That victory, however, began to lag when I-502 applicants faced the tough and lengthy regulatory process set forth by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to obtain an I-502 license. Rigorous and expensive regulatory standards fueled frustration as it often appeared (and continues to appear) that the system was illogical and functioning backwards. Trust us, we know, as we’ve worked extremely hard with our clients to navigate this system and to prevent legal and financial disasters at every turn.
Now, here we are, on July 8, 2014, finally staring down the grand opening of the new, regulated marijuana marketplace for adult use. Everyone should feel free to breathe a sigh of relief.
Because despite the anxieties caused by starting a new business in a new regulatory sphere and/or having to pay anywhere between $10 to $25 a gram, this is the beginning of the future of cannabis reform and it’s a bright one (right here in our backyard).
Try to ignore for a minute all of the hoopla surrounding the licensing delays in Washington, the unknowables about the marketplace itself (profitability, prices for grams, consumption rates, the competing black market, etc.), and the overall nay-sayers (conspiracy theorists and prohibitionists, alike). Recognize that ALL adults finally have legal access to cannabis for the first time in history in Washington State. Realize that ALL adults can access cannabis without threat of arrest or prosecution in Washington State. And take note that licensed entrepreneurs can sell, promote, and distribute marijuana to ALL adults in Washington State without threat of arrest or prosecution from State authorities. These are huge civil rights victories that culminated with the opening of Washington marijuana retail storefronts this morning. More importantly, Washington is helping to chip away at the Federal government’s unfair and ineffective War on Drugs. Our State is a pioneer as well as a great democratic experiment and, of these things, we should be proud.
Congratulations, Washingtonians! You’re birthing the 21st century of drug policy reform and it’s only going to get better and we could not be more honored to have been a part of this.