Latest Washington Marijuana Rules: Outdoor Grows, Concentrates In; Pot Logo Out

Latest Washington Marijuana Rules: Outdoor Grows, Concentrates In; Pot Logo Out

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington state was the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use, but image-conscious regulators there think the cannabis-leaf logo designed for state-licensed pot merchandise conveys the wrong impression of the Evergreen State.

Dropping the marijuana leaf as an official state symbol was one of several changes contained in the latest draft of measures proposed by a three-member panel devising new regulations for the state’s nascent marijuana industry.

The proposals, released on Wednesday and containing mostly minor revisions to an earlier plan, included rules governing cultivation, sales and taxation of pot due to take effect when state-licensed retail marijuana stores open next spring.

Washington and Colorado became the only two U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use after approval by voters last November, though Washington’s law went into effect first.

Both states, along with 16 others, also have legalized pot for medical purposes. The federal government, however, still classifies cannabis as an illegal substance.

The abandoned pot logo, which was to appear on any recreational-use marijuana or marijuana-infused product sold in the state, featured a pot leaf inside an icon of Washington state.

The abandoned Washington marijuana logo

The abandoned Washington marijuana logo

The intent behind the label was to make any cannabis-containing product easily identifiable, said Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith.

But in a letter last month to the board, a group of drug prevention advocates, including Children’s Alliance Deputy Director Jon Gould, wrote that the logo could “reasonably be viewed as branding Washington ‘The Marijuana State,’ or as Washington proudly promoting marijuana use to the rest of the world.”

“A logo like this will undoubtedly end up on bumper stickers and T-shirts,” the letter continued.

The board has reserved the right to create a new logo, Smith said, which might feature a marijuana leaf but not coupled with an image of Washington state.

“We got the message about (including the state icon) being promotional,” he said.

In another shift, the board proposed to let recreational-use marijuana be grown outdoors, not just indoors or in greenhouses. To pass muster, the outdoor operations would need to be fenced and be equipped with security cameras and alarm systems.

Responding to concerns of fueling a black market, the board also clarified that highly potent marijuana extracts, which have gained in popularity in recent years, may be legally sold so long as they are adulterated with at least trace amounts of an inert substance, such as vegetable oil.

The marijuana law does not explicitly provide for the sale of such concentrates, but board members were persuaded to allow their purchase so as to avoid ceding customers to the black market.

“We do anticipate that the legislature will revise the language in the coming session,” Smith said.

Under the new draft rules, consumers could legally buy bulk amounts of pot extracts like marijuana-infused baked goods or drinks – up to a pound in solid form or 4 1/2 pounds as a liquid.

The retail cost of bulk concentrates, which can consist of up to 80 percent THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, would likely run into the tens of thousands of dollars, based on prices found online for equivalent products sold by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Smith said the prohibitive cost of buying extracts in bulk would probably discourage most consumers from purchasing them in such large quantities.

The board will file its final official rules in August.

  • Crass B

    “may be legally sold so long as they are adulterated with at least trace amounts of an inert substance, such as vegetable oil”

    WTF does that mean?

    “Smith said the prohibitive cost of buying extracts in bulk would probably discourage most consumers from purchasing them in such large quantities”

    So it sounds like they don’t want us to ingest the concentrates. Wonder who could be behind that?

    I am thrilled they will allow outdoor cultivation. But if the citizens can’t grow it, and have to buy it at retail stores, the cost will remain high and may get higher. How is that a good thing.

    And I thought Colorado was the first to legalize. At least Colo allows residents to grow 6 plants per person.

    Here I am stuck in Utah:(

    • LRC

      It means that it can’t be 100% pure, but it can be 99.99% pure.

      All that’s being said is that people probably won’t buy 4 lbs of hash, even though they can, because it would be really expensive.

      Amtrak runs nightly from SLC to Denver. Shops open January first. See you there.

      • Crass B

        Sounds like a great excuse to take my first Amtrak ride. ;)

      • Shadar

        Interesting that you will be able to legally buy pounds of hash in WA (as long as its only 99.9% pure) because its an infused product. But you can only buy an ounce of flowers on one visit to a shop.

        Want to bet this glitch gets fixed by January?

        Going to be interesting what’s available for sale on January 1. WA will let growers bring non-flowering plants (of any size and number) into their grow during the first half of December, but after that they have to grow from clones cut from in-house plants or clones from another licensed grower.

        So unless someone brings in some super fast flowering herb that is very mature in veg on Dec 1, WA shops won’t have product until mid-January or so. Even later for Sativa lovers like me.

        Given that CO is going to leverage off the MMJ grow ops, they should have product available first.

        But, out-of-state buyers can buy a lot more weed in WA than CO. And we have friendlier neighbors when it comes to weed, both north and south. East is a problem. West is water.

        CO has weed-hostile neighbors on all sides, so they’ll be very busy busting people on the CO border starting Jan. 1. I think some states already target CO cars. Kind of nice that many people don’t even know where WA is. Let CO take the heat for being so boisterous about being the “Cannabis State” (an honor I think CA actually holds.)

        It’s almost a given that Oregon and CA will legalize recreational pot in 2014 election. And BC also looks good.

        Not an issue for me…I’m never going to leave nirvana.

      • 1eyedjack


  • Shadar

    Relative to concentrates, the original voter initiative only allowed herbal weed and infused products. So the state regulators did not have the authority to allow concentrates.

    Citizens who commented on the rules said that would drive a strong black market in concentrates, which the state wants to thwart.

