Washington State Approves New Rules for Marijuana Industry

Sales are expected to begin in mid-2014

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Ted S. Warren / AP

Marijuana is weighed and packaged for sale at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical-marijuana dispensary in Seattle on Oct. 10, 2012.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board finalized rules for the state’s future marijuana industry on Wednesday, setting the stage for sales to begin by the middle of next year.

In November 2012, Washington and Colorado voted to become the first states to legalize the use and regulated sale of the drug. Sales begin in some Colorado cities in early 2014.

The board, which spent nearly a year researching and debating before a final vote, will issue up to 334 licenses to sell marijuana, including 21 in Seattle. Under the new rules, marijuana must be quality-control-tested by third-party labs and will have to be tracked from seed to sale. The rules also aim to weed out large-scale marijuana sellers by limiting the number of licenses that anyone can hold to three.