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December 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM
To some, smoking pot freely at Seattle Center was liberating, a step out of the shadows. For others, it was a chance to partake in a little history — and at least one joint the size of a burrito.
The one-year anniversary celebration of legal weed in Washington drew about 400 tokers by 5 p.m., despite the frigid cold. Most of them crowded into a tent in the fenced-off party area, which quickly filled with sweet smoke, making it what’s called in pot parlance a “hot box.”
Alison Holcomb, chief author of the legal pot law, said Hempfest volunteer Nathan Messer asked her, “Is this the largest legal hot box in the world?”
Why not celebrate in the warmth of home with friends?
“That’s like posing the same question to someone in a beer garden,” said Duncan Rolfson, 21, of Tacoma. “It’s more fun to enjoy something social in public.”
“This is kind of history in the making,” said Lauren Donat, 21, of Seattle. “And I want to be able to say to my kids, ‘Isn’t it funny we had to actually fight to do it.’”
December 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM
In what he called an effort to make legal pot successful, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes urged state officials to change the way they measure the 1,000-foot distance between pot businesses and prohibited areas frequented by youth.
Holmes also called for the state to increase the number of pot stores allocated to Seattle from 21 to 50. And he asked state officials to give preference in licensing to existing medical-marijuana facilities that show they can comply with rules for the new recreational-pot system.
Holmes was a sponsor of Initiative 502, the legal-weed law approved by voters last year. He said he was making “all these suggestions for the simple reason that, as a sponsor, I want to see I-502 be a success.” Without a more liberal interpretation of the 1,000-foot buffer and without more stores, Holmes said, the state risks handing customers to the illicit market.
But a spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board, the agency implementing the law, said it would likely be awhile before Holmes’ ideas were adopted, if at all. “The board has considered the options in his letter” during 10 months of rule-making, said Brian Smith. He emphasized that the board had initially opted to measure the 1,000-foot buffer by “common path of travel,” which Holmes wants. But after adopting that rule, the top federal prosecutors in Washington state met with Gov. Jay Inslee and argued for stricter as the “crow flies” measurements.
December 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM
Week Two of applications for state pot-business licenses saw another 397 applications for growing, processing and retailing licenses.
That brings the total number of licenses sought to 1,326, with two more weeks to go.
Here’s a map of proposed locations:
Growing remains the most popular license, with 635 applicants. Processing is next with 461. Retail lags behind with 250 applicants.
The most popular counties for growing are King with 86 applicants, Snohomish with 70 and Spokane with 61.
A lottery for retail stores in Seattle looks increasingly likely. State officials have received a total of 44 Seattle store applications. They have allocated just 21 stores to Seattle, out of a total of 334 proposed stores.
It should be noted that the field of Seattle applicants could be winnowed by the state’s vetting process, which includes fingerprinting and background checks, and confirmation that proposed locations are more than 1,000 feet from prohibited areas such as schools and parks.
Tacoma and Vancouver might also see lotteries for stores, as Tacoma has 17 applicants for eight allocated stores, and Vancouver has 13 for six stores.
November 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Weather: OK, but gray today. High around 50. Likelihood of rain increases as the day goes along, and prepare to be drenched Sunday (you might want to head back from Thanksgiving early?), forecasters say. Here’s the National Weather Service forecast.
90,000 UW Medicine patients told medical info stolen: UW Medicine has sent out letters, starting to notify about 90,000 of its patients that medical information was stolen during a malware attack last month. In 15,000 of those cases, Social Security numbers may have been taken. A spokeswoman said it has taken more than a month to analyze the activity and figure out which patients are most at risk of identity theft. Read more from reporter Katherine Long.
Keeping kids away from pot: What about the children? To curtail youth access to legal marijuana, reporter Bob Young tells us that state officials plan to use minors in pot-buying attempts next year when stores are expected to open.
Huskies top Cougars in Apple Cup: Washington struggled in the first half of the Apple Cup on Friday, but the Dawgs eventually rallied for a 27-17 victory. (WSU coach Mike Leach has no regrets on the calls he made for the Cougars, reporter Bud Withers writes.) UW’s Bishop Sankey broke two rushing records, one of which was Corey Dillon’s 17-year-old record for most rushing yards in a season by a UW running back. The Huskies will likely have to wait until next week for a bowl-game announcement, though most have the Huskies projected to play Brigham Young in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Francisco. For more about the in-state rivalry, check out Jerry Brewer’s column on Sankey and Larry Stone’s column on Keith Price.
