Washington State Liquor Control Board medical marijuana recommendations to Legislature

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (Board) today issued its recommendations to the Legislature regarding the regulation of medical marijuana. A proviso of the state operating budget directed the Liquor Control Board to work with the departments of Revenue and Health to develop recommendations regarding the interaction of medical marijuana regulations and the emerging recreational marijuana system.

Staff from the three agencies prepared draft recommendations for the Board in eight categories that included possession amounts, medical marijuana authorizing requirements, taxation and other topics. Staff provided its draft recommendations to the Board on October 21, 2013. The Board reviewed written public input as well as held a special public meeting on Nov. 13, 2013.

The Board accepted many of the staff recommendations with one major exception regarding the recommended prohibition on home growing of medical marijuana. The Board is recommending allowing authorized medical marijuana patients up to six plants for personal use.

Board Statement

The Liquor Control Board made the following statement regarding its recommendations.

We wish to thank the staff from the Liquor Control Board, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Health for their thorough work on this issue. This is a challenging issue considering the emotional and political concerns that surround the medical use of marijuana.

The Liquor Control Board has largely accepted staff’s recommendations with one major exception. We are recommending that authorized medical marijuana patients be allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use. This decision is based on multiple conversations with the medical community, medical marijuana dispensary owners, medical professionals and others. Opinions are diverse. Ultimately, if a medical professional believes an authorized patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, we recommend that that individual may grow a limited number of plants at home for personal use.

These recommendations fulfill the requirement in the budget proviso found in Section 141 that requires the Liquor Control Board to make recommendations regarding the interaction of medical marijuana regulations and the emerging recreational marijuana system by January 1, 2014. The process now moves to the Legislature for consideration during the 2014 legislative session.


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