Posts tagged: Initiative 502
Washington should severely cut the amount of marijuana that medical patients can possess, require them to register with the state, have annual medical checkups, and pay most of the same taxes as recreational users, a state agency recommended today.
In a move sure to draw fire from the medical marijuana community, the state Liquor Control Board released recommendations it will send to next year's Legislature as the state tries to blend two sets of laws on the drug.
The board is authorized by Initiative 502 to regulate recreational marijuana use, and is currently accepting applications for businesses that want to grow, process or sell the drug to adults for private use. The board has no authority over medical marijuana, which was approved by voters in 1998, and is largely unregulated.
As part of the 2013-15 general operating budget earlier this year, the Legislature directed the board to work with the state departments of Health and Revenue to study the two systems and come up with recommendations to integrate them. Legislators will still have to draft bills that would include some or all of the recommendations, and get them through the two chambers and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
For more information on the board's recommendations, or to comment, continue inside the blog.
Washington has received 230 license applications for recreational marijuana stores.
As the map shows, many are concentrated between Everett and Tacoma — no surprise because that's where the state's population is concentrated. But the proposals for stores are also starting to dot the rest of the state, and Spokane County has nine, half of the allotment the Liquor Control Board has set aside.
Businesses have until Dec. 19 to apply for a license to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana under Initiative 502.
For an enlargeable map that has names and addresses of would-be marijuana stores, click here
OLYMPIA — Would-be marijuana entrepreneurs began Monday filing applications for state licenses to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana.
In the six hours after the state Department of Revenue's web site began taking applications, 299 had been filed online and the non-refundable fee of $250 had been paid, a spokeswoman said. The department didn't have totals available for the full day, or a count of the number of people who filed applications in person at one of its offices, Beverly Crichfield said.
Of the applications that were filed:
— 151 were for people who wanted to both grow and process marijuana
— 70 were retail applications
— 62 were processor applications
— 16 were grower applications
The department's web site, which began taking applications at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the state's 30-day window, can take applications round the clock, Crichfield said. The applications are forwarded to the state Liquor Control Board for processing and review.
Recreational marijuana was legalized for adults in Washington state by voters in the 2012 general election. State officials have been working for the last year to develop rules and regulations for the new businesses, even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
State officials say they expect to award licenses early next year, and state-licensed stores with marijuana grown under the new law are expected to be open by June.
The board plans to post the names of applicants starting next week, Crichfield said.
Sam Calvert has a dream of getting in on the ground floor of a historic change in retail commerce that begins Monday. But it’s a struggle, he acknowledged.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Calvert, 50, who has managed commercial real estate and worked as a consultant for business startups.
He knows the three most important factors for a business are “location, location, location,” but as of late this week was without a lease. He has yet to find a bank that will accept his commercial account. For most businesses he counsels, their start up difficulty is a 2 or a 3 on scale of 1 to 10. His start up is “at least a 9, maybe a 10.”
The business Calvert wants to start? Green Star, a retail outlet for recreational marijuana sales…
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OLYMPIA — Under pressure from the federal government, the state agency trying to develop regulations for legal marijuana stores is again changing a rule regarding how far they must be from schools and playgrounds.
Stores selling recreational marijuana to adults must be at least 1,000 feet away from those and some other facilities, as measured in a straight line between the boundaries of the two properties,
Last week, in announcing the latest round of rule changes that put limitations on businesses that would grow, process or sell marijuana, the Washington State Liquor Control Board tentatively approved a rule that would measure that 1,000 feet along “the most common path of travel”. It was the system the board used for liquor store licenses, and could have resulted in stores being closer to schools.
U.S. attorneys for Eastern and Western Washington earlier this week warned Gov. Jay Inslee that they would enforce the straight-line standard, sometimes called “as the crow flies.” A recent memo from the U.S. Justice Department that is seen as allowing Washington to try developing a legal marijuana system as approved by state voters listed failing to keep the drug away from minors as one of the things that could cause its agents to enforce federal laws, which still list it as an illegal drug for all uses.
