Wednesday, April 17, 2013

State sets I-502 timeline, city and police talk pot policy

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

The state Liquor Control Board has announced its official timeline for implementing Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state. The law requires the board to have rules in place by Dec. 1. According to the timeline, the Board plans to start issuing licenses to pot producers, processors and retail locations by then.

Here's the full timeline:

Meanwhile, in Spokane, local officials are still trying to navigate how they will regulate the existing medical marijuana market as the state creates the new recreational one. They have placed a temporary moratorium on new medical marijuana collectives in the city but have not yet passed any new laws or regulations about either medical or recreational pot.

City Councilman Jon Snyder said this week he and other council members are considering several ideas to keep the mostly unregulated medical market from undercutting the recreational one or selling to people who aren't legitimate medical patients.

Among those ideas, the city could impose the same location regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries as are written in the initiative for recreational stores, mandating certain distances from schools and parks. (See the city's preliminary map of what spaces that leaves available here.) The city could also prohibit collectives from operating in areas zoned as "neighborhood retail" to keep them out of residential areas. (Council President Ben Stuckart says the map is restrictive enough already.) Snyder acknowledges medical marijuana home delivery, and says he wants the city to look into whether restricting where collectives can be located will impact patients living in the restricted zones.

A change to the business license registration for medical marijuana collectives would allow the city to regulate and check in on them more often than they do with most businesses, Snyder says, similar to the way taxi drivers are monitored.

The Council held a hearing about these issues Monday, but it was quiet, with no public testimony on the issue.

The Spokane Police Department is weighing in on the recreational side of things. In a Public Safety Committee meeting this week, Spokane Police Officer Max Hewitt gave the Council the department's recommendations about new recreational marijuana laws, including an ordinance that would "require [a] list of all employees, addresses and contact phone numbers" and establish penalties for packaging more than one ounce of marijuana for sale, selling to minors or allowing consumption on store premises. The full list of recommendations passed out in that meeting is below.

More news about all this marijuana business over here.

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...