Marijuana use rules get redrafting after public input
August 27, 2013
By Peter Clark
Draft rules for recreational marijuana will need more public input Oct. 9.
After the Washington State Liquor Control Board filed its preliminary rules July 3 for zoning, production and selling of recreational marijuana in accordance with Initiative 502, it held several public meetings in August to gather feedback. Concerns given by the public led staff to recommend a revision of the rules to the board Aug. 13.
After five meetings, Brian Smith, spokesman for the Liquor Control Board, said the staff learned a great deal about what the public wants from official state guidelines as recreational marijuana enters the economy.
“One of the expectations is the limit to the amount of marijuana overall,” he said. “What we heard is that people want a production limit, specifically on the number of retail locations per county.”
Re-filing of the rules coincides with Issaquah’s consideration of a moratorium on recreational marijuana production, processing and sales. City Associate Planner Jason Rogers said the Liquor Control Board did well to hear what the public had to say.
“We were pleased the LCB is taking the time to get it right,” Rogers said, “We’re going to appreciate the extra time. They took a lot of feedback from us and from people who supported 502 in the first place.”
From a city perspective, he said better definitions are needed to zone appropriately.
“We’re definitely very interested in firming up the definition of how to determine buffers,” he said. “We’d like to see a little more clarity on schools.”
Additionally, he said the city would prefer defined limits on retail stores or production facilities.
“Nowhere does it say how many per county licenses they would offer,” Rogers said. “That’s something we would really like to know. We’d like to know what to expect.”
Smith said he understood the city’s apprehension and said the Liquor Control Board recognizes the responsibility municipalities have to citizens.
“We’ll come back with some specifics,” Smith said. “It’s hitting home with the cities. This is where it’s all going to play out and the cities want to test it out. They want to be careful.”
The Liquor Control Board will file revised rules Sept. 4, with another public hearing Oct. 9 at an undetermined location. It expects the new rules to go into effect Nov. 16 and will open a 30-day window for permit applications Nov. 18.
Initiative 502 requires the board to establish official rules by Dec. 1.