OLYMPIA, WA — When the initial proposed regulations for Washington’s forthcoming recreational marijuana market were released in May, outdoor growing of marijuana was not permitted. Neither were hash, hash oils, and concentrates such as dabs, unless incorporated into edible marijuana products.
Now, regulators at the state’s Liquor Control Board said Wednesday that they are reconsidering those prohibitions following a briefing on over 1,000 pages of comments sent by members of the community.
In Wednesdays briefing, three major changes to the proposed regulations were expressed to the board.
The biggest change would be allowing outdoor cultivation of marijuana, which would require a smaller carbon footprint than indoor growing. In the first draft of the proposed rules, all marijuana would have been required to be grown indoors, or in green houses with rigid walls.
“With the proper security, we feel that outdoor grows would work as well as indoor grows,” acknowledged Liquor Control Board rules coordinator Karen McCall.
The Liquor Control Board also had proposed banning hash oils and concentrates, unless they were incorporated into edible food products. With the majority of the feedback from the community overwhelmingly in favor of allowing concentrates, the LCB is looking to see how they can be allowed them in the final regulations.
Due to the popularity of oils, wax and concentrates, officials now feel that banning them would only fuel the black market. But officials warn that because of wording in the existing law, it may not yet be possible.
Some officials have expressed concern that the logo could be interpreted as an endorsement of marijuana by the state.
Advocates are hopeful that state lawmakers can quickly tweak the law to allow concentrates if the LCB is unable to allow them initially. Board members agreed that if unable to allow concentrates now, they would be receptive to the idea if the law was changed.
“These are the initial rules to get this industry up and running,” said McCall, acknowledging that the recreational marijuana industry is just beginning to take shape. “These are not the last rules.”
Advocates offered an alternative solution: make clear that concentrates, infused with a small amount of inert oil, would qualify as legal, as long as they weren’t 100 percent concentrates.
The final change proposed to regulators was the use of a proposed Washington State marijuana logo, which features a marijuana leaf in the center of a green Washington state map. Some officials have expressed concern that the logo could be interpreted as an endorsement of marijuana by the state.
Board members said the logo was intended to be easily recognized, so that parents could quickly see if minors were holding an adult marijuana product. They are now considering developing an alternative logo.
The final proposed rules and regulations are expected July 3.
The Liquor Control Board’s goal is to finalize the rules in August, when they will begin a 30-day application process for growers, sellers and distributors. Once the 30 day application window closes, the Liquor Control Board will not accept any new applications until such time as they determine it necessary to re-open the application process.
The Liquor Control Board hopes to issue licenses by December 1, with recreational use retailers opening sometime in early 2014.
Washington LCB Reconsiders Allowing Outdoor Marijuana Growing, Hash & Dabs was written by Thomas H. Clarke and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.
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