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Originally published Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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Seattle cops give pot dealers warning letters

Seattle police are handing out warning letters to some marijuana dealers contacted by undercover narcotics detectives.

The Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

Seattle police are handing out warning letters to some marijuana dealers contacted by undercover narcotics detectives.

Although Washington voters legalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana, it's still illegal to sell or use the drug in public. The state is drafting rules for licensed dealers to start selling marijuana by the end of the year.

Seattle police say they gave out six "admonishment letters" last week in a sweep of drug dealers in the University District.

Washington and Colorado last year became the first states to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and setting up systems of state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores where adults over 21 can walk in and buy up to an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis. Sales could begin at the end of the year.

The Washington Liquor Control Board must determine how many growers and stores there should be, how much pot should be produced, how it should be packaged, and how it should be tested to ensure people don't get sick.

Last month the Liquor Control Board introduced Massachusetts-based BOTEC Analysis Corp. as the presumptive winner of a contract to be the state's marijuana consultant.

The team is led by a University of California, Los Angeles, public policy professor and includes a former executive of the company that is the sole licensed supplier of medical marijuana in the Netherlands. It also includes researchers with the RAND Corp. who will help figure out how much marijuana state-licensed growers should produce.

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