Posts tagged: Liquor Control Board
~~OLYMPIA – More than 800 potential new businesses have signed up to grow, process or sell legal marijuana in the first week Washington accepted applications for its new industry.
Rick Garza, director of the state Liquor Control Board which will award the licenses, told a legislative committee Friday about 200 applications are for retail outlets, and the state will license up to 334 stores, but is limiting the licenses for each county and most cities. If the board gets fewer applications than it is allowing for the state or some community, it could reopen the process, he said. The window for license applications currently is scheduled to close Dec. 19.
The state might not hit its targets for the number of stores or the amount of space to be planted to legal marijuana because some counties and cities have passed moratoria or bans on marijuana licenses, Garza told the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.
“We will issues licenses regardless of whether there are moratoria or bans,” he said. But the licensees might have to go to court to overturn a local moratorium. The board has asked for a formal state attorney general’s opinion on whether cities and counties can override state regulations, but it might not be available before the Dec. 19 cutoff.
The board will also make recommendations next month on how to change the state’s medical marijuana laws, but any legislation will come through the House and Senate Health Care Committees.
OLYMPIA — In another sign that the state is feeling its way through the unknown terrain of legalizing marijuana, a state agency is asking the attorney general's office for advice on what to do about local bans on growing and selling the drug.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has asked for attorney general's opinions on whether cities and counties can enforce outright bans on growers, processors or retailers who have received state licenses. It also asked if local governments can pass land use regulations more stringent than those in Initiative 502 and the board's requirements that would make it impractical for licensed marijuana businesses to locate in their jurisdictions.
After I-502 passed and the board began discussing rules for recreational marijuana businesses, some cities and counties passed moratoria on those businesses. During one hearing on the rules, board members and a Pierce County official sparred over whether that county's ban could continue.
The attorney general's office sent out a notice to lawyers around the state who may have outside expertise or information that could assist in these formal opinions.
OLYMPIA – Washington should abolish the Liquor Control Board and see if a private company can do a better job of managing the state Lottery, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday.
It should also spread some of the efficiency standards and cost-cutting measures successful in business, known as Lean, across more state agencies, she said in proposing a series of government reforms for the Legislature to consider when it returns next month.
Many Republicans and some Democrats said they wanted to reform government, to raise productivity and cut costs, before considering most of the cuts to programs and staffing Gregoire proposed last month or any tax increases like her proposal for a temporary half-cent increase in the sales tax.
The governor said Washington will likely have to do all three – institute reforms, cut key programs and raise taxes.
“I’d like them to come forward with reform ideas that would close a $2 billion hole,” she said.
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OLYMPIA — A few months ago, Mike Baumgartner and Chris Marr were locked in a generally contentious and historically expensive state Senate campaign in Spokane's 6th District.
Today, Baumgartner was openly supporting Marr — for a spot on the state Liquor Control Board.
Gov. Chris Gregoire's nomination of Marr to the board, which has to be approved by the Senate, came up for a vote in the morning session. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane, a fellow Democrat and longtime Marr ally, moved for his confirmation by reciting a long list of positions on Marr's resume.
That would have been enough to get the vote, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion. But Baumgartner, who beat Marr in the November election, rose for his first official floor comments.
“I've known Chris Marr from the campaign trail and I think he'll be an excellent servant to people in his new role,” Baumgartner said. Appointment passed 43-3.
Baumgartner was spared the hazing that usually accompanies a member's first speech for those comments. That will come later, he acknowledged.
OLYMPIA – Locally distilled liquor could be bought at farmer’s markets along with organic tomatoes and hand-made candles under a plan being considered by the Legislature.
And customers in state liquor stores would be able to taste test some pricy or exotic brands before buying under another proposal.
The state’s growing number of craft distilleries could sell their gins, vodkas and whiskeys at farmers markets that obtain the proper permits under Senate Bill 5650. Some farmers markets already can offer local wine or beer.
Ryan Hembree of Skip Rock distillers in Snohomish County said it would be away of keeping money local by selling liquor made from local grains. “There’s a community pride in the product,” he said.