By: Buz Deliere | December 23, 2022
This week, Washington State took a pioneering step as lawmakers pre-filed a bold bill seeking to expand the legal cannabis across state borders. If passed, this groundbreaking measure would make it possible for cannabis goods from Oregon and California - two states with similar legislation already in place –to travel legally up and down the coast.
With the interstate cannabis commerce bill set to potentially pass in its upcoming session, there is still one major hurdle left before cross-border cannabis deals can begin - federal approval. The decision rests with the federal government on whether or not states will be able to freely trade THC products and push legalization even further.
A bipartisan effort proposed Monday by four state senators could bring business opportunities to Washington’s cannabis industry. Sens. Ann Rivers (R) and Karen Keiser (D) head the new Senate Bill 5069, which allows agreements between states in regards to licensing and delivery of cannabis products from other states while still abiding by specific local regulations such as testing, packaging, and labeling requirements.
The proposed legislation, which aims to revolutionize cannabis interstate commerce by offering a chance for growth and development between businesses in different states, depends on either the adjustment of federal law legalizing interstate commerce or an opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice allowing such activity or to tolerate it.
Washington marijuana regulators will soon face the hefty task of authorizing sales, deliveries, and receipt of cannabis from out-of-state companies. The federal policy change necessitates written notices along with implementing state-level statutory changes as well as crafting rules for interstate trade.
In 2020, the Alliance for Sensible Markets launched a campaign encouraging state governors to open up markets and interstate sales of cannabis. Advocates highlight this as an economic opportunity that could stimulate supply/demand dynamics amongst consumers, patients, and businesses alike.
A coalition of organizations including NORML, the Craft Cannabis Alliance, and Washington State's Cannabis Distribution Association joined forces to launch the pro-cannabis policy campaign. This daring initiative also sees participation from other like-minded companies and advocacy groups in support of reforming existing laws around cannabis use.
The alliance has advocated for the growth and development of both producer states and newly legal consumer states through a proposed cross-border trade system. This initiative is expected to substantially increase valuations in producer states while expediting market launches across new consumer states that could otherwise take years to establish.
Washington's proposed bill and Oregon’s recently passed statute both put more discretion in state officials' hands by allowing them to make a determination on whether or not federal intervention poses too much risk. The ultimate goal is to ensure states can safely move forward with cross-border activity without fear of consequences from the federal government.
See the new Senate Bill 5069 Here.