Washington State Legislature - Bills
(February 11, 2019) - HB 1945 - “Concerning sales and sampling of marijuana.” - Summary

HB 1945 would enable direct sales by some producers and processors as well as public social use of cannabis.

Here are some observations about HB 1945, a new bill in Washington’s state legislature “Concerning sales and sampling of marijuana.” The bill was drafted by Cannabis Observer Bailey Hirschburg in his role as a volunteer with Washington NORML with consultation from licensees and industry representatives.

My top takeaways:

  • Legislation to enable direct sales by some producers and processors as well as public social use of cannabis was introduced in the House as HB 1945 by Representatives Steve Kirby and Sherry Appleton on Thursday February 7th.
    • “A direct sales endorsement to a marijuana producer or marijuana processor license is established to authorize producers or processors to sell useable marijuana as well as marijuana products directly to consumers.”
      • Producers or processors must sell their own products
      • 3.5 gram minimum sales for useable marijuana (no minimum sale for concentrates/infused products)
      • Must follow “requirements for agricultural direct marketing activities
      • Allows for temporary or dedicated retail space
      • Endorsements do not count towards the retail outlet cap
      • Tax collection and payment required
      • Only certain producers or processors can seek an endorsement:
        • “(a) Meets the definition of small business under RCW 39.26.010;
        • (b) Is located ten miles or more from the nearest marijuana retailer; and
        • (c) Has premises with a plant canopy of fifteen thousand feet or less on the property that is zoned to permit retail sales as defined in RCW 82.04.050.”
        • As currently written, a licensee must meet all of these qualifications to apply for a direct sales endorsement. Hirschburg is working with the bill sponsor to amend the “and” at the end of (b) to “or”.
    • “A marijuana retailer may apply for a special endorsement as a marijuana consumption lounge.
      • The lounge must be a “physically separated” area meaning it “is enclosed on all sides by solid, impermeable walls or windows extending from the floor to ceiling with self-closing doors or an open air area clearly indicated and at least one hundred fifty feet separated from other businesses or residences.”
      • A mechanical engineer must certify a separate ventilation, filtration, and airflow system
      • Staff must have “been advised of and accepts that environmental marijuana smoke may be present in their potential work area.”
      • License in good standing, proper tax and receipt reporting if operational during the past year
      • Posting of required signage
      • No alcohol or tobacco use
    • Retailers with lounge endorsements may host producers and/or processors with direct sales endorsements in their lounges.
    • Producers and processors with direct sales endorsements may apply to expand it to include “on-site sampling” if they meet the venue requirements outlined for retail lounges. They may host other producers and/or processors with direct sales endorsements in their sampling areas.
    • The bill adds cannabis to several WSLCB “special permits” for alcohol. Applicable events include private business functions, conventions or trade shows, bed and breakfasts, raffles, non-profit auctions, or day spas.
    • The bill amends cannabis advertising law (RCW 69.50.369) to permit merchandise at a “marijuana industry show or event.”
    • Other sections are amended for adults purchasing or handling cannabis with a special permit, and law enforcement authority to verify a permit holder’s identity.
    • The bill creates an exemption to the Smoking in Public Places statutes to enable the bill’s lounges, sampling areas, and special permits.
  • Social use has been implemented or proposed in many other jurisdictions.
  • The bill has been read on the House floor and referred to the Commerce and Gaming Committee.
    • You can view HB 1945’s history and sign up for updates on the legislature’s website.
    • You can share testimony by contacting committee members and staff. Comments sent through the legislature website go to your lawmakers, but not to committees where the bill may be heard.