Liquor Control Board finalizes rules for I-502
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with implementing I-502, has finalized their regulations governing the operation of marijuana businesses. These rules were drafted in response to Washington voters' overwhelming approval of I–502 last November. The board was tasked with determining how best to tax and regulate marijuana.
The new law — which went into effect on December 6, 2012 — protects adults 21 and older in the Evergreen State from being arrested for possession and private use of up to an ounce of marijuana. However, individuals under 21 still face criminal penalties for the simple possession of marijuana. According to the ACLU, blacks in Washington are over two and a half times as likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than whites. Email your legislators and urge them to support legislation that makes marijuana possession by individuals under 21 subject to a civil fine, not jail time.
The final regulations issued by the board determine how the adult marijuana market is structured. The Washington State Liquor Control Board will begin accepting applications for all marijuana business licenses starting on November 18. For more information on the law, see our I-502 FAQ.
Alison Holcomb of the WA-ACLU, along with such prominent local leaders as Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and prominent travel writer Rick Steves, led the coalition – New Approach Washington – that qualified the petition and ran the campaign. Please join us in thanking them, their fellow initiative sponsors, and the entire campaign team at New Approach on all of their hard and wonderful work.
Former Gov. Gregoire's mixed messages on medical marijuana
On November 30, 2011, then-Governor Christine Gregoire (D) held a press conference with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) to announce that they were formally petitioning the federal government to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. MPP was pleased to see the leaders of these two states stand up and call shenanigans on the erroneous scheduling of marijuana. However, our excitement over this news was tempered by the fact that this petition did nothing to address the lack of safe and affordable access to medical marijuana in Washington. In fact, Gov. Gregoire previously vetoed portions of a bill that would have provided patients with protections from arrest and regulated access to medical marijuana under state law. While the petition could pave the way for marijuana eventually being legally prescribed, previous rescheduling petitions have ultimately failed, and the petition may not even be heard for several years.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. If you have questions about marijuana policy reform in Washington, please contact us by email at email@example.com for more information. Don't forget to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service, if you haven't done so already.