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Outdoor grows in, marijuana logo out

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. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.


Marijuana consultant wants input from users, growers

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. 

Marijuana rules: Grow inside, felons need not apply

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. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, or for a link to the complete draft of the Liquor Control Board Rules, continue inside the blog.

What should a pot shop be like?

 OLYMPIA – Some time in the next year, Washington residents will be able to walk into a store and buy legal marijuana. Will that store be like Nordstrom, Wal-Mart or a mom and pop grocery?

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…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Pot forum moved to Convention Center

Anticipating a large crowd at Tuesday’s forum on legalized marijuana rules, a state agency made an 11th hour decision to move to a bigger room.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board’s forum on its efforts to comply with Initiative 502 will be held in the Spokane Convention Center, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.. A spokesman for the board said agency officials feared the Spokane City Council Chambers, which holds about 190 people in the basement of Spokane City Hall, wouldn’t be big enough.

The three previous forums all generated crowds bigger than the Council Chambers and an overflow room for 100 people would have held, Mikhail Carpenter said. More than 350 people showed up for the first forum in Olympia, about 500 attended the Seattle forum and about 400 were at the Vancouver forum.

The convention center ballroom will hold 450, and can be expanded if necessary.

The board announced new locations for other planned forums, and added new meetings to its schedule early last week. But the new location for Spokane wasn’t nailed down until late Friday. Because of that, a story in Sunday’s Spokesman-Review and three newspaper ads about the forum all had the old address.

Carpenter said the board hopes to a sign at City Hall directing people to the Convention Center, which is several blocks east on Spokane Falls Boulevard

I-502 made the private use of marijuana by people 21 and over legal, but currently there's not a legal way to purchase the drug. The law put  the board in charge of adopting rules for growing, processing and selling marijuana, with a mandate to have those rules in place by Dec. 1.

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.

Listen in on legalized marijuana forum

The Washington State Liquor Control Board held its first public forum last night in Olympia on efforts to get ready for legalized marijuana under the new voter-approved law.

It got an earful, for more than 2  hours. Expect more of the same as they travel around the state, including a stop in Spokane on Feb. 12 at Spokane City Hall. 

If you want to listen to last night's testimony, they have a recording online. Just click here to be connected.

State to feds: We’ll be ready if you sue over legalized pot

OLYMPIA — State officials appear to be hoping for the best while preparing for the worst as Washington and the federal government try to determine how the state will license and regulate marijuana.

After a meeting in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said the nation's chief legal officer was open to learning more about the law voters passed and the state's plans to make it work. There were no firm conclusions from their first meeting, Inslee said.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said they also made it clear to Holder the state has a team of lawyers preparing for any federal lawsuit, should one come.
"We want to avoid a legal fight," Ferguson said. "If it comes to it, we will be prepared."
Inslee characterized their first meeting over the state's voter-approved marijuana law as cordial, with Holder asking questions about some aspects of the law and state officials providing him with a three-page memo on the duties state employees would  have to license and regulate the growth, processing, distribution and sale of marijuana. They will provide more information on how the state plans to contain the sale of legal marijuana within its borders.
"It was a good meeting," Inslee said. "I do feel good that the attorney general will look at this in great detail."
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, which under Initiative 502 is in charge of coming up with regulations for licensing producers and sellers, can continue with that process, he said. Under the law, that process must be up and running by Dec. 1, and some of the licenses would be available by August.
"We're moving forward," Ferguson said. "There are some deadlines coming up soon."
There was no indication from Holder whether the federal government will take legal action against the state to prevent the regulation and sale of marijuana, which currently is illegal for all uses under federal law.
Ferguson said his office has already assigned a team that is "mapping out a legal strategy" to pursue if the federal government does go to court to try to block the law. "The legal issues are complex," he added. 

Legalized marijuana hearing set for Spokane

OLYMPIA — One of the state's six hearings on how things are going with the legalization of marijuana in Washington is set for Spokane next month.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board, which is working on ways to set up legal production of marijuana, will hold the fourth of its forums in the Spokane City Council Chambers on Feb. 12. Other forums will be in Olympia, Seattle, Vancouver, Mount Vernon and Yakima during January and February.

The forums will start with an open house at 6 p.m., then a welcome and overview from the board at 7 p.m. The board will stay until 10 p.m. to hear comments and suggestions from the public.

The board is also putting together a list of questions and answers, as well as the tentative timeline to get all its work done as required by law on Dec. 1. Information on that can be found here. 

Drug czar: We’re having ‘conversation’ on state’s pot laws

It's a small step, perhaps, but the nation's drug czar is reiterating President Obama's comments on having conversations between the federal government and states that have legalized marijuana like Washington has.

Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was responding to petitions to the White House to legalize marijuana. The Obama White House has a place on its web site for people to file petitions, and, if they get at least 25,000 signatures, it promises a response.

There are three petitions regarding some form of legalization of marijuana, including two that would involve ways the federal government would not interfere with states that legalize the drug. (The third just calls for federal legalization). All have more than the 25,000 minimum.

In response, Kerlikowske says the nation in the middle of a serious conversation about marijuana and the Justice Department is "reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington."

He then inserts part of the transcript from an interview Obama gave Barbara Walters that bolsters that point, noting the federal government isn't going after individual users. For the complete response from Kerlikowske, go inside the blog.

Plenty of ideas on how to regulate marijuana growers

OLYMPIA – Washington residents have suggestions for how the state should write new rules to grow legal marijuana. Hundreds of them.

