Pioneering legal pot states aim to ease rules on industry

SEATTLE — Washington and Colorado took a strict approach when they launched their pioneering marijuana industries in the face of U.S. government prohibition five years ago. Now lawmakers in both states are on the verge of easing the rules.Licensed pot businesses say they’ve been stifled by restrictions on out-of-state ownership and investment.Many of the other eight states that have since legalized recreational marijuana have taken a more permissive approach, and that has Washington and Colorado worried their industries could fall behind as investment dollars go elsewhere.Lawmakers in both states are considering legislation that would ease bans or restrictions on out-of-state ownership and capital.Washington lawmakers are also considering a more lenient view of rules violations, making it less likely businesses will lose their licenses for things like sloppy record-keeping.Gene Johnson, The Associated Press

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