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January 29, 2013

"Washington vows to try to keep marijuana in state...but how?"

The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy new AP article, which gets started this way:

So far, no one is suggesting checkpoints or fences to keep Washington state’s legal pot within its borders.   But Gov. Jay Inslee insists there are ways to prevent the bulk smuggling of the state’s newest cash crop into the black market, including digitally tracking weed to ensure that it goes from where it is grown to the stores where it is sold.

With sales set to begin later this year, he hopes to be a good neighbor and keep vanloads of premium, legal bud from cruising into Idaho, Oregon and other states that don’t want people getting stoned for fun.

It’s not just about generating goodwill with fellow governors.  Inslee is trying to persuade U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not to sue to block Washington from licensing pot growers, processors and sellers.  Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  “I am going to be personally committed to have a well regulated, well disciplined, well tracked, well inventory-controlled, well law-enforcement-coordinated approach,” said Inslee, who is due to give Holder more details this week.

Keeping a lid on the weed is just one of the numerous challenges Washington state authorities and their counterparts in Colorado — where voters also legalized pot use — will face in the coming months.

The potential of regulatory schemes to keep pot from being diverted isn’t clear.  Colorado already has intensive rules aimed at keeping its medical marijuana market in line, including the digital tracking of cannabis, bar codes on every plant, surveillance video and manifests of all legal pot shipments.

But law enforcement officials say marijuana from Colorado’s dispensaries often makes its way to the black market, and even the head of the Colorado agency charged with tracking the medical pot industry suggests no one should copy its measures.  The agency has been beset by money woes and had to cut many of its investigators.  Even if the agency had all the money it wanted, the state’s medical pot rules are “a model of regulatory overreach,” too cumbersome and expensive to enforce, Laura Harris said in a statement.

A few recent and older related posts: 

January 29, 2013 at 03:25 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This is always going to be a large debatable topic. I spend a good portion of time educating people on the new laws here in Arizona for growing marijuana with a license. I don't think this has been given enough thought. There has to be a balance between cost and oversight. This won't be executed perfectly on day one.

Posted by: Chandler Property Management | Jan 29, 2013 6:40:44 PM

The black market in "legal pot" will rival the illicit market in pot. A case study in the law of unintended consequences.

Posted by: mjs | Jan 29, 2013 6:44:46 PM

As it stands, because Governor Inslee, is "personally committed to have a well regulated, well disciplined, well tracked, well inventory-controlled, well law-enforcement-coordinated approach" he could be indicted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana under 21:846. Even if Inslee is not a conspirator, he is an aider and abetter under 18:2.

Posted by: ? | Jan 29, 2013 8:34:34 PM

Well if he was smart and hired and trained the 1,000,000 unit militia to keep the feebs out of his business. He could also use it to control his state border and control the drugs and anything else undesirable from entering or leaving the state.

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 2, 2013 2:57:16 PM

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