The Future of Hash in Colorado and Washington, D.C.
The voter initiatives that legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado may have done a bit more than that.
Now that regulators are drafting rules to govern the sale and possession of pot in those states, a debate has risen over how the laws apply to hash. Though some attempts were made to regulate hashish, it’s likely to be a prominent part of the industry, and that has given rise to debate.
Voters in Colorado and Washington legalized recreational pot in November. State officials in both places are currently drafting rules and regulations to govern the sale and possession of marijuana.
In Washington, adults over 21 will be allowed to buy up to an ounce of dried pot, 16 ounces of edibles, or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, such as tea. Similar rules are being drafted in Colorado.
Hashish is concentrated or compressed marijuana resin. It contains high levels of THC and is often purified into an oil. Only small amounts are needed to achieve the same effects obtained from weed, and it takes effect immediately. Large amounts can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Washington has banned the sale of pure hashish and hash oil. But because its rules allow pot-infused foods and liquids, hashish can be sold in large amounts in those forms. That has regulators concerned. They worry users won’t understand that only small amounts of hash are necessary. They also worry people will buy large amounts of hash and then sell it for out-of-state use.
“It’s a concern not just for our kids, but for kids in neighboring states as well,” said Derek Franklin, president of Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention.
Washington’s Liquor Control Board, the agency in charge of overseeing the new pot industry, has issued rules allowing the use of hash and hash oil in pot-infused products. That leaves the door wide open, since marijuana can be added to any product, including something as small as a drop of cooking oil. In other words, all it takes is a tiny amount of something other than hash, and it’s legal to sell hash.
Colorado, meanwhile, plans to allow pot stores to sell hashish and hash oil openly.
“Our goal is to replace marijuana prohibition with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol,” said Mason Tvert, leader of that state’s legalization campaign. “Some marijuana consumers choose to use more potent forms of marijuana, just as some alcohol consumers prefer a martini or glass of scotch over a beer.”
The sale of hash will likely bring in substantial revenue to both states. A single gram of hashish can sell for upwards of $40, $50 or $60, equivalent to the price of three or four grams of dried marijuana.
Hash makers, meanwhile, would like to see the law explicitly allow for the sale of their product. Adding adulterants to turn hash into a “marijuana-infused” product may drive customers away, and producers would prefer to sell their product pure.