Washington: Marijuana Sharing Law Passes House

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Washington state's marijuana legalization law, I-502, passed, it didn't take long until folks figured out it is the most badly written "legalization" law yet passed. It's so badly written, in fact, that under this purportedly "progressive" legislation, it's a felony to pass a joint to your significant other.

Since the people of Washington apparently didn't read the damn thing before they passed I-502, seemingly not making it past "legalization" and thinking "how bad could THAT be?", it now falls upon the hapless Washington Legislature to fix the mess -- and that's pretty damn scary to anyone who knows just how clueless is that body of lawmakers when it comes to cannabis.

But they get points for trying, at least when it comes to the sharing issue. House Bill 2494, "An act relating to penalties for marijuana offenses," on Monday passed the Washington House on a 73 to 24 vote, and has been referred to committee in the Senate, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.

The bill would finally allow adults 21 and older to share up to half an ounce of cannabis flowers, eight ounces of infused edibles, and 36 ounces of cannabis-infused drinks, without being guilty of a felony as has been the case since this weird-ass brand of corporate "legalization" kicked in back in 2012.

Seattle's black-market marijuana delivery services won't be able to delivery $50 bongs with "free" cannabis, because the law specifies that the transfer of weed has to be noncommercial and "not dependent or conditioned upon or done in connection with the provision or receipt of financial consideration."

Since this IS, after all, the clueless Washington Legislature, they just HAD to put some bad stuff in HB 2494, as well.

What they've included is language which stiffens the penalties around possessing concentrates. If 2494 becomes the law, you will be required to have "packaging showing that the marijuana concentrates were purchased from a marijuana retailer."

Yep, boys and girls, this portion of the nightmare scenario that myself and a few other brave souls mentioned back in 2012 is coming to fruition. If this passes, you will be required to prove you bought your oil, shatter or vape mix from a 502 store, so you'd better save the damn packaging, or risk arrest. Seems the 502 merchants got just the legislation they paid for in this regard.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes are pushing for passage of both HB 2494 and another bill, HB 2368, which would implement a two-year pilot program of legal 502 cannabis delivery in Seattle.

"We must address illegal delivery services that are undermining I-502 and allow responsible businesses to offer delivery service in Seattle," reads a joint statement (sorry) from Murray and Holmes. "The proposed pilot delivery program, along with increased enforcement of existing marijuana laws, will better protect customers, patients and business owners, while strengthening the legal marijuana industry."

Does "increased enforcement of existing marijuana laws" sound like what you voted for when you thought you were voting for "legalization"? That's the damndest kind of "legalization" I've ever seen.

"HB 2494 eliminates criminal penalties for the non-commercial sharing of small amounts of marijuana between adults over the age of 21," the statement from Murray and Holmes reads. "It also reduces criminal penalties for possession of marijuana amounts that fall just outside of legal limits. Current law disproportionately impacts people of color and minority communities across the state, and is inconsistently enforced."

There had been a decent home grow bill before the Legislature (it would have allowed six plants), but Commerce & Gaming Committee Chairman Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), a former narcotics cop, singlehandedly killed that one by refusing to allow his own committee to vote on it -- this after allowing severely ill patients to drive to Olympia from across the state to participate in what turned out to be a sham "hearing" when the decision had already been made to kill the home grow bill.