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Hearings to help set marijuana policies

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The first of five public hearings in Washington on regulating a new system for legally growing, distributing and selling recreational marijuana is scheduled Tuesday in Everett.
The hearing begins at 1 p.m. at Everett's Comcast Arena Conference Center. The new statewide system for legalizing marijuana is regulated by Washington's Liquor Control Board.
The state agency is responsible for carrying out the legalization of the sale and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults. The proposed regulations spell out the licensing of marijuana producers, processors and retailers and the taxing of marijuana.
The first stores selling marijuana are expected to open next year.
One of those expected to turn out for the hearing is Bruce King, a pig farmer in Snohomish County.
King operates a farm on Ebey Island. Following passage in November of Initiative 502 legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, King publicly declared his interest in growing marijuana as a cash crop, drawing a wave of media attention.
King said he expects that the state's proposed rules will be adopted pretty much as they are now written.
"The proposed regulations seem to be pretty workable in terms of production, security of buildings and requirements for shipping," he said.
King said his biggest concerns involve the differences between what he called the untaxed and "essentially uncontrolled" medical marijuana stores and the state's taxed and regulated system for growing and selling recreational marijuana.
Having this dual system, he said, will put recreational marijuana growers and retailers at a price disadvantage.
The state is asking for public comment on a wide variety of proposed regulations for the recreational sale of marijuana.
They include: fingerprinting of all those involved in its growing, sale, distribution; requirements for securing, tracking and testing marijuana; limiting the hours stores selling marijuana can operate from 8 a.m. until midnight, and requiring child-resistant packaging of marijuana.
The state will determine how many retail stores selling marijuana will be allowed in each county.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;
A public hearing on the state's proposed rules for the growing, distribution and selling of marijuana is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Comcast Arena Conference Center, Ballroom 1, 2000 Hewitt Ave. in Everett.

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