    So, in a action that restored my faith in government officials, the Liquor Control Board reasoned that if you added some inert oil to a pure concentrate, it was now technically an “infused product” and therefore legal. That started as kind of a “wink wink” that has now been codified into the rules.

    The thinking for infused product was originally along the line of magic brownies, but nothing in the initiative says it can’t be the other way around. Put a drop of brownie mix (or whatever) in some hash oil and you also have an infused product.

    Only the Legislature has the power to amend a citizen initiative, and only after a certain amont of time has passed.

    Anyway, it’s now up to the concentrate providers to figure out what this inert oil or other additive should be to create an “infused product”.

  • Shadar

    In terms of legalizing possession and consumption, both states passed their initiatives in the election. The difference was that Washington certified the election and legalized weed first. People arrested for possession were being let out of jail and had cases dropped before Christmas.

    It took Colorado a bit longer to administratively implement legalization. So the article is technically correct. Seattle never gets any respect as people here are much lower key than hyped up CO. We like it that way in the Emerald City.

    As far as setting up stores and beginning legal sales, it’s unclear which state will make the first legal sale of recreational weed. I personally expect CO will win that honor, but we’ll see.

    And yes, the ability to homegrow in CO is a better deal than WA law. But the idea that you can drive down to the store and buy legal recreational weed is still a very big deal for non-MMJ consumers. Weed tourism is going to be fun to support. Someone might open a Weedist bed and breakfast.

    Despite the possibly higher prices for legal weed, I plan to celebrate this new freedom on opening day. The laws aren’t perfect, but they beat the snot out of Utah (and most other places).

    • Crass B

      Thanks for the insight Shadar. That B&B idea blew my head open the moment I heard this passed in Colo. I would love to operate one. Don’t mistake my frustration for a knock at Wa. I would love to live there vs here. I have pined for personal freedom for a long time. Utah is likely one of the most repressive places in our nation. I saw some video of Seattle Hemp fest and have wanted to attend ever since.

      Definitely a step in the right direction. I just get too uptight about this crap sometimes.

    • USpolicestate

      As you said, the homegrow legality in CO is a better deal and for this reason I am hoping that CO’s model of legalization is the one that other states will follow in the coming years of recreational legalization.

      WA will now potentially have to house thousands of WA recreational homegrowers in jails and prisons for cultivation charges, so the greed of tax income will likely cost the state money instead of taking in the tax revenue that they wanted to force their way.

      If the prices in these recreational stores are set too high, that in itself will further increase the amount of homegrowers that will grow regardless of the law as well as keeping blackmarket sales thriving.

      WA courts will definitely see cultivation cases start piling up which will strengthen legalization advocates in questioning officials with ” I thought this was supposed to decrease arrests, not increase them! “. I wonder how many thousands of arrests will have to happen before I-502 gets re-amended to allow homegrows because they are going to skyrocket like never before seen. Watch and see. My opinion is that a re-amending in WA will happen to allow homegrows but only after MANY have suffered thru cultivation charges and public rage over the incarceration increase.

      I don’t think WA cops will turn their heads the other way when it comes to recreational homegrows either. The only thing that will stand them down will be public pressure for re-amending i-502 to allow homegrows only after the courts and jails start filling up with those arrested for homegrows begins to skyrocket.

      • Shadar

        I’m not too bothered by the lack of homegrow options in WA. Since the MMJ folks are allowed to homegrow, the grow shops that cater to the cannabis crowd are busy and prosperous. Many of their customers are not MMJ consumers. Recall that in WA there is no ID card or registration of MMJ consumers. You just keep a copy of your doctor’s letter as an affirmative defense, and the dispensaries ask for it.

        It’s extremely rare for a recreational home grower to get busted unless you are stupid. The cops are looking at grows over 99 plants so that federal law gets invoked.

        So it’s unlikely there will be much pressure to add personal growing options. Maybe in time. But that won’t be driven by busts of the really small growers given the are extremely rare and usually accidental. WA has been friendly to weed for a long time. We only worry about the Feds, a least in Western WA, and they don’t mess with small growers. Anyone who worries about growing goes to a clinic and gets an MMJ letter anyway, and then then can grow 15 plants. No rules on how many can be in flower at the same time. Easy.

        As far as a cannabis-themed BB goes, I know of several folks who are considering doing that next year. Lots of great local weed, excellent local wine and terrific munches in a fun setting. Way cooler than an Amsterdam coffeeshop if its done right. We just need a few Butterburs (think Tolkein) to run the inns. Can’t wait.

        • Crass B

          Some thoughts on my Inn, as it will likely never come to be. Maybe someone would incorporate some of my ideas.

          First, build new with Hempcrete, preferably locally grown. Remember I am dreaming. Use only hemp textile for linens and floor coverings. All meals and munchies cooked with cannabis. Cannabis chocolates on the pillows. Smelly plants in every room. Basically everything hemp and cannabis as much as possible. I have even heard of a Vodka recently that is made with cannabis.

          See y’all there.

          • mmhmnope

            Cannabis Vodka sounds like the spins..

  • Pitchman101

    Jon Gould, wrote that the logo could “reasonably be viewed as branding Washington ‘The Marijuana State,’
    O no they dont! That honor is allready Colorado’s.

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  • KAlahari KAri

    where can I get a bumpersticker like that?? :-D

  • Robert Chevalley

    “infused products” not a good idea from what ive seen so far. Taking things down the “alco pops” road i think