Press release: NWPPR applauds passage of 5052

It’s a safe bet that not all medical marijuana growers and retailers agree with this, but the NorthWest Producers, Processors and Retailers group put out a press release with a few other Washington organizations Wednesday applauding the legislature’s passage of SB 5052.


The bill, which merges medical and recreational marijuana in the state – along with many other things – is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk soon, and word is he intends to sign it.

Thought I’d pass along the press release so everyone could at least give it a read. It’s below.

-SueVo (sue.vorenberg@columbian.com)

Medical cannabis businesses applaud passage of SB 5052, say more work remains

(SEATTLE ) A broad coalition of medical patients, producers, dispensaries and workers today applauded the Legislature’s passage of legislation to harmonize Washington’s recreational and medical cannabis marketplaces, characterizing it as a positive step in the right direction.

Senate Bill 5052 passed the Senate yesterday evening (4/14) on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote after clearing the House of Representatives on a strong, bipartisan vote last week.

“Washington needs a regulatory framework that ensures medical cannabis patients can continue receiving the treatment they require, in a safe, tested and secure way,” said Brian Caldwell, chair of the Northwest Producers, Processors and Retailers Association. “This bill takes initial steps toward a more rigorous system, including medical licensing, as well as safety standards to protect patients and prevent fraud. This bill is not perfect and much work remains for us in the regulation development and implementation process, but we thank lawmakers for moving us forward towards a safe, stable and reliable cannabis industry in Washington. We must continue the conversation, both with lawmakers and with regulators – but we cannot lose sight of patients. Their needs and concerns must be the paramount focus.”

“Though SB 5052 isn’t perfect – and I definitely understand those who wanted perfection – the bill provides a clear pathway for legitimate medical cannabis operators to continue to serve medical patients,” said Alex Cooley, founder of the medical cannabis producer Solstice, Washington’s first-ever permitted cannabis production facility. “I look forward to being at the table and working with everyone, where I’ll continue to be a voice for those patients who were well-served before the passage of this legislation, and who need to be just as well-served after it.”

“CCSE deeply appreciates all the hard work and dedication policy makers committed to SB 5052,” said Jeremy Kaufman, chair of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics. “The bill needs work, but no piece of legislation was ever perfect out of the gate. We look forward to strengthening the ties between legislators and the cannabis industry as we move forward. Together, we will create the most robust, dynamic and diverse cannabis and hemp marketplace, in the world.”

“Though not perfect, SB5052 comes a long way in providing safe, standardized access for patients,” said Denise Jagielo, president of UFCW Local 367, a local labor union that represents employees of medical and recreational cannabis businesses. “It continues to contribute to the economic vitality of Washington with safe, living-wage jobs for their workforce. We look forward to working with the LCB to create a framework for a safe, prosperous industry in our state.”

According to the coalition, SB 5052 contains a number of positive provisions, including:
– a clear path for medical retailers;
– increased canopy for medical producers and processors; and
– medical cannabis licensing, staff training, and endorsements.
The coalition identified a number of areas for legislative attention next session, including:
– lifting the ban on documented medical cannabis patients from participating in clinical trials and receiving organ transplants;
– providing a full tax exemption for medical cannabis and related products; and
– enhancing protection and access for patients who use medical cannabis, including broadening the list of qualifying conditions.

“As a patient, I can continue to trust the reliable knowledge of my dispensary in the safe, comfortable atmosphere I have become accustomed to,” said Gail Grill, a patient at The Herbal Gardens dispensary in Tacoma, “I will be able to continue managing my chronic migraines with the people I can trust.”

“I love what I do” said Ashely Swanson, a bud tender at the Five Points Collective in Puyallup. “As a single mom, this passing lets me continue supporting family with my good hourly wages and benefits.”

In 1998, Washington voters legalized medical cannabis. Since then, responsible medical cannabis businesses have served patients’ important health needs while at the same time building a platform for the eventual legalization of all cannabis, which voters approved in 2013.

SB 5052 now heads to Gov. Inslee for his consideration.