WASHINGTON CANNABUSINESS ASSOCIATION 2019 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA 

The legal cannabis industry has significantly evolved since the passage of I-502. As with all emerging industries, statutory changes are occasionally necessary as issues arise. WACA proposes the following statutory changes, offered as constructive input to strengthen the marketplace in Washington State.

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Defend Integrity of I-502 System
WACA will support proposals that strengthen the licensed system and that leverage the significant resources invested to comply with state regulations. We will oppose any effort that undermines the legal system or improperly benefits anyone who operates in the illegal grey or black markets.

Promote legislation that reduces penalties for marijuana-related offenses
A fundamental tenet of the legal marketplace is keeping marijuana away from minors and WACA supports every measure to crack down on those who continue to profit by selling to kids. To strengthen the legal system, WACA will propose to align the cannabis industry penalty system with that of the alcohol industry by changing the offense level for sale of marijuana to a minor from a felony to a misdemeanor and requiring the WSLCB to investigate and properly enforce penalties for license ownership violations like illegal surplus license ownership. The current penalty system penalizes associates at licensed retail stores with a felony offense if they misread a license, even on a first infraction. A uniform approach to enforcing existing laws for alcohol, expanded to include marijuana, makes sense without undermining any safety measures intended to protect kids.

Promote legislation that allows reasonable levels of out-of-state investment into Washington cannabis businesses
Since the passage of I-502, investment in Washington-licensed businesses has been restricted to only Washington residents. As legalization of cannabis has expanded nationwide, the limitations in-state should be adjusted to account for out-of-state competition. Like other Washington-grown and produced products, cannabis businesses should be empowered to compete with their peers in other states and also assist smaller businesses competing with larger, more well-capitalized license-holders. WACA will propose legislation that allows for non-residents to invest in Washington businesses as long as they do not own more than 25% of the Washington-based business and ensuring that they comply with rigorous requirements for transparency for all qualified investors. 

Support legislation that allows limited merchandising and sale of certain non-THC products within licensed retail stores
Under current law, 502-licencesed retailers are not permitted to sell anything other than marijuana products containing at least 0.3% THC and marijuana paraphernalia. As the industry continues to expand, it has become clear that this law is unnecessary and overly restrictive on businesses that face many other competitive market challenges. WACA proposes allowing limited merchandising in retail establishments in the form of branded clothing, cleaning products, and CBD-only products.