Transporting legalized marijuana: Safety is a concern

SEATTLE -- On Wednesday, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will revise its proposed rules on how legal marijuana businesses will be able to operate.

There’s one part of the law that can’t really be changed, and it could cause concern when it comes to security for future pot growers and retailers.

According to I-502, the law that legalized marijuana last November, “Only the marijuana licensee or an employee of the licensee may transport product.”

That means “pot” businesses cannot hire security firms to transport the product and could make employees, and their vehicles, targets for criminals.

"Limiting it to employees really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me," said Kurt Boehl, a lawyer for several pot entrepreneurs. "There are companies out there that handle transportation of high-risk items on a regular basis."

Boehl said the cars used by pot businesses 'will' be required to have lockboxes and are not allowed to make stops between destinations, but it's still not a safe situation.

"Any time you're transporting something of value, you run the risk of being robbed," he said.

Because the transportation rules are written into the actual law, legislators can't make changes to it for another year. In the meantime, entrepreneurs like John Davis will take every precaution to make their business safe.

"What we're going to have to do is probably have multiple trips per day so that they're not having huge amounts of cash or cannabis on them," said Davis.

"We'll deal with the cards we're dealt, and we will find ways to make it work no matter what the rules are."

After Wednesday's hearing, the board's current timeline on marijuana implementation is as follows:

Oct. 9 -- Public hearing on proposed rules
Oct. 16 -- Board adopts proposed rules (CR 103)
Nov. 16 -- Rules become effective
Nov. 18 -- WSLCB begins accepting applications for all license types
Dec. 1 -- Rules are complete (as mandated by law). Begin issuing producer, processor and retail licenses to qualified applicants.