Sharon Foster, with Gov. Gregoire, announcing the ban on alcoholic energy drinks in Washington in 2010.
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Sharon Foster, with Gov. Gregoire, announcing the ban on alcoholic energy drinks in Washington in 2010.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

With The Help Of A Pot Brownie, Sharon Foster Will Retire From The Liquor Control Board

Sharon Foster has many proud milestones from her term as chairwoman of Washington’s Liquor Control Board. She was appointed by Governor Gregoire in 2009 and has helped the state tackle medical marijuana, liquor privatization and legalized recreational marijuana.

“I never intended to ask for another term. I really do believe six years is plenty,” Foster told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman in an interview for The Record. “They'll get somebody younger with new ideas and I think that's great.”

Foster was in favor of the state’s liquor sales and was sad to see that system dismantle after voters passed Initiative 1183 in 2011. But she is proud that her department managed the transition to private sales in just six months.

“I liked the way it was and, no, I don't think it was a good idea for the state. We obviously know how much higher liquor prices are and what the theft issue is that most people won't talk about,” Foster said.

Foster hears about theft from store employees and distributors, but the thefts aren’t being reported to the police. “I don't think any grocery store wants to report that theft. They don't want the community to know that they're an easy place to steal from. It's very hard for them to report it.”

More challenges lie ahead for the Liquor Control Board in 2015. Foster wants the medical marijuana market to be held to the same vigorous standards as recreational marijuana.

“I think the medical marijuana market is out of control in many places. People ought to know that it's well tested and it's not full of bad things that can happen in a growing operation," Foster said. "People are probably willing to pay a little bit higher price for having that security in the product they're buying.”

Sillman couldn’t let Foster off the phone without knowing one thing: Has Foster dabbled in marijuana now that it’s legal?

"I'm actually using a brownie right now,” Foster answered without taking a beat. She just had her knee replaced and didn’t like taking the heavy narcotics prescribed to her for the pain.

“So at night time, for four nights now, I have had a small marijuana brownie which relaxes me and has let me sleep, and I don't have to take any pain medication,” she explained.

Foster’s last day on the job is January 15, 2015.

Produced for the Web by Jenna Montgomery.