Washington voters approved marijuana legalization in 2012 on Election Day. Washington was joined by Colorado on Election Day 2012 in successfully voting to end marijuana prohibition. Washington has absolutely had its bumps and hurdles along the way, but business is booming in Washington now. Legal adult-use sales began in July 2014. Legal sales began in Colorado in January 2014. Colorado has sold more marijuana overall, but recently Washington overtook Colorado in monthly sales. As it stands right now, based off of sales figures alone, Washington is the adult-use capital of America.
That will obviously change once California comes online, and California will likely hold the title forever going forward, but that doesn’t diminish the size of the market in Washington. Washington is largely considered to have the worst legalization law in the country, and has definitely had problems helping out the medical community. But it is still better than prohibition. Perhaps not for some members of the industry, but if you ask someone who was previously arrested for possessing a personal amount of marijuana and ask them if they would rather have been operating under current Washington law, 100 times out of 100 times that person will go with Washington’s legalization model.
There are still a ton of improvements that are needed in Washington. But one thing that would make no sense would be a return to full prohibition. Yet, that’s exactly what one Washington politician is trying to do. Representative Brad Klippert recently introduced a bill, HB 2096, which would repeal ‘all laws legalizing the use, possession, sale, or production of marijuana and marijuana-related products.’ I first learned of this bill via the Tom Angell Daily Report, which I highly encourage everyone to sign up for.
Washington needs to be pushing legislation that would legalize home cultivation (which a recently introduced bill would do). Washington needs to push for legislation that would further protect suffering patients. What Washington absolutely doesn’t need is a return to prohibition. There is so much uncertainty at the federal level, with the Trump administration appointing long time drug war warriors to positions in his administration, and providing little to know reassurance for the emerging cannabis industry, and to the citizens of the states in which those legal businesses operate. If you live in Washington, make sure to contact your representative and let them know that HB 2096 is garbage. It has been referred to the House Commerce & Gaming Committee, where it should die a natural death.