Marijuana: The Path To Legalization In Washington State

Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.

Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.

Flickr Photo/Rusty Blazenhoff

The Seattle City Council is embracing a wide-ranging action plan to address climate change. But it’s also considering zoning for a new power-hungry business: indoor marijuana growing.

Courtesy of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration

As Washington state moves toward licensing marijuana retail stores, a major concern for public health experts is preventing kids from eating marijuana. They are asking the state to ban marijuana-infused candy and other sweets, and require packaging and flavors that are less appealing to kids.

Washington’s Liquor Control Board has been inundated with feedback on its proposed marijuana regulations. The deadline to submit comments was Monday. The Board is writing the rules for legalized cannabis. Among the many concerns: the state’s new pot logo.

It’s called the Produced in Washington icon. It’s an outline of the state with a marijuana leaf in the middle. The idea was to require this label be affixed to any package containing marijuana sold at a retail store.

Amy Radil

Big marijuana has come to town. That was the message at one of the stranger product launches yet seen in Seattle Thursday. The press conference at Seattle’s Columbia Tower began with a quote from Carl Sagan extolling the serenity bestowed by marijuana. With former Mexican president Vicente Fox at his side, marijuana entrepreneur Jamen Shively told a packed room that marijuana prohibition is like the Berlin Wall and he hopes his new company will help it crumble. 

Washington’s Liquor Control Board has published 46-pages of proposed rules for the state’s new recreational marijuana market. But the regulations released Thursday are largely silent on two major issues: the number of business licenses that will be allowed and the size of marijuana grow operations.

The draft rules address marijuana producers, processors and retailers. On the production side, the Liquor Control Board proposes to ban outdoor marijuana grows. Pot would have to be grown within a fully enclosed secure indoor facility or greenhouse.

Washington State Liquor Control Board

A random drawing: That’s how the Washington State Liquor Control Board proposes choosing applicants for marijuana retail licenses. And it’s drawing major criticism from existing medical marijuana providers.

Washington’s proposed marijuana rules aren’t even 24-hours old. But already critics are finding things not to like. The 46-pages of draft regulations were released Thursday and cover everything from where marijuana can be grown to the criminal backgrounds of license applicants. But it’s the section on marijuana concentrates that’s getting some negative buzz.

Amy Radil

Two weeks ago the federal Drug Enforcement Administration sent cease and desist letters to 11 medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle. It was the first notable enforcement action in Washington since recreational marijuana was legalized last year. Federal officials say it won’t be the last.

Entrepreneurs who hope to cash in on legal marijuana will have some heavy reading to do Thursday. That’s when Washington’s Liquor Control Board is expected to release nearly 50 pages of proposed rules for growers, processors and retailers.

But it turns out that there’s another pot rulebook that’s also in development. It’s called the Cannabis Monograph. Think of it as an illustrated bible for pot quality control.

Regulating Recreational Pot In Colorado Vs. Washington State

Apr 25, 2013
Flickr Photo/Jonathan Piccolo

Washington isn’t the only state that legalized marijuana for recreational use last fall.  Colorado did it too.  Now both states are in the process of trying something that’s never been done: regulating the growing, processing and selling of pot for recreational use. 

Ross Reynolds compares the experience in the two states with Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus and KUOW’s Amy Radil.

The Marijuana Lab

Apr 24, 2013
Courtesy Northwest Botanical Analysis

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is working to figure out how to create and regulate a legalized marijuana market. It’s not clear whether regulations will include limits on things like potency or pesticide use, but right now, there are only a couple of places in the state equipped to measure marijuana purity and potency.

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