Activists Block Concentrates Ban in Washington

A controversial bill that would have banned high-potency concentrates in Washington state was resoundingly rejected for the 2020 session.

Full story after the jump.

Washington’s well-publicized “10 percent concentrates bill” has been stopped in committee for the 2020 session. HB 2546, “Concerning the Potency of Marijuana Products, would have limited cannabis concentrates in the state at just 10 percent potency for THC. The bill had its first and only hearing last week on January 30.

During the hearing, proponents of the bill expressed concerns about teen psychosis and fetal THC exposure. The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Lauren Davis (D), cited stories of teens discovered at school in the “throes of psychosis” after doing dabs and, as Executive Director of the Washington Recovery Alliance, reports from inpatient psychiatric hospital directors that they were seeing teens and young adults with “cannabis psychosis” on a regular basis. Davis referred to various other studies related to cannabis psychosis, concluding with a 2017 National Academy of Medicine meta-analysis on three decades of cannabis data that pointed to a “strong to moderate” connection between cannabis and psychosis.

Henry Levine, a representative of the Washington State Psychiatric Association and someone who teaches other doctors around the country about “marijuana,” testified in favor of the bill.

“But most importantly are its multi-generational effects on youth particularly. High THC marijuana impairs judgment, impairs impulse control and increases sex drive. That is a bad combination in youth. When youthful users get pregnant, THC crosses into the circulation of the fetus where it impairs the baby’s brain development.” — Henry Levine, during testimony sampled by the Cannabis Observer

In the end, opponents of the bill — primarily adult-use cannabis business owners, medical cannabis advocates, and their allies — triumphed. They argued the bill would hurt businesses and affect medical cannabis patient’s access to the stronger forms of medicine that concentrates provide. Others pointed out that these concentrates have been around for many years and putting them back on the unregulated market would be a “step backward.”

After a short break, Representatives returned and House Commerce and Gaming Committee Chair Strom Peterson (D) said the bill would not be moving out of the committee, but acknowledged the importance of the conversation. Over the weekend, sources say SB 6332, the Senate companion bill, was pulled due to overwhelming opposition.

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