Washington State system could allow for mature plants to facilitate sector startup

Washington State system could allow for mature plants to facilitate sector startup

Published on 9/4/13

To jump-start Washington’s legal marijuana system, the latest version of the state’s rules will allow growers to start with mature but non-flowing plants, said a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

That will bring into the state’s legal pot system plants that are much closer to producing useable marijuana than was originally established in the draft rules, confirmed Brian Smith with the liquor board. (Before, the board wanted its licensed producers to start from seed or small clone.)

Update 9-4: Here’s the section:

“Start-up inventory for marijuana producers. Within fifteen days of starting production operations a producer must have all non- flowering marijuana plants physically on the licensed premises. The producer must immediately record each marijuana plant that enters the facility in the traceability system during this fifteen day time frame. No flowering marijuana plants may be brought into the facility during this fifteen day time frame. After this fifteen day time frame expires, a producer may only start plants from seed or create clones from a marijuana plant located physically on their licensed premises, or purchase marijuana seeds, clones, or plants from another licensed producer.”

And that means product will be ready to sell in state-licensed stores much sooner. With Dec. 1 set as the target date for beginning to issue licenses to grow and sell, some newly licensed stores could have useable marijuana within weeks.

In Colorado, current medical marijuana growers will be allowed to flip all of their products into the new recreation system created by Amendment 64.

All of this still depends on how soon licenses will be issued. And, since the U.S. Department of Justice said last week that it will not challenge Washington’s pot system, many expect the state will get thousands of applications.

“The likely problem the board will face is a flood of applications,” said Mark Kleiman, who leads the team hired to advise the board. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they got thousands of producer license applications.”

Kleiman added that the state grandfathering in existing plants for the first 15 days was a “big deal.”

“Otherwise, you’ll have a party but no cake,” he said.

The board will release its latest draft rules Wednesday morning at 10. In addition to allowing bigger marijuana plants for the first 15 days after licenses have been awarded, the new rules will, among other things:

  • limit the amount of total marijuana production in the state
  • identify the number of retail locations per county and their locations

The board’s new timeline:

  • Oct. 9 – Public hearing on proposed rules
  • Oct. 16 – Board adopts proposed rules (CR 103)
  • Nov. 16 – Rules become effective
  • Nov. 18 – WSLCB begins accepting applications for all license types
  • Dec. 1 – Rules are complete (as mandated by law). Begin issuing producer, processor and retail licenses to qualified applicants.
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