Bill To Legalize Hemp Farming, Effectively Nullify Federal Ban Passes Washington State Senate 49-0

WASHINGTON:  By a unanimous 49-0 vote this week, the Washington state Senate approved a bill that would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same once put into effect.

Senate Bill 5012 (SB5012) was co-sponsored by State Sens. Brian Hatfield (D-District 19) and Jim Honeyford (R-District 15) and would open up the industrial hemp market in Washington state if successfully passed. It states unequivocally that “industrial hemp is an agricultural product that may be grown, produced, possessed, and commercially traded in the state.” This opens the door for an industrial hemp market to spring up after SB5012 becomes law.

In addition, SB5012 authorizes research into the viability of industrial hemp as well. The bill states that “Washington State University shall study the feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production in Washington” and “shall gather information from agricultural and scientific literature, consult with experts and the public, and review the best practices of other states and countries worldwide regarding the development of markets for industrial hemp and hemp products.”

A similar bill has also been introduced in the state House. HB1552, sponsored by Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) is considered by supporters to be a stronger bill because it not only would make industrial hemp an “agricultural product” as in SB5012, but also includes the needed steps to effectuate this policy. In short, SB5012 will potentially need follow-up legislation before it comes into effect while HB1552 covers that follow up immediately.

Marijuana Breath Test Under Development At Washington State University

WASHINGTON: A team at Washington State University is working to develop a breath test that could quickly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Law-enforcement officers already use preliminary breath tests in the field to estimate drivers’ blood alcohol content. But no similar portable tool exists to test for marijuana impairment using a breath sample.

Stoned drivers have become an increasing concern since Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. A quarter of blood samples taken from drivers in 2013, the first full year the initiative was in effect, came back positive for pot.

WSU chemistry Professor Herbert Hill said that existing technologies — including those already used by airport security and customs agents to detect drugs and explosives — can be re-purposed to test breath for THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.

First Pot Shop Opens In Pullman

WASHINGTON:  MJ’s Pot Shop opened just in time for Washington State University’s home game against the California Golden Bears. Brian Augenstein of MJ’s said that the game has helped bring in not just students attending WSU but also alumni visiting for the game.

Brian says a steady stream of visitors as well as a healthy social media following has made this launch day successful. While MJ’s currently only has five strains of Marijuana available, they are working with their suppliers to get more. They are also working to get exclusive strains. When asked whether they had any specific Cougar branded strains available, Brian was quick to say no. He said that they have been working on it, but they weren’t able to get them in time for opening day.

The city of Pullman was one of Washington select cities to approve a moratorium on marijuana sales after the passing of I-502. The 6 month ban was lifted in early 2014.

Campus officials at WSU also say marijuana usage on campus is also prohibited.