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Want a marijuana license? Here are some of the rules you might have to follow

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
May 16, 2013 3:11 pm

UPDATED, most recently at 2:35 p.m. 

It’s only the first draft, but proposed rules for Washington’s new system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana are out.

All marijuana for sale at retail must bear this logo, according to the draft rules.
All marijuana for sale at retail must bear this logo, according to the draft rules.

The state Liquor Control Board has been working since voters legalized the drug last November in anticipation of handing out licenses this December. Today the board issued a 46 page document detailing what regulations might look like for growers, processors and retail sellers.

If you want a license, under these rules you would need:

  • An alarm system and a video surveillance system. Surveillance requirements are modeled on Colorado’s system of tracking its medical marijuana, the board said.
  • Liability insurance.
  • A way to trace marijuana at every step of the process.
  • A fairly clean criminal record. A point system will be used to count up any convictions found by a background check. A felony conviction in the past 10 years would likely be enough to disqualify you. A single misdemeanor conviction might not. For the initial round of licensing, up to two misdemeanor convictions for possession of marijuana won’t count toward potential disqualification. 
  • Residence in Washington for at least three months.
  • A funding source that stands up to an investigation, including background checks of financiers.
  • $250 for an application fee and $1,000 for a license.

The application window will open for 30 days at first and can be extended or re-opened. The board will decide how many licenses should be allowed for each county and will hold lotteries if demand exceeds the quotas for a county.

Other notable proposals:

  • A retail store could open between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.
  • Pot consumption would not be allowed on the premises of licensed businesses.
  • Advertising would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children gather. Ads couldn’t mislead, promote “over consumption” or appeal especially to children. And despite the medicinal properties recognized by state law, advertising couldn’t claim marijuana “has curative or therapeutic effects.”
  • Marijuana could be grown in a secure indoor facility or greenhouse, but not in an open field.
  • Plant waste must be made unusable.
  • An independent lab would do quality assurance tests on the pot.
  • A city or county could seek to block a license, but the board could reject the request, then decide whether to grant a hearing if it’s requested by the local government.
  • The board could suspend or revoke a license for violations or could issue fines of up to $2,500 per violation.
  • Pot couldn’t be labeled organic “unless certified as organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture”
  • A special state logo and a series of warnings must be included in labeling. The warnings would be different for pot and marijuana-infused food and drink.
  • Hash could not be sold, although it could be infused into products.

The board said its proposed rules reflect concerns about “out-of-state diversion of product, traceability of product from start to sale, youth access and other public and consumer safety concerns.”

Liquor board chairwoman Sharon Foster said in a statement:

These initial rules balance our goal of developing a tightly regulated system with reasonable access for small and large business models to participate within the system. They are based upon hundreds of hours of internal research and deliberation, consultation with multiple industry experts and input from the over 3,000 individuals who attended our forums statewide.

The board is accepting public comments through June 10. Here are details on how to comment.

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