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Originally published Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

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Director is leaving agency developing pot rules

The agency creating a regulated marijuana system in Washington state will lose its director after Gov. Jay Inslee appointed her to a new job.

Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

The agency creating a regulated marijuana system in Washington state will lose its director after Gov. Jay Inslee appointed her to a new job.

Pat Kohler will leave the Washington State Liquor Control Board to become director of the Washington State Department of Licensing, according to Inslee's office.

The liquor control board is currently developing rules for a legal marijuana industry involving how plants will be grown, how marijuana products will be tested for strength and quality, and how many retail stores will be allowed.

Kohler will start the new job at the beginning of June, Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith said. The liquor control board will work to select a new director.

Brian Smith, a spokesman for the liquor control board, said Kohler is committed to continuing the agency's work until she leaves. He said the board just learned of the departure, so there was no immediate plan for how the agency will proceed in selecting a replacement.

Washington and Colorado voted last fall to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over age 21. Washington state officials are currently working to develop legal marijuana sales at state-licensed stores.

The board will begin vetting draft rules for all license types with stakeholders in mid-May. The rules are expected to become effective in August, with the board starting to accept applications for growing, processing and retailing licenses in September.

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Baker can be reached at https://twitter.com/MikeBakerAP

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