Regulation of marijuana sales in Washington State – 2

This is the second in a series of posts providing background on regulation of recreational marijuana sales.

An article in The Telegraph provides more info – Dopeless in Seattle:  legalised cannabis prompts pot shortage.

Focus of the article is on small number of shops opened on the first day of legal sales and the limited supply. That is a transition issue that will quickly resolve itself. This post will look at some comments in the article on the regulatory requirements.

The article describes the rules as

…a labyrinthine licensing system…

One grower says he spent 50 hours completing a 45-page application.  He will have to put four different bar codes and multiple labels on each of his 5,000 plants.

That will be needed to track each plant through the growing, testing, and distribution process. That coding will likely have to flow all the way through to individual consumer packages.

The same concept applies in building airplanes – as I understand, each part on a specific airplane can be traced back to the machine that milled it and the foundry that made it. I’m guessing the foundry can trace each batch of metal back to the mine providing the ore.

Licenses for stores were allocated on a lottery basis. Thus it is by random chance that a store provider can even be in business.

I expect regulations on how and to whom a license may be transferred. My prediction: a high-priced market similar to taxi medallions in New York City.

Proposed stores must be 1,000 feet from any school, park, or child-care center.

Article says one grower is guessing initial prices in licensed stores will be twice the street price. That will shake out eventually. I’ll be checking back over the next few years to see what the mini-industry looks like. That will be a better gauge of what regulation is doing to pricing and availability that in the first few months of operation.

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