Hundreds pack Seattle City Hall to talk legal marijuana

Published On: Jan 25 2013 11:16:02 AM PST
Seattle City Hall pot forum
SEATTLE -

Voters thought checking "yes" on Initiative 502 would quickly legalize marijuana, but more than two months after it passed, plenty of red tape stands between the public and easy access to their green.

The state wants to have stores licensed and ready for business by Dec. 1. But to get there, they are opening up bidding for consultants to show them how the pot business is done.

State officials also announced plans to hire a "pot czar" with a minimum salary of $80,000.

The swords have become plowshares.

"It's a very emotional thing for me. It's been a war for 40 years. The war's over. We won. We won," said John Escola.

The marijuana supporter was part of hundreds who jammed Seattle's City Hall Thursday evening for the second meeting with the Liquor Control Board. By law, the board must regulate marijuana like alcohol.

"Think of it in the same kind of way when it comes to marijuana. You're going to have marijuana-only stores. We'll be going in there and checking out those types of things. We'll be checking out growth operations," said board member Brian Smith.

The state will bid out to consultants to help with market research and also do third party testing for quality.

Prices are expected to hover around $12 to $15 a gram including state taxes -- about $340 an ounce.

It is a new world when bureaucrats are regulating something that was illegal just three months ago.

The Liquor Control Board will continue holding meeting across the state through next month.