Washingtonians wondering where they can buy marijuana following last night’s passage of Initiative 502 face up to a year’s wait.
The initiative provides that state regulators have until December 2013 to establish the rules for marijuana sales. From the state liquor board this morning:
I-502 establishes precedent for growing, processing, retailing and possessing marijuana. Essentially, a system will be built from the ground up. The initiative provides the WSLCB until December 1, 2013 to craft rules for implementation. We expect that it will take the full year to craft the necessary rules which will provide the framework for the new system. As we develop the rules we will keep in mind our top priority, public safety.
Questions remain ahead as we work to implement I-502. Chief among them is the issue that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
We will reach out to the federal Department of Justice in the coming weeks for clarification. We will also communicate with our state partners such as the Washington State Patrol, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, and others affected by I-502.
Rob Carson, who has covered I-502 for us, reports that possession of up to 1 ounce will be legal come Dec. 6. But until the new stores are in place, the only people who will be able to buy it legally are holders of medicinal marijuana cards.