This morning, the city council got a first look at a raft of proposed changes to the rules that will govern the state's implementation of I-502, which legalized recreational pot use for adults in Washington state. (The aim of 502, in theory, is to create a legal market for non-medical pot that restricts access to those over 21 while also eliminating the current black market, which may be easier said than done.)
Although most of the proposed rule changes were pretty straightforward—childproof packaging, shorter hours for pot sales (no more weed sales at 6am, as originally proposed), and even "free samples of useable marijuana by producers or processors for negotiating a sale"—things went off the rails a bit when the subject turned to how the city should regulate the use of pot-infused products (like "medibles") that aren't as obvious as smoking a joint.
"I just can’t help think this is quite surreal," city council member Nick Licata said, before wondering whether the city would have to start "banning brownies from parks." His colleague Mike O'Brien chimed in, noting, "If someone's eating a piece of cake, there's no way to know" if it contains marijuana.
(There was also some talk about the "hash problem"—that is, whether I-502 allows the sale of hash oil or just old-fashioned pot).
After observing that the city is indeed in uncharted territory, city attorney Pete Holmes turned philosophical, saying that "it would be wonderful if [federal drug-enforcement authorities] were finally able to recognize the silliness of this being a Schedule 1 substance" like heroin and cocaine.
And Licata said he hoped the city would ask the state to give it some of the new sales-tax revenues from legal marijuana sales to help SPD amp up law enforcement; currently, "this is all new revenue to the state; it's best to set [the state's] expectations lower on the basis that all municipalities will face greater implementation costs."
The state liquor control board will adopt final rules governing recreational pot growth and sales (including where pot can be grown, processed, and sold as well as how many growers, distributors, and retailers will be allowed), on August 14, with the goal of legal pot stores by early next spring.