Rick Garza, agency executive director, said the board used the emergency rule process for the change so potential applicants would know about it as they look for locations and prepare to seek licenses, which might be available in mid-November.
In adopting the previous change to the “common path” method of measuring distance last week, board members said they were opening up more potential areas for stores in some cities. Garza said Friday he didn't know how the latest change would effect the number of potential locations, but said cities shouldn't be worried because the number of stores will be strictly limited. The straight line method will be easier to measure and verify, he added.
The board will hold two hearings on the changes it tentatively adopted last week, including one at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Spokane Convention Center.
OLYMPIA — Anyone waiting to legally buy recreational marijuana in Washington will have to wait about nine months longer.
Revised regulations given tentative approval Wednesday for a system to license, inspect and track the drug would probably get the first lawfully grown and processed marijuana into state-licensed stores by June 1, some 20 months after voters legalized it with Initiative 502.
For those a bit bummed about the wait, this may be a bit of consolation: There could be 334 stores operating by then, as many as 18 in Spokane County.
But only if cities and counties that have adopted moratoria on marijuana businesses within their boundaries drop their objections.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board approved another round of changes to regulations it has been crafting since last December to grow, process and sell marijuana. It will hold hearings in early October in Spokane and Seattle, and if nothing else comes up, give the 43 pages of rules a final OK on Oct. 16.
The proposed rules limit the overall size of the state’s marijuana crop, the number of licenses anyone can hold and amount of the drug the licensees can have on hand. . .
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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is being asked to explain to a Senate committee his department's policy toward Washington and other states that have legalized some form of marijuana consumption.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wants Holder to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 10 to clarify the federal response for Washington and Colorado, which have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults, and for the 20 states and the District of Columbia which have legalized medical marijuana.
Afther Washington and Colorado voters passed state laws legalizing recreational marijuana use last November, Leahy asked the Obama administration what it planned to do about enforcement policies and “what assurances the administration can give to state officials responsible for the licensing of marijuana retailers to ensure they will not face criminal penalties for carrying out their duties under those state laws,” he said Monday in a prepared statement.
State laws should be respected, Leahy said. “At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”
Gov. Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Rob Ferguson met with Holder in January, asking what the federal government's response would be to Washington's legalization of marijuana. They have yet to get an answer, and Ferguson said last week he had “no additional knowledge” of what the federal response would be. The state is preparing rules for people who want to obtain licenses to grow, process and sell marijuana legally.
The attorney general's office “continues to prepare for the worst case scenario, which would be litigation” if the federal government tries to stop that, Ferguson said.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board was scheduled vote Wednesday on the final rules needed to begin setting up the legal marijuana industry called for in last year’s successful voter initiative. But less than 24 hours before the meeting, the board’s staff urged a rewrite of the rules significant enough to require more review, and at least one more public hearing.
Among the rules the staff proposes adding are limits on the total production of legal marijuana in the state and the number of stores where the drug could be sold…
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They would make the end product to be smoked or eaten too expensive from taxes, some said. They might favor the big corporations over the small producers, said others.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, which is drafting rules to implement Initiative 502, is trying to get a final version of laws by mid September to start taking license applications from prospective retailers, processors and producers by October. Some cities and counties are balking…
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The Washington State Liquor Control Board holds its final hearing on the latest draft of rules to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana in Spokane on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the
We’re going to declare a truce in one theater of the War on Drugs, after all, and pull out of a long-standing alliance with Uncle Sam.
We’re going to let folks grow and sell pot if they follow a long list of rules and regs, file their paperwork, keep kids away from the plants in the fields and the brownies in the stores. And pay their taxes, of course, even if they have to hire armored cars to haul stacks of slightly aromatic bills into the Department of Revenue office.
