If you have questions about the new marijuana legalization law now that it is officially in effect in Washington State, the place to go is the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Initiative 502 put them in charge of both writing and enforcing the new regulations which will make the law function. To help the public, the LCB has just put out a new Frequently Asked Question document [PDF] that is worth a read if you want to know how the nuts and bolts of legalization are likely to work.

The FAQ addresses a whole range of questions, such as will Amsterdam style coffee shops be permitted, (no, since on-premise consumption is not allowed under the new law), to will the Liquor Control Board change its name to reflect the fact that it now also regulates marijuana. Currently the LCB doesn’t have any plans to change its name and considers that a relatively low priority.

You notice that the LCB doesn’t have real answers for some of important questions, such as how many licenses will be issued and whether or not non-Washington residents will be allowed to buy marijuana. This is because the LCB still hasn’t decided about those issues. In the coming year the LCB will be making perhaps hundreds of regulatory decisions both big and small that will powerfully shape how the newly legal marijuana industry develops in the state.

These decisions will not just impact Washington State, but could easily have broader national, and even international, implications. As one of the first places on earth to create a tightly regulated legal marijuana, Washington State will serve as an important model for other places that legalize marijuana in the future.