Draft rules issued on state's future marijuana market

Washington state’s road to a recreational marijuana marketplace is getting shorter, as the state Liquor Control Board issued initial draft rules on Thursday, May 16, that the agency says reflects its initial thoughts on what such a market might look like.

The board will accept public comment on the rules, which are posted on the liquor board’s website, until June 10.

Voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use through the passage of Initiative 502 last November.

Liquor board officials plan to begin a formal rule-making process in June.

Some key elements of the initial draft rules, as highlighted by the liquor board, include:

License Requirements

– Application Window The application window would open for 30 days for all license types and extended or re-opened at the Board’s discretion. This approach was similar to how Colorado opened its medical marijuana system.

– Background Checks License applicants and financiers would be required to submit a form attesting to their criminal history, provide fingerprints, and allow criminal background checks.

– Point System The WSLCB would employ a disqualifying criminal history point system similar to liquor. An exception would be allowed for two misdemeanor convictions of possession within three years.

Public Safety

– Producer Structures Producer operations would be allowed in both secure indoor grows or greenhouses.

– Traceability A robust and comprehensive traceability software system will trace product from start to sale.

– Violation Guidelines In addition to the $1,000 fine for certain violations established by I-502, the initial draft rules also include a strict tiered system of violation penalties over a three year period (similar to the current standard penalty guidelines for liquor).

– Security The rules direct strict on-site surveillance systems similar to Colorado’s current system.

– Advertising Restrictions I-502 restricts advertising within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks, transit centers, arcades, and other areas where children are present. The draft rules further restrict advertising as they pertain to children.

Consumer Safety

– Behind the Counter Storage No open containers allowed.

– Package and Label Requirements Consumers will know contents and potency of products they purchase.

– Defined Serving Size Serving sizes equal 10 mg of THC. Products are limited to 100 mg.

– Lab Tested Uniform testing standards by independent accredited labs.

Read Associated Press coverage of the developments from our partners at The Daily Herald in Everett.

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