This spring and summer should bring big changes to Washington’s legal marijuana market. Earlier this month, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“LCB”) held a public hearing on a number of rule changes, including removing the residency requirement for financiers.
As discussed in my prior post, this proposed residency change should provide marijuana businesses with needed access to additional capital. Unless, however, residency requirements change for business owners, the proposed rule would likely only allow out of state funding by lenders who do not wish to take an equity stake in the marijuana business.
Other big changes ahead include the phasing out of all collective gardens by July 1. What this means is that medical marijuana grows and medical dispensaries operating outside of the I502 system will need to shut down by July 1. Medical marijuana will only be permitted to be grown by licensed I502 producers and sold by licensed I502 retail outlets. What remains to be seen is how many licensed I502 producers will actually grow “medical marijuana” for sale at licensed marijuana retail stores.
I will be speaking along with Rick Garza, Director of the LCB, at the Bellingham City Club on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. Mr. Garza and I will be discussing these public policy issues as well as challenges facing marijuana licensees and tensions between the medical and recreational marijuana industries. More information and tickets for the City Club presentation can be found here.
For more information on the regulation of marijuana businesses, please contact Heather Wolf.