History of CBD and Cannabis In – Washington
The legalization of marijuana has spread like wildfire across the United States. Barely 20 years ago, recreational marijuana was illegal in all 50 states, and medical marijuana was illegal virtually everywhere as well. Today, times have changed: 33 states have legalized medical marijuana (as has Washington, D.C.), and 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana (along with Washington, D.C.)
Generally speaking, states tend to liberalize their marijuana policy in inline with their overall ideological inclinations, and the state of Washington is no exception to this rule. The state has a long history of progressive values, a Democratic Governor and Democratic legislature. As such, it is likely no surprise to learn that the state has long since legalized medical and recreational marijuana.
Medical Marijuana in Washington
Before it moved towards full legalization, Washington State was on the forefront of the movement to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. This happened in 1998, when a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana passed by a 59-41% margin. The law established a process by which physicians could prescribe marijuana to patients who were suffering from a variety of illnesses, including AIDS, side effects from chemotherapy, epilepsy and more.
Private enterprises would establish medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute marijuana; however, those dispensaries were the subject of a dispute with the federal government, with many actually being raided and shut down.
Recreational Marijuana in Washington
Washington became one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. This occurred in the 2012 general election, when Initiative 502 received 55.7% of the vote and became law. The act allowed for the Washington State Liquor Control Board to regulate the sales of marijuana and for the product to be taxed. It also established limits for THC in the blood when it came to driving, thus ensuring that driving while under the influence of marijuana would be illegal. These laws were a source of contention within the marijuana industry, who opposed the full legalization laws, arguing that the DUI limits were too stringent.
Despite the continued prohibition against marijuana by the federal government, the Department of Justice announced in 2013 that they would not oppose state legalization, as long as the state adequately regulated the industry.
CBD Regulations in Washington
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the Schedule One list of drugs and cleared the way for the product to be sold without violating federal law. However, Washington’s Department of Agriculture has made it clear that it believes that using CBD in food is illegal. As such, the state does not allow for CBD to be sold in food or drink format in the state. However, it has said that if the FDA changes their regulations, they will as well.