January 23 marked the first of several public forums on Washington’s new marijuana laws. According to The Olympian and several other media outlets, it was standing room only.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board is tasked with implementing the new legislation which legalizes recreational marijuana, and they want input from the public.
According to the Board’s website, “The forums are an opportunity for interested citizens to meet WSLCB staff involved in implementation, be updated on implementation and to provide input to the Board for it to consider as it develops rules.”
At this initial forum, the public definitely weighed in, making suggestions like:
- Not making a felony conviction an automatic bar to production licensing
- Licensing as many producers as qualify (rather than setting a cap), in order to flood the market and squash competition on the black market
- Survey the public to determine an approximate demand, and then double it
- Remember to take into account the environmental impact of production
- Account for the changes that marijuana has undergone over the past several decades
The Board certainly has a lot to consider, and just because voters want marijuana freed-up doesn’t mean it will be a free for all. Washingtonians can likely expect significant rules and regulations regarding the production and sale of marijuana. But that was the idea, and one of the selling points—that it would be regulated like alcohol.
Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster said, “We obviously underestimated how many people would choose to be here.”
Perhaps, like many others, the board underestimated just how serious some people are about marijuana—preferring to think of pro-pot folks as pot-heads zoning out to cartoons at home.
Voters have proven in Washington that they know the value of a good thing and want to see marijuana treated as the potentially beneficial and profitable crop that it is.
You can find the dates of future public forums here.
Remember, you can still be arrested for some marijuana offenses, and not all law enforcement agencies in the state are taking to the new law very well. If you run into trouble with the law, contact us to discuss your rights and legal options.