Wash. state releases rules on legal pot growing, sales

Washington state released rules for its new legal marijuana industry Thursday, and they include serving sizes, use-by dates and more.

SEATTLE — Voters in Washington state and Colorado made pot use for adults over 21 legal last fall, but that was just the first step. On Thursday, Washington officials released the first draft of rules governing the state's new marijuana industry.

Washington's Liquor Control Board has been devising rules for the industry, covering topics such as how the plants will be grown, how marijuana products will be tested for strength and quality, and how many retail stores will be allowed.

Among the highlights of the new rules:

  • All pot-related businesses would have to have security systems, 24-hour video surveillance and insurance.
  • No sales of marijuana extracts, such as hash, would be allowed — unless the extract is infused into another product.
  • Marijuana labeling would also include serving sizes, use-by date, allergy info.
  • Any marijuana product sold at a state-licensed stores would carry a label noting that it "may be habit forming," accompanied by a logo of Washington state — with a marijuana-leaf silhouette smack in the middle.
  • Pot would have to be kept behind counter, where customers don't have direct access.
  • Marijuana serving size defined as 10 mg active THC, with size of pot-infused products limited to 10 servings.
  • Plant waste matter — roots, stems, leaves, etc. — must be "rendered unusable" such as by mixing with soil, compost or food waste.
  • People would have 30 days from when the rules become effective to apply for licenses to grow, process or sell pot.

The rules are expected to become effective in August, and the board will begin accepting applications for growing, processing and retailing licenses in September. The state expects to issue pot licenses in December.

So when would people be able to legally purchase marijuana in Washington? Probably not until spring of 2014.

While marijuana users look forward to legalized sales, state officials are anticipating that pot taxes will bring Washington hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new revenue.

All of this planning in Washington state — and Colorado — is set against uncertainty about what the ultimate response from the U.S. Justice Department might be. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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