Washington State Liquor Control Board approves proposed rules for recreational marijuana

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (Board) today approved the proposed rules that, if ultimately enacted, will help govern Washington State’s system of producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana. The 42-page, single-spaced rules detail the requirements for participating in Washington’s system.

“Public safety is our top priority,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “These rules fulfill the public expectation of creating a tightly-regulated and controlled system while providing reasonable access to participation in the market.”

The foundation for the rule-making began soon after the November 2012 passage of Initiative 502.The Board held eight public forums statewide that drew over 3,000 attendees, 11 internal teams performed staff work ranging from research to policy recommendations, and individual board members and staff presented at dozens of public and trade events to listen and communicate status. Most recently, on May 16, the Board publicly issued its initial draft seeking comment by June 10, 2013.

“While the overall response to our initial draft was quite positive,” continued Foster, “We received quality input from local governments, law enforcement, industry members, the prevention community and many others that we incorporated and further improved the rules.”

Key Public Safety Elements

Public safety is the top priority of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

  • All grows must meet strictly controlled on-site security requirements;
  • Strict surveillance and transportation requirements;
  • Robust traceability software system that will track inventory from start to sale;
  • Criminal background checks on all license applicants;
  • Tough penalty guidelines for public safety violations including loss of license;
  • Restricting certain advertising that may be targeted at children.


Key Consumer Safety Elements

The proposed rules provide a heightened level of consumer safety that has not existed previously.

  • Packaging and label requirements including dosage and warnings;
  • Child-resistant packaging for marijuana in solid and liquid forms;
  • Only lab tested and approved products will be available;
  • Defined serving sizes and package limits on marijuana in solid form;
  • Store signage requirements to educate customers.



July 03, 2013                Proposed rules filed with Code Reviser (CR 102)

August 6-8, 2013          Public hearings on proposed rules

August 14, 2013            Rules adopted

September 16, 2013      Rules become effective

September 16, 2013      Begin accepting applications for all three licenses (30-day window)

December 1, 2013         Rules are complete (as mandated by law)

Dec. 2013 / Jan. 2014   Begin issuing producer, processor and retailer licenses

Public Hearings

Public hearings on the proposed rules are being scheduled in four locations across Washington August 6 – 8, 2013. The locations are tentatively scheduled for Olympia, Seattle-area, Ellensburg and Spokane. The WSLCB will soon post the dates and locations on its website at

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