Marijuana Legislation & What It Means for Benton County
 
Posted on Tuesday February 06, 2018
 
Overview of current Washington State legislation related to marijuana, and how it impacts Benton County.
 

Marijuana Legislation & What It Means for Benton County
General Overview
We are now in the fifth (5th) week of the Washington State Legislative Session, with this year being a short session. Last week marked the first of many upcoming legislative cutoff deadlines. Bills must have passed out of policy committees by Friday, February 2nd to remain under consideration. Any bill that did not meet that deadline is effectively “dead” and will no longer be considered during this session.

Any bill that has a fiscal impact must pass out of fiscal committees by Tuesday, February 6th. After these cutoff deadlines, the House and Senate will each meet on the floor to vote on those bills that passed committee. Bills will then need to pass their house of origin (House bills must pass the House; Senate bills must pass the Senate) by February 14th.

Commissioner Jerome Delvin serves as the Benton County Commission representative with the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) Legislative Steering Committee (LSC). This committee meets every other week during the short session to discuss county issues throughout the State and is made up of one representative from each county in the State, as well as WSAC staff.

On January 31 – February 2, 2018, Commissioner Delvin attended a WSAC LSC meeting and had the opportunity to speak with multiple legislators, including Representative Klippert (R-Kennewick) regarding the proposed marijuana legislation. He was also able to voice the County’s concerns with lobbyists who represent marijuana-related industries.

There have been many bills introduced into the House and Senate in 2018 relating to marijuana. Below is a list of the bills that are still “alive” throughout the legislature, and bills that were introduced by local legislators that are “dead.”

This is NOT an exhaustive list of all bills related to marijuana, and additional bill information can be found at the Washington State Legislature’s website: www.leg.wa.gov.


Marijuana Bills That Are Still “Alive”

House Bill 2336, sponsored by Rep. David Sawyer (D – Parkland), was heard in the House Commerce & Gaming Committee a few weeks ago. The bill requires jurisdictions to conduct a public vote prior to banning marijuana retail stores and is a significant preemption of local control. The bill has successfully made it through both policy and fiscal cutoffs and will need to be voted out of the House by February 14th to be continue. This bill would significantly decrease local government authority to restrict marijuana retail operations.

House Bill 2471, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma), prohibits cities, towns, and counties from enacting regulations pertaining to medical marijuana co-ops without a grant of authority from the state. This preempts local control from zoning provisions, should a local government attempt to prohibit a medical marijuana co-op. The bill has passed out of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee and now sits on Rules 2 Review. The bill has successfully made it through both policy and fiscal cutoffs and will need to be voted out of the House by February 14th to be continue. 

Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) opposes both bills listed above, due to their proposed limits on local government authority. Benton County is also in opposition to the bills above, and will be closely monitoring the bills as they move through the House and potentially go to the Senate.

 

Marijuana Bills That Have “Died”

House Bill 2630, sponsored by Rep. Dan Griffey (R-Allyn), creates an authority under the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to hold business license applicants pursuing marijuana-related business accountable to local regulation. The bill does this by authorizing the LCB to issue or renew marijuana-related business licenses, as long as the applicant proves they are in compliance with local ordinances, and authorizes the LCB to tentatively approve the license of an applicant that meets licensing requirements, but has not provided proof of compliance with local ordinances. In addition, the bill prohibits an individual that has a tentative license from engaging in any commercial business relating to marijuana until their license is confirmed. The LCB is also required to issue a license to a tentative license holder if, within six months of approval, the applicant provides full approval of compliance with local regulations. The bill had a public hearing last week, but no further action has been taken, making it officially “dead.”

House Bill 1625, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick), makes the smoking of marijuana in the presence of children unlawful, and a class 1 civil infraction. Its first reading in the 2018 session was held January 25, and was referred to the Commerce & Gaming Committee. It was not heard prior to the February 2nd deadline, and is officially “dead.”

House Bill 2096, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick), proposed to repeal all laws legalizing the use, possession, sale, or production of marijuana and marijuana-related products. It was originally proposed in the 2017 session, but was not heard, and was reintroduced on January 8th for 2018 session. However, it was not referred to committee, and is thus officially “dead.”

House Bill 2238, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) and supported by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland), and would prohibit the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) from issuing a new license or renewing a marijuana retail license for any premises located within one thousand feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any playground or childcare center. The bill was originally introduced during 2017 session but did not get a hearing, and was reintroduced in 2018. The bill did not get a hearing in the 2018 session either, and is officially “dead.”

House Bill 2483, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) and supported by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland), would restrict the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) from issuing or renewing marijuana retail licenses for any premises within one thousand feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any: preschool, elementary school, secondary school, playground (regardless of ownership), school bus stop, recreation center/facility, child care center (including preschools or any facility that regularly provides child care or early learning services), public park, public transit center, library, or any game arcade which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older. This bill was introduced in the 2018 session and was referred to the Commerce & Gaming Committee on January 10. It did not receive an official reading or public hearing and was not passed out of committee, and is thus officially “dead.”

House Bill 2484, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) and supported by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland), would authorize local governments to prohibit the siting and operation of marijuana producers, processors, or retailers within its jurisdictional boundaries. If the local government were to pass an ordinance in accordance with this bill, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) would be prohibited from issuing or renewing any license for the production, processing, or retail sale of marijuana with respect to businesses currently located or proposed to be located within the area subject to the ordinance. This bill was introduced in the 2018 session and was referred to the Commerce & Gaming Committee on January 10. It did not receive an official reading or public hearing and was not passed out of committee, and is thus officially “dead.”

House Bill 2744, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) and supported by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland), would prohibit marijuana licensees from engaging in any marijuana production, processing, or storage activities that can either be readily seen by normal unaided vision, or readily smelled, from public places or private property on which a housing unit is located. This bill was introduced in the 2018 session and was referred to the Commerce & Gaming Committee on January 10. It did not receive an official reading or public hearing and was not passed out of committee, and is thus officially “dead.”

House Bill 2960, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick), would authorize local governments to enact ordinances requiring that all marijuana be cultivated indoors in a fully enclosed and secure structure. This bill was introduced in the 2018 session and was referred to the Commerce & Gaming Committee on January 30. It did not receive an official reading or public hearing and was not passed out of committee, and is thus officially “dead.”

 

 
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