So it may surprise some that the Washington State Liquor Control Board last month filed a “Determination of Nonsignificance”, or DNS, for the new system of rules it is putting together for legal marijuana. . .
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Last week's Spin Control blog was admittedly a little light on content because I was working on Sunday's story about the trials and tribulations of getting Washington's recreational marijuana system up and running.
One of the more interesting interviews was with Mike Steenhout and Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Steenhout is in charge of all the research the board needs to do to develop the rules and regs, and Smith is their chief spokesman.
Steenhout has collected an array of marijuana-related items and publications during the months he's been making an extensive study of the industry. Among them, on the table in his office, was the Oct. 31, 1969 edition of LIFE magazine with the above cover, showing that folks have been asking the “Should it be legalized?” question for a long time.
To read the story, or to comment, go inside the blog.
A hearing on proposed state rules for growing, processing and selling legal marijuana will be held Aug. 8 at the Spokane Convention Center.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board scheduled four hearings from Aug. 6 through Aug. 8 around the state to get reaction to the latest est of proposed regulations for recreational marijuana, which voters approved by an initiative last November.
Hearings will also be in Shoreline, Olympia and Ellensburg.
The Spokane hearing will begin at 6 p.m. in Ballroom 100A of the Convention Center, 334 West Spokane Falls Blvd.
For a previous report on the proposed regulations, click here.
For a full copy of the proposed regulations, click on the document below.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board will hold a hearing next month in Spokane on its new proposed regulations governing the production, processing and sale of recreational marijuana.
The hearing, the last of four the board will hold on regulations that got a tentative approval Wednesday, will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 at a place yet to be determined. The last marijuana hearing the board held in Spokane drew about 450 people to the Convention Center.
For a look at the latest version of the proposed rules, click on the document below.
Proposed logo scrapped, another one being developed
OLYMPIA — Washington will allow legal marijuana to be grown outside if it has adequate security, under new rules receiving preliminary approval today by a state board.
It might have an unlimited number of marijuana growers and processors, but a limited amount of stores where adults can buy the drug for recreational use. . .
OLYMPIA — Pot users, could you put down that joint for a few minutes and take a survey? Growers, could you stop tending the buds and hook up with the state's consultants for a little Q and A?
That's what the marijuana consultant for the Washington State Liquor Control Board is asking, although not quite in those terms.
The board, which is working on rules and regs for the state's new legalized marijuana production and consumption law, announced a couple of surveys to help with research the consultants at BOTEC Analysis Corporation are sponsoring.
One by the RAND Corporation is trying to gauge marijuana consumption throughout the state, with questions about how much used, what products, how much spent. “The survey will be the most detailed yet on cannabis use habits,” the board said on its list serve. It's described as confidential and short — no more than 15 minutes for heavy users, less for others. Not clear immediately clear if it will take heavy users longer because they have more questions to answer or because their response time is somewhat slowed from all that marijuana.
BOTEC is remaining mum on the survey to avoid doing or saying anything that would shape the responses.
Want to take the survey? Click here.
BOTEC also is sponsoring a study of the economics of marijuana production by a public policy professor from Pepperdine University. She wants information from growers — especially those with the business sense and awareness of their books to provide substantive answers — to participate in a survey about their operating costs. That will also help with the contractor's eventual recommendations to the control board on production regulations.
It's confidential, too, which is a good thing considering that kind of information could get someone in legal trouble, with the feds if not the locals.
That survey can be found by clicking here.
Official logo for legal marijuana in Washington state, courtesy Washington State Liquor Control Board.
OLYMPIA — Anyone planning to grow legal marijuana in Washington should expect to do so inside, pass a tough background check and keep up with their paperwork.
The state agency setting new rules to comply with the voters’ decision to legalize recreational marijuana for adults released a 46-page draft of dos and don’ts Thursday for would be growers, processors and sellers of the drug.
