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Legal pot rules criticized

OLYMPIAWashington’s proposed rules for growing and selling recreational marijuana were conflict with federal drug laws and state environmental laws, critics said Wednesday.


They would make the end product to be smoked or eaten too expensive from taxes, some said. They might favor the big corporations over the small producers, said others.


The Washington State Liquor Control Board, which is drafting rules to implement Initiative 502, is trying to get a final version of laws by mid September to start taking license applications from prospective retailers, processors and producers by October. Some cities and counties are balking…



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The Washington State Liquor Control Board holds its final hearing on the latest draft of rules to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana in Spokane on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center.

… Joyce McDonald, Pierce County Council chairwoman, said her county board wants the ability to opt out of any recreational marijuana operations because of fears it will cost them money for enforcement and to fight the federal government.

“You cannot invalidate the Controlled Substance Act,” McDonald told the liquor board. “We’re going to be forced to fight the state or the federal government.”

But 54 percent of Pierce County voters supported I-502 last fall, Liquor Board Member Chris Marr countered: “The majority of your citizens expect (recreational marijuana) to be available.”

Replied McDonald: “We’re a nation of laws, Mr. Marr. We cannot just throw away the law.”

Other people attending the three-hour hearing said the board was ignoring the state’s environmental protection laws by not preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on the effects of growing and selling marijuana before coming up with its rules.

“It’s a cart before the horse kind of thing,” Jerry Durkin of Olympia warned. “You have not studied the impacts of outdoor growing.”

The board hasn’t studied whether fees and taxes will make legal marijuana too expensive compared to the black market, or whether businesses will be able to get bank accounts or the required insurance, Steve Sarich of the Cannabis Action Coalition said.

“If you’d filed an EIS, you would have been forced to deal with those problems,” Sarich said.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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