WA Liquor Control Board Confused About New Medical Cannabis Law

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WA Liquor Control Board Confused About New Medical Cannabis Law

walcbAs part of the recent passage of Senate Bill 5052 in Washington State, those under 21 are no longer allowed to participate in collective gardens, or even so much as enter a dispensary. The law establishes a misdemeanor penalty for those under 21 who do participate in collectives. However, the state’s Liquor Control Board (LCB), the entity tasked with overseeing the state’s cannabis laws, appears to be completely confused on the subject, and is giving bad advice to medical cannabis establishments.

We received a tip from several collectives in Washington that the LCB has told them that they can continue to serve those ages 18 to 21.

We contacted the LCB, and spoke with Brian Smith, the Board’s Communications Director. Smith told us that yes, collectives can distribute to those 18-21, as long as that patient is part of the registry established in SB 5052. When we pointed out that the registry won’t be implemented until July 1st of next year, and that the portion prohibiting those under 21 from purchasing medical cannabis took effect immediately, Smith told  us he would need to get back to us. When he did (this time through e-mail), we got the following response; “The confusion might be stemming from the difference between a collective garden and a coop”, Smith said. “The collective gardens are those that currently exist. The coops are what we’ll begin registering down the road. Sect. 26 of SB 5052 deals with minors entering and purchasing medical marijuana.” (Section 26 makes it clear that those under 21 can’t participate in the cooperative gardens of up to four people, which are allowed under SB 5052).

However, what Smith didn’t touch on, is our mention of section 32 of SB 5052, which makes it so that: No person under the age of twenty-one may participate in a collective garden or receive marijuana that was produced, processed, transported, or delivered through a collective garden.

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This section took effect immediately (per section 51 in SB 5052).

We have yet to receive a response from Smith regarding this portion of the law.

Seattle city officials plan to introduce a resolution soon that would establish a medical cannabis tier system, with collectives in the first tier receiving a letter within 1-2 months demanding that they cease operations; those distributing to anyone under 21 would immediately be placed in the first tier.

Section 33 of SB 5052 gives the LCB explicit permission to conduct controlled purchases (sting operations) at collective gardens to determine if they’re distributing to those under 21. This, of course, raises even more concerns over their confusion, and the faulty information they’ve been giving these establishments.

[Update (5/20/2015): In regards to section 33 of SB 5052, Brian Smith tells us that the LCB doesn’t “issue opinions about the law”. When asked why they wouldn’t make it clear to collectives that allowing those under 21 is illegal, when they’re the entity given the authority to conduct controlled purchases (sting operations) on these establishments, Smith tells us that; “We are in the process of analyzing the new legislation and preparing our next steps. If there is something that needs clarification, we would want to provide clarification when appropriate. We have been very proactive on our communication during the implementation of I-502.  We will do the same during this process. I plan to bring this forward for further discussion.”]



  • John
    May 18, 2015

    Nice work. Thank you. Yet another example of why the Liquor Control Board should not have any enforcement authority over peoples medical access, not any ability to make medical marijuana recommendations. The don’t even understand the laws that stemmed from their own recommendations.
    Why is this no surprise at all ?

  • Jennifer
    May 18, 2015

    this is our finest at work John and it is so sad that they DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING and are going to f-up the medical (as if they haven’t already) The liquor control board couldn’t get it right with liquor so whats to make them think they can do this??? OLD PEOPLE TRYING TO DO A JOB THEY ARE NOT QUALIFIED FOR!!!

    • David
      May 20, 2015

      I’d agree except for your age discrimination comment.

      • Gunny
        May 21, 2015

        You seem to have a lot of OPINION.
        It was our DEMO-RAT GOVERNOR who SIGNED this LAW KILLING MMJ in WASHINGTON (Legal since 1998) and HURTING Tens of THOUSANDS.
        Screw YOU and your LIB-RAT ILK.
        You shits are PUBLIC ENEMY #1.

  • surestroke
    May 19, 2015

    Agreed, but you have to remember how this shit works. LCB members are POLITICAL appointees- chosen for past favors to the same party as the current governor. These fucktards get the job not for knowledge, skills, abilities, education, or experience, but for voting as directed in legislature, or arranging major campaign contributions: it’s a reward. Job description: fill the seat; pad your retirement account; go fprth fearlessly and muddle about. That is why I-502 specified that LCB run the show.

    • David
      May 20, 2015

      The political party that orchestrated this entire mess has been Washington’s Republican State Senate. Not exactly in lock step with Governor Inslee. For example look at 5052’s original sponsor, a Republican sponsored bill.

      • brandon
        May 22, 2015

        Governor Inslee designated Senator Rivers to make this legislation last session…her attempt failed in that session. She continued this session, and with Rep. Cody’s (d) striker amendment the house democrats supported this bill while most house republicans did not. It all traces back to the Governor through public records obtained.

  • louis
    May 19, 2015

    The senate bill report’s third page states, in the final line of the fourth paragraph, “Patients
    who are between ages 18 and 21 may enter medical marijuana retail outlets.” Obviously there are some uncertainties as to whether a collective garden access point should be thought of as a mmj retail before such a license exists but it seems the logical way to interpret this mess.

    • michael
      May 19, 2015

      that’s just the legislative intent thats not law. they mean the outlets with medical endorsements anyway. the new law makes it quite clear no one under 21 can participate in any way with a collective garden.

    • John
      May 21, 2015

      There are no uncertainties. The law speaks directly to this.please see Section 32 (1)(b) , page 51, line 32 of Senate Bill 5052

      “b)No person under the age of twenty-one may participate in a
      collective garden or receive marijuana that was produced, processed,
      transported, or delivered through a collective garden. A designated
      provider for a person who is under the age of twenty-one may
      participate in a collective garden on behalf of the person under the
      age of twenty-one; ”


  • searanger
    May 20, 2015

    Since it is unlawful for laymen to have oversight or make decisions on medical issues ; will this become a big legal issue in the near future? Licensing Boards for physicians and psychologist must by law be made up of appropriately licensed professionals. So shouldn’t “medical Marijuana” have oversight from the appropriate licensed board? Just saying…

    • John
      May 21, 2015

      No, this will not become a legal issue because they have the statutory authority to do it.

      It may be terrible public health policy, and terrible criminal justice policy, but it is not a legal issue in the sense that you mean it.

  • james peterson
    May 22, 2015

    this is both parties doing so dont just blame one party blame them both Sen Rivers is GOp sen Rep Cody Dem thnen the fucking idoit governor

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