SPOKANE, Wash. - Adults who feel it's high time to get high might want to wait before they break out the Cheetos and Doritos. A legal haze looms over Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana use starting December 6. While possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults ages 21 or over is now legal, growing and selling it remains a crime.
"You can't go to Starbucks or go to a drug store or a grocery store and be able to buy it there," said Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board. "It's spelled out in the law how it's retailed."
Recreational smokers won't be able to buy from medical marijuana shops without a prescription so the question is -- where can they legally get weed?
The law, passed last month by Washington voters, states that recreational smokers can only buy marijuana from state-licensed stores. However, here's where it gets tricky. It will be a year before the Washington State Liquor Control Board has a plan for how marijuana will be grown, processed, and sold.
"We'll be starting the rule-making process very soon and it's a very public process and so there's an opportunity for people to weigh in," Smith continued.
Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder said, "It doesn't make a whole lot of sense but I understand why they needed the transition period to put the regulations together."
Snyder said he's already working with local and state leaders to plant policies which best suit Spokane.
"There's a lot of different impacts that could happen," Snyder said. "I'm thinking a lot about zoning. My specific zoning concerns is that we don't create these kind of marijuana ghettos in town that end of being attractants to crime."
While recreational smokers stay in legal limbo, many suspect the black market will thrive to meet consumer demands. Just take a look at Craigslist. There are plenty of pot ads there. It's the first of the new law's loopholes which Snyder hopes local leaders can nip in the bud.
"I think we have one opportunity to do this right so we need to put together the policies that are right for Spokane," Snyder said.
Additional information regarding I-502 and its implementation is available at:
Initiative 502 FAQ Sheet CLICK HERE
Initiative 502 text CLICK HERE
Washington State Liquor Control Board Fact Sheet CLICK HERE
Seattle Police Department guide to legal marijuana use in Seattle CLICK HERE