Lawmakers in Washington State are on the cusp of passing legislation that would set the stage for licensed cannabis businesses to be able to engage in cross-border commerce with cannabis companies in other legal states.
The state’s House of Representatives approved the bill, SB 5069, in a 71–26 vote on Wednesday. Members approved a minor amendment on the House floor to correct what was described as “a scrivener’s error” in a version passed by the Senate last month. The fix means the legislation still needs one more final Senate nod before it can proceed to Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for his signature.
The measure would not immediately allow interstate cannabis commerce. Rather, it would give the governor the authority to enter into agreements with other legal states only if there’s a federal law change “to allow for the interstate transfer of cannabis” or if the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issues an opinion “allowing or tolerating” cannabis commerce across state lines.
“Sometimes government falls behind events. This is a small way of being proactive,” Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) said on the floor on Wednesday. “Should the federal government act when we are not in session, we don’t know how they would act. We don’t know when they will act, but this sends a message and sets us up so that we can respond responsibly.”
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