Some want the state Liquor Control Board, which is trying to come up with those rules, to keep out the large corporations. Others want the board to limit the kinds of chemicals that could be used to fight of weeds, bugs or mold. Still other fear the taxes will be too high or regulations too restrictive and stub out a budding industry.

And a few are still unhappy that Initiative 502 passed last fall, removing state penalties for personal use of marijuana by adults. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

To send a comment or suggestion to the Washington State Liquor Control Board on regulations to govern the production of legal marijuana, click here.

Gallup poll: Feds should back off in pot states

The federal government should back off enforcement of federal marijuana laws in stateslike Washington that have legalized the drug, a solid majority of people told a recent Gallup poll.

Nearly two-third — 64 percent of all adults surveyed in late November — told pollsters they do not believe the federal government should enforce its laws if they conflict with state law. 

In the same survey, respondents were almost evenly split — 50 percent for, 48 percent against — on whether they thought marijuana should be legal. That's a big jump from 1969, when Gallup first started asking the question and 12 percent said the drug should be legal

More answers to questions about new marijuana laws

After we published answers in the print and online versions of The Spokesman-Review to questions about the new marijuana laws, a not too surprising thing happened.

People asked us more questions. 

Spin Control does not give out legal advice, and isn't in the position of knowing everything possible about the new post I-502 marijuana laws. But we can answer a few of the questions, or find someone who can. If more come in, we'll take another run at it, too.

Here goes:

If I'm at a bar that has an outside area where patrons can drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, would it be legal to smoke marijuana there?

For the answer to this and other questions, click here to go inside the blog. 

Gregoire: Moving ahead on marijuana

OLYMPIA – Washington will be “following the will of the voters and moving ahead” with setting up ways that adults can legally obtain marijuana for recreational use, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday after meeting with federal law enforcement officials.


To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.


I-502 puts former feds in TV ad

Those wondering what the Initiative 502 would do with that boatload of money it is sitting on have at least part of an answer. Today they unveiled a television ad that features three federal law enforcement types — two former district attorneys and one former FBI agent — arguing that legalizing marijuana would be a good thing.

A copy of the ad can be found here.

Kate Pflaumer was the U.S. attorney for Western Washington under Bill Clinton, and John McKay had the job under George W. Bush. Also on the ad is Charles Mandigo, was once the special agent in charge in Seattle. McKay and Mandigo both testified at a legislative hearing earlier this year in favor of the change in law.

I-502 would legalize marijuana use in Washington for adults in many instances. The pro campaign, which is called New Approach Washington, has collected more than $4.8 million, but has spent only about half of it so far.

A check of the Public Disclosure Commission records shows that total is driven in part by some big out-of-state donations, including $1.7 million from Peter Lewis of Mayfield Village, Ohio, the retired board chairman of Progressive Insurance, and 1.3 million from Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York based group working on changing drug laws. Biggest Washington donor is Rick Steves, noted travel writer and marijuana activist, who's in for $350,000.

The No campaign, which goes by the name Safe Access has raised about $9,300, much of it from medical marijuana operations which oppose the law, Another group, No on I 502, has raised just under $5,800. Those totals are a bit dated, because neither has reported any contributions or expenditures since the end of August.

ACLU maps cost of marijuana enforcement

Washington spent more than $200 million on enforcing and prosecuting marijuana laws and incarcerating the folks that violated them, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington estimates.

The organization released an interactive map today of what it estimates each county spent on marijuana law enforcement. Although not specifically tied to Initiative 502, which gives voters a chance to legalize marijuana use for adults under some circumstances, ACLU is a supporter of the ballot measure.

Regardless of one's stand on I-502, the map is fun to play with.

Marijuana initiative lists Spokane boosters

The campaign for Initiative 502, which would legalize some marijuana use, announced three "name" supporters Tuesday.

State Sen. Lisa Brown. Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart. The Rev. Happy Watkins.

Brown and Stuckart aren't big surprises, considering they've supported medical marijuana measures in the past. I-502 is a step beyond that, to decriminalizing small amounts of mairjuana for personal use, but it's not a big step. Brown said the taxes from legalized marijuana would help health care and drug prevention programs, and Stuckart said the city's policing resources could be better spent on more serious problems.

Watkins, however, is the campaign's "get." In the announcement, he said he was looking at it from a community perspective. "When young adults are arrested and charged for marijuana possession, they are shamed, turned into second-class citizens and face long-term economic hardship," he said in the press release announcing the endorsement.

A spokeswoman for the campaign said I-502 is lining up support in what she called "the faith community", particularly among African-American ministers because the minority community may feel a bigger impact of the war on drugs. They announced support from three Seattle-area ministers last month.

WA Lege Day 66: Marijuana bills

OLYMPIA – Legislators are spending some of their time on pot this week. Not smoking it, of course, but discussing it as both a potential revenue source, through outright legalization, and an administrative problem for the medical marijuana voters approved in 1998.
A day before the state's revenue forecast, supporters of a bill to legalize cannabis, a term they prefer over marijuana, made a push to revive a bill that they claim would be worth $440 million to the state budget in a two-year cycle.
HB 1550 already had one hearing last month in the House Public Safety Committee, where it attracted the usual list of supporters who noted some of the Founding Fathers grew hemp, and detractors who warned of growing usage by teens and drivers should marijuana become legal. That committee has yet to vote the bill up or down, but it was granted a special “work session” Wednesday in House Ways and Means, the budget-writing committee, to discuss the money the state might make from legalizing, taxing and selling marijuana in state liquor stores.
“We’re trying to help the Legislature understand the revenue prospects for the bill,” said Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, the bill’s sponsor. . .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog.