Last week, the state Liquor Control Board voted unanimously to delay final approval of rules to govern the sale and use of marijuana in Washington.
WSLCB staff recommended the board refile the rules necessary to implement Initiative 502 to allow time to consider recent input.
Under the previous schedule, the board was expected to adopt the final rules at its regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 14. Now, staff will come back to the board on Sept. 4 with revised proposed rules.
Since filing the proposed rules on July 3, the board and WSLCB staff received sufficient input to warrant re-filing the proposed rules.
Recenlty, the board held five public hearings across the state to solicit input. Under the state Administrative Procedures Act, an agency must re-file proposed rules if there are any substantive changes.
Should the board accept the proposed rules on Sept. 4, staff will immediately file a new CR 102 (proposed rulemaking) with the Code Reviser’s Office and begin a six-week schedule of collecting public input and holding at least one public hearing. The agency’s published timeline will be adjusted to reflect the new schedule. The WSLCB remains on schedule to meet the I-502 required deadline of having rules in place by Dec. 1.
Key elements of the rules that will be included in the revised proposed rules include: limiting the amount of total marijuana production, identifying the number of retail locations per county and their locations, identifying the total amount of product that a licensee may have on hand, as well as further clarifying certain definitions and other revisions.
“The process is working exactly as it should,” said agency Director Rick Garza. “Potential licensees, local governments, law enforcement and the general public all deserve clarity and certainty in the rules. Our stakeholders are not telling us to hurry up. In fact, they are asking us to consider their comments for the proposed rules. Their input now will only help strengthen and improve the rules that will govern Washington’s system of legal marijuana.”
The revised schedule is below:
· Sept. 4, File Supplemental CR 102 with revised proposed rules
· Oct. 9, public hearing (location TBD)
· Oct. 16, board adoption (CR 103)
· Nov. 16, rules become effective
· Nov. 18 - Dec. 18, WSLCB accepts applications (30-day window)
For more information on the implementation of I-502, including fact sheets, FAQs, a revised timeline, and an opportunity to sign up for ongoing e-mail alerts, visit the WSLCB Web site at liq.wa.gov.