The Washington State Liquor Control Board announced on Wednesday proposed rules to govern recreational marijuana. The rules come after voters approved Initiative 502 in November.
Public safety is our top priority, said Board Chair Sharon Foster. These rules fulfill the public expectation of creating a tightly-regulated and controlled system while providing reasonable access to participation in the market.
The board says marijuana has the potential to be up to a $2 billion industry in the state.
Among some of the proposed rules:
- Outdoor grows would be allowed with 8-foot high walls surrounding plants
- Free samples would be allowed
- Childproof packaging required
- Signs at retailers can only be 1,600 square inches
- Potential licensees must live in Washington state at least three months
- Marijuana has to be tested before it can be sold
WSLCB provided a breakdown of its key public and consumer safety elements:
- All grows must meet strictly controlled on-site security requirements
- Strict surveillance and transportation requirements
- Robust traceability software system that will track inventory from start to sale
- Criminal background checks on all license applicants
- Tough penalty guidelines for public safety violations including loss of license
- Restricting certain advertising that may be targeted at children
- Packaging and label requirements including dosage and warnings
- Child-resistant packaging for marijuana in solid and liquid forms
- Only lab tested and approved products will be available
- Defined serving sizes and package limits on marijuana in solid form
- Store signage requirements to educate customers
Certainly new rules will be issued once things start, said Dr.MarkKleiman, a consultant hired to oversee the implementation of the state's pot industry.
Boardmembers say the medical marijuana market and sales from illegal street sales will impact state retail revenue.
The lack of communication and involvement with the Department of Justice is also a concern.
Public hearings on the proposed rules will happen Aug. 6 8. Locations will be posted on the board s website.
Final rules will be adopted Aug. 14 and go into effect Sept. 16. When the rules go into effect, the state will begin accepting producer, processor and retailer license applications. Growers will have a 40 day window to apply. The state will begin issuing those licenses in December or January.Retail stores would open as early as March 1, 2014.