Washington’s Liquor Control Board, tasked with navigating the uncharted regulatory waters of legalized marijuana sales, will ask the public how marijuana legalization Initiative 502 should be put into action in a series of six forums throughout the state.
The board will release the times and places of those six public meetings next week, said Brian Smith, the liquor board’s communications director. Those forums are set for late January and early February, he said.
“We’ve already had lots of input from people from academics to marijuana dealers informally offering us advice,” said Smith. The public meetings will provide an organized way to channel that advice to the decision makers, he said.
The board also is accepting written testimony by email at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, the regulatory authority is asking for help from outside experts to establish a legal framework for marijuana sales in the state. The board next week plans to publish a formal state request for proposals for consultants to help formulate a legal framework for the state’s fledgling marijuana industry.
Because Washington and Colorado are the first states in the country to legalize marijuana sales, there’s little accumulated and published information about what to expect and how to keep marijuana-growing and sales under control. Dozens of potential consultants have already expressed interest in working for the state, said Smith. The state doesn’t yet know whether it will hire a single consultant or consulting firm or multiple firms to answer the questions about what to expect when sales are legalized.
One of the first tasks likely to be tackled is the size of the demand, said the liquor board spokesman. The board needs an accurate estimate to begin making decisions about how many outlets to license.
The state’s actions are being followed closely by a large group of business people interested in money-making opportunities in the fledgling industry. Some 2,500 have already signed up to a listserv providing information about the board’s plans.
Specific information about both the public forums and the request for proposals will be announced on the board’s website, www.liq.wa.gov. Potential bidders must sign up on the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services site to receive notification of the proposals request. Go to des.wa.gov/services and click the “Contracting & Purchasing” tab.John Gillie: 253-597-8663 firstname.lastname@example.org