Now that Vancouver has its own two licensed retail stores selling marijuana to adults, can we expect to see an increase in people charged with marijuana based on the consumption of legal marijuana? It is probably too soon for any reliable statistics from the courts, but we should know more by this time next year.
Clark County's two remaining commissioners approved a total moratorium on any marijuana businesses, including retail, growing or processing, in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance is like one passed by Pierce County after the state attorney general gave a formal opinion that local governments could regulate marijuana businesses to the extent of totally banning them despite the state law allowing them.
In the wake of news that the first recreational marijuana licenses had been granted, and before the upcoming lottery for retail licenses, come two important Court of Appeals decisions interpreting the medical marijuana laws (MUCA, short for Medical Use of Cannabis Act, RCW 69.51A).
The Washington Liquor Control Board has indicated that a lottery will take place soon to decide who will get the 334 licenses to open retail marijuana stores in Washington.
Few Washington homeowners would be brave enough to question the authority of the police to enter their home when the police come with an arrest warrant to search for a family member who used to live in the house. As the Grateful Dead once sang in "Truckin":
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.
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.