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Washington: State To Open Retail Marijuana License Applications With No Initial Cap

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WSLCB Says The Goal Is To 'Align' Recreational and Medical Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday announced that beginning October 12, it will accept new retail applications "using the priority criteria set forth in the law." According to the Board, there will not be an initial cap on the number of licenses issued.

"Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure that they have all of the required documentation before applying," the WSLCB announced. "Failure to provide required documentation in a timely manner will result in the application being withdrawn, however you will be able to apply again."

The WSLCB adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the public process of "aligning" the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market (many activists would more cynically call it "eliminating" the medical marijuana market "in favor of" the recreational market).

The Board’s actions are the result of 2015 legislation, the so-called "Cannabis Patient Protection Act" (SB 5052, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers), which established a priority system for licensing existing medical marijuana outlets. The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the WSLCB to begin the process of licensing new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana.

Existing recreational stores may also apply for an endorsement to sell both.

Washington: Purple Haze Pot Shop Slapped With 2nd Citation For Underage Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Purple Haze, a recreational marijuana store in Everett, Washington, has become the only outlet in the state to be caught twice selling cannabis to minors, ironically calling to mind one of the themes of the 2012 I-502 legalization campaign, which was "illegal pot dealers don't ask for I.D."

Bonnie Arnestad, who owned two homes next door to the shop, wanted city leaders to keep it out, and now she feels totally vindicated, reports Joel Moreno at KOMO News. Gee, thanks, Purple Haze, for confirming all the worst stereotypes about marijuana, with the added insult of having done that under the I-502 banner.

Remember, owners of these recreational pot shops were the movers and shakers who convinced the Washington Legislature this past spring to pass SB 5052, which for all practical purposes, shuts down safe access through medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. Now that they've taken out the competition, do they feel comfortable doing the same things they were accusing the medical dispensaries of doing -- but which they never proved?

"I think they should have lost their license after the first one because that was less than six months from their opening," Arnestead said.

Washington: Compliance Checks Show 4 Recreational Marijuana Stores Sell To Minors

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Four Western Washington recreational retail marijuana businesses this month failed compliance checks conducted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).

Officers, working with underage investigative aides, checked 22 businesses for sales of marijuana to minors. The first checks represent an 82 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.

The four businesses will be cited for selling marijuana to minors. The individuals who sold the marijuana will be referred to their respective prosecuting attorney’s office for potential criminal prosecution.

The WSLCB and local authorities regularly conduct compliance checks of area businesses licensed to sell alcohol. The checks, conducted May 15-18 in Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap, Pierce and Cowlitz Counties, were the first marijuana compliance checks.

The checks followed a recent communication to all licensees that enforcement officers were beginning compliance checks and recommended best practices for avoiding an illegal sale.

Compliance checks are proven tools to reduce the sale of age-restricted products to minors, according to the WSLCB. Investigative aides assist officers with compliance checks. These individuals are from 18 to 20 years old. They must either present their true identification or none at all if asked by a clerk.

Liquor enforcement officers are empowered to issue Administrative Violation Notices to businesses that fail compliance checks. Fines or temporary license suspensions can be issued depending on the severity of the infraction or the frequency with which a business has been cited.

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