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November 18, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Pot entrepreneurs eager to get into the state’s new recreational-marijuana industry started submitting license applications Monday.
By 2 p.m., 299 applications had been received at the state Department of Revenue (DOR), the first stop in the application process.
While business was brisk at DOR there were no long lines of pot entrepreneurs at the agency’s offices.
Everyone is being encouraged to apply on-line because it is more convenient, said DOR spokeswoman Beverly Crichfield. Still, some folks “just sort of trickled into” DOR offices Monday, Critchfield said.
There’s no rush for entrepreneurs (other than perhaps the thrill of applying) because the process is not first-come, first-served.
The state will accept applications for 30 days. It will then assign a marijuana investigator to each applicant, to make sure they comply with rules – such as a three-month residency requirement for applicants, their partners and financiers — and they have a viable business plan.
All applications received or postmarked by Dec. 19 will be reviewed. Applications submitted after Dec. 19 will be returned.
November 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM
The Washington state Liquor Control Board announced it will hold a hearing on Nov. 13 to take public testimony on proposed changes to the state’s medical marijuana system.
The hearing is scheduled for the Worthington Center at Saint Martin’s University , 5300 Pacific Ave., Lacey, WA 98503.
The draft recommendations on which the Board will take comment cover eight categories that include possession amounts, medical marijuana authorizing requirements, taxation and other topics.
The Board will present final recommendations to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2014. It continues to take written testimony at email@example.com.
The event agenda is posted on the Board website at www.liq.wa.gov. For more information about the current state of medical marijuana, please visit the WSLCB website or the Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov.
September 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM
The U.S. Department of Justice is working with federal bank regulators to allow banking and other financial services for legal pot merchants in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized adult possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Responding to the first question asked today by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole acknowledged the current dilemma that without changes at the federal level, legal pot stores in Colorado and Washington will operate on a cash-only basis because banks fear they’ll violate federal law by accepting money from pot businesses.
“We are currently talking with bank regulators on ways we can deal with this,” Cole said. He was not more specific.
A fix could come through a congressional change in the law. But few are expecting Congress to act quickly on marijuana.
An easier solution would be an administrative order directing the Treasury Department to stop requiring regulatory reports whenever a bank handles what it thinks is marijuana money.
Cole’s response suggests the federal government is working on the latter, easier course. Leahy said DOJ should offer “specific guidance to Treasury.”
Leahy also told Cole that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent warning that armored transport cars should not engage in legal pot business was a “significant step away from reality.”
Cole said DEA was merely asking questions and that was before Cole’s memo last month that said the federal government wouldn’t sue to stop legal pot in Colorado and Washington if their systems adhered to eight federal priorities, such as preventing youth access to pot and preventing legal pot from leaking into other states.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart later told the committee his concerns about a cash-only pot stores. “They will be prime targets for robberies and very difficult to audit,” Urquhart said.
August 2, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Uruguay is on the brink of becoming the first country to create a legal, regulated marijuana market, and the South American nation had a little help from Washington state’s leading drug policy reformer, Alison Holcomb, the primary author of Initiative 502.
Holcomb visited Uruguay three times last spring at the invitation of the national Junta Nacional de Drogas, Uruguay’s version of the U.S. drug czar’s office (the Office of National Drug Control Policy) and other non-government groups working for legalization. The groups consulted Holcomb on her drafting of I-502, which enacted a state-regulated recreational marijuana system, and on campaign strategy for the initiative, which passed with 56 percent of the statewide vote.
Holcomb said she continues to participate in weekly calls with Regulación Responsable, the coalition carrying on public education and outreach to support the bill.
Uruguay’s legalization plan was approved by its lower legislative chamber, its equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives. It now moves to the Senate, where approval is expected.
Smoking pot has been legal Uruguay, a nation of 3.4 million people. But growing, buying or selling has resulted in prison terms. If passed, the country’s new law would license growers and sellers and allow people to buy up to 40 grams a month at pharmacies.
“Uruguay is breaking open the conversation in Latin America,” said Holcomb, criminal-justice project director for the ACLU of Washington state. ”This is critical to global reformation of marijuana policy. Uruguay’s rejection of the prohibition model will accelerate conversations that are already happening in Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico.”
The presidents of Colombia and Guatemala have called for decriminalizing drugs, as has the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox.
December 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM
The Seattle Police Department e-mailed more than 1,300 of its officers the following message tonight: “Until further notice, officers shall not take any enforcement action — other than to issue a verbal warning — for a violation of I-502.”
So basically, feel free to smoke marijuana publicly in the City of Seattle for at least the next 30 days, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee wrote in an SPD Blotter post today.
Even though the state’s new marijuana law, which takes effect Thursday, prohibits things like smoking in public and possessing more than an ounce of marijuana buds, Seattle police will not take enforcement action against anyone violating the law.
The police department isn’t allowing the grace period just to let people celebrate the new law whenever and however they want. According to Spangenthal-Lee’s post, there’s a gray area in the law that makes it difficult for police to enforce it. State and city codes don’t specify clearly how to deal with provisions of I-502 that prohibit the public use of marijuana.
It would take at least 30 days for legislation that would make enforcement more clear to go into effect, according to the post.
“In the meantime, in keeping with the spirit of I-502, the department’s going to give you a generous grace period to help you adjust to this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in,” Spangenthal-Lee wrote.
May 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM
A group of activists who want to legalize marijuana, but oppose Initiative 502, the marijuana-legalization initiative proposed for the November ballot, marched from Volunteer Park to Westlake Park in Seattle on Saturday.
The group is a splinter of the increasingly mainstream advocates for marijuana legalization in the state. Supporters of I-502 include the state Democratic party, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and former U.S. Attorney John McKay. The group that marched Saturday said marijuana should be legalized, but not by regulating and taxing it, as I-502 would do.
“An eraser is what we need — a giant eraser,” said Dawn Darington, who says her cannabis treatment cured her breast cancer.
Darington and the group, which marched and gave speeches at both parks, are concerned legalization would attract federal attention, leading to a crackdown. They also oppose limits on growing your own, sharing, and possession and say the DUI limits in the proposed law are too strict.
May 2, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Sixteen state lawmakers, all Democrats, have endorsed the marijuana-legalization initiative on the November ballot.
The group includes some of the usual suspects on marijuana policy, including Seattle Democrats Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Adam Kline. Seattle’s elected officials, including the mayor, city attorney and city council, have already endorsed.
I-502, the first marijuana initiative on the ballot since the passage in 1998 of medical marijuana, would de-criminalize possession of one ounce of marijuana and heavily tax sales at state-licensed “pot shops.” Mush of the revenue — guesstimated by the state at $560 million a year — would help fund health care.
Rep. Roger Goodman, also in the legislature’s “green” caucus, said a key criticism of I-502 — that strict DUI provisions would effectively criminalize driving by medical marijuana patients — could be remedied in the state Legislature.
“This would be a major step forward for reform. It would literally send a message to the world,” said Goodman, D-Kirkland. “It would send a message to Congress and would be a pretty big hole in the dike for the prohibitionist to have to stick their finger in.”
The Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs oppose I-502, and some attorneys question whether it quickly be quashed by federal prosecutors. Here is a recent debate between I-502 sponsor and former U.S. Attorney John McKay and Pat Slack, commander of the Snohomish County Drug Task Force.
The lawmakers who endorsed I-502 today:
Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23)
Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34)
Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32)
Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43)
Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36)
Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11)
Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44)
Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-22)
Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34)
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D-21)
Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45)
Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32)
Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11)
Sen. Adam Kline (D-37)
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36)
Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1)
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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