On Saturday, June 27th, the Washington State Legislature Passed HB2136, which seeks to reform the State’s legal marijuana market. The new law includes the following changes to the existing regulatory scheme:
- Elimination of the 3 tier taxation system, substituting a single tax of 37% on retail sales
- Providing tax exemptions for qualified medical marijuana patients and designated providers
- Changing the residency requirement from 3 months to 6 months for license applicants
- Providing for licensing of common carriers to transport and deliver marijuana between licensed businesses
- Allowing local jurisdictions to reduce the 1,000 foot buffer requirement except around schools or playgrounds
- Providing a share of tax revenue to jurisdictions that allow marijuana businesses
Unfortunately, what the bill does not do is restrict local jurisdictions from prohibiting marijuana businesses. As I have discussed in prior posts, this represents a fundamental hindrance to the success of the legal marijuana market. Time will tell if the revenue sharing provided in this new legislation will be sufficient to convince more cities and counties to allow marijuana businesses to operate within their jurisdictions.
The new marijuana market reform bill is a step in the right direction, however, in terms of taxation, licensing of common carriers, adding flexibility for signage, buffering, etc. Marijuana business owners, investors, and all other interested parties will want to familiarize themselves with this new bill as well as Washington’s new medical marijuana legislation.
For more information on the regulation of marijuana businesses in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.