by: Graham Johnson Updated:
SEATTLE - The state marked a milestone Wednesday in the move to legalize marijuana. The Liquor Control Board approved draft rules to implement Initiative 502.
There are changes from the previous draft. Outdoor marijuana grows with proper security will be allowed. The hours of pot sales will be shortened to between 8 a.m. and midnight. Pot packaging must be childproof, and there will be more restrictions on advertising that appeals to young people. Because pot businesses can't be within a thousand feet of places like playgrounds and child care centers, the state is now providing more specific definitions of those facilities. And landlords no longer need to sign an affidavit allowing a marijuana business.
The Liquor Control Board will hold four hearings on the proposed rules between Aug.6-8. The rules will be formally adopted Aug. 14, and effective Sept. 16 when the state will open a 30-day window for people to apply for marijuana licenses. Producer, processor and retailer licenses will be issued beginning Dec. 1, with legal pot sales beginning as early as March 2014.
"We have created a tightly controlled market," said Liquor Control Board member Sharon Foster.
The board expressed frustration with the lack of input from the Obama administration. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and the Department of Justice has not provided a response to marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado.
"I view it as a failure of leadership that really borders on the irresponsible," said Liquor Control Board member Chris Marr.