Pubdate: Fri, 15 Feb 2013
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2013 Associated Press
Author: Rachel La Corte, Associated Press


OLYMPIA - Gov. Jay Inslee sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a 
letter this week detailing the efforts the state is taking as it 
moves forward with creating rules for a voter-approved legal market 
for marijuana.

Inslee wrote the "the world is watching" both Colorado and Washington 
as the two states implement last fall's votes that approved the 
recreational use of marijuana

"We intend to do it right," he wrote. The letter was sent Tuesday, 
but released by Inslee's office publicly on Thursday.

Voters in Washington state and Colorado in November approved measures 
legalizing the recreational use of the drug, allowing use by adults 
over 21 and the creation of state-licensed systems of growers, 
processors and retail stores that sell heavily taxed pot.

But because the creation of those regulatory schemes poses a possible 
conflict with federal law, which outlaws marijuana, the states have 
been moving ahead with implementation without certainty of whether 
the federal government will try to block them.

Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with Holder last month, 
but they weren't given any clarity on how the federal government will 
respond, if at all.

However, Inslee said he promised Holder that he would give him 
further details on how the state might prevent Washington-grown 
marijuana from being diverted to other states.

In his letter, Inslee noted that Washington state officials are in 
discussion with officials from Colorado about that state's current 
system of regulating medical marijuana.

Inslee also wrote that he is exploring digitally tracking legally 
grown plants and processed marijuana to preclude large-scale 
diversion. He mentioned that apples in the state can already be 
traced from individual orchards, "through packing houses and 
distributors, and ultimately to market."

Inslee wrote that the state Liquor Control Board, charged with 
regulating marijuana under Washington's measure, is still in the 
midst of ruling on rules for the process. He said that while the 
process is still ongoing, "our goals include creation of a system 
that minimizes the illicit market through price, access and 
convenience while simultaneously controlling the product."

Inslee said the agency already performs background checks of 
potential licensees, but that those checks will likely be expanded to 
include fingerprinting, allowing access to both the Washington State 
Patrol and FBI databases.

The governor wrote that inventory control, packaging and labeling and 
recording keeping and audits would all have high standards and rules 
to ensure proper control over the marijuana that is grown, processed 
and sold in the state.

The Liquor Control Board has already held a series of public forums 
on the rulemaking process, and a draft of proposed rules for producer 
licenses is expected to be filed by mid-April. Under their timeline, 
the board said that producer licenses would be effective in August, 
and processor and retailer licenses would become effective on Dec. 1.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom