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Posts tagged: legalized pot

86 pot licenses sought for Spokane

.OLYMPIA – A tally of the first week of applications by would-be marijuana businesses shows a certain amount of creativity in coming up with names for what in most of the country is an illegal business.
Cheech and Chong might be proud of some who play off established drug slang, such as 420 Growers and Producers, Farmer J’s, Happy Daze or United We’d Stand. Dunn and Bradstreet might be happier with other names that give no clue as to the nature of the business, like Triple T Farms or WW Processing.

 

 

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Pot businesses: 299 applications in first six hours

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.

Pot biz applications open Monday

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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Pot applications open Nov. 18

OLYMPIA — State officials will begin accepting applications for people who want to get into the marijuana business — legally, that is — starting at 8 a.m. Nov. 18.

The state Revenue Department will be set up to accept marijuana license applications any one of three ways at that point. Online, by mail or in person at a field office.

The application materials won't be available until Nov. 18. Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. Dec. 19. The department will forward them to the state Liquor Control Board, which will oversee the recreational marijuana industry.

A word of warning: The state is charging a series of non-refundable fees, including a $250 fee for every endorsement — grower, processor or retailer — sought. So if the Liquor Control Board doesn't approve your request, you don't get your money back.

For more on the process, check out the Business Licensing Service web site.

 

State pot rules get board OK

OLYMPIA — Potential growers, processors and vendors of marijuana will be able to apply for state licenses in one month. The agency in charge of setting up the state's recreational marijuana system this morning approved the rules they'll have to follow to get the industry off the ground.

“Today we are making history,” Sharon Foster, chairwoman of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said. “It's going to be a bumpy road for a while, folks.”

The 43 typed pages of rules cover everything from how far a marijuana store must be from schools, parks and other places frequented by children (1,000 feet, in a straight line from property boundaries) to the size of a sign a store may have (1,600 square inches) to the hours it may be open (8 a.m. to midnight)

They describe the system to track a marijuana plant and its useable materials it produces from the field to the processor to the store, as well as the warning labels that must accompany marijuana or products infused with the drug when they are sold.

Board member Chris Marr, a former state senator from Spokane, called the rules a balance between public access and public safety, and should allay the fears of cities and counties that have passed moratoria on marijuana businesses being located within their borders. “We might not have it exactly right,” Marr added, and some adjustments will likely need to be made in the coming years.

The board will hold a series of licensing “seminars” around the state to help potential applicants understand the rules and answer their questions. A pair of seminars is scheduled for the Spokane Convention Center on Oct. 23. Applications for the licenses will be available beginning Nov. 18.

Feds won’t pre-empt WA pot law

OLYMPIA — The federal government will not try to stop Washington from setting up a way to allow adults to use legal marijuana.

In what state officials described as a “game changer”, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday the federal government will focus attention on several key areas of illegal marijuana production and sales, but allow Washington to continue setting up systems for legal marijuana to be grown and sold to adults.  .  .

 

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State delay of marijuana rules likely

OLYMPIAWashington should revise its proposed rules to grow and sell recreational marijuana and delay adopting them by a couple of months, the staff of a state board recommended Tuesday.

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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Legal pot rules criticized

OLYMPIAWashington’s proposed rules for growing and selling recreational marijuana were conflict with federal drug laws and state environmental laws, critics said Wednesday.

 

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 Spokane Convention Center.

New marijuana rules proposed

OLYMPIA — Changes to last year's recreational marijuana law that a sponsor says will make it more workable will get a hearing next week in a House committee

Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, wants to shrink the distance restrictions for locating stores that sell marijuana and have the state sell store licenses at market rates to raise more money.

Under Initiative 502, a store selling recreational marijuana must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks and other institutions. That would so severely restrict possible locations that large areas of cities would be closed off, Hurst said. Spokane might have as few as nine locations where a store could be located, he said.

His proposal would change the restriction to 500 feet, which is currently the restriction for liquor stores.

“If we don't make it available, the criminal market is going to fill those gaps,” he said.The goal of I-502 is to drive the illegal market for marijuna out of the state, he added.

I-502 also sets a licensing fee of $1,000 for a marijuana store. Hurst's bill would allow the state Liquor Control Board to set a market value on the right to sell marijuana, which could be much higher, depending on the location. The right to set up a store in a high-end shopping mall should be worth more than the right to set up a storefront operation in a small town, he said.

