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A Look At What It Means To Regulate Just Like Alcohol

Michael Komorn




Marijuana Notes: Is everyone 'consuming' or just a few?


Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) -

A look at what it means to regulate just like alcohol.


The details of growing and selling marijuana through new state-licensed businesses. The definitions of these new businesses were interesting, just by themselves:


"Marijuana processor" means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to process marijuana into useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products. The "pot processor" would package and label useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products for sale in retail outlets and sell useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products at wholesale to marijuana retailers.


"Marijuana producer" means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to produce and sell marijuana at wholesale to marijuana processors and other marijuana producers.


"Marijuana-infused products" means products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use. The term "marijuana-infused products" does not include useable marijuana.


"Marijuana retailer" means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to sell useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products in a retail outlet.



KPLU reporters are looking into Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) to produce a series of stories that will separate facts from rumors and to learn exactly what would change if it’s approved. And on this page, we’re sharing some of the interesting facts as we learn them along the way.


Sept. 21: Sometimes, it can seem like marijuana is everywhere. We were wondering: How many cannabis-smokers and consumers are there currently in Washington?


It turns out, we have official estimates. The Washington Office of Financial Management (OFM) needed an estimate in order to fulfill its duty re. Initiative-502, which would legalize marijuana. They have to figure out the financial impact of any initiative.


They assume from federal surveys that there are nearly 363,000 “users” currently in Washington.


“Using the United States Department of Health and Human Service, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008-2009 data for Washington, prevalence of use was 17.18% for persons eighteen to twenty-five years of age and 5.57% for twenty-six years of age and older. Assuming Washington’s use of marijuana is increasing at the same rate as national use, estimated prevalence of use in CY 13 is 18.4% for persons eighteen to twenty-five years of age and 6.1% for twenty-six years of age and older. Applying those percentages to Washington’s estimated population in CY 2013, our assumption is an estimated 363,000 Washington users.” [Note: CY = calendar year] (p.26)


This seems to be the closest thing to a reliable estimate. But many researchers say it underestimates the number by 20-40%. That means there could be as many as 508,000 users.


Michael A. Komorn

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