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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: marijuana

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January 28, 2015 at 6:20 AM

Should marijuana home grows be legal in Washington?

2015 is going to be a big year in marijuana policy and politics. But the most provocative question in pot has yet to be heard in Olympia, or even debated much: legalizing home growing. Grow this at home? (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times) Seattle Democrat Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the Legislature’s senior stateswoman on marijuana, proposes allowing six-plant…

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Comments | Topics: initiative 502, marijuana, state Legislature

December 6, 2014 at 4:20 PM

How I learned it’s ridiculously easy to buy pot at Seattle medical marijuana dispensaries without a “green card”

Last summer, some friends visiting from the Southwest were full of questions about what it was like for us Washingtonians to come out of the shadows and just buy  marijuana over the counter, like civilized people. I  didn’t know, even though I voted for Initiative 502 to legalize recreational marijuana. When my friends tried to…

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Comments | Topics: marijuana, pot, Seattle

October 24, 2014 at 8:58 AM

What happened to all the legal marijuana stores in Seattle?

Click the image to view an interactive map showing marijuana revenue by city since July 1.

Click the image to view an interactive map showing marijuana revenue by city since July 1.

Corrected version

“You know what’s really been successful because of Initiative 502? The black market.”

That a tough assessment, because it is exactly the opposite of what Initiative 502, the 2012 marijuana legalization measure, was supposed to do. And it’s particularly tough because it comes from a frustrated Alex Cooley, a successful but straight-arrow marijuana grower (I profiled him in a column last year) who both supported I-502 and has multiple I-502 licenses for growing and processing.

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Comments | Topics: liquor control board, marijuana, pot

October 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Plainclothes Seattle police chief makes the case for more uniformed officers

Sipping on a honey nut smoothie in a downtown cafe Thursday morning, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole didn’t act like the city’s top cop, or even dress the part.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole poses for a selfie with Seattle Times editorial writer Robert Vickers. (Robert Vickers / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole poses for a selfie with Seattle Times editorial writer Robert Vickers. (Robert Vickers / The Seattle Times)

O’Toole, who took over the embattled department in July, wore civilian clothes, spoke in hushed tones when she used the word “police,” and conversed with a personal ease atypical of law enforcement officials – all that while her department was heavily deployed to secure Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.

As if to drive home the point that she’s not an everyday police chief, O’Toole proposed a selfie when I asked for a photo.

What big city police chief does that?

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Comments | Topics: crime, downtown seattle, kathleen o'toole

September 12, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Are cities being racially discriminatory in banning legal marijuana?

Recreational Marijuana Ordinances across Washington (Click image to view graphic interactive)

Recreational marijuana ordinances across Washington (Click image to view graphic interactive)

The growing number of cities and counties in Washington opting out of Washington’s marijuana legalization experiment is eating away at the foundation of Initiative 502, as a Seattle Times editorial in Thursday’s paper suggested. The lack of stores in widening swaths of the state perpetuates the black market and maintains underground access of youth.

A new lawsuit filed in Benton County Superior Court against Kennewick’s ban takes the argument further: Bans are also racially discriminatory. The suit, filed on behalf of a would-be marijuana company, suggests that Kennewick’s ban (as well as similar prohibitions in all three Tri-Cities and Franklin County) push the underground marijuana trade to poorer neighborhoods. Since marijuana is a cash cow for gangs, they’ll continue to battle for turf.

Quoting from the lawsuit:

“Gang warfare is a natural consequence of cannabis prohibition in Kennewick and the Tri-Cities region. Gangs engage in street warfare to protect their ‘turf,’ the physical location, often a public street corner or park, or territory in which they sell drugs.”

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Comments | Topics: alison holcomb, initiative 502, marijuana

July 30, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Marijuana, parenting and toking in public

When voters ended marijuana prohibition in Washington, we didn’t end the civic duty not to be a public jerk.

Not the place to light up. (Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times)

Golden Gardens in Ballard: not the place to light up. (Photo by Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times)

That message hasn’t gotten through. Nearly every parent I know — myself included — has a story similar to one posted on Facebook by my friend Natalie Singer-Velush.

She took three kids — two 8-year-olds and a 7-year-old — for a quick mid-afternoon trip to Golden Gardens on Sunday. Pails, shovels and ice cream in hand, they set up camp… and were enveloped in a cloud of marijuana smoke from three adults sitting upwind just a few feet away.

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Comments | Topics: marijuana

August 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM

The marijuana OK: It began with the initiative process

  Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with Attorney General Eric Holder, while spokeman David Postman and adviser John Lane look on. (Photo courtesy of Washington state governor’s office) Here is the value of initiatives: the photo released Thursday of Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, being told that the federal…

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Comments | Topics: eric holder, Jay Inslee, marijuana

May 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Jamen Shively’s marijuana showmanship: a political plus?

  Marijuana packaged for sale at Seattle dispensary: time for a national brand?AP Photo / Ted S. Warren “Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively wants to create the first national brand of retail marijuana and to open pot trade with Mexico.” So begins a story in Wednesday’s Local News section. What to make of a story like this? Jamen…

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Comments | Topics: 502, alison holcomb, colorado

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