He estimated the market certificate system could raise as much as $50 million for the state's general operating fund.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday in Hurst's Government Overssight and Accountability Committee. Because it contains potential tax revenues that could help the budget, it does not face impending deadlines to be passed by one chamber or the other to remain viable.

But it will require two-thirds approval in both chambers, because it seeks to change a successful initiative less than two years after it was passed by voters.

Pot forums popular

OLYMPIA — Forums on the state's new legalized marijuana law are proving so popular that the state agency sponsoring is adding to its schedule and in some cases finding bigger venues to handle the expected crowds.

The State Liquor Control Board also moved one forum to Tacoma after a legislator wondered why the state's second largest county was being ignored, and its residents were having to drive to Seattle or Olympia to have their say.

The Liquor Control Board originally scheduled six forums around Washington to discuss how the state should set up legailzed production, processing and sale of marijuana after the approval last November of Initiative 502. Among its forums is a Feb. 12 Spokane event; it's still starts at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Forums in Olympia and Seattle attracted overflow crowds, so the board changed to larger locations for the forums scheduled in Mount Vernon, Yakima and Vancouver. It added a forum for March 7 in Bremerton. 

Today the board announced it is moving a second forum planned for Olympia to Tacoma on Feb. 21, and holding it in the Convention Center. 

At a recent legislative hearing for the board to explain the work being done to set the rules for growing and selling a federally illegal substance legally in Washington, Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, asked why no forum had been scheduled anywhere in Pierce County.

“I would formally request that you add that,” Becker said to Rick Garza, the control board's point man on preparing for legalized pot.

Three days later, the board announced a schedule change, an acknowledgement of Becker's logic or her position as chairwoman of the Health Care Committee. Or both.

WA Lege Day 22: Confusing marijuana laws

OLYMPIA — Washington is in danger of having two different, and sometimes conflicting, marijuana laws, one for those who have it for medical uses and one for everyone else, legislators were told today.

The Senate Health Care Committee is considering a revision to the medical marijuana laws which would try again to clarify how the state would regulate the drug under a 1998 initiative. Among the questions, how does the state designate someone as a qualified patient, and how does that patient get marijuana now that a 2012 initiative says everyone can use small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

Washington is the only state that has a medical marijuana law that does not also have some sort of state registry from patients who have some type of doctor's approval for using the drug. Senate Bill 5528 would require patients to have an authorization card on some type of tamper-proof paper, but no registry.

A registry, which would have a patient's name and address and could be made public, “could be just a roadmap for burglars,” Arthur West, a medical marijuana advocate, told the committee.

The State Liquor Control Board is setting up a system for marijuana to be grown, processed and sold in Washington under last year's Initiative 502. But the stores licensed by the control board will be separate from marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up to supply medical marijuana. And the 502 recreational marijuana will be taxed at a higher rate than medical marijuana.

“That's part of the mess we have right now,” Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union-Washington, told the committee.

Medical marijuana advocates said any identification system for patients should be handled by the state Health Department, not the Liquor Control Board.

SB 5528 is the latest attempt to clear up the state's medical marijuana rules. A 2011 effort passed the Legislature only to be gutted by partial vetoes by Gov. Chris Gregoire as federal officials were cracking down on dispensaries. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, who has sponsored many of the legislative attempts to bring clarity to the medical marijuana law, likened the process to the movie “Groundhog's Day” but said I-502 created a “huge change” that has to be addressed.

It's not enough to say medical marijuana patients can simply buy their drug from state-sanctioned recreational marijuna stores, she said. “Some people are not able to go to a store. They are very, very ill.”

Medical marijuana users are able to grow their own drugs, and have up to 24 ounces of it on hand. Recreational marijuana users cannot grow their own, and are limited to 1 ounce.

In Senate Joint Memorial 8000, the Legislature would ask the federal government to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no legal use, to a Schedule 2 drug, which would allow it to be prescribed for certain medical conditions. That might help medical marijuana patients, but would have not provide any protections to recreational marijuana users. 

Most people would agree that marijuana shouldn't be lumped with other Schedule 1 drugs like heroin and LSD, Kohl-Welles said.

