Friday, July 5, 2013

Liquor Control Board discusses their proposed rules

The Washington State Liquor Control Board's meeting during which they released their proposed marijuana rules is now available to be viewed online.  After the Rules Coordinator provided an overview of the proposed rules, the Board made their own individual comments and opened the floor for questions from the audience, mostly media.

Board members all indicated that the medical marijuana system needs to be reconciled with the recreational marijuana system.  Sharon Foster stated that medical marijuana "as it stands" has to come into "this world" and will need to be licensed, taxed, and regulated.

Board Member Chris Marr's comments included:

  • the ban on marijuana extracts needs a legislative fix.  
  • the ability to enforce laws is stretched.  
  • as the rules stand now, there is nothing to prevent an "oligopoly" with all of its downsides.
  • though a responsible vendor program is not included in these rules, he still wants to start one.
  • he is frustrated with the "lack or engagement" from the federal Justice Department.
  • it is unclear how much of the marijuana market will be captured by the new legal market as it goes up against the medical marijuana and illicit markets.  
  • prices for marijuana sold through the illicit market may drop.
Though some youth substance abuse prevention and marijuana education is to be funded with revenue from marijuana sales, it will take a while for that money to flow to the Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery and the Department of Health.  However, the Liquor Control Board is working with a variety or agencies and organizations to get some basic information out sooner rather than later.  It was noted that it will be especially important to educate consumers about infused products.  

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