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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 — Under pressure from the federal government, the state agency trying to develop regulations for legal marijuana stores is again changing a rule regarding how far they must be from schools and playgrounds.
Stores selling recreational marijuana to adults must be at least 1,000 feet away from those and some other facilities, as measured in a straight line between the boundaries of the two properties,
Last week, in announcing the latest round of rule changes that put limitations on businesses that would grow, process or sell marijuana, the Washington State Liquor Control Board tentatively approved a rule that would measure that 1,000 feet along "the most common path of travel". It was the system the board used for liquor store licenses, and could have resulted in stores being closer to schools.
U.S. attorneys for Eastern and Western Washington earlier this week warned Gov. Jay Inslee that they would enforce the straight-line standard, sometimes called "as the crow flies." A recent memo from the U.S. Justice Department that is seen as allowing Washington to try developing a legal marijuana system as approved by state voters listed failing to keep the drug away from minors as one of the things that could cause its agents to enforce federal laws, which still list it as an illegal drug for all uses.
Rick Garza, agency executive director, said the board used the emergency rule process for the change so potential applicants would know about it as they look for locations and prepare to seek licenses, which might be available in mid-November.
In adopting the previous change to the "common path" method of measuring distance last week, board members said they were opening up more potential areas for stores in some cities. Garza said Friday he didn't know how the latest change would effect the number of potential locations, but said cities shouldn't be worried because the number of stores will be strictly limited. The straight line method will be easier to measure and verify, he added.
The board will hold two hearings on the changes it tentatively adopted last week, including one at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Spokane Convention Center.
The state agency developing rules for legal recreational marijuana in
The Washington State Liquor Control Board said Friday the hearing will start at 6 p.m. at the Convention Center, and go for up to three hours.
Earlier this week the board set limits on the number of retail stores that would be allowed in each of the state’s 39 counties, the number of licenses any person could hold and the area that a licensed grower could use. It expects to begin accepting license applications in November and licenses awarded in early 2014. Stores might be open by June 1.
Details of the board's latest changes in rules can be found here.
Rules for legal recreational marijuana in
3 Number of licenses to grow, process or sell marijuana allowed for any person or company
8.25 The average amount of marijuana, in grams, per adult that would come from the allowable crop of 40 metric tons.
50 The percentage of licensees the board estimates will go out of business in their first year
334 Stores that could be licensed to sell marijuana in the state; 18 could be in
1,000 The distance, in feet, a marijuana story must be from a school, park or day care center, by the “common path of travel”
2 million Total area, in square feet, allowed for growing marijuana in state. No licensee could plant more than 30,000 sq. ft., or about two-thirds of an acre
For the story on today's Washington State Liquor Control Board's tentative approval of new rules, scroll down to next item.
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.