Washington State’s Initiative 502 (I-502), which decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana, was voted into law in November 2012. The law allows the creation of a licensed and regulated system of cannabis production and distribution, similar to the state’s liquor controls. On July 1, 2016 The Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB 5052), codified into RCW 69.51A, integrated the medical market with the regulated recreational market. With this Act the medical marijuana licensing system was dissolved; however, individuals can still become medical marijuana patients and purchase medical marijuana through cooperatives and select cannabis retail stores.
Total cannabis sales in 2017 reached 1.37 billion. According to Brian Smith, Communications Director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Washington is expected to bring in over $1.5 billion from cannabis excise taxes over the next five years. The State’s new traceability seed-to-sale system, which shall be launched this year is expected to bring improved data in an increasingly mature cannabis market.
Currently, the State is only issuing new transportation, research, and cooperative cannabis business licenses. Other licenses that may be available in the future are producer, processor, and retail licenses.
Content updated August 1, 2018