Washington’s Legal Weed Just Got Legaler

Among many other things, you can now officially pass that joint.

Illustration by James the Stanton

In case you missed it, the state legislature decided to just go ham this session and pass a huge-ass cannabis bill, legalizing, or further legalizing, a bunch of stuff. It allows cannabis-friendly legislators to get a buttload of legislation passed, and conservative legislators to go on record as having voted for only one cannabis-related item. And we stoned citizens of Washington are all the better for their machinations.

One element of this bill that really has people excited covers the advent of a system to certify cannabis as organic (actually it will be some other word, as the word “organic” is owned by the Feds #eyeroll), and we will be the first state in the nation to do so. An article from Reuters quotes Republican Senator Ann Rivers as predicting this newly certified organic weed should be available in about a year and a half. The new system will allow for all sorts of cool info-gathering for consumers, as well as incentives for growers and processors to “go green.” Folks expect this new system to possibly become the blueprint the rest of the country follows.

The bill also acknowledges tribal sovereignty, declaring that now the LCB must get approval from a federally recognized tribe before it will grant a license for a store on tribal land. Another incredibly important element: Registered medical patients will be allowed to buy seeds and starter plants directly from growers—they can go right to the source for those very-hard-to-find strains. Medical users can grow up to four plants in their home. Another portion of this bill initiates a process which will require the state to go on record as to why adults should or should not be able to grow at home for recreational use. Washington state is the only state that has legalized recreational weed usage but not recreational home grows. Now they will have to make a decision.

But the element I’m the most excited about is the inclusion of the right to pass the dutchy. Until now it was completely illegal to share weed in any form. Think of all the beautiful conversations you have had passing a joint back and forth, lying in bed with a lover, watching your favorite band in the pouring rain, under a tree at the beach. All those moments of communion were against the law. This new law states explicitly that it is OK to share with anyone of age as long as money is not being exchanged.

Also, we may finally make some headway on industrial hemp usage. For decades, makers from all branches of science have been clamoring for access to this incredibly versatile—but non-psychoactive—plant. The new law removes industrial hemp from the list of banned drugs—makes sense, since it’s not a drug—and creates the language to begin exploring research. It’s not enough, but it’s something.

Retail chains got bumped up from three to five, so we’re either about to get another two Unkle Ike locations or Eisenberg’s about to cash out and complete the deal he pitched in January. Lastly, advertising will have to be tamed, as the state said no more depictions of pot leaves or cartoons. And here I was, genuinely hoping we could change the state animal to The Stoney Salmon.


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