Washington LCB Notice of Rule Making – Pre-proposal – #17-04: Producer Tier Structure

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has entered into the initial stage of rulemaking (CR 101) to consider rule changes in Chapter 314-55 related to the producer tier structure and potentially allowing producers to hold an interest in more than one license. The CR 101 is the initial notification of potential rule making and no rule language is offered at this stage of the process. The CR 101 and an explanatory statement for this rule making accompany this notice.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board encourages you to give input on the subject of these potential changes.  Following the comment period, the agency will send out and publish the proposed rules, establish a comment period on the proposed rules, and hold a public hearing before the rules are adopted.

This notice can be found at lcb.wa.gov/laws/laws-and-rules under Proposed Rules.

 

Washington LCB To Increase Number Of Retail Marijuana Stores Following Analysis Of Marketplace

WASHINGTON: Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington State, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) today heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556. The methodology for the cap will be part of emergency rules which will be announced Jan. 6, 2016. The allocation of retail licenses determined by the board will be published on the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” said WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative.”

Earlier this year the legislature enacted, and Gov. Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act. The new law charges the WSLCB, the state Department of Health and other agencies with drafting regulations that integrate the medical marijuana marketplace into the tightly controlled recreational marketplace. The WSLCB is charged with licensing retail applicants using a priority-based system.

Priority Licensing System

  • First priority applicants are those who applied for a marijuana retail license prior to July 1, 2014, operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  • Second priority applicants are those who operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license, and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  • Third priority applicants are those who don’t meet the first or second criteria.

The WSLCB began accepting license applications on Oct. 12, 2015. Thus far, the WSLCB has received 1,194 retail applications. Of those who have applied, 39 have been determined as priority one and 42 have been determined as priority two. Applicants must still meet all other WSLCB licensing criteria before being licensed.

Proportionate Allocation based on Medical Sales
The number of retail locations will be determined using a method that distributes the number of locations proportionate to the most populous cities within each county and to accommodate the medical needs of qualifying patients and designated providers. Locations not assigned to a specific city will be at large.

WSLCB will increase the number of available licenses in the ten counties with the highest medical sales by 100 percent. Exceptions include Yakima and Benton Counties which have bans and moratoria in all major population centers. The 100 percent increase will transfer to the next two highest for medical needs, Skagit and Cowlitz Counties. Those counties and jurisdictions not in the top ten for medical sales will receive an increase of the number of licensees by 75 percent.

In addition to new retail licensees, 70 percent of existing retail recreational marijuana stores have received an endorsement on their license to sell medical marijuana.

BOTEC Analysis Corporation Report
BOTEC Analysis Corporation provided its final report, Estimating the Size of the Medical Cannabis Market in Washington State, on Dec. 15, 2015. In its report, BOTEC provided a range of the value of the overall marijuana market in Washington State. Its best estimate of the overall market value is a median figure at $1.3 billion annually. Its best estimate on the breakdown is: $480M medical (37 percent of market), $460M state-licensed recreational stores (35 percent of market) and $390M illicit (28 percent of the market).

18 Washington Stores Caught Selling Marijuana To Minors

WASHINGTON:  Stings caught three of 10 licensed marijuana stores in Pierce County and two of eight in Thurston County selling to minors, state regulators say.

The state Liquor Control Board said it found a higher rate of compliance statewide: 88 percent, with 18 of 157 stores open at the time selling weed to customers younger than 21 and a single two-time offender, Purple Haze in Snohomish County.

The agency soon to be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board made its first round of checks for sales to minors in May and June, sending 18- to 20-year-olds into shops to buy pot.

“Our goal is 100 percent compliance,” liquor board chairman Jane Rushford said in a statement announcing the results.

 

Overhaul Of Marijuana Taxation Goes To Washington Governor

WASHINGTON:  Recreational marijuana buyers would pay a flat 37 percent pot tax, plus sales tax, under a proposal headed to the desk of Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The measure easily cleared the state Senate Saturday after passing the House Friday. It would eliminate the three-tier tax system approved by Washington voters in 2012. Instead, consumers would pay a single tax at the point of sale.

The measure would also ban marijuana use in a public place and ban marijuana clubs. And it would change the name of the Liquor Control Board to the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

 

Meet Washington State’s Official New Liquor And Cannabis Board

WASHINGTON: Big changes are coming to the state Liquor Control Board, including a name change.

The 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.

First 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.

Oldest, Best Behaved Medical Marijuana Shops Most Likely To Get Licensed

WASHINGTON:  Washington marijuana regulators have a big job ahead of them, and replacing officers’ badges, shirts and caps with ones that read “Liquor and Cannabis Board” is the least of it.

The same law that will change the Liquor Control Board’s name July 24 directs the agency to decide which unlicensed medical-marijuana shops and grow operations to legitimize and which ones must close by July 1, 2016.

Questions remain unanswered, but the process will involve a merit system and will look different from the one the liquor board has used to hand out more than 500 licenses to growers and processors over the past year and more than 150 to stores.

The agency opened a 30-day window in late 2013 for those recreational-marijuana applications. Licenses went to growers and processors that were qualified and ready to go and retailers that won a lottery for a limited number of slots.