Medical cannabis patients in Washington could soon no longer have to pay the steep excise tax on their treatment.

Washington’s Senate has passed HB 1453, legislation that will exempt medical cannabis patients and designated providers from the 37% excise tax imposed on all cannabis sales.

The bill, which passed with a strong majority, will now need to be signed into law by state Governor Jay Inslee, before coming into effect 90 days after the current legislative session concludes.

Washington has been at the forefront of US cannabis reform since 1998 when medical cannabis was first legalized, later becoming the first state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2012.

However, it has also imposed one of the steepest taxes on cannabis sales, failing to differentiate between medical and recreational sales.

According to Seattle-based law firm Harris Sliwoski LLP, which first reported the news, lawmakers have now finally acknowledged that medical cannabis should be ‘treated as a medicine, not a commodity’.

Elsewhere, President Biden submitted his Fiscal Year 2025 budget request to Congress on Monday.

Marijuana Moment reports that the budget is seeking to keep legislation which prevents the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from using federal funds from interfering with state medical cannabis initiatives, another positive development for the medical sector.

Conversely however, it is understood that contentious legislation banning adult-use cannabis sales in the city of Washington DC are set to be maintained.