Statement from Executive Director on supporting a safe, regulated marketplace

Today the Washington CannaBusiness Association, the only trade association in Washington State comprised solely of regulated cannabis businesses, released the following statement from Executive Director Vicki Christophersen: 

“We support a safe, regulated and quality-controlled cannabis marketplace in Washington. A fully-regulated market encourages enforcement of state laws meant to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors, but shouldn’t work to expand a minor’s foolish decision into a five-year felony prison sentence.  

As a supporter of the Cannabis Patient Protection Act during the 2015 Legislative Session in Olympia, we hold public safety as our highest priority and keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids is a critical tenet of a fully-regulated marketplace. But in 2012 one reason Initiative 502 elicited voter support was because it laid the foundation for a new way to address the cannabis industry statewide. In 2015, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (5052) provided greater clarity and tighter controls to ensure patient and community safety and well-being. Felony incarceration of minors is not and never was the intent.

Recent media attention highlighted a situation where a minor reportedly in possession of marijuana was being threatened with a felony charge. We have been working to identify the cause of what we see as misinterpretation of the law’s intent. In discussions with the Liquor and Cannabis Board and Senator Rivers, we have asked for swift resolution of the situation which caused this legal uncertainty and a thoughtful and reasoned approach to help make sure this doesn’t happen again. We support Senator Rivers’ action today in requesting that the Attorney General provide direction on the bill’s language and, if a fix is needed to ensure that the law is enforced as originally intended, we ask that the Legislature revise state law accordingly.” 

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