If you have been following Washington State’s marijuana legalization effort, then you probably know that before marijuana stores can open, there needs to be rules worked out by the legislature and Liquor Control Board (LCB). As one might expect, there’s not a lot of experience in the marijuana industry between the legislature’s members and the staff of the LCB (or at least what they will admit!). As a result, implementation could get tricky.
According to the Seattle Times, “At a hearing on Friday before a state Senate committee, Pat Kohler, the LCB director, said the agency would need to hire a consultant — a pot expert — to gather input from key groups of police, farmers, users and others to help her staff better ‘understand the product and the industry itself.'”
I can’t wait to see who they pick. If it’s a true industry expert, it will be amazing to see one of our own showing Washington State agencies and lawmakers what the industry is really like. If it’s just an ‘expert’ that has little to no insider knowledge of the industry, implementation could take forever, or at the very least, be done incorrectly.
There’s a lot at stake, as the LCB’s perception of the size and scope of the marijuana industry is going to directly determine how many stores are opened. There was a lot of debate over the accuracy of the state’s fiscal analysis, which estimated ‘363,000 users consuming 187,000 pounds of marijuana each year, with steep sin taxes generating more than $560 million a year,’ according to the Seattle Times. Are there more consumers than that? Less? What about the amount of marijuana consumed? Those are tough questions to answer by a person with no experience in marijuana sales!
What do TWB readers think? Do you think an agency in charge of alcohol regulation can do the same with marijuana? How long do you think implementation will actually take? If the LCB does indeed hire an expert, who would you like to see as that expert? I’m assuming a lot of you think you should be the expert. If so, what are your qualifications? If not, what skills would you like to see from a candidate?