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Liquor Control Board says new rules for sale of legal marijuana will take a year to complete
The Washington State Liquor Control Board said Wednesday it will build a system "from the ground up" to allow the growing, processing, retailing and possession of marijuana following voter approval of Initiative 502.
Washington voters approved I-502 on Election Day, and gave the proposal a 55-percent "yes" vote.
The initiative calls for the Washington State Liquor Control Board to create rules allowing legal marijuana, and sets a deadline for the board of Dec. 1, 2013 to finish its work.
The initiative takes effect on Dec. 6, 2012 — 30 days after the election.
In a statement Wednesday, the board said it would carry out the will of the voters.
"Essentially, a system will be built from the ground up," the board said in its statement. "The initiative provides the WSLCB until Dec. 1, 2013 to craft rules for implementation. We expect that it will take the full year to craft the necessary rules which will provide the framework for the new system. As we develop the rules we will keep in mind our top priority, public safety."
The board also noted that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
"We will reach out to the federal Department of Justice in the coming weeks for clarification. We will also communicate with our state partners such as the Washington State Patrol, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, and others affected by I-502," the board said.
The board will be responsible for creating an application process that mirrors the liquor license application process, and there will be three types of new marijuana licenses: producer, processor and retailer.
The fee for each license is a $250 application fee and $1,000 annual renewal fee, according to the board.
The board will also determine the specific number of retail outlets and licenses that will be allowed for the sale of marijuana.
The state Office of Financial Management has estimated that the price for marijuana will be $12 per gram, according to the board, and based on average retail mark-up practices, the estimated producer price is $3 per gram and estimated processor price is $6 per gram.
I-502 also authorizes people who are 21 or older to legally possess and use one ounce of useable marijuana.