What’s the dope on pot now that it’s legal?

By Zorina Barker, Forum Correspondent


Forks police are concerned about what to do with marijuana as it becomes legal to possess for recreational purposes.


Particularly of concern are how to track those that are growing the drug for medicinal purposes, said Police Administrator Rick Bart.


“If these guys are going to be doing this, I wish they’d come and tell us,” Bart said.


He explains that it is causing a degree of hassle for the local police in that they are unsure of who is within the boundaries of the law to be growing.


The Washington State Liquor Control Board adopted rules regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana on Oct. 16.


“These rules will serve as the basis for Washington’s newly created medical marijuana market and are the result of 10 months of research and public input,” the board said in a news release.


The rules become law next week though full implementation of the new system will lag.


Police around the state have been working to adjust to state initiative I-502 (aka. “Marijuana reform”) since it was passed by Washington voters in November 2012.


Some of the touchiest situations arise around the separation of medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana as I-502 gives no input on the medical variety.


Bart is proposing a local registry of legal medical marijuana growers.


“We can circumvent all these calls about smell and traffic because we would know,” Bart said.


The department is researching just what is legal (i.e.; how many plants, volume on hand, etc.) for medicalpot growers.


There is no law dictating that medical marijuana growers or users must register with local enforcement agencies.


The Seattle Police Department has been working with lawyers to determine their place in all of the change and most municipalities, including Forks, are following their lead.


For years, they have treated minor amounts of pot as “the lowest of enforcement policy.”


Seattle’s stance on smoking or consuming marijuana products in public is much like the open alcohol container law. A person is not allowed to smoke or otherwise consume pot in view of the public.


Should the police be involved, the situation will be a civil infraction (a ticket), not an arrest; providing there are no other extenuating circumstances.


If a person is not allowed to smoke cigarettes in a specific place, then they cannot legally smoke pot there either.


The United States government still has marijuana listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and therefore it is still open to prosecution.


“You probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse or any other federal property,” the Seattle department said in a statement.


For those who want to get involved in the legal sale and distribution of pot, the window for application is open to anyone in November for a month.


There are three separate licenses issued by the state liquor control board; producer, processor and retailer.


To prevent monopolies, one individual cannot hold all three licenses.


Application for each license is $250 with a $1,000 renewal fee.

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