Washington state is about to have 334 stores that sell recreational marijuana, under a proposed plan approved by the state's Liquor Control Board.
The board will have public hearings next month and the rules are expected to go into effect by as early as November, which would be one year after voters of the state approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana use, the Seattle Times reported.
This June 26, 2013, photo shows a flowering legal medical cannabis plant grown by licensed patient Jennifer Solasat her home in Henderson, Nev. Credit: AP
“This is just one juncture of many as we move through changes to tweak and improve the system,” said Liquor Control Board member Ruthann Kurose.
Colorado voters also voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. The U.S. Justice Department announced last month it would not enforce federal drug laws against the two states.
However, the legalization does create a new regulatory framework. Every county will have at least one pot store, with the more populous areas of the state, for example the city of Seattle will have 21 stores and King County will have 61, the Times reported.
The plan approved by the state's Liquor Control Board also limits growing facilities to no more than 30,000 square feet, or about three-quarters of an acre. Actual pot production will be capped at 40 metric tons, under rules approved by the board.
In allowing a new industry, the state is also seeking to prevent monopolistic activity by determining that no entity could hold more than three licenses in each of the producer, processor and retail categories.
The voter-approved pot law restricts marijuana stores by requiring a 1,000-foot buffer between marijuana facilities and venues frequented by youth, such as schools and parks.
Randy Simmons, the Washington state marijuana project director, said making the determination is making a “razor’s edge” calculation because if the laws are too restrictive it could encourage consumers to buy from the illicit market; if it too loose on the laws, then a surplus of legal pot might leak into other states.
(H/T: The Seattle Times)