They've spent nearly eight months visiting marijuana grow houses, holding public hearings, meeting with dealers and studying the science of getting high.
Now, officials in Washington are taking their first stab at setting rules for the state's new legal weed industry.
The Liquor Control Board released preliminary draft rules Thursday. Last fall, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the sale of taxed marijuana to adults over 21 at state-licensed stores.
"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," said Board Chair Sharon Foster in a statement. "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 will accept public comments on the draft rules until June 10. After that, the board will make whatever changes it deems necessary before filing the final, official draft rules.
Some of the key points released by the board (Download the full list of rules)
- 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.
- License applicants and financiers would be required to submit a form attesting to their criminal history, provide fingerprints, and allow criminal background checks.
- 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.
- Producer operations would be allowed in both secure indoor grows or greenhouses.
- A robust and comprehensive traceability software system will trace product from start to sale.
- 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).
- The rules direct strict on-site surveillance systems similar to Colorado's current system.
- Initiative 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.
- No open containers allowed.
- Consumers will know contents and potency of products they purchase.
- Serving sizes equal 10 mg of THC. Products are limited to 100 mg.
- Uniform testing standards by independent accredited labs.