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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

Topic: marijuana

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July 16, 2014 at 12:54 PM

ACLU lawyer Alison Holcomb considering a run against Kshama Sawant

Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director for the ACLU of Washington and prime mover behind our state’s legal weed law, said she is “considering very seriously” running for Seattle City Council against incumbent Kshama Sawant. Holcomb has flirted with the idea of working in City Hall before, talking last year about a possible run for mayor or…

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Comments | More in Marijuana, Seattle City Council | Topics: Alison Holcomb, I-502, kshama sawant

March 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Reichert backs bill to ban welfare card use at pot stores

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert on Tuesday introduced a bill to ban the use of welfare benefit cards at stores selling marijuana, adding them to a prohibited list that includes casinos, liquor stores, strip clubs and tattoo parlors. Reichert, a Republican from Auburn, joined 11 other lawmakers in sponsoring the “Preserving Welfare for Needs…

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Comments | More in Congress, U.S. House of Representatives | Topics: Dave Reichert, marijuana, welfare

October 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

California panel looks at legalizing pot with assist from Washington state

There was significant pot news out of California Thursday with the announcement that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is heading an ACLU panel that aims to put a legalization measure before Golden State voters during the next presidential election in 2016.

If such a measure passes in the country’s largest state, pot advocates have predicted it could effectively end federal prohibition of marijuana.

Alison Holcomb, the chief author of Washington state’s legal pot law, is on the panel along with at least one skeptic, Keith Humphreys, a former White House drug policy advisor. The panel includes 13 others, including medical, legal and law enforcement experts.

California voters rejected a legalization measure, Proposition 19 in 2010. But Prop. 19 lacked a plan for statewide regulation and taxation of legal pot. Only 46.5 percent of voters supported it.

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Comments | More in Marijuana | Topics: Alison Holcomb, I-502, marijuana

October 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

City Council: Move most medical pot patients to recreational system

Most medical marijuana patients should be brought into the recreational pot market the state is creating, urged all nine Seattle City Council members in a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and key legislators. The medical marijuana market continues to operate, at best, in a gray market, council members said, which could undermine the state’s goal of  curtailing…

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Comments | More in Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council, State government | Topics: Jay Inslee, marijuana, seattle city council

September 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM

King County sheriff promises crackdown on public, underage pot smoking

WASHINGTON — King County Sheriff John Urquhart said his deputies will vigorously enforce Washington’s new marijuana law, especially against underage pot smokers. Urquhart is testifying today before the Senate Judiciary Committee on how to reconcile the state’s legalization of pot and the still-on-the-books federal prohibition. In an interview before the hearing, Urquhart said he sees little…

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Comments | More in U.S. Senate | Topics: John Urquhart, marijuana

September 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Inslee asks feds to fix banking woes for legal pot

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked a U.S. Senate committee for a key bit of help in creating a tightly regulated legal pot market. In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Tuesday hearing, Inslee and Ferguson stressed that without changes at the federal level, Washington state’s legal pot merchants will…

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Comments | More in Attorney General, Governor, Marijuana, Politics Northwest | Topics: Bob Ferguson, I-502, Jay Inslee

August 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Pot consultant offers solution to government standoff

Mark Kleiman, the state’s top pot consultant, has suggested a way to end the lingering tension between Washington’s new recreational pot law and the federal government, which considers all marijuana illegal.

And state Attorney General Bob Ferguson did not dismiss Kleiman’s idea. Ferguson said the AG’s office “has done their own examination” of Kleiman’s proposal and “it’s too soon to say” if it has traction with decision-makers.

Ferguson did not want to reveal any more about the state’s discussions with the federal Department of Justice. “I’m not ready to get into more detail about what communication is going on with the feds,” Ferguson said.

In an article published Wednesday in the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, Kleiman said the DOJ now seems to have three options: cracking down on legalized pot in Washington and Colorado, acquiescing to legalization, or “muddling through”  with its current policy of only saying it continues to review new laws in those two states.

Kleiman sees two better alternatives.

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Comments | More in Marijuana, Politics Northwest | Topics: Bob Ferguson, department of justice, marijuana

June 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

U.S. mayors tell feds to respect local pot laws

Prodded by mayors including Mike McGinn of Seattle and Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution Monday urging the federal government to respect the abilities of states and cities to implement policies such as marijuana legalization. The resolution carries no legal weight and was one of dozens adopted by the…

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Comments | More in Marijuana, State government | Topics: marijuana, Mayor Mike McGinn

June 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Clear up the uncertainty on pot, state Democrats tell feds

WASHINGTON — Speaking collectively, seven congressional Democrats from Washington on Tuesday pressed the Justice Department for quick action on the state’s recreation-marijuana law. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the lawmakers — including three who personally opposed last year’s pot initiative — urged assurances that pot users and sellers won’t be “penalized by…

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Comments | More in homepage | Topics: marijuana

March 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM

House committee considers changes to marijuana law

The House committee overseeing the state’s marijuana law today heard feedback about a bill that would change state regulations.

Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, introduced House Bill 2000 to modify Initiative 502, a voter-passed measure allowing the sale and possession of marijuana for adults. He said he introduced the bill to preempt the “myriad of problems” the Washington State Liquor Control Board will face while implementing the initiative, especially given the lack of marijuana regulation the state has long had.

“We really have done nothing to regulate marijuana in Washington state,” Hurst said. “I could walk to downtown Olympia and find someone to sell him marijuana within five minutes.”

HB 2000 would change where businesses could legally sell marijuana. Under I-502, marijuana can’t be sold within 1000 feet of certain public facilities, including schools, parks, playgrounds and transit centers. HB 2000 would cut that distance to 500 feet, except near schools.

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Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: Alison Holcomb, I-502, marijuana

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