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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Colorado prosecutor will drop pot possession cases

BOULDER, Colo. — A Colorado county that is home to the University of Colorado is the latest to drop pending marijuana possession cases in the wake of a public vote to legalize the drug.

Marijuana backers courting conservatives

DENVER — It’s not all hippies backing November’s marijuana legalization votes in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Appealing to Western individualism and a mistrust of federal government, activists have lined up some prominent conservatives, from one-time presidential hopefuls Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul to Republican-turned-Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Hemp may gain ground in votes only

SEATTLE – Residents of Washington, Oregon and Colorado won’t just be considering whether to let adults buy pot at state-sanctioned shops when they vote next month on legalizing and taxing marijuana. They’ll be voting on whether to let farmers grow marijuana’s far less potent cousin – hemp – for clothing, food, biofuel and construction materials among other uses.

Pot could be tax windfall, but skeptics abound

DENVER — A catchy pro-marijuana jingle for Colorado voters considering legalizing the drug goes like this: “Jobs for our people. Money for schools. Who could ask for more?”

Study: Wash. spent $200M on pot enforcement

SEATTLE — As voters in Washington consider whether to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use, a new study has estimated what pot prohibition cost statewide last decade: more than $200 million.

Hard to rationalize pot prohibition

Norm Stamper’s told the story a lot: He was a rookie cop, working a “one-man car” in an affluent San Diego neighborhood, when he approached a home and smelled “burning vegetable matter.”

Committee put early stop to marijuana proposals

OLYMPIA – Efforts to legalize or decriminalize marijuana use in Washington may have been snuffed out Wednesday as a House committee refused to send either proposal to the floor. A bill to legalize marijuana and have the state tax, regulate and sell it was rejected on a 5-2 vote by the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. An estimate by the Office of Financial Management projected the bill, HB 2401, would have netted the state nearly $1.7 billion in taxes and proceeds over the next 10 years, but that didn’t sway committee members.

Pot hearing draws crowd

OLYMPIA – While the Legislature wrestles with a huge budget shortfall that generates hearings on everything from closing state institutions to raising college tuition, the most heavily attended hearing Wednesday involved a non-budget item. Marijuana. Should the state legalize it or turn it into a civil infraction? Or just wait a few months to see if voters pass an initiative to legalize it?

Smart Bombs: Be blunt about pot law

Washington state’s medicinal marijuana law is dopey. It is legal to have a certain amount of pot with a doctor’s prescription, but the police might bust you for obtaining or dispensing it. Voters approved the law in 1998, but the state Legislature has done very little to make it workable. It isn’t hard, but if lawmakers are truly flummoxed, they could look to their New Jersey counterparts, who on Monday passed a medical marijuana law that includes a framework for implementation.

Unnecessary As It Is Unwinnable; Sue For Peace

In a Seattle Bar one rainy afternoon several years ago, I met one of the largest growers of marijuana in the Northwest. He impressed me with his marketing skills, his expertise in running a half dozen indoor growing operations scattered across the city and his free-market approach to what was and still is a very lucrative business, thanks to government prohibition. Charlie Flowers, an apropos alias for this enterprising horticulturist, claims he was making about 75,000 tax-free dollars yearly from his three-year-old business. For the next year, we met occasionally over beers. Then I moved to Idaho and lost track of him. I heard he'd liquidated and retired to Hawaii.