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Published on Friday, February 19, 2016

Marijuana preemption bill fails to advance, others still alive

A few weeks ago we reported on a slew of marijuana bills making their way through the Legislature. Most did not directly affect cities, however, one caused significant concern as it would have preempted our ability to place bans and moratoriums on marijuana retailers, producers and processors. HB 1438, Rep. Dave Sawyer (D-Lakewood), did not make the cutoff deadline of February 17 and is presumed dead for the 2016 legislative session. Keep in mind, bills can be revived through various procedural moves, but for now we are quite confident it will not be advancing.

HB 2494/SB 6486, Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would authorize the noncommercial delivery of marijuana and marijuana products in amounts equal to half of the current possession limits by a person 21 years of age or older to another person(s) 21 years of age or older. The bills reduce the penalties for possession and delivery of marijuana products in certain circumstances and require the marijuana concentrates to have been purchased from a marijuana retailer and be accompanied by packaging showing that the marijuana concentrates were purchased from a marijuana retailer.

AWC supports this legislation as a good middle ground. Currently, some jurisdictions are finding that it may be difficult for a county prosecutor to pursue a felony level case for some lower level possession crimes. This creates a misdemeanor level offense that a city could choose to prosecute.

HB 2494 is still alive and has been referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee. The Senate companion did not advance.

Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) request legislation

HB 2520/SB 6304, Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), deal with the sale of marijuana to regulated cooperatives.

These companion bills would provide a legal pathway for access to the starter plants that registered patients and cooperatives will need beginning in July 2016, by allowing licensed producers to sell directly to authorized patients. It is meant to address a technical oversight issue with cooperatives.

HB 2520 is still alive. The Senate companion did not advance.

HB 2521/SB 6303, Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would allow for proper disposal of unsellable marijuana by a licensed marijuana retail outlet.

According to I-502, licensed marijuana retailers are statutorily restricted from destroying damaged, expired, or otherwise unsellable marijuana. They must return the product to the processor they purchased it from to be destroyed. However, in some circumstances retailers are unable to return the product. Either they’ve lost contact with the licensed processor, no longer conduct business together, or the processor has gone out of business.

These companion bills allow the LCB to provide a pathway to regulate and oversee the disposal of these unsellable products. The proposal would grant the LCB authority to develop rules for determining a procedure for retailers to properly dispose of this product.

HB 2521 is still alive. The Senate companion did not advance.

HB 2522/SB 6302, Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would establish crimes related to minors entering, remaining in, or being served by a marijuana retail outlet.

Initiative 502 established the selling of marijuana by a licensed retailer (the owner or the employee) to a minor below the age of 21 as a felony. However, criminal penalties were not identified for minors attempting to enter and purchase marijuana at a licensed store.

This clarifies and strengthens the law, providing a misdemeanor penalty to the minor (who does not carry a qualified medical authorization card) who enters a marijuana retail outlet, or misrepresents themselves as 21 or older. It makes it a gross misdemeanor for a store owner or employee to serve or allow a minor to enter a licensed retail outlet.

HB 2522 is still alive. The Senate companion did not advance.

Other marijuana legislation

HB 2369/SB 6305, Rep. Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would expand Liquor and Cannabis Board officer enforcement authority.

These companion bills would give liquor enforcement officers the power and authority to enforce laws related to marijuana regulation and to serve and execute warrants under additional statutory codes. The officers may only exercise this authority while conducting their enforcement duties related to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, or by working in partnership with state or local law enforcement officers.

Both bills failed to advance and are considered dead.

SB 6207, Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), deal with public disclosure of information submitted to the Liquor and Cannabis Board regarding marijuana product traceability and operations.

Two exemptions are added to the Public Records Act concerning the disclosure of certain marijuana business records:

  • Financial, commercial operations and security-related information supplied to the LCB for the purpose of obtaining, maintaining, or renewing a license; and information submitted to the LCB for marijuana product traceability purposes. This information includes marijuana product ownership, locations, contact information, movements of product, financial information, purchase and sale of marijuana, account numbers or unique identifiers and related information that would identify a person or location.
  • Disclosure of these records is allowed for local, state and federal purposes.

SB 6207 is still alive and has been referred to the House Commerce & Gaming Committee.

Categories: Marijuana
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