Timeline released for legal pot sales' implementation

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has released its timeline for implementing Initiative 502, the ballot measure passed last year that legalizes recreational use of marijuana and allows licensed stores to sell pot to adults 21 years or older.

Directors with the agency said they are on track to have rules regarding I-502 written by a Dec. 1 deadline, which is mandated by the new law.

Liquor board spokesperson Brain Smith told The Associated Press that the agency plans to issue licenses for marijuana growers and processors on Dec. 1, instead of in summer and fall as a prior implementation timeline had indicated. With that, legal marijuana sales in Washington will probably not begin until at least spring 2014.

The board will send draft rules on the new law’s implementation to stakeholders for comment in mid-May. Should the draft rules need substantial changes after comments are submitted, the license issuance date could be pushed to later in December, according to the board.

I-502 timeline

Mid-May: Send draft rules to stakeholders for comment

Mid-June: CR102 (draft rules) filed for the Producer, Processor and Retailer Licenses. The CR102 allows the WSLCB to seek public comment on draft rule language developed with input from the public during the initial comment period. Small Business Economic Impact Statement issued with CR 102.

Late July: Public hearing(s) on rules for the Producer, Processor and Retailer Licenses allowing the public to comment on the draft rule language. Rules adopted.

Late-August: Rules become effective.

September: WSLCB begin accepting Producer, Processor and Retail License applications.

Dec. 1: Rules are complete (as mandated by law). WSLCB begins issuing Producer, Processor and Retail licenses to qualified applicants.

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