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State Marijuana Sales - More Questions Than Answers

August 19, 2013

When it comes to marijuana, Washingtonians have spoken. Thanks to the passing of Initiative 502 last November, state-controlled production and sales of pot is set to begin early next year. Opinions are varied on how to implement the rules and licenses for marijuana. But all the uncertainties lie underneath the umbrella of federal law still criminalizing pot.

Last week the Wenatchee city council convened for a study session to try to answer some of the unknowns in terms of city ordinances, business and banking licenses, and how to deal with federal laws.

The city’s legal counsel and staff gave the council the latest overview on how still-developing state rules that would legalize the production and sale of pot could impact the city.

City councilman and mayor pro tem Tony Veeder said it’s an incredibly complex topic. He said at this point the city is working to stay up to speed on the rules coming from the state Liquor Control Board, logistics on implementing pot sales within the city and liabilities as city leaders.

The rules necessary to implement I-502 become effective on Nov. 16. After that a 30-day window for license applications goes into effect. In December, the state can then begin issuing Producer, Processor and Retail licenses to qualified applicants.

Whether the elephant in the room will be addressed by then, the illegality of marijuana sales by federal law, remains to be seen. But if every goes according to schedule, retail pot stores will open their doors in January of 2014.