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Washington state approves interstate cannabis trade bill

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A Washington state legislative committee last week approved a bill that would allow business-to-business cannabis trading in states that have legalized marijuana. The measure, House Bill 1159, was introduced by the House Regulated Substances and Toys Committee by a 6-5 vote on February 14. The approval of the bill comes one month after the legislative committee voted to approve the accompanying legislation in the Washington state Senate.

Bill It would allow state officials to reach agreements governing interstate marijuana trade with other states that have legalized marijuana. To be enacted, the bill would require other states to adopt similar policies and for the federal government to approve a plan that would allow cannabis trade across state lines. A federal authorization could come in the form of legislation allowing interstate trade in cannabis or through a legal opinion from the US Department of Justice that “allows or tolerates” cannabis companies to do business with controlled entities in other states, according to the text of the action. Democratic State Rep. Sharon Wylie, the lead sponsor of the legislation in the Washington House of Representatives, said the bill continues to work in other states to lay the groundwork for such a policy change.

“This bill attempts to mirror efforts being made in other recreational cannabis legal states by preparing for interstate and interstate trade agreements in the event the federal government changes the rules.” Willie said Ahead of a vote by the House Controlled Substances and Games Committee on February 14.

Other countries are already on board

California and Oregon have already approved proposals to allow cannabis companies to engage in interstate commerce, and a bill to allow such commerce was introduced in the New Jersey state Senate last summer. But even with many jurisdictions on board, transfers of marijuana products across state lines won’t begin until the federal government approves such a plan.

a Companion bill In the Washington state Senate it was approved by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee by a vote last month. At a hearing for the bill, Senator Karen Kaiser, the committee chair, said it was important to take “early action” on the legislation, especially given that it “appears to have a very high level of support,” According to a report from marijuana moment. The accompanying bill is now being considered by the Senate Rules Committee.

Allowing cannabis to be traded between states would open up new markets for independent operators in the industry. Jason C. Addlestone, associate attorney at cannabis and drug legal firm Vicente LLP, said the plan would also benefit companies that already do business in more than one regulated market.

“Right now, to operate in multiple states, a company must set up its operations in every state where it wants to be licensed,” Addelston said. “If transporting marijuana between states is federally legal, then the operator can set up a large cultivation facility in, say, Arizona or Southern California that can supply demand across the country. This will increase the customer base of the state’s legal marijuana business without a significant increase in revenue.” The cost of meeting that demand.

Adelston notes that the legislation would benefit cannabis operators in other ways. The bill could help by stabilizing cannabis prices, and wrote that “any excess supply from the domestic market could be sold to out-of-state retailers, which would increase revenue and reduce the current variable costs associated with oversupply.”

Another potential benefit for the federal government allowing marijuana to be transported between states is environmental. Indoor cultivation facilities, such as those required in cold northern states, have a huge environmental footprint.” By allowing interest trading, these indoor facilities could theoretically be replaced by outdoor farming facilities located in places like Arizona and Southern California, which could help achieve the goal The Biden administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions.”

Federal approval required

While the movement to allow interstate commerce of cannabis is making progress at the state level, enacting such a plan would require approval from Congress or the Department of Justice. Addelston says, however, that such a proposal is unlikely to gain federal approval in the near future, noting that the political climate in Washington, D.C., is likely to prevent an interstate cannabis trade bill from being passed and signed into law during President Joseph Biden’s term. current. in the office.

“Democrats are so focused on including social justice provisions in any federal marijuana bill that, depending on the breadth of such provisions, would likely prevent the necessary nine Republicans from supporting any such bill in the Senate,” Adelston wrote. In addition, with the presidential election approaching, Republicans are unlikely to support Bid President Biden Win a case very popular with voters. Secure and 280E address banking is a primary focus for the industry right now, so I suspect many operators will spend a lot of political capital to foot the bill for interstate commerce.”

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