An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
It's Spokane Public Radio's Spring Fund Drive. Donate now until Tuesday and your donation will be matched up to $30,000!

Washington Joins National Cannabis Regulatory Organization

Cannabis Regulators Association

When Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, they had to develop their own regulatory agencies and protocols from scratch.


Now that more states have joined the party, they’re pooling their expertise as the industry matures.


Washington cannabis regulators, such as Rick Garza, are joining their peers in 18 other states that have legalized marijuana to create the Cannabis Regulators Association. Garza, who directs Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, has been selected as the association’s vice president.


They’re sharing institutional knowledge and regulatory best practices with the states and localities that have recently approved legal cannabis.


"That covers everything we do whether it's licensing, whether it's enforcement, packaging and labeling, or banking. You know, how do we make banking available?” he said.


Garza says that advice can help other states avoid problems other states have encountered. He cites as an example the difficulties Washington had when it had to incorporate its less regulated medical marijuana dispensaries into the new recreational system.

The new association will consist of regulators only and will not include marijuana industry representatives. Garza says the Cannabis Regulators Association will not work to advocate legalization in any other states.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.