By Phillip Smith
Colorado this week became the first legal marijuana state to set its final rules for pot commerce, but Washington state isn't far behind. Voters in the two states last November approved marijuana legalization, and the actuality of it now looms.
On Monday, the Colorado Department of Revenue released 136 pages of final rules designed to provide clear guidance for marijuana entrepreneurs and police alike. The rules require pot businesses to track inventory from seed to sale, as well as setting numerous conditions and restrictions on everything from packaging to advertising to hours of operation.
Now that the rules process is finalized, applications and licensing can get under way. The first marijuana retail establishments are expected to open around New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, which is charged with implementing legalization in the Evergreen State, last week issued its latest revised proposed rules. They aren't the last word. The Board will hold several public hearings in the coming weeks, but is on track to finalize the rules and begin issuing licenses for marijuana businesses around the same time those first pot shops are opening in Colorado.
The Washington marijuana commerce rules now contemplate 334 marijuana retail stores operating in the state and cap production at 87,500 pounds per year based on estimated demand. The Board estimates that legally produced marijuana could be available for sale by June.