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In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Marijuana Quality Control Bible Nearing Completion

American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Entrepreneurs who hope to cash in on legal marijuana will have some heavy reading to do Thursday. That’s when Washington’s Liquor Control Board is expected to release nearly 50 pages of proposed rules for growers, processors and retailers.

But it turns out that there’s another pot rulebook that’s also in development. It’s called the Cannabis Monograph. Think of it as an illustrated bible for pot quality control.

It’s a technical, but colorful handbook for testing labs to ensure the identity, purity and quality of legal pot. Roy Upton is with the non-profit American Herbal Pharmacopoeia in California. He’s heading up the effort to produce this document – which he calls a first.

“The monograph establishes what tests people should follow to ensure that they have the right stuff, that it’s not contaminated it, that it meets very specific limits for microbial presence.”

Upton says pot gets contaminated with all sorts of bacteria. And sometimes spiked with everything from tobacco to Viagra. The full monograph will sell for $40 and Upton hopes it sets the standard for a safe recreational pot supply in Washington.

On the Web:

I-502 Implementation - Washington Liquor Control Board 
American Herbal Pharmacopoeia - official site 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."