A coalition of House lawmakers has reintroduced legislation that would legalize and regulate the “production, distribution and sale” of marijuana to adults in Washington state.
House Bill 1550 allows for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of cannabis and marijuana-related products. It is similar to HB 2401, which in 2010 didn’t make it past the Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness.
A state fiscal analysis of the measure estimates that regulating and taxing marijuana sales could yield some $300 million in new revenue per biennium, while also reallocating an estimated $25 million annually in law enforcement costs.
|Photo: Health Care For All|
|Dr. William Robertson: “Subjecting cannabis to a licensed, regulated system would… improve public health and safety”|
”Subjecting cannabis to a licensed, regulated system would not only improve public health and safety, it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for health care at a time when Washington’s budget is being decimated,” said Dr. William Robertson, founder of the Washington Poison Control Center, reports My Ballard.
Under the bill, cannabis would be sold through state liquor stores with growers applying for a license through the Liquor Control Board. The LCB, according to a press release, has a 96 percent success rate in preventing alcohol sales to minors.
“Drug cartels and black-market dealers have made it easier for kids to get cannabis than alcohol,” bill sponsor Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36) said. “The Liquor Control Board has as proven track record of shielding kids from its products. I’m confident our bill will break the back of cannabis crime syndicate profits and make it possible to preserve vital health services across Washington in these very difficult budget times.”
HB 1550 has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which rejected a similar measure last year by a 6-2 vote. You can contact the members of the Committee here.
You can contact your House member in support of HB 1550 by visiting NORML’s “Take Action” Center here:
More information, including the progress of this measure, is available from the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or by emailing Alison Holcomb at [email protected]
You can also become involved in marijuana law reform efforts in Washington state by contacting Washington NORML or visiting them on Facebook.
HB 1550 brings to three the number of currently active, potentially important measures which would affect the pot laws in Washington state.
• Sensible Washington on Wednesday kicked off their second attempt to legalize marijuana in the Evergreen State by ballot initiative; their attempt last year fell short of the number of signatures required to place a measure on the ballot. Sensible Washington’s measure would simply remove all current state penalties for adult marijuana possession, and leave it to the Legislature to draw up rules regarding its taxation, production, and sales.
• Rep. Dickerson’s bill, HB 1550, described in this story, which would legalize marijuana, tax it, and sell it through state liquor stores. State-licensed farmers would produce cannabis.
• The medical marijuana reform bill sponsored by state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, which would add patient arrest protection and safe access (state-licensed dispensaries) to Washington’s already-existing medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 1998.