Tuesday, June 24, 2014

State agencies preparing to address health and safety problems associated with marijuana use

Earlier today, Governor Inslee and state agencies held a press conference about the new marijuana system in our state.  Here are my notes: 

Governor Inslee:
  • First retail “recreational” marijuana stores to open July 8
  • No recreational marijuana for people under the age of 21.
  • Public safety is his top priority. 
  • Liquor Control Board to adopt rules regarding edibles that are particularly attractive to youth.
  • Drive high get a DUI.
  • Marijuana revenue will not solve state fiscal problems.  Billion dollar deficit won’t be filled considering marijuana revenue will likely only fill in 1% of the budget shortfall.

Attorney General Ferguson:  Just like his office was instrumental in reducing tobacco marketing to youth, his office will work to reduce marijuana marketing to youth.  

Liquor Control Board Chair Foster:
  • On July 7 they will issue about 20 retail licenses which means stores can open July 8 if they have product.
  • Today’s marijuana is much more potent than it used to be.
  • She doesn’t want to see “marijuana candy bars laying around somebody’s coffee table” and eaten by children. 
  • Tomorrow the Board will adopt emergency rules requiring all edible marijuana product labels, and possibly edible marijuana products, to be approved by the Board to ensure they do not appeal to youth.  Emergency rules go into effect immediately.

State Health Officer Lofy provided an overview of negative health impacts of marijuana, particularly among youth.  The Department of Health launched a media campaign to help parents talk to their children about marijuana.    

Washington State Patrol Chief  Batiste:
  • In Washington there are 220 drug recognition officers available to assist troopers and other law enforcement officials in arresting people driving under the influence of marijuana.   State police have been able to effectively detect marijuana DUI for a long time.
  • The state toxicologist reports an uptick in marijuana DUIs last year

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