The Law

I just finished checking out the state's website on the new marijuana laws. I have to tell you, I never thought I would be reading marijuana regulations in my lifetime. When I was a kid, everyone over 30 "knew" that marijuana was evil. People who tried it knew that the evil was overblown, but to partake was a still furtive activity fraught with risk. There was a war on drugs and we were the enemy.

Then everything changed. Last year people were inventing reasons that they needed medical marijuana and hoping that their letter would keep them out of trouble. Now, all you need is to "find" up an ounce of pot and you can spark up in the comfort of your own home without fear of the boys in blue busting your door down and harshing your buzz.

There is still a long road ahead to get sensible regulations in place and to make sure the feds stay out of our business, but we are on the road and moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, I can whip up a batch of cookies and enjoy what used to be an illegal smile.

There are not too many details from the WSLCB about what the regulations are going to be. There is some information defining the roles of producer, processor and retailers. You'll have to come up with an application fee and an annual fee plus keep good books so you can give the state 25% of your receipts. They also have a schedule for the regulation writing process. The next big milestone is February 10, when they will stop taking initial public comments. If you want to get your thoughts in, you can email

My letter to the WSLCB pointed out the need for boutique companies in the marijuana industry. When they first regulated liquor in Washington, only approved brands were allowed and the list was kept short. Late in the game they expanded the list and a host of small breweries and distilleries sprung up to provide great local products. My letter claimed that these local companies are good for the industry and good for the state, leading to the logical conclusion that such businesses should be part of the marijuana industry from the start.

Such an industry will be much more interesting that one were a few big growers in Eastern Washington gives us a Sativa and an Indica packed in tailor made joints. We will have local strains - Wenatchee Wackee, Bellingham Trip, Doobie von Leavenworth and so on. I also want more ways to use than cookies and caramels. Imagine strolling through the shelves of you pot emporium and seeing oils and tinctures made by hand in small batches, ice cream, soups and seasoned fries. Yum!

The first producers should be getting permits this summer with products hitting shelves early next year. Meanwhile, homemade goodies will help me enjoy the ride.