Board revises draft marijuana rules following public comment period

In a separate action, the Board adopts staff’s recommendation for additional marijuana retail stores

OLYMPIA – Following six public hearings held throughout the state, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (Board) today voted to revise the draft rules to accommodate public input it received on its original draft rules. The draft rules are necessary to implement 2015 legislation which aligns the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market. Under the revised rules timeline, a public hearing would be held Feb. 10, 2016, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on Feb. 24, 2016. If adopted, the rules become effective March 24, 2016.

“We spent many hours listening to and reviewing public comment,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford. “Since the beginning, this has been and open and transparent process. Today’s revised rules reflect the Board’s continued commitment to transparency and the willingness to listen and make adjustments that may improve the rules.”

Some highlights of the rule revisions include:

  • Removing language prohibiting the use of terpenes and cannabinoids;
  • Removing proposed language requiring re-testing after 30 days;
  • Removing the six month residency requirement for financiers (allows out of state financiers);
  • Removing the language prohibiting characterizing flavors for inhalants;
  • Changing delivery time from 24 to 48 hours;
  • Adding that “Mr. Yuk” stickers be applied to all labels for infused edible and liquid products;
  • Adding Employment Security Department and Labor and Industry taxes and fees as a licensing requirement for being current on taxes.

A summary sheet of the full list of revisions can be found here.

Emergency Rules
In a separate action, the Board also adopted emergency rules following staff’s recommendation to expand the number of retail marijuana outlets to accommodate the alignment of the two markets. At its Dec. 16, 2015, meeting, the Board heard a process recommendation from staff that would increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556. The recommendation followed an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace by the state’s contracted research organization, BOTEC Analysis Corporation. You can read more regarding the recommendation from the Dec.16 media release.

BOTEC Analysis Corporation Report
BOTEC Analysis Corporation provided its final report, Estimating the Size of the Medical Cannabis Market in Washington State, on Dec. 15, 2015. In its report, BOTEC provided a range of the value of the overall marijuana market in Washington State. Its best estimate of the overall market value is a median figure at $1.3 billion annually. Its best estimate on the breakdown is: $480M medical (37 percent of market), $460M state-licensed recreational stores (35 percent of market) and $390M illicit (28 percent of the market).

The mission of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is to promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, tobacco and marijuana laws.