Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Washington Picks its First Pot Consultant

The State of Washington has tentatively chosen their new marijuana consultant. Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at UCLA and the head of Botec Analysis Corp. Botec has evaluated government programs in the past, relating to drug abuse, crime, and public health and provided in-depth analysis and consulting for these programs. Now, Kleiman and Botec will be responsible for advising Washington state officials as they attempt to develop rules for new legal marijuana laws.

Washington and Colorado made headlines last year when they became the first states in the nation to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. They are now in the process of setting up rules and systems for state-licenses growers, processors, and retail stores. This also includes developing rules for marijuana taxing. According to the Associated Press, sales of marijuana are expected to begin at the end of 2013 at the earliest.

Washington State's Liquor Control Board is currently trying to determine how many growers and stores they should allow, how much pot should be produced, types of packaging, and the appropriate testing of THC content. Even while Washington gears up for its own pot industry, marijuana remains illegal under federal law and many wonder if the government will attempt to block the licensing schemes from taking effect.

‘‘Hopefully the feds will cooperate so Washington won’t be sending money down the drain,’’ 
                                      --Khurshid Khoja regarding the new pot laws

Some of Botec's responsibilities will be to cover quality testing to determine the appropriate levels of THC, statistical analysis of how much marijuana to produce, and development of regulations. He faces a daunting task, since marijuana has never been regulated or legal before in this country. If Washington State produces too much marijuana, then there is a risk of it being trafficked out of the state. Producing too little marijuana results in a dangerous spike in the black market. 

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