| OLYMPIA, Wash., July 4
OLYMPIA, Wash., July 4 Washington state was the
first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use, but
image-conscious regulators there think the cannabis-leaf logo
designed for state-licensed pot merchandise conveys the wrong
impression of the Evergreen State.
Dropping the marijuana leaf as an official state symbol was
one of several changes contained in the latest draft of measures
proposed by a three-member panel devising new regulations for
the state's nascent marijuana industry.
The proposals, released on Wednesday and containing mostly
minor revisions to an earlier plan, included rules governing
cultivation, sales and taxation of pot due to take effect when
state-licensed retail marijuana stores open next spring.
Washington and Colorado became the only two U.S. states to
legalize marijuana for adult recreational use after approval by
voters last November, though Washington's law went into effect
Both states, along with 16 others, also have legalized pot
for medical purposes. The federal government, however, still
classifies cannabis as an illegal substance.
The abandoned pot logo, which was to appear on any
recreational-use marijuana or marijuana-infused product sold in
the state, featured a pot leaf inside an icon of Washington
The intent behind the label was to make any
cannabis-containing product easily identifiable, said Liquor
Control Board spokesman Brian Smith.
But in a letter last month to the board, a group of drug
prevention advocates, including Children's Alliance Deputy
Director Jon Gould, wrote that the logo could "reasonably be
viewed as branding Washington 'The Marijuana State,' or as
Washington proudly promoting marijuana use to the rest of the
"A logo like this will undoubtedly end up on bumper stickers
and T-shirts," the letter continued.
The board has reserved the right to create a new logo, Smith
said, which might feature a marijuana leaf but not coupled with
an image of Washington state.
"We got the message about (including the state icon) being
promotional," he said.
In another shift, the board proposed to let recreational-use
marijuana be grown outdoors, not just indoors or in greenhouses.
To pass muster, the outdoor operations would need to be fenced
and be equipped with security cameras and alarm systems.
Responding to concerns of fueling a black market, the board
also clarified that highly potent marijuana extracts, which have
gained in popularity in recent years, may be legally sold so
long as they are adulterated with at least trace amounts of an
inert substance, such as vegetable oil.
The marijuana law does not explicitly provide for the sale
of such concentrates, but board members were persuaded to allow
their purchase so as to avoid ceding customers to the black
"We do anticipate that the legislature will revise the
language in the coming session," Smith said.
Under the new draft rules, consumers could legally buy bulk
amounts of pot extracts like marijuana-infused baked goods or
drinks - up to a pound in solid form or 4 1/2 pounds as a
The retail cost of bulk concentrates, which can consist of
up to 80 percent THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana,
would likely run into the tens of thousands of dollars, based on
prices found online for equivalent products sold by medical
Smith said the prohibitive cost of buying extracts in bulk
would probably discourage most consumers from purchasing them in
such large quantities.
The board will file its final official rules in August.
(Editing by Steve Gorman)