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Published on Friday, January 24, 2014

Marijuana news important hearing scheduled and new bills introduced

It continues to be very busy for marijuana issues in the legislature. This past week the House Health Care & Wellness Committee passed HB 2149 reconciling medical and recreational marijuana onto the Rules Committee where it will hopefully advance to a vote of the full House.

There is a very important hearing this week and we need cities to weigh in. Thursday, January 30 at 10am the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee will be hearing three bills related to cities. First is HB 2144 by Rep. Condotta (R-Wenatchee) which provides a share of the marijuana taxes to local government. HB 2144 provides 30 percent of the last 25 percent excise tax to local government, or about 10 percent of the total revenue. Cities and counties are asking for 50 percent of the total revenue, but we are very appreciative of Rep. Condotta’s efforts and would like this bill to advance so that the issue remains in play.

The Committee will also be hearing two bills that preempt local authority – HB 2322 and HB 2638. Both of these bills are broadly drafted to eliminate the ability for cities to adopt zoning and land use regulations as well as business license regulations specific to marijuana businesses. Additionally HB 2322 would penalize cities that do adopt specific regulations by prohibiting them from receiving liquor revenue. Both bills are in response to the recent Attorney General Opinion reaffirming local authority over zoning, land using and business licensing for marijuana businesses.

We need city officials to contact the members of the Committee and let them know that you support HB 2144 and that you oppose efforts to preempt cities local control.

The hearing coincides with Cities Action Day Strong Cities Great State Rally at the Capitol. We will be encouraging those at the event to attend this hearing.

If you have questions or wish to testify in person at the hearing, please contact Candice Bock or Brittany Sill.

SB 6393, introduced this week, would provide $20 million in marijuana revenue to cities to hire more law enforcement officers. We are very pleased with the interest by a number of legislators in seeing that cities need a share of marijuana revenue in the future.

Finally, we have had a number of questions about the differences between Washington and Colorado laws. Click here for a side by side comparison of the two states.