The Washington State Senate approved a bill last week to allow cannabis businesses to engage in interstate commerce, approved by a 40-8 vote, which will give the governor the authority to enter into agreements with other U.S. to allow imports and exports. “It’s no secret that Washington State has been a leader in the cannabis industry,” said Republican Senator Ann Rivers, the bill’s author.
The Washington State Senate approved a bill last week to allow cannabis businesses to engage in interstate commerce.
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Washington State Passes Interstate Cannabis Vote 40-8
The Washington State measure, approved by a 40-8 vote, would give the governor the authority to enter into agreements with other U.S. states where cannabis is legal to allow imports and exports between licensed cannabis businesses.
“It’s no secret that Washington State has been a leader in the cannabis industry,” said Republican Senator Ann Rivers, the bill’s author, before the vote.
Washington State Prepares for Federal Legalization
Rivers says, “We have taken massive steps to ensure that the product made here [Washington State] is well regulated, is tested and is of the highest quality. We know that legalization at the federal level is coming. We’ve seen bills introduced and we feel like it’s getting closer.”
But the Washington State industry “could be left in the dust if we are absent and unable to act” when federal law changes, she said. “So we can put our governor in charge of looking out for this industry and making sure that goods can move from our state to other states and back home in a legal, safe and enforceable way.”
The New Washington State Regulations
Under SB 5069, cannabis products from out-of-state businesses would be required to comply with Washington State regulations, including packaging and labeling.
However, it would only go into effect under one of two conditions: 1) if federal law is amended “to allow for the interstate transfer of cannabis” between legal businesses, or 2) if the U.S. Department of Justice issues an opinion “permitting or condoning” interstate cannabis commerce in the United States.
If either of these conditions is met, state regulators would be required to provide written notification of the change in federal policy, as well as any “statutory changes necessary to authorize the sale, delivery and receipt of cannabis” from out-of-state businesses. Regulators would also have to adopt rules necessary for cross-border trade.
Washington State Joins California nd New Jersey
California’s governor signed a similar measure last year. Before that, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed interstate cannabis commerce into law in 2019.
On the other side of the country to Washington State, New Jersey’s Senate President introduced a similar proposal last year, but it has yet to be signed into law.
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