By Jenny Bloom
Oregon Cannabis Connection
This month, Governor Jay Inslee unceremoniously signed a bill that significantly improves recreational marijuana for Washingtonians. Called the “Omnibus Bill” due to its gathering of seemingly unrelated issues into one bill; it tackles a variety of issues related to marijuana.
Making Green More Green
Washington may not have been the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but it will be the first to certify “organic” marijuana. This task is surprisingly harder than it may seem. Washington is technically unable to use the federally-derived term for a still federally illegal plant. Instead, the state plans to certify farms that are compliant with organic growing methods.
Although there are currently private firms that provide organic certification, a state-sponsored program will help standardize the quality of marijuana sold throughout the state.
Don’t expect to see Washington-State organic weed anytime soon, however. Kathy Davis, a spokesperson for Washington’s Department of Agriculture, advised The Stranger that the process could “take several months to as long as a year.” and that “no certifications will be issued until the rules are complete and have been adopted.”
In the meantime, the Liquor and Cannabis Board needs to come up with another word for the term ‘organic’ since they technically can’t call it that.
Pass the Joint and Grow Some Weed
Thanks to its new ‘organic’ certification, Washington may be the first to sell organic weed, however some it is well behind other states when it comes to growing and sharing weed. This month’s update brings the evergreen state more in line with the practices of its recreational counterparts.
Perhaps the most surprising difference between Washington and every other state is the inability to grow your own weed legally. Current law allows in-home growing for registered patients (and those that can prove medical need in court). The new law approved further research into the feasibility of letting people grow at home for non-medical purposes.
Medical patients were taken into consideration as well. Although the current law allows patients to grow, a 2015 law, removed their ability to buy seeds or starts. As many patients turned to online seedbanks to continue growing their medicine, the state reconsidered. Patients can know buy seeds and starts directly from producers.
Believe it or not, sharing your weed was illegal in Washington until this month. Of course, very few people realized this, but now, they no longer have to worry. It was never enforced either, so its presence in the 2012 law was mostly wasted space.
The legal sharing of weed is common among most recreational states. It is called gifting – the transfer of marijuana without any money changing hands. Like growing, Washington was the exception, preferring to control all flow of marijuana through licensed retail locations.
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