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State Liquor Control Board issues rules for Recreational Marijuana Businesses

Last December, in Initiative 502, Washington voters decided to de-criminalize the possession of marijuana in small amounts by adults. The new law set up three categories of businesses to begin a legal market for the purchase of marijuana in Washington. The state Liquor Control Board was given the task of drafting rules for marijuana related businesses. In October, the LCB recently made its rules public. Cities and counties in Washington are now debating what kinds of zoning restrictions there will be for these new businesses.

Licenses will be issued by the LCB for three kinds of marijuana related businesses:

Growers or producers, processors, and retailers. There are extensive requirements for the businesses themselves, including criminal background checks for employees and owners and surveillance and security requirements to deter theft.

The LCB website has a FAQ section which is quite helpful:

http://lcb.wa.gov/marijuana/faqs_i-502

The City of Vancouver has drafted an ordinance regarding zoning regulations for producers and processors. In general, they will be relegated to light and heavy industrial zones, and must be a specified distance (1000 feet) from just about any place that children might congregate. Maps of the areas where businesses might locate are available from the City of Vancouver's website.

Here is the link:

http://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/implementing-state-initiative-502-recreational-marijuana

The statute RCW 69.50.331 provides for this restriction:

(8) The state liquor control board shall not issue a license for any premises within one thousand feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older.

The City of Vancouver is still working on developing zoning rules for retail establishments. The LCB is allocating 6 retail licenses for the City.

Clark County currently has a moratorium on "recreational" marijuana businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county, but may be revisiting these in about 4 months. The current moratorium was adopted August 13, 2013 for a six month period.

WARNING:

Prospective business applicants must be aware that the possession or distribution of marijuana remains unlawful under applicable Federal statutes. While the United States Attorney General's office indicated it would not sue the State of Washington regarding its law, DOJ will still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent:

the distribution of marijuana to minors;

revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;

the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;

state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;

violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana

drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;

growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;

preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

See link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/eric-holder-marijuana-washington-colorado-doj_n_3837034.html

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