Rep. Hurst introduces I-502 marijuana implementation bill
March 12, 2013 · 1:08 PM
Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), chair of the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, has introduced legislation that would facilitate the smooth implementation of the legal recreational marijuana industry, set in motion by the passage of Initiative 502.
"Citizens voted for an end to the dangerous, illicit marijuana market and a new, well-regulated market in its place," Hurst said. "The initiative was carefully drafted, but a few changes need to be made to ensure a smooth and successful transition."
House Bill 2000 would make several adjustments to the legislation to facilitate implementation, while retaining the vast majority of the initiative's original language. These changes would focus primarily on allowing the Liquor Control Board more discretion in fees, enforcement and siting.
Specifically, the legislation would:
• Allow the Liquor Control Board to set applications and licensing fees commensurate to what is costs to process them
• Allow the Liquor Control Board to regulate marijuana similar to how the regulate liquor today
• Creates a "502 Marketing Certificate," which is a prerequisite to obtaining an operating license. The certificate is a transferable property right that will be purchased a fair market value as determined by the Liquor Control Board.
• Reduces the siting prohibition near public facilities from 1000 feet to 500 feet, addressing concerns that retailers would be effectively barred in many urban and suburban areas.
The bill incorporates feedback from public hearings held by the Liquor Control Board throughout the state as well as input from stakeholder groups. It also reflects promises made by proponents during the campaign that the legislation would move us from a criminal market to a carefully regulated, safe, and revenue generating market.
"We have a billion dollar mandate from the Supreme Court to fund our K-12 system. It would be foolish to leave money on the table in the face of a daunting number like that," Hurst noted, when explaining the certificate value.
A public hearing for the bill is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. next Tuesday, March 19.