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Washington to See Big Changes to Marijuana Industry Laws

State Marijuana Law

On June 23, some of Washington state’s marijuana laws are changing. Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5131 into law in May. The changes apply to those in the retail, processing and production aspects of the industry.

A big concern is secret profit sharing, Above the Law reports. The Liquor Control Board (LCB) requires disclosures on all contracts regarding IP and consulting services. Disclosure of these agreements must be submitted to the LCB before they take effect. IP licensing rights will be affected regarding branding and intellectual property.

Changes are expected to come regarding how much third parties may charge for services and for how long. The state is also likely to make changes regarding what types of conditions in agreements would be allowed. Essentially what this means is that the LCB will control what relationships/contracts can remain and which must end.

Advertising was also a heavy topic of discussion. No advertising of marijuana or marijuana products may be displayed within 1,000 feet of schools or sensitive use areas. This also means that marijuana-related items can’t be advertised on TV, radio or anywhere that children may come across them. The rule was extended to include marijuana business advertisements, which are no longer allowed anywhere that children may see/hear them.

Additional advertising restrictions include:

  • Tourists can’t be targeted
  • Advertising on cars is prohibited
  • All advertising has to say that products can only be purchased by those ages 21 and older
  • No one holding a marijuana license may use a mascot to represent/advertise a business or product
  • Outdoor advertising may only include a business’ name. No imagery of marijuana or marijuana-products can be included
  • Indoor advertisements that are not inside marijuana businesses are also limited. Anywhere that permits minors will not be permitted to display marijuana industry advertising. This includes malls, fairs, arcades, stadiums/arenas and farmers markets.
  • Billboard advertising is prohibited. Retailers with state-issued licenses are the only ones allowed to have a billboard, but it can only say the name of the business, location and type of business.

Retailers are now able to own as many as 5 retail stores. Producers and processors of medical marijuana can sell plants, clones and seeds to medical marijuana patients.

The LCB must also create a set of regulations to allow marijuana to be listed as organic.