Washington is permitting hemp manufacturing for the first time, improving opportunities for extractors and processors who want to venture beyond the state’s borders.
A regulation approved by Governor Jay Inslee on Friday creates a hemp derivative certification and processor registration under the territory’s Agriculture Department.
Although Washington will still prohibit hemp-based food products, the recent license enables the state’s processors to sell hemp extracts to customers beyond Washington’s borders.
Sativa Rasmussen (Dorsey & Whitney’s Seattle-based attorney) said this is a significant milestone for the state’s hemp cultivators. She added that since Washington didn’t license hemp processing before, there was a limited number of extractors.
Rasmussen also said that the state hemp processors had encountered difficulties when transporting their hemp commodities to multiple other states since most jurisdictions require proof of hemp processors’ certification or registration.
The legislation permits certified cannabis processors to acquire different licenses for hemp processing. However, the product line will need to stay separate. Charges for hemp processor permits will be determined later.
This emerges after a state decriminalization reform was defeated on Thursday on the Senate Floor. However, legislators passed an amended version that restores criminal penalties.
The move sets up an imminent altercation with progressive Democrats in the Representatives House who’ve stated that they won’t support a reform that goes back to a criminal Drug War.
In its original form, the reform reflected an enormous step against the war on drugs. It would have attached zero penalties on small, recreational drug amounts and instead recommend treatment and evaluation services for individuals suffering from substance misuse.
Some senators who were initially in favor of SB 5476 consequently changed their opinion after the felony policy change was adopted. Senator Dhingra Manka, the reform’s sponsor, stated that she would no longer second the proposal.