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Liquor Control Board leaning toward allowing outdoor marijuana grows, hash-ban workaround

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
June 19, 2013 6:11 pm

The state Liquor Control Board is headed toward allowing marijuana to be grown on fields as well as in greenhouses and buildings — as long as they are secured behind fences.

Sharon Foster
Sharon Foster

“I support growing outdoors,” board chairwoman Sharon Foster said after the board’s work session today, changing her mind from what she said was initial opposition. “The carbon footprint made a big difference for me.”

Indoor production of marijuana requires a massive use of electricity. Even greenhouses use more energy because of ventilation requirements, advocates for outdoor production say.

The Liquor Control Board is deciding the details of how to implement marijuana legalization that voters approved last November in the form of Initiative 502. The board plans to issue a new version of rules July 3 and approve them August 14.

The board’s rules coordinator, Karen McCall, told the board today the revised rules would allow for outdoor growing, a change from the first draft of the rules that did not allow for farms.

Board members Chris Marr and Ruthann Kurose said they are leaning toward supporting that position, as long as the farms can be secure. Marr said he sees no reason they can’t be as secure as indoor grows.

Another controversy has been over whether the stores could sell hashish or other marijuana extracts. The liquor board says it interprets I-502 as forbidding hash or hash oil unless it is infused into another product, such as food or drink. Many users want to have the option to buy hash that is more concentrated and easier to vaporize than traditional marijuana.

But the board suggested a workaround that could make that a ban in name only: adding oil to hash. That should resolve the problem, McCall said. Marr suggested the oil could make up a nominal amount of the product and be tasteless.

“We don’t necessarily have to specify the percentage or that it needs to be a flavored oil or an aromatic oil. it could be an inert oil,” he said.

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