Liquor control board eyes rules for weed in bars

By Kyle Harding, Opinion Editor


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Two bar owners on the west side of the state have decided to test the boundaries of marijuana legalization by allowing its use in their establishments, and it appears the Liquor Control Board is not going to sit by and let that happen.

In an April 3 press release, board chair Sharon Foster said, “It is important that the board clarify now that consuming marijuana in a state liquor-licensed establishment is not acceptable.”

But with marijuana legalized for recreational use, why not allow it to be used in bars? It would appear that the board is just upset that the establishments are challenging state authority. How dare the little people run their own small businesses in the manner in which they see fit? How dare we let the market decide whether or not consumers want marijuana use in bars to be acceptable?

Although the state’s stance on the subject is clear, the board will be taking public input on the rulemaking process. Information on this process can be found in the laws and rules section of the boards website at

Given this opportunity to get involved in the state’s rulemaking process, citizens of Washington should ask themselves a question. If marijuana is an acceptable recreational drug, why should it be subject to more stringent laws than alcohol? What if the alcohol market were susceptible to the same regulations as marijuana? For one, the large corporations who sell alcohol and have a massive amount of lobbying power would not stand for it. But neither would the citizens of Washington.

They would not stand for arbitrary limits on the amount of alcohol they can possess at a given time, as I-502 places on marijuana possession. They would not stand for the outlawing of brewpubs, yet Washington state law prohibits marijuana producers from having a financial interest in a marijuana retailer. They would not stand for the stringent advertising restrictions I-502 places on retailers.

Recreational marijuana is legal. The bureaucrats at the liquor control board should step aside and allow people to use it responsibly. If alcohol can be used responsibly in a public setting, why not marijuana?

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