OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Even as uncertainty remains over whether the Federal Government will sue to block Washington’s decriminalization of Marijuana the State Liquor Control Board began the task Tuesday night of charting the course to commercial sale of Marijuana.
Members of the public packed the board’s Olympia meeting room, just hours after Governor Jay Inslee met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on how to reconcile federal law with initiative 502, passed last November.
“The Governor has told us to move like the voters told us,” Sharon Foster, Chair of the Board said, “and we will move ahead and hopefully do it correctly.”
Many at the meeting were looking for ways to get in on Washington’s new cash crop. From production to “high end” pot shops entrepreneurs are sniffing money in the air.
Among those who showed up Tuesday night was a former Microsoft manager, Jamen Shively. He told the board he plans to create a high-end company selling only the best "artisan-grown, premium" marijuana. He urged the board to err on the side of caution - of more controls and more testing - "so the feds line up behind us" rather than block the state's efforts.
One speaker noted that banks typically won't finance marijuana businesses, and called for a prepaid state-run financing program.
With so much new ground to cover, the board is looking to hire an outside expert, perhaps someone from Colorado, where medical marijuana has been state regulated for some time.
This series of initial meetings are forums, not hearings. Those will follow once rules are proposed in a few months. By then the expert should be on board, and there could be a clearer sense of how the federal government is going to proceed.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.