Washington state lawmakers approve multiple marijuana bills before deadline

Legislators in Washington state passed several cannabis bills of interest to the marijuana industry in the final days of the session that concludes by Sunday.

The measures include one that reforms enforcement procedures and another that allows MJ product labels to convey their intended use, such as to help people sleep.

The bills now will go to Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, for his signature.

Here are some of the measures that passed and their potential business impacts:

  • Senate Bill 5318: Reforms the compliance and enforcement provisions for marijuana licensees. MJ businesses and trade associations previously complained about inconsistent and unfair enforcement. Under this bill, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) can issue licensees a notice of correction describing a noncompliant condition, instead of a civil penalty. In addition, a single violation won’t result in a license being revoked unless the violation meets certain conditions, such as the illicit sale of MJ across state lines or furnishing cannabis to minors.
  • Senate Bill 5298: Allows marijuana product labels to include claims that “describe the product’s intended role in maintaining a structure or function of the body.”
  • House Bill 1792: Reduces the criminal charge from felony to gross misdemeanor for a budtender at a licensed shop who sells marijuana to someone younger than 21 years old.
  • House Bill 2052: Establishes a cannabis science task force to develop laboratory quality standards. Also transfers the authority for testing lab accreditation from the LCB to the Department of Ecology, effective July 1, 2024.

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