Board opens rulemaking to address consumption of cannabis at liquor licensed locations

Recent media reports show at least two licensees allowing consumption on the premises

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) today opened rulemaking to address consumption of cannabis in liquor licensed establishments.

Section 21 of Initiative 502 states: It is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, or consume marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, in view of the general public. A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 3 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW.

A class 3 civil infraction equates to a $103 fine that would be imposed on the customer. However, the law does not address enforcement penalties for the licensee for allowing a prohibited practice, such as they do under state liquor laws.

Recent media reports showed at least two establishments that appear to be in violation of the new law. These licensed locations are allowing patrons to either smoke, vaporize or otherwise ingest cannabis on the premises.

“It is important that the Board clarify now that consuming marijuana in a state liquor-licensed establishment is not acceptable,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “Public consumption of marijuana is clearly illegal under Washington’s new law.”

In addition to the prohibition on public consumption, the Board is concerned there may be public safety considerations for mixing alcohol and marijuana in liquor licensed locations such as over service and increased impaired driving.

Filing a CR 101, which formally opens the rule-making process, the Board will begin taking public input on the topic of consumption of cannabis at licensed locations. Details for providing public comment are on the Laws and Rules section of the WSLCB website at

Proposed Timeline

  • April 3, 2013                 Board files a CR 101 and begins taking public comment
  • May 22, 2013                WSLCB files draft rules
  • June 26, 2013              Public hearing on draft rules
  • July 3, 2013                  Board accepts or rejects draft rules
  • August 3, 2013            Rules become effective






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