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
- Obamas say family may stay on in D.C. after presidency ends
- Huskies, Cougars enter Apple Cup with hope, winning records
- Keith Price, Bishop Sankey rally Huskies to win over Cougars in Apple Cup
- Brace for big freeze — maybe Seattle snow — weather service warns
- Friday TV Picks: ‘Garth Brooks, Live from Las Vegas’ on CBS
November 21, 2013 at 10:57 AM
The Associated Press
New figures from the Washington State Patrol show that more drivers have tested positive for marijuana since the state legalized the drug last year.
In the first six months of 2013, the patrol’s crime lab says, 745 people tested positive for marijuana. Typically there are about 1,000 positive pot tests on drivers in a full year.
Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins says it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s been a rash of people driving high. He says troopers are looking harder for drivers operating under the influence of pot, and they might be ordering more marijuana blood tests.
Of the 745 people who tested positive for marijuana in the first half of this year, the State Patrol says a majority tested above the legal limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. The exact number was 420.
Just as state law limits drivers to a .08 blood alcohol content, it limits them to 5 nanograms of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. Specially trained drug-recognition experts, or “DREs,” are often called to traffic stops to determine whether drivers are impaired.
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 12, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The Associated Press
SEWARD, Neb. — Authorities say a 55-year-old Washington man has been arrested because pot was found in his car after a traffic stop in southeast Nebraska.
The Nebraska State Patrol says a trooper pulled over the car for speeding about 10 a.m. Sunday near the Crete exit off eastbound Interstate 80. A drug dog taken to the scene alerted officers to the odor of drugs. The patrol says more than 83 pounds of marijuana was found in the car trunk.
The car driver and lone occupant was identified as Kris Robertson, of Camas, Clark County. Robertson remained in Seward County Jail on Tuesday. Online court records don’t list the name of his attorney.
November 7, 2013 at 4:56 PM
Exactly a year after Washingtonians woke up to a new legal pot law, 700 pot entrepreneurs from 33 states gathered at the National Cannabusiness Conference at the Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn today.
A mix of young and old, in suits and jeans, the entrepreneurs listened to presentations on how best to conduct themselves, the next states to legalize, and how to navigate the lack of legal banking services available to marijuana merchants.
The overarching theme was how far the industry has come in the year since Colorado and Washington legalized adult recreational use of marijuana. An industry study projects domestic sales of pot-related products to reach $6 billion by 2018. A policy expert predicted that 14 states — from California to Maine — could legalize weed by the end of 2017. Alaska, Oregon and Rhode Island are likely the next states to legalize weed, said Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project. The conference will continue Friday.
Change is so rapid, said Steve DeAngelo, owner of California’s largest dispensary, that he could see a measure to legalize weed on the ballot in the Golden State next year.
October 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM
OLYMPIA — Washington’s Liquor Control Board wants to make sure people aren’t using marijuana in bars and nightclubs.
The board on Wednesday filed a draft rule that would explicitly ban any business with a liquor license from allowing marijuana use on site. Among the board’s concerns is that people who use marijuana in combination with alcohol could pose an extra danger on the roads if they drive.
It’s already illegal under Washington’s recreational marijuana law to use pot in public, and that includes restaurants, bars and clubs. But at least a couple of establishments have tried using loopholes to allow customers to use marijuana, such as by having “private clubs” within the businesses.
October 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM
The Associated Press
The city of Lynnwood has returned 202 dead marijuana plants and 6 pounds of drying pot that was seized from a group of medical marijuana patients more than a year ago.
Seattle lawyer Aaron Pelley says Lynnwood police seized the marijuana, as well as lights and other growing equipment, during a raid in May 2012. He says the patients were following the state’s medical marijuana law, and no criminal charges were filed.
Pelley and two other attorneys wrote a letter to the city, demanding city officials return the items or pay nearly $1 million, the estimated value of the property. The mayor signed off on the return of the pot, and Pelley picked it up Tuesday.
He says the pot is no longer good for smoking, but might be used to make cannabis oil or marijuana-infused products.
Deputy Chief Bryan Stanifer says the police department wasn’t happy about returning the marijuana, but also wasn’t interested in facing a lawsuit.
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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