Due to the explosive growth of craft beer sales in many states, including Washington, many distributors are combining non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage sales into their distribution business. A key point for Washington distributors is to be aware that the Washington Liquor Control Board (WLCB) contends that the so-called “Tied-House” rules governing the sale of alcoholic
UPDATE: Although the RPC proposal mentioned below is still under consideration by the Washington State Supreme Court, the KCBA Board of Trustees has adopted an ethics advisory opinion to assist the bar in the interim as attorneys consider practice issues under the existing RPCs. The full text of the KCBA Ethics Advisory Opinion on I-502 & Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
An interesting question that has arisen in the wake of the passage of Initiative 502 (I-502) — Washington’s marijuana legalization measure — is whether attorneys run the risk of disciplinary action under the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs) for advising clients on their marijuana business or for personally participating in the recreational use of marijuana.
Under Initiative 502, both activities are technically legal under state law, however, they remain illegal under federal law, creating a catch-22 situation. When trying to solve this dilemma, the RPCs unfortunately offer no guidance, and there are no ethics advisory opinions that address the issue.
Due to this lack of guidance, Washington lawyers have been left to wonder what the potential consequences might be. Indeed, earlier this month, King County Bar Association (KCBA) President Anne Daly asked in an article on the subject, “where does this leave…the more than 14,000 lawyers in King County who could easily find themselves in [this] predicament?”Continue Reading Ethical Challenges for Lawyers in the Face of State Marijuana Legalization
This week, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) held the first two of six public forums it intends to host across Washington State regarding the implementation of Initiative 502. The first forum was held at the WSLCB Headquarters in Olympia on Tuesday night. According to news reports, hundreds of people flocked to the event to not only provide comments, but to be part of history. Board members were surprised to see that there was standing room only at the event. WSLCB Chair Sharon Foster opened the forum with one word, “Wow!” The Board admitted that they had underestimated how many people would attend the public forums.
Last night’s I-502 public forum in Seattle had a similar turnout. As an article in this morning’s Seattle Times put it, “They came in suits and cowboy hats, with cropped gray hair and long ponytails, and they filled one room at Seattle City Hall and spilled into another, about 400 strong.” At the beginning of the forum, Board members took time to briefly explain the new law to attendees and describe the steps in the rulemaking process that WSLCB will take over the coming months to implement I-502. They also emphasized the importance of public input.
Following that introduction, there were comments directed specifically at the taxes the new law intends to impose. Some urged that the 25% excise tax that will be applied at each level of the licensing system that will eventually be created – producer to a processor, processor to a retailer, and retailer to the customer – is too high. Others countered that the tax was necessary. WSLCB officials noted that they do not have the authority to change the taxes that were voted for by the public. Instead, a change to the tax structure would have to come from the legislature. During the first two years a change to the initiative would require a two thirds majority.Continue Reading Initial Public Forums on Washington’s Initiative 502 Draw Large Crowds
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) announced its tentative timeline for implementation of Initiative 502 (I-502) yesterday. WSLCB developed this timeline in order to keep the public informed and to identify significant milestones in the implementation process.
Rulemaking began in early December with the filing of CR101 for the Producer License, a notice of proposed rulemaking. WSLCB is still accepting…
On December 5, 2011, the TTB published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice No. 125) regarding the establishment of the Inwood Valley Viticultural Area in Shasta, California. If established, the new AVA would consist of a 28,000 acre area, the vast majority of which is currently not dedicated to, or known for, vineyards. The TTB…
WSLCB just issued a Notice of Rule Making that will amend rules that apply to retail licensees. While some of the proposed changes are organizational in nature – moving provisions from one chapter to another – there are a few key changes that restaurants should take note of. These changes will likely raise questions that…