The Washington Liquor Control Board, which is charged with regulating Washington’s emerging retail cannabis industry, released a new set of proposed rules Wednesday. Among (many) other things, the laws limit the number of dispensaries that will be allowed to operate in the state to 334.
Of the 334 shops, Seattle will have as many 21 according to Jake Ellison over at Seattle PI. King County has the potential for the most, with 61 stores. People can own up to three dispensaries or 33 percent of the local market, whichever comes first.
Other regulations include limiting the total production to 40 metric tons of marijuana, or 88,184 pounds and the total square footage of a grow to no more than 2 million square feet.
Regulators say they want to avoid having huge producers run the entire operation and would rather see small farmers and producers operating in the state.
Liquor Control Board chair Sharon Foster said the rules would hold up against federal scrutiny, giving a nod to recent proclamations from the Justice Department that tightly-controlled recreational marijuana sales would be tolerated.
“These rules fulfill the public expectation of creating a tightly-regulated and controlled system while providing reasonable access to participation in the market,” Foster said, according to the Associate Press.“We believe these rules meet the eight federal government enforcement priorities within (last) Thursday’s guidance memo from the Department of Justice”
The board also decided this week that growers would be allowed to start off with mature, rooted plants once an operation is licensed so long as those plants are transported to the grow within 15 days of being licensed. No word on where those plants would come from, considering they aren’t legal up until the shop is licensed. In fact, the grow operations have to “immediately record each marijuana plant that enters the facility in the traceability system during this fifteen day time frame. No flowering marijuana plants may be brought into the facility during this fifteen day time frame.”
Officials say that they hope to have shops licensed by December 1.
All of the rules are currently tentative, and public hearings will begin on October 9. The board should likely adopt the rules by October 16, allowing a month for them to officially go into effect. Assuming that all goes on time, the Liquor Control Board will begin accepting applications by November 18.