Here at Northwest Leaf, we’re always fighting the good fight for ganja. That’s why on a frigid February morning, “The Bearded Lorax” and I were up before the crack of dawn and on the road down to the state’s capital in Olympia for a House hearing on three new Cannabis-related House Bills that will severely impact the concentrates market.
I’d never been to a legislative session before, and I honestly didn’t know quite what to expect. The misinformation I heard about Cannabis shocked me to my core – listening to supporters of these bills, I felt like we’d gone back in time to 1936 when the “Reefer Madness” movie came out. Speaking of the cinema, there was a documentary being filmed during the hearing; with each ridiculously misinformed statement, I imagined the camera crew panning to me with my jaw dropped open in my own mockumentary-style sitcom, “Confessions of a Hash Head at an Anti-Concentrates Hearing.”
First up on the docket were House Bills 1641 and 1642, aiming to regulate the sale of Cannabis concentrates and greatly reduce access to high-potency products. If passed, HB 1641 would impose a tier taxation system for high-potency Cannabis products: 37% excise tax for products under 35% THC, 50% excise tax for products between 35-60% THC, and 65% excise tax for products over 60% THC. Yes, you did read that right … a 65% tax. And yes, you’re also correct if you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait a second! No other product on the planet is taxed that high! Not alcohol, not tobacco, not lottery tickets. How does that make sense?” The answer: It doesn’t!
This bill would also require new warning labels on high-potency products, not allow anyone under the age of 25 to buy these products unless they are a qualifying patient or designated provider, and place bans on marketing or advertising any Cannabis products over 35%. We’re still doing censorship in 2023? Seriously uncool. Even more restrictive, HB 1642 would make it illegal for recreational brands to sell concentrates over 35%, period. Medically-licensed companies selling to qualifying patients and designated providers would be the only ones able to create and carry items of such potency.
Beyond these bills being a giant step backward for our industry, the thing that fired me up the most was one woman’s testimonial. She said something along the lines of: “He was a good kid. He didn’t look like your typical stoner. He got addicted to Cannabis, lost his job, and now he’s a monster.”
What does your typical stoner look like, I wonder? I consume the high THC concentrates that are being discussed in this bill, and I am a daughter, a friend, a cousin, a partner, a coworker. Does using high-potency THC make me any less of those things? Does buying concentrates automatically make me a monster, an addict, a criminal, or mean I will go nowhere in life?
With recreational legalization happening here in 2012, I thought we were way past this stereotype. And I seriously hope this bill does not continue past this point. The Leaf is working hard to lobby and prevent that from happening, and if you want to join the fight with us, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Cheers to staying strong and stoned in the face of adversity!