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Washington State: eight months of legal marijuana

Washington is the second US state after Colorado to legalise recreational cannabis use

This sponsored article is published in association with CISTA,  a Little Atoms partner

Last summer, Washington State became the second state in USA to allowing the recreational use of marijuana, following in the footsteps of Colorado, which legalised marijuana in January 2014.

It is now legal to sell up to 28 grams of dry marijuana to adults over 21.

Furthermore, one can buy 450 grams of solids with extract of marijuana, 2.1 litres of liquids or seven grams of concentrated marijuana such as hashish. Nevertheless, the use of cannabis in public is prohibited, (as is alcohol consumption).

The price of marijuana is now in the $23 to $25 per gram range. That's about twice the cost at medical dispensaries, but cheaper than it was a few months ago. The State board of drugs expects that price will fluctuate for the next year and a half or so until all the regulations settle.

Medical marijuana was not previously regulated in Washington so the authorities started from zero. Colorado had already a production up and running for the medical uses. But this was not the case in Washington.

The state devised protocols for trying marijuana for the first time, set the kind of crops that should be permitted to grow, the characteristics of packaging, and even the kind of health and security systems required in the sales points. All this was overseen by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

More than 2,600 people have asked permission to produce cannabis, but according to local press last January there were only about 270 licensed growers in Washington - and only about 85 stores for them to sell to. The Liquor Control Board's legal cannabis project manager, Randy Simmons, says he hopes about 100 more stores will open in the next few months, providing additional outlets for the weed that's been harvested.

Official estimates suggest the cannabis industry in Washington State will generate US$2bn in the next five years.

America is ready to end cannabis prohibition

Both, Colorado and Washington voted ‘yes’ for legalisation in a referendum coinciding with November 2012 general elections. After that the legalisation movement started to boil in the whole country.

Alaska and Oregon voted yes to recreational weed last November and the federal capital Washington DC (not to be confused with the State, located in the west coast) allowed its use only one month ago. Even the New York Times is campaigning to end the prohibition at a federal level.

“The federal government should derogate the prohibition of marijuana”, the prestigious publication stated in an editorial last summer. The piece highlighted the damage that the prohibition to marijuana caused in society and that cannabis is “a substance far less dangerous than alcohol”.

Overall, 35 out of 50 states allow some of the uses of marijuana, whether medical or recreational.

CISTA is a new political party. In the General Election we will campaign for a Royal Commission to review the UK's drug laws relating to cannabis.

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