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Proposed bills pushing to regulate high-potency cannabis products in Washington

One bill would add more taxes on high-potency THC products and another would put restrictions on the sale of products with a THC concentration greater than 35%.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — It has been 11 years since the state of Washington legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Now, there are two bills aiming to address high-potency cannabis products.

"The cannabis industry has made it very clear they are not interested in prevention; they're interested in profit," said Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline.

Strong words from Rep. Davis who is proposing two bills this legislative session. Right now, buyers pay a 37% excise tax on cannabis products, the first bill would raise that as much as 65% on products with at least 60% in potency. It also requires warning labels for those products and prohibits sales to anyone under 25.

"Research study after research study, particularly in the last several years showing these products cause psychotic disorders, particularly in individuals under the age of 25," said Davis.

The second bill prohibits selling cannabis concentrates with a THC concentration greater than 35% unless it's for medical use. Despite this push for more regulations on high-potency products, there's opposition.

"The industry is subject to rigorous standards for safety, for testing, for advertising to make sure the products that we sell are safe," said Vicki Christophersen the executive director of Washington Cannabusiness Association. Christophersen opposed the bills at a public hearing earlier this month.

"Retail stores in this state those that are regulated by the LCB have an over 95% compliance rate on sales to children,” said Christophersen. “We do not want people who are not eligible to receive our products to get it and we will work on any policies that will help us do that."

Davis said neither bill is currently scheduled for executive session as of this weekend. That means the bills won't move forward if they aren't scheduled by Friday.

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