Last Minute Marijuana Bills Being Reviewed Before Spring Session Ends

Marijuana continues to be the topic of legislative hearings all over the nation as spring sessions come to a close. As the marijuana industry gains momentum towards federal legalization, new Bills are being drafted to further establish tax consistency, law reform and emergency availability. Oregon, Washington and Rhode Island are among states going through the trials and tribulations of establishing a profitable and compliant business model. As a long legislative session closes for the summer, lawmakers pushed to pass last minute amendment changes.

Oregon advocates are presently trying to pass three bills, SB 460, HB 2041 and HB 3400. House Bill 2041 is currently on the floor receiving last minute reviews. It was drafted to allow the government to prohibit medical marijuana facilities from being located within one mile of a school. The Bill recently went through a Work Session on June 23 and it underwent a second reading on June 29th. Senate Bill 460 was introduced to the Senate in early January and is scheduled for a Public Hearing on June 25. The Bill looks to direct the Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules that protect medical marijuana facilities from being relocated if it is found that the location lies within 1,000 feet of a school. Just like HB 2041, it received a second reading on June 29th, facing the possibility that it won’t get another look until after the break is over.

HB 3400 was presented to the Oregon Legislative Assembly in early March. It aims to direct the Oregon Health Authority to develop and maintain a database of information related to producing and processing of marijuana by persons responsible for marijuana grow sites under Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. The Bill also orders all growers and producers to submit information pertaining to owners and managers. The number of mature marijuana plants that can be produced at a single address will now be limited. The Bill passed the House on June 24th and is currently receiving a second reading.

The most drastic amendment change for the end of the legislative session came over the weekend in Washington State. Commercial vendors were informed on last minute amendment and engrossment changes brought forth by Washington HB 2136 on Saturday, June 27th. The Bill will affect the tax structure of all I-502 licensees who only have until July 1st to implement these new changes to their current operations. This presents a levied and collected marijuana excise tax of 37% for all retail sales of marijuana concentrates, useable marijuana and marijuana infused products. This separate tax will be added to general state and local sales taxes that apply to retail sales of tangible personal property.  This separate tax is not part of the total retail price to which total retail price to which general state and local sales and use taxes apply. The tax must be separately itemized from the state and local retail sales tax on the sales receipt provided to the buyer.

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