Washington looks to build strict control system for legalized marijuana

Washington state officials are looking to build a strictly regulated marijuana system that could forestall federal concerns about how the drug will be handled once it’s available for public purchase.

Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board said Monday he expects the federal government will try to take action if Washington’s system has loose controls. He said it’s important for Washington to have a strong regulatory structure, such as how participants in the system are licensed and how the product is handled from growth to the point of sale.

One of the biggest issues the state is looking to manage is how much marijuana will be grown under the new system. Garza said it’s important for officials to properly project consumption rates so the state is growing the right amount of product for in-state users and not having any extra supply that could spill into other states that haven’t legalized marijuana.

Garza’s comments came a day before Gov. Jay Inslee was set to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss the marijuana law. Washington voters approved the law in November, but Justice Department officials have not indicated whether they will allow Washington and Colorado to create legal marijuana markets, since the drug is illegal under federal law.  (AP)

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