Alison Holcomb, who has been called the architect of marijuana legalization in Washington state, and who is criminal justice director of ACLU Washington, has been named national director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, according to a release from the American Civil Liberties Union. Holcomb wrote Initiative 502, the measure that legalized…More
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Bellevue, where 59 percent of the electorate voted for Initiative 502, is considering banning recreational pot businesses in light of state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s advisory opinion that cities and counties can block the new legal industry. Bellevue’s City Council had already debated legal pot businesses last year and decided to move ahead with “emergency interim”…More
The state Liquor Control Board – which would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board under a bill making its way through the state Senate – will announce Wednesday the first person to get a legal marijuana business license in Washington state. The first licensee will be a producer-processor, according to board spokesman Brian Smith. The agency…More
The federal government announced today clarified rules meant to encourage banking services for legal marijuana businesses in Washington and Colorado. But the so-called guidance from the Justice and Treasury departments likely will not provide enough assurance for banks, said a top executive with the American Banking Association (ABA). Because marijuana remains an illegal dangerous drug under federal…More
The federal government is set to unveil in the next few days a way for legal pot merchants to use banking services. U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, said today he expects the federal government’s new guidance for banks and bank regulators will be released “imminently.” That guidance should provide legal marijuana businesses with a “full range of…More
The state Liquor Control Board recommended that home growing still be allowed for medical-marijuana patients, reversing an earlier proposal that inflamed activists and patients.
Board members, who are charged with implementing the state’s new recreational pot system, want to allow patients or designated caregivers to grow up to six plants at a time — three flowering and three non-flowering.
But some say that’s not enough. Ryan Day, who wants to grow a non-psychoactive strain for his son with severe epilepsy, said he may need at least double the six plants for a reliable supply.
In October, staff from the Liquor Control Board (LCB) and two other state agencies called for an end to medical home growing. That proposal drew more negative comments than any other by the three agencies.More
A solution to the pot industry’s lack of banking services apparently wasn’t found at a closed-door meeting today of high-level regulators, law enforcement and industry representatives in Washington, D.C.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he understood the urgency of the problem and the “serious challenges” facing an all-cash, legal pot industry that would exist in Colorado and Washington states without banking services.
But, responding to questions from U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, Lew wouldn’t commit to a timeline to fix the dilemma.
Banks now refuse to provide services to legal marijuana businesses because of the federal prohibition of all marijuana. Some in the pot industry hope regulators and law enforcement can come up with a solution short of a congressional change to drug laws, which is not expected any time soon.
Treasury spokesman Stephen Hudak confirmed a lengthy conversation took place today among members of the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG), a group of regulators, law officers and bankers that convenes at least twice a year to evaluate financial laws and rules.
But Hudak said he couldn’t comment on details of the meeting. Under federal law, the meetings are closed to the media to assist the frank exchange of ideas, he said, between financial industries, law enforcement and regulators. The BSAAG routinely deals with issues such as the federal money-laundering law.
“These are complex issues that will require a lot of time and talent to work through,” Hudak said.More
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.More
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…More
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…More