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State liquor board chair: First question is how to grow legal marijuana

grow marijuana.jpg
Rusty Blazenhof

Washington voters have approved the recreational use of marijuana. Many questions remain about how this will work, since it’s still a federal crime to use pot. But the state agency that will regulate the industry is getting into gear.

The law making it legal to possess up to an ounce of pot takes effect one month after Election Day, on Dec. 6. And the state liquor board has a year after that to write the rules that will oversee marijuana production and sales.

“I don’t think anybody here at the liquor board was surprised at the vote,” says Sharon Foster, who chairs of the agency.

She says Washington’s law now goes farther than any other state has gone on legalizing marijuana. 

“We are in new territory.”

As chair of the board, she’s the regulator in chief of state-run marijuana. Safety is paramount, she says.

Figuring out how the plants would be grown and protected will be the agency’s first order of business.

“Do people want just greenhouses or do people want to go to the expense of having security around their growing area?”

Having armed guards around pot fields might also attract too much attention, since the law envisioned growers just blending into the landscape.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.

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