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Recommendations Due to Legislature by January 1, 2014

The three Washington state agencies responsible for drafting recommendations to the Legislature on medical marijuana on Monday published their timeline and announced a process for the public to provide written comment.

Section 141 of the state operating budget directs the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) to work with the departments of Revenue and Health to develop recommendations to the Legislature regarding the interaction of medical marijuana and the emerging recreational marijuana system.

The WSLCB was tasked with implementing recreational legalization under Initiative 502, approved by state voters last November. Unfortunately, it didn’t take the Washington Legislature long to also put medical marijuana — which patients had been assured would be unaffected by I-502 — under the purview of the Liquor Control Board.

What’s Happening Here?

According to Steve Sarich of the Seattle-based Cannabis Action Coalition and other skeptics of the WSLCB’s intentions, state regulators could be intent on “eliminating the competition” when it comes to safe access for patients through medical marijuana dispensaries, since the medical marijuana world is, by contrast, relatively untaxed and unregulated compared to recreational marijuana under I-502.

Alison Holcomb of the Washington ACLU — a chief author of 502’s language — was among those who repeatedly said, prior to the November election, that the medical marijuana community would be unaffected by the passage of I-502.

With the legalization law is being implemented, Holcomb is singing a different tune.

Now Alison says that medical marijuana dispensaries were illegal all along; remaining true to an increasingly obvious character trait, she’s throwing the shops to the federal wolves just as she threw medical marijuana patients under the bus last fall.


Official State Timeline

Date (2013)         Milestone

October 21
Provide draft recommendations to stakeholders for comment
November 8
Deadline for written comments
November 21-22
Present draft recommendations to appropriate House and Senate committees at Legislative Assembly Days
January 1, 2014
Deadline for delivering final recommendations to the Legislature

The state workgroup, which includes senior staff from each agency, has been meeting since July.

The public may provide written comment at .

For more information about the current state of medical marijuana in Washington state, from the point of view of state regulators, you can visit the WSLCB website at or the Department of Health website at


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