A bill proposed last week by a group of Washington lawmakers would limit the THC content of all non-medical cannabis sold in the state to 10 percent.
The legislation, co-sponsored by 22 Democrats in the state House, cited “health professionals and researchers [who] continue to find an association between the use of high potency marijuana and the occurrence of psychotic disorders.”
The bill, introduced on Wednesday, would prohibit cannabis retail outlets in the state from selling marijuana concentrates, like those used in vape oils, with a THC concentration greater than 10 percent—unless the customer is a patient with a valid medical marijuana prescription.
Washington has had legal medical marijuana since 1998; in 2012, it became one of the first two states (the other being Colorado) to legalize recreational pot use.
In the bill, the Democratic lawmakers said that “ sales of high-potency marijuana concentrates represent nearly forty percent of total sales of marijuana products,” and that the aforementioned study “defined high-potency cannabis as a potency greater than ten percent.”
“The legislature finds that high potency marijuana products are increasingly prevalent in the market. Whereas the THC concentration of marijuana-infused edible products is limited to ten percent by state law and the THC concentration of marijuana flower is biologically limited, there is currently no limit on the potency of marijuana concentrates such as THC-infused vape oils,” the bill reads.
“These types of high-potency marijuana products are available with a THC concentration of almost one hundred percent THC. Prior to Washington and other states legalizing marijuana sales, many of these high-potency products did not exist or were not widely available. In 2019, sales of high-potency marijuana concentrates represent nearly forty percent of total sales of marijuana products.”
The bill has already inspired opposition. A Change.org petition with nearly 1000 signatures argues the proposal “would force thousands of legal consumers into the illegal market, which has killed dozens with tainted vape cartridges,” and “would dramatically alter the face of Washington’s legal cannabis landscape by outlawing the vast majority of state-licensed vape cartridges, dabbable extracts, and other concentrated products.”
“This is an attack on consumers and cannabis enthusiast [sic], it would have no measurable affect [sic] except for less tax revenue and more health issues with black-market, unregulated products as well as the potential for deadly fires as individuals may try to make there [sic] own product,” the petition says. “The High Potency numbers used were for any concentrate above 10% and it seems lawmakers have chosen such numbers arbitrarily than anything based on science.”