Spin Control

Board delays pot rules

OLYMPIA -- The state's rules for legally growing and selling marijuana will get another rewrite.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board voted unanimously this morning to delay final approval of the rules while the staff crafts new provisions in several areas, including a possible limit to the amount of marijuana to be grown in the state and changes to the way the 1,000-foot restrictions for stores will be calculated.

The changes were prompted in part by hearings around the state last week.

"We've definitely heard some things some people didn't like in the first rules," Chairwoman Sharon Foster said. "Things have changed as people have become more educated on the issue."

The new rules will be filed by the first week of September, and at least one hearing will be held on them in early October. The board would approve them, unless the hearing prompts further changes, on Oct. 16 and begin accepting applications for licenses for marijuana growers, processors and retailers in mid November. Under that timetable, the board would comply with the mandate of Initiative 502 to have rules in place by Dec. 1.

Board member Chris Marr said it was possible, but "highly unlikely" that the rules would have to be revised again as a result of the October hearing, unless there's some clear direction from the federal government how they will react to the state's legal system for recreational marijuana. Production, transporting and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law even though Washington and Colorado have legalized it for recreational use by adults and 19 states have legalized it for medical uses.

If there is some direction from the federal government "we'd be smart to heed that" even that meant missing the Dec. 1 deadline established by I-502, Marr said.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Legislative and state government reporter, political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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