The Washington Liquor Control Board agreed this week to a new set of rules for marijuana distributors. Last year, Washington became one of only 2 states to legalize marijuana in small amounts. Now, the Board is working to regulate a legal way to obtain the drug. As it was, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana was legal in the state, but selling marijuana was not unless you were a license medical marijuana dispensary. This new plan will issue licenses for up to 334 marijuana stores throughout the state including 21 to be located in Seattle.
It seem that the Board did a lot of research in coming up with these rules. They even added a clause that an entity can only have a maximum of 3 licenses in order to avoid a monopoly from forming. Businesses run from out-of-state will also be banned from obtaining licenses. The hope is that people will be able to gain access to marijuana without having to buy it from the black market.
This new plan will also ensure that all the plants are safe and of good quality. The marijuana stores will be subject to third-party quality control testing and must be able to track the plants they sell from “seed to sale”. All containers must also be labeled with a warning of the dangers of marijuana use just like cigarettes of alcohol.
Not only is this a great way to make sure that people are not encouraging criminal activity in the state, it is also another avenue for the government to collect tax. Some may be concerned that buying marijuana on the street would be cheaper, but hopefully few will want to risk a criminal charge when they can obtain what they want legally. It will be very interesting to see how this affects the black market drug industry in the coming years and if other states will catch on.