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Marijuana Legalization – America and the New Green Rush (or Purple or Red)

Over the past few years Americans who were once having to go to shady parts of town, or deal with some sometimes undesirable people just to get something the Federal Government claims should be illegal, have been able to come out to mainstream.  Well there have been some states whose citizens know that there should be marijuana legalization, and have legalized Marijuana for legal sale and use.  This being said, even with their agreement on the legalization there have been some differing of opinions on the rules and regulations of this new product.  Now that two new states have passed the legalization as well as the District of Columbia, even more wider variances of regulation are going to take place.


The first state to fully pass recreational usage was Washington with their citizens passing Initiative 502 or I-502 as it has become known.  Initiative 502 was then turned into Washington Administrative Code 314-55 or WAC 314-55, when it passed through the State Legislature.  Now with the creation of this industry and regulations, you can clearly see that the people who helped to draft these regulations honestly didn’t know about half of the things they were writing specifications on.  The reason I can say this is from a simple area with regards to section 83 of the code referring to the cameras recording resolution.  Anyone with half of a brain in the industry knows that 640 x 470 is not an actual resolution, it is close to VGA (Video Graphics Array), the blue connector on the back of a computer or the old school computer monitor resolution.  The closed circuit television industry does have some resolutions that are below the 640 x 470, but most systems purchased today have the ability to recorded at D1 (704 x 480 ) resolution.  This being said, not all of these systems can record at the newly inputted 10fps that the law requires.  From my experience with the help of WAC 314-55 applicants, even the inspectors at the beginning for sure, had little knowledge as to what they were even inspecting or looking at with regards to a large chunk of the law.  Now, to their defense, they have done a really good job in learning at a relatively decent pace.  In the beginning there was a ton of confusion, and what would pass with one inspector may not pass with another.  Unfortunately this was primarily due to the fact that this was a brand new industry, legally at least.

One thing that we at have prided ourselves on is that we learn from every applicant and inspector that we come into contact with.  For example, we have found that when Labor and Industry is involved in the electrical inspection, you better have your camera system spot on or they will fail you.  However, if Labor and Industry is not involved you can be more relaxed on the wiring of the system.  Now to the defense of Labor and Industry, they are an electrical inspector and should be a little harder on High Voltage, but they bring that into Low Voltage.  If for some reason you are going to have Labor and Industry at your facility for any reason there are one of two things you are going to want to do.  First, would be try and have the camera system installed after they have passed your High Voltage portion of the build out.  The second, if that is not possible is to make sure whatever power supply you are going to be using for your camera system is UL listed.  This is because unfortunately in the United States of America, we still put too much emphasis on UL listings.  I would personally rather have a RoHS or CE certified unit, as the Europeans still have. The companies as organizations that truly look out for the country and not a For Profit Company that really has no basis on a lot of what may “Pass”. This is my opinion and what I feel is the truth.  The WAC 314-55 has been one of the most in-depth and thorough laws on the books to date, and other countries are even looking at this law to implement into their country.


The second state to legalize the recreational growing, processing, sale, and use of marijuana is Colorado.  Now when it comes to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, they previously had standards in place for the growing, processing, and sale of Medical Marijuana.  This made a transition to recreational easier, but still a little convoluted.   Once the recreational came, the first group allowed to participate were previously licensed medical facilities.  Now that this is the case, it made it harder to change the existing specifications to the current systems in place.  After the state opened the recreational sale, processing, and growing up to other groups, they have updated some of the specifications.  They have increased the time required to store the footage to 40 days.  One major thing the state hasn’t set forth a specification of is the frames per second required. Anyone who understands video you need to have a minimum of 7fps to be considered video, otherwise it is just a collection of images and things can happen that can’t be seen.  One of the best things the state has required is the fact that the systems are required to have a battery backup to keep the system running for up to 4 hours.  They have lacked tremendously on the requirements for the video resolution and I find this to be a hazard as the way it is worded leaves a significant amount to interpretation.  When you state, “Camera….shall allow for the clear and certain identification of any individual and activities on the Licensed Premises,” this can leave a lot of room for interpretation. I stare at cameras all day everyday and can see details in even the worst recordings that most wont pick out.  So my opinion on what could pass and what a novice would see in the same footage.

All of this being said, until the federal government legalizes marijuana and sets up regulations, we will have major fluctuations with every new state that comes on board.  My hope is that whatever new state comes on board, they will sit down with the proper experts with regards to every detail that they don’t specialize in.  Leave it to a group of experts to come up with the best requirements to fulfill the requirements. For more information about Washington’s WAC 314-55 check out this and many other articles on our website.

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