The Washington state Liquor Control Board, which was charged with overseeing cannabis regulations after voter approved Initiative 502 last November, is expected to pass the state's initial set of rules governing the cannabis industry later today.
The rules will iron out the details of things like the number of plants in grows, security at recreational shops and how many shops can open in each city and county.
As written, the rules would limit cannabis grows in the state to 2 million square feet, roughly the same size as 425 NBA basketball courts. Growers would limited to 30,000 square feet for each facility. Marijuana production would be capped at 40 metric tons of cannabis in total for all grows across the state.
In all, there will be no more than 334 recreational shops in Washington. Regulators say the caps will keep excess cannabis to a minimum, hopefully preventing it from moving across state lines.
Owners are prevented from having more than three recreational dispensaries in the state in total in a move designed to keep mom and pop shops on a fair playing field with investor-backed pot corporations.
Recreational shops in Washington are expected to open by next summer.
As we've reported, medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners in Washington are concerned that the new recreational regulations may be detrimental to the medical community. Seattle officials, for example, are forcing medical marijuana shops to go through the recreational marijuana licensing process. Since Seattle is limited to just 21 recreational stores under the proposed regulations that could mean that as few as 220 medical marijuana shops (and as many as all of them) could be left in the dark.