Before and after the election day news of legal marijuana in Washington state, speculation, misinformation and “unanswered” questions have been lobbed from all sides. Will I be able to buy a joint from the 7/11? Does marijuana have an open container equivalent? How will marijuana be packaged and sold?
Here are 13 things you may not already know about Initiative 502:
• Initiative 502’s passage does not affect current medical marijuana laws. In her September cover story for Seattle Weekly, I-502 Campaign Director Alison Holcomb claimed the law would not prevent patients from obtaining their prescriptions through collective gardens and that they would not be subject to the 40 percent sin tax applied to recreational pot.
• The Washington State Liquor Control Board has until Dec. 1, 2013, to craft the full rules regarding growing, processing, retailing and possessing marijuana. A statement released by the board on Nov. 7 said they expected to take the full year.
• Beginning Dec. 6 and until the Liquor Control Board rolls out its rules for the marijuana industry, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will be decriminalized at the state level.
• Passage of Initiative 502 does not affect marijuana’s illegal federal status. Marijuana continues to be a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law and felony possession charges (intent to distribute) will continue to be a possibility.
• The law includes a marijuana equivalent to open container laws. It will be illegal to open a package of marijuana product in view of the general public (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Section 21).
• The law divides the suppliers in the legal marijuana economy into three general categories: producers, processors and retailers. In other words, growers, packagers and sellers. Each will be separately licensed, and the law prohibits producers and processors from having a financial interest in a retailer (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Sections 4 and 5).
• The licensing price for either a producer, processor or retailer will be $250 to apply, and $1,000 to renew per annum (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Section 4).
• Every sale along the supply chain — producer to processor, processor to retailer, and retailer to consumer — will be taxed at a rate of 25 percent (I-502 Full Text, Part IV, Section 27).
• The Liquor Control Board will not issue a license for any marijuana supply premises within 1,000 feet of schools, day cares, playgrounds, recreation centers, public parks, public transit centers, libraries or gaming arcades (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Section 6, Subsection 8).
• Cities and counties can submit an objection to the Liquor Control Board, based on an applicant’s “chronic illegal activity” (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Section 6, Subsection 9).
• You won’t be able to buy a joint at the corner convenience store: licensed retail outlets will be prohibited from selling anything other than marijuana products and paraphernalia (I-502 Full Text, Part III, Section 14).
• The new legal term for a definite quantity of marijuana plants, usable marijuana or marijuana-infused product is a “lot.” Every lot is uniform within recognized tolerances for the factors that appear on the product label (I-502 Full Text, Part II, Section 2, Subsection p).
• Marijuana products will additionally be identified by a “lot number,” which identifies the marijuana licensee by trade name and state unified business identifier number, and the date of harvest or processing for each lot (I-502 Full Text, Part II, Section 2, Subsection q).
Daniel Nash is a reporter for the Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald, a sister paper of the Mercer Island Reporter.