Big changes are coming to the state Liquor Control Board, including a name change.
same law that will change the Liquor Control Board's name July 24 to
the "Liquor and Cannabis Board" also directed the agency to decide which
unlicensed medical-marijuana shops and grow operations to legitimize by
July 1, 2016.
The process will involve a merit system, the Olympian reported.
The agency assumes 825 unlicensed medical shops will apply for a license and half will receive one.
dibs would go to people who have been in the medical-marijuana industry
since before 2013, have paid their taxes and applied for one of the
recreational licenses. Next up are applicants who didn't apply for a
recreational license but meet the other requirements. Everyone else
falls into a third tier.
Research the agency is doing now
will help decide for sure whether a lottery is needed. It
will also help decide if sellers should be able to apply at any time for
a marijuana license, as they may for a liquor license, rather than
within only a short window.
Many of Washington's more than 1,000 -
maybe more than 2,000 - unlicensed medical marijuana shops won't
qualify for special consideration because they are too new.
Regulators should license as many new growers, processors
and retailers as possible that have a history of good behavior, said
Alex Cooley, vice president of Seattle medical-marijuana grower and
processor Solstice and a supporter of the law.
"Many people have
been doing this for up to 10 years now and have been serving their
communities and taking care of many sick people and doing it in a
compassionate way," Cooley said.
Much of the work to implement
the law falls to the state Department of Health. The agency will define
what qualifies as medical-grade marijuana and choose a contractor to set
up a registry for patients. People who join the registry will get
protection from arrest and less stringent limits on how much marijuana
they can possess.
The health department will complete at least
two tasks by July 24, when some parts of the law take effect, said Chris
Baumgartner, who leads a unit of the agency that deals with medical
marijuana. It will develop a form for medical providers to authorize
marijuana use and tell providers how to report numbers of
The law calls for providers who write more than 30 authorizations in a month to report the number to the department.
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