Sellers would have to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds, child care centers, public parks or libraries. Stores could have limited signage or advertising, with no views of products from the street. And absolutely no kids allowed in the stores, processing facilities or growing areas.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board will be taking public comments on the proposal through June 10 before issuing final rules. . .
OLYMPIA — Working with uncharacteristic speed, both chambers cleared the way for a special vote to change in the state's marijuana, and the House gave the bill near-unanimous approval.
The problem with the state's legal definition of marijuana was discovered in the last week, as the state crime laboratory reported its test equipment doesn't differentiate between two different chemicals that can be present in the plant. Only one, delta-9 tetrahydracannibanol, is mentioned in the law voters approved last year that allows recreational use of marijuana by adults, and the percentage of that chemical present in any material determines whether it is marijuana.
That definition in Initiative 502 also governs the legal growing, processing and selling of marijuana, which is to be regulated by the state. But the equipment the lab uses turns another a non-psychoactive precursor chemical, tetrahydracannibanol acid which is also present in the plant into delta-9 THC, and THC-A isn't mentioned in the law. A lab analyst testifying in a drug growing or trafficking case can't say how much of the delta-9 THC in their findings was the legal THC-A when the substance was seized.
“They can no longer legally test the substance,” said Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, the chairman of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, which handles the legal issues surrounding the state's changing marijuana laws.
The solution was relatively easy: Change the law to so that any amount of delta-9 THC and THC-A above the set limit makes the substance marijuana. Getting there was not so easy, because the problem was reported to the Legislature in its last week of regular session, when normal deadlines for introducing new bills and voting on them had long passed.
A bill introduced Wednesday was passed by Hurst's committee Thursday and sent to the House, which voted to let both chambers suspend the normal rules and vote on the billl Friday morning. The Senate agreed, which allowed the bill to get a vote in the House Friday afternoon. Because it changes a new initiative, it needed at least a two-thirds majority to approve it; it got that easily, passing 95-1.
“There's no way we can wait 11 months to fix this,” Hurst said after the vote. The Senate is expected to take up the bill over the weekend before the regular session closes.
OLYMPIA — Time is running out in the session, but the House voted overwhelmingly today to consider a new bill to fix a problem with the state's new marijuana law.
As explained in a previous post, the definition from Initiativee 502 of what makes a substance illegal marijuana is creating problems for winning convictions in drug trafficking and growing cases. House Bill 2056 was drafted Wednesday, and had a hearing in a House committee Thursday, to rewrite the definition, but it's so late in the session that it needs special dispensation even to get a vote.
That comes through a concurrent resolution, that must be approved by both chambers by a two-thirds majority. The resolution sailed through the House on a 94-1 vote, and was sent to the Senate.
Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, couldn't resist a little nudge before the vote: “It is good to see there is a two-thirds vote required on this floor that is constitutional.”
For those not keeping close watch at home, that's a reference to the issue of requiring two-thirds majorities on tax increases. The state Supreme Court court ruled in January that must be done with a constitutional amendment, not through initiative as voters had done several times. Republicans also tried unsuccessfully to put the two-thirds majority requirement for taxes into legislative rules.
That question surfaced Tuesday in a legislative hearing, although it couldn't be answered. The State Liquor Control Board, which is tasked by Initiative 502 with setting up the system to regulate growth, processing and sales of legal marijuana, announced early in the day it had just hired consultants to help set up that system.
The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee meanwhile looked at ways to change the initiative’s rules on where a store can be located and how much a license costs…
OLYMPIA – Washington will soon have two very different systems for legal marijuana, but a plan to tax medical patients similar to recreational pot users is unfair and unworkable, a legislative committee was told Monday.
The proposal to place higher taxes on medical marijuana did what a long-time cannabis advocate said once was unthinkable. It is turning a normally dysfunctional family of regular marijuana users into “normal citizens, complaining about taxation,” Jeff Gilmore told the House Finance Committee . . .