Washington Bill Increases Age To Buy ‘dangerous’ Cannabis Products

Washington Bill Increases Age To Buy ‘dangerous’ Cannabis Products
Washington Bill Increases Age To Buy ‘dangerous’ Cannabis Products

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A bill introduced in the Washington state legislature aims to limit high potency cannabis products amid concerns of increasing potency and risks posed to younger people using the products.

The bipartisan bill would increase the age limit to buy high-potency cannabis products to 25 — which lawmakers say is “consistent with science about brain development.”

Additionally, the bill would develop interventions in healthcare settings for people at risk of adverse impacts from the products, and would enact recurring funding for the Department of Health to produce public health messages about the harms associated with high-potency products.

House Bill 2320 was introduced by Rep. Lauren Davis (D-Shoreline) and Rep. Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake), who say high-potency THC cannabis products pose physical and mental harm.

“Today, there’s no legal limit on the potency of the psychoactive element, THC, in cannabis concentrates,” Davis said. “Cannabis vape oils, dabs, and shatter are regularly sold with a THC potency of nearly 100 percent—a ten-fold increase in potency from when cannabis was legalized in 2012. These concentrated products are different. And dangerous.”

“The cannabis industry has changed considerably since cannabis was legalized,” Dent said. “This legislation is needed to address the everchanging market and put some measures in place to protect cannabis users and our youth.”

The bill furthers, “Prior to Washington legalizing cannabis sales, many of these extremely high-potency products did not exist or were not widely available. By 2019, sales of high THC products had grown to nearly 40 percent of total sales of cannabis products.”

In a press release announcing the bill, lawmakers cited Dr. Beatriz Carlini of University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug, and Alcohol Institute, who said high-THC products are “as close to the cannabis plant as strawberries are to frosted strawberry pop tarts.”

The bill also recognizes a consensus statement from the University of Washington and Washington State University, noting the public health risks associated with the products.

“That statement summarizes the best available science: ‘the use of cannabis with high THC concentration increases the chances of developing cannabis use disorder or addiction to cannabis, particularly among adolescents … Daily cannabis use, particularly of high-potency products, increases the risk of developing a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, and is related to an earlier onset of symptoms compared to people who do not use cannabis,’” the lawmakers said.

“This is a case where an addiction-for-profit industry has outpaced public policy,” Davis furthered. “It is our duty as lawmakers to learn from history and not repeat it. We must act now to protect public health. It is past time.”

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 16.



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