Even University Mathematicians Have Role In Marijuana Legalization

By Austin Jenkins

The path to marijuana legalization in Washington is keeping a lot of people busy - even university math professors. They played a key role in developing the lottery now underway to determine who gets a license to open a pot store.

The security procedures for this marijuana license lottery are elaborate: there’s an independent accounting firm, tamper-proof envelopes and randomly-generated numbers. Random numbers are used so no one has an unfair advantage in the lottery. These numbers are generated using procedures developed by math professors at WSU. 

The procedures sound like the “two-man rule” for nuclear missile codes: two staff members and two sets of randomly generated digits combined to make the final lottery number. Statewide the ratio between applicants and licenses is more than three-to-one. The lottery winners should be notified starting next week.

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