A crowd of more than 400 people packed a ballroom at the Convention Center last night to meet the Washington State Liquor Control Board and talk about the implementation of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational pot in the state. (Although it seemed many of them were there primarily to complain about their beefs with the law and any state involvement in marijuana — things the Liquor Board doesn't have much control over at this point.)
With crowds to rival those at forums in Seattle and Olympia, it became clear Spokane has plenty of interested parties and entrepreneurs waiting for their chance to break into the budding new economy.
But, because of restrictions written into the law, pot growers and sellers won't be allowed just anywhere. Storefronts have to be kept at least 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds, parks and other spots. Here's an early look at what that leaves as pot-friendly land. As you can see, you may be making a trip for your weed. (Scroll to the bottom for a full-size version.)
As the city hammers out the details of this map, the Liquor Control Board continues to plod along in figuring out just how to license its three groups of pot players: producers, processors and sellers. They're promising draft rules by April, growers' licenses by August and sales in December.
All of that, of course, assumes the federal government will turn a blind eye to the sale of a drug it still considers illegal. No one is quite sure that'll happen. Gov. Inslee told reporters last month he felt good about the state's chances, but in this story from Canadian magazine Maclean's, the U.S. "drug czar" seems to imply something quite different. At this point, it's a waiting game.
For those of you who missed last night's event, the Board should have the audio up here soon. (If you're desperate, the site has six-ish hours of previous forums already up.)