Washington state gears up for a national cannabis market | Green Zone | Spoken | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

click to enlarge Washington state is preparing for a national cannabis market

Washington state may soon have a new market for its abundance of sun-grown cannabis.

THere’s one reason why you can’t buy Oregon grown cannabis in Spokane. It’s called federal law.

But with the growing likelihood that regulators and politicians in the nation’s capital will end the federal ban on cannabis, Pacific Northwest lawmakers are preparing to allow producers to export cannabis across state lines.

Last week, the Washington state legislature approved a bill that would allow interstate trade in cannabis. The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee vote now moves Senate Bill 5069 to the powerful Rules Committee — the last stop before it goes to the full Senate vote. An accompanying bill is due to be heard by the House Regulated Substances & Gaming Committee, which appears to stand a good chance as it is sponsored by the committee chair.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, a Republican representing most of Clark County in southwest Washington. Senator Jeff Holy, a Republican representing areas north and west of Spokane, is one of the bill’s seven backers. If approved, it would give Governor Jay Inslee the power to enter into agreements with other states where cannabis is legal and allow imports and exports between state-licensed cannabis companies.

Senate committee chair Sen. Karen Keizer, a South Seattle Democrat, said “early action” on the legislation is important because it “appears to have fairly substantial support,” according to the report Marijuana momentcovering developments and trends affecting cannabis.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown approved similar legislation in 2019. California has also enacted similar laws.

However, none of these state laws will matter unless the federal government lifts its 1937 ban. However, President Joe Biden seems keen to change the FBI’s stance on cannabis. In October, he pardoned all previous federal offenses for simple possession of cannabis, a move that affected approximately 6,500 people, and he encouraged states to follow his example.

Biden also initiated an administrative review of the status of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, placing it alongside heroin and LSD. The review will determine whether cannabis should remain on Schedule I or move to a less regulated tier.

If that occurs and the US Department of Justice issues a statement allowing interstate commerce, the nation could see broader legalization Marijuana Business Daily, covering the cannabis business. When producers have access to broader markets, a state’s oversupply would disappear as other states without cannabis infrastructure come online. In the end, Washington cannabis companies could benefit. They would need to expand quickly if the state becomes an export market, which seems likely given its plentiful supply of sun-grown cannabis. ♦


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