OLYMPIA – Medical marijuana would come under some of the same licensing requirements as the recreational form of the drug but its buyers would pay fewer taxes under a plan to harmonize the state’s two pot systems.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, D-Seattle, announced Tuesday the Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Act, one of several medical marijuana bills expected in this session, saying patients need certainty in the quality of the drug they are getting.
Her bill would give the state Liquor Control Board, which now controls recreational marijuana, in charge of licensing and regulating medical marijuana. Recreational stores could receive endorsements to sell the medical products, medical dispensaries with clean records would have an easy time receiving licenses and patients would not have to pay some of the high taxes for their products. Among other proposals in the bill:
Growers of medical marijuana would be subject to the same quality control and testing requirements as the recreational growers, who can’t use most chemicals to control pests and mold.
Adults in Washington would also be able to grow up to six plants in their home for either medical or recreational use.
Cities and counties that want to ban or restrict legal marijuana businesses would have to get voter approval.
Another bill, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, by Sens. Ann Rivers, R-Vancouver, and Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, is scheduled for a hearing later this week in the Senate Health Care Committee. Kohl-Wells said she expects the final proposal to pass the Legislature will have elements of both, but insisted “we’ve got to have a law passed this session.”