So you're on the clock at Walmart when you stumble upon a baggie of weed that a customer has "inadvertently" dropped on the floor - what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?
Rep. Terry Nealey (R-Dayton) wants to make the decision easy for you. Nealey's HB 1808, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), would require employees or store managers to notify local law enforcement or the Washington State Patrol when less than an ounce of weed is found at the local Walmart, Safeway or Target before disposing of it. According to Nealey, the bill stems from concerns that stores with pharmacies might run into licensing troubles if drugs that are illegal on the federal level - like pot - are found laying around and there's not clear legal framework for how to react.
Believe it or not, Nealey says the potential situation represents a "real concern."
According to the official summary of the bill: "If a manager or employee of a retail store holding a pharmacy license finds one ounce or less of marijuana inadvertently left within the premises of the business, he or she must promptly notify either the local law enforcement agency or the Washington State Patrol. Following such law enforcement notification, the store manager or employee must properly dispose of the marijuana."
What inspired Nealey to craft such a bill? A lobbyist, of course. The lawmaker tells Seattle Weekly that a lobbyist representing Walmart persuaded him to action with stories of seven such weed droppings recently reported at Washington stores.
"We're trying to think this through," says Nealey of the bizarre, um, problem. "What do you do [when weed is found]? We need some legal basis."
Of course we do.
Perhaps it goes without saying that there are a number of questions raised by the proposed legislation. One of the most obvious involves what constitutes "proper disposal" of a drug that's now legal on the state level.
"That's a good question," says Nealey, who indicates the answer to that question will come from law enforcement. "We might tweak the language there."
HB 1808 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Government Accountability & Oversight today at 1:30 p.m. It should be interesting.