Is Your State Ready for Marijuana to be Legalized? RHI's Seattle Forum will Explore Public Policy and Implementation Strategies in Colorado and Washington

Share Article

On May 16, 2014, the Responsible Hospitality Institute's Northwest Summit in Seattle will feature a a forum with key regulatory and community stakeholders from Colorado and Washington about the lessons learned from legalizing recreational marijuana use. The panel will particularly explore the potential intersection of legal marijuana use and alcohol consumption in nightlife settings and events from a public policy perspective.

Legalization Forum

Given shifting public opinion and recent changes in state policies, it is only prudent cities and states prepare for marijuana legalization.

After significant debate, state officials in Colorado and voters in Washington made the landmark decision to legalize marijuana, yet the logistics of implementing this initiative have presented the kinds of challenges that come with advancing policy in unchartered waters.

A special forum dedicated to helping states and cities prepare for the legalization of recreational marijuana will be featured at the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI)’s May 16, 2014 Northwest Sociable City Leadership Summit in Seattle, Washington. A panel of key regulatory and community stakeholders from Colorado and Washington will share lessons learned, procedures for implementation, and their approach to industry regulation. The panel will also address how to plan for and manage potential on-premise marijuana consumption in nightlife settings, where the opportunity is high for concurrent use of marijuana and alcohol.

Panel members for the May 16 forum are:

  • Alex Cooley, Co-founder and Vice President, Solstice
  • Alison Holcomb, Criminal Justice Director, American Civil Liberties Union Washington
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Member, Washington State Senate
  • Chris Marr, Board Member, Washington Liquor Control Board
  • Jeanne M. McEvoy, President/CEO , Colorado Licensed Beverage Association
  • John Schochet, Deputy Chief of Staff, Seattle City Attorney
  • John Urquhart, Sheriff, King County
  • Art Way, Senior Drug Policy Manager, Colorado Drug Policy Alliance

Among the regulatory and policy topics that will be discussed include:

  • What were the driving forces to legalize recreational marijuana? The repelling forces?
  • What were the determining factors for moving forward?
  • What were the preliminary “checks and balances” discussed and implemented in structuring legislation? Compliance with federal standards? Balance of policy for medical and recreational use?
  • What are the greatest challenges in implementation? How will on-site consumption of marijuana be managed in nightlife settings, particularly if establishments allow vaporizers and edibles?
  • How efficient is the adoption of state control on growth, sale and quality of the product to meet demand? Will “Big Pot” and commercialization become a challenge in the future?
  • What are the implications for drug testing in workplace policies?
  • What rules are being developed to govern the permissible forms of marijuana products as well as labelling for additives, tobacco, and potency (ratio of CBD and THC)
  • How will marijuana consumption be regulated and managed at outdoor events?
  • What are the implications for impaired driving policies?
  • What were the most prevalent concerns that have not materialized? Knowing what you do now, what recommendations would you make to other states considering legalization?

“Our country’s experience with alcohol proved that the prohibition approach simply doesn’t work. It also shows that legalization does not necessarily increase use. Further, the cost of policing, prosecuting and jailing people for possession of marijuana is draining our public funds and city budgets. Legalization of marijuana can ensure a safer product is on the market AND generate tax revenue, which can be channeled to public health and community initiatives,” said Art Way, JD, Senior Drug Policy Manager, Colorado Drug Policy Alliance.

Given shifting public opinion and recent changes in state policies, it is only prudent cities and states prepare for marijuana legalization.

Additional information is at or call 831.469.3396.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jim Peters

Alicia Lakomski
Follow >
Visit website