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Local judge outlines issues surrounding legalized marijuana

September 10th, 2013 - 5:56am

(Port Angeles) -- What happens locally now that adults can legally possess marijuana.

Clallam County District Court Judge Rick Porter says there several gray areas in the law. And he says the rules from the State Liquor Control Board have not been fully implemented to this point.

"The rules are due to begin by December. At that time the state will be able to start licensing the growers and the processors and the eventual retailers but its many many months from now before anyone will able to legally buy marijuana," said Porter.

Porter says right now it appears that it will cost more to buy marijuana legally than illegally.

"According to this new initiative there is going to be a 25% tax on each element. So the growers must pay 25%, the processors are going to have to pay 25% and the retailers also 25%. So what's happening, is the cost will run to about $20 per gram according to the state Liquor Control Board. But the street price right now is about $10 a gram," said Porter.

Regardless of the new state law, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Porter says although, the Justice Department has announced it won't contradict state laws concerning adult marijuana use, it still could be easy to run a foul of the law.

"Somebody who is a truck driver for example, if they have a CDL they are prohibited by federal law from smoking marijuana anywhere driving a motor vehicle. That means if there is a detectible amount of marijuana in any vehicle they are driving, private or commercial, the CDL would be revoked under federal law and that's still in effect," said Porter.

And he says it could be dangerous to your employment in general.

"The rule says employers can ban marijuana use as a condition of employment. There are a lot of jobs out there that it is vital someone is not impaired at the workplace. For example, at Boeing if you have somebody that is attaching a wing on an airplane you don't want them to be stoned," said Porter.

Porter gave a presentation on the new marijuana laws to the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

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