Washington’s legalization of marijuana for adults (I-502) and the attempt to establish a legal market is attracting national attention. According to recent press reports, more than 300 applications have already been received by the Liquor Control Board, the state agency charged with responsibility for licensing growers, producers, and retailers. If the number of applications for retail establishments exceeds the allowed number of licenses, there will be a lottery for the retail licenses.
Here in Clark County, the Vancouver City Council extended its moratorium on restrictions for marijuana retailers until June of 2014. The council approved an ordinance which allows growers and producers to be located in light and heavy industrial areas, so long as those are not in proximity to areas associated with children. The map showing these areas is on the City of Vancouver website at:
An interesting article in the November 14, 2013 issue of The New Yorker, titled “Buzzkill” gives a glimpse into the thinking of Mark Kleiman, the consultant whose company was hired by the Liquor Control Board to assist it in drafting the rules for licensing marijuana businesses under I-502. A short version of the article can be found here:
As the article notes, no one is sure whether the legal market can lure purchasers away from either the black market, or medical marijuana dispensaries, which are not regulated under I-502.
The window for license applications closes on December 19, 2013, according to the LCB’s website.
Possession and distribution of marijuana remain drug offenses under Federal law. In Colorado, which has also liberalized its laws regarding cannabis, several dispensaries were raided by Federal authorities ahead of the January 1, 2014 effective date of its legalization of recreational cannabis, according to Associated Press reports.