After a state ballot initiative legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana was approved by Washington voters last week, an industry group is realigning to serve recreational users and promote quality control standards.
To serve a new wider audience, the Association of Medical Marijuana Producers and Processors (AMMP) announced this week that it is restructuring and adopting a new name: the Evergreen State Cannabis Trade Alliance.
We expect to build on this touchstone for both the medical cannabis community and this newly created Washington state recreational cannabis industry.
One week after Washington voters passed Initiative 502 to legalize the production, possession, and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older, ESCTA said it will work to ensure that the same safety standards currently regulating medical marijuana will be used to regulate all cannabis sold in the state.
“As those with the most experience in the state cultivating, processing, and grading cannabis, we expect to build on this touchstone for both the medical cannabis community and this newly created Washington state recreational cannabis industry,” said Muraco Kyashna-tocha, president of ESCTA.
Under the initiative, marijuana can be grown by specially licensed state growers and sold at standalone, marijuana-only distributors licensed and regulated by Washington’s Liquor Control Board. The state currently has no official regulations regarding the cultivation or processing of marijuana, so members of ESCTA are offering to help the state create and adopt safety measures.
“We already have an existing set of rigid standards, designed to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to the safest cannabis on the market,” Kyashna-tocha said in a statement.
These quality control measures, for what AMMP termed “patient-ready cannabis,” ensured that medical marijuana did not exceed maximum levels of environmental contaminants and was free of salt buildup, heavy metals, and any residual pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides.
An even bigger issue for Washington state officials may be how the law will be implemented, as possession of marijuana is a crime under federal law. This week Washington Governor Chris Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole at the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss the issue.
“Following last Tuesday’s vote, we are following the will of the voters and moving ahead with implementation of the initiative,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “The governor asked the Department of Justice to clarify their position, as many questions remain. In turn, as the state begins the implementation process, we will convey to them any problems or concerns.”