Rivers supports bill to clarify, tighten recreational-marijuana rules

When Washington voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana in late 2012, they authorized a tightly regulated, well-taxed industry with a strong public-safety element. Sen. Ann Rivers said today’s Senate vote supporting House Bill 2136 will put the burgeoning market one step closer to meeting those expectations.

The measure clarifies the collection and distribution of marijuana revenue, particularly for cities and counties; it also tightens previously unclear definitions and revises the tax structure set by the initiative. Rivers said the changes will fit hand in glove with the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which also will become law this year. HB 2136 contains an emergency clause that makes all but a few sections effective July 1, as soon as Gov. Jay Inslee signs the bill.

“There has been concern that the sales tax on marijuana will price out medical-marijuana patients. That simply isn’t possible. The new law I authored makes sure patients who present their authorization card will remain exempt from sales and use tax,” said Rivers, R-La Center.

“As I worked with the leadership in the House on this bill I stuck to the same core principles I used when crafting my Cannabis Patient Protection Act: For legitimate patients to have a safe, clean and adequate supply of their product; to keep our children from accessing marijuana; and to eliminate the black and gray markets that are threatening to upend the entire system.”