But some marijuana advocates said the state should go farther. Catherine Jeter said the public doesn't need to be protected from marijuana: There is no need for rescheduling. Deschedule it.” 

Today’s fun video: Kimmel on pot expert search

 

Jimmy Kimmel mentioned that Washington state is looking for marijuana experts to help with its new legalization law. Heres today's story from Page 1 on the paper.

It's nice to get a little state recognition, but seriously, this is the best they can do? A line of people and a reference to Twinkies?

No digs like

“…And they're paying bonuses in Fiddle Faddle.”

“…They're being interviewed by Cheech and Chong.”

“…Everybody who's qualified doesn't  have enough motivation to show up.”

We're sure you can do better. So go ahead, add your own Washington needs a pot expert joke in the comments.

Inslee: We can stop ‘leakage’ on legal pot

Inslee shows off the decorating changes in the governor's office, which include a portrait of Abraham Lincoln given to him by his father-in-law, a Republican.

OLYMPIA — State officials are trying to convince the federal government they can keep legally grown pot from making its way over the border to Oregon, Idaho or other states at they try to avoid a legal fight over the new marijuana law.

“It is our responsiblilty to show the federal government we will be a responsible entity,” Gov. Jay Inslee said today/

One of the key issues the state is trying to get more information to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is “leakage”, or the movement of some legally grown and licensed marijuana from being diverted into the black market. It is compiling information about the state patrol's highway interdiction program to send to Washington, D.C.

“They've been very successful,” Inslee said at a press conference. 
 
It is also talking to representatives of the bio-technology industry, which currently tracks prescription drugs, to find a way to track legally grown marijuana from the farm to the store, he said. 
 
The federal government probably won't be too concerned about marijuana sold in stores making its way across the borders, he said. With a limit of one ounce per person in the new law,  that's likely too small of an amount for the feds to worry about.
 
Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with Holder this week, but the U.S. attorney general didn't give any indication on what the federal government might do after Washington establishes a system for regulating, licensing and taxing marijuana, Inslee said. But Holder “appears to be willing to listen to our proposals.”
 
Initiative 502, which voters passed last year, says that system must be running by Dec. 1, and “I intend to meet that goal,” neither speeding up the process nor slowing it down, Inslee said. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is in the process of developing rules to cover the production and sale of marijuana.
 
Republican leaders in the Legislature said they respect the will of the voters in passing the initiative but it was up to Inslee to 'weave his way through the federal issues.” The state needs to make sure it doesn't jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid by setting up a system to regulate an illegal substance, and protect state workers involved in the regulation from federal arrest.
 
Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, the Senate majority leader, said he doesn't want some state having to explain to an employee's children that their mother is in jail “because she did her job.” 

WA Lege Day 8: More questions, some answers, on legalized pot

OLYMPIA – In legalizing marijuana last fall, voters created more questions for the Legislature, not fewer.

Some, including how the federal government is going to react, can’t be answered yet, officials from the State Liquor Control Board told the Senate committee Monday.

Law and Justice Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said he’s heard concerns that any revenue the state collects from taxes on growing, processing or selling marijuana could be seized by the Justice Department under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statutes. Is that possible, he asked. . .

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WA Lege Day 29: Is there $200M a year in legalized pot?

OLYMPIA – Washington state could collect about $200 million a year by legalizing marijuana, then regulating, taxing and selling it in state liquor stores, a legislative panel was told Tuesday.

But  the state could also wind up with no money and any liquor store employee who rang up a marijuana sale facing five years in federal prison, the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee warned.

The committee spent about two hours Tuesday morning considering House Bill 1550, a version of the perennial push for the state to legalize marijuana, or cannabis as the sponsors prefer to call the plant. Under the plan, any adult could smoke marijuana, grow their own in a plot no bigger than 50 square feet, and the state would regulate and sell the drug at liquor stores. Farmers could also grow hemp, which comes from the plant.



If passed, this would put the state in the forefront efforts to legalize marijuana, which remains an illegal and controlled substance under federal law. That would be a good thing as other states follow suit, said Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor.

“Why shouldn’t Washington reap the benefits of legalization,” asked Dickerson, who estimated the state could collect $400 million per biennium from taxes and sales. She likened home-grown marijuana to home-brewing of beer and wine making.
  

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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