The Washington State Liquor Control Board is in the process of creating 40 staff positions and hiring a marijuana expert to help them better understand and manage their new policy which allows for recreational marijuana use.
Speaking to the Senate committee in Olympia on Friday, LCB director Pat Kohler said the states biggest hurdle to legalizing marijuana use was “understanding the product and the industry itself.”
Joking about pots legalization Rick Garzza, Kolher’s deputy said:
“There’s a lot of people who think they have a lot of experience in this area.”
The Liquor Control Board is created state-licenses for marijuana stores and to monitor proper supply chain protocols for marijuana sales.
State officials believe that upwards of 328 marijuana stores could open throughout the state. A recent survey found that 363,000 state residents would be willing to buy marijuana from state sponsored stores.
The marijuana expert being sought by the state would help the LCB develop rules over a one-year period with marijuana licenses being issues starting in December 2013.
All of the states 40 new staffers will be paid out of existing funds. Most of the staffers would be enforcement officers.
Starting on December 6, 2012 residents in Washington will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana but only state stores can sell pot.
Known as initiative 502 the program joined Colorado to become one of two state led programs to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
While Washington has legalized recreational marijuana use the federal governments own laws could still be used to arrest and prosecute pot smokers in the state.
The Obama administration has not said it would fight against Washington and Colorado marijuana legalization laws.