Allow Interstate Cannabis Commerce!

Republicans abstained from voting on the measure. Rep. Jim Walsh (R) declared he was hesitant to support the measure because it would give the executive branch authority to negotiate marijuana trade agreements. If the federal government changes its mind, Walsh said, I wouldn’t necessarily want a special session to decide this, but I would like to sort of maintain the legislature’s ability and discretion to make these decisions.

The legislation passed the necessary committee stops in February and was then adopted by the full Senate earlier this month. Although companion legislation was introduced in the House, legislators there decided to move forward with the Senate’s bill.

Bill 5069 would compel items from out-of-state companies to adhere to Washington laws, particularly those pertaining to packaging and labeling.

Wylie had submitted an amendment to the bill that the House subcommittee was going to review, but she withdrew it before Thursday’s vote.

The amendment, which Wylie had successfully added to the House companion bill, would have added a clause stating that interstate commerce coordination and enforcement must be in line with Washington’s policies and programs to address inequities left over from previous cannabis prohibition and enforcement laws.

It would also have included measures to ensure equity in the application of agreements at all levels and in all jurisdictions. Also, it would have increased the notification procedure for any changes to federal policy.

Rivers, the bill’s primary sponsor, referred to Washington, which legalized cannabis for adults through a ballot initiative in 2012, as a trailblazer in the cannabis sector before the Senate floor vote earlier this month. She also cautioned that if we are absent and unable to respond when federal law changes, the state’s sector risks being left behind.

ALSO READ: Hawaii Won’t Legalize Marijuana This Year Despite Senate Passage, But Advocates Look To 2024!

Washington House Panel Approves Senate-Passed Bill To Allow Interstate Cannabis Commerce!

We are aware that federal legalization is on the horizon. It feels like it’s getting closer now that bills have been introduced, she added. We may thus put our governor in charge of protecting this sector and ensuring that trade can go lawfully, safely, and in a fashion that can be enforced from our state to other states and back to us.

ALSO READ: Top Federal Health Official Says Marijuana Scheduling Review Still Needs To Go Through ‘A Few Hoops’!

The Washington State law is the most recent state-level effort to get ready for potential interstate cannabis commerce even while marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. A similar bill was signed by the governor of California last year. Before that, in 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) approved legislation allowing for the interstate sale of marijuana into law.

On the other side of the nation, the Senate President of New Jersey submitted a comparable proposal last year, although it has not yet become law.

A House committee in Washington adopted legislation earlier this week that would prevent job candidates in the state from facing discrimination because they consume marijuana. The legislation, which already passed the Senate as a whole last month, would make it illegal for the majority of firms to reject applicants only because they tested positive for cannabis during pre-employment drug tests. Nonetheless, if a worker tests positive for marijuana after being hired, their employment may still be terminated.

In this session, the state’s legislators debated a number of cannabis and drug-related proposals. Further research of psilocybin’s therapeutic uses is one that the committee is scheduled to consider next week. Meanwhile, lawmakers once more turned down a bill to legalize marijuana cultivation at home last month, therefore doing so still constitutes a crime in the state.



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