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May 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM
An initial draft of the state’s rules for recreational marijuana will be released this afternoon, according to the state Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with implementing a regulated seed-to-store sysem.
The Seattle Times will also have more coverage following the release of the rules, which Brian Smith, spokesman for the WSLCB, called a “a vetting process for stakeholders.”
The liquor board wants input on the intial draft rules by June 10. The best way to contact the LCB is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board plans to release formal draft rules in mid-June, which are more difficult to revise, according to Smith.
The rules are expected to become effective in late August, opening the door for WSLCB to start accepting applications from producers, processors, and retailers by September, and to start issuing licenses by Dec. 1 as required by Initiative 502.
Last November, Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana after the initiative passed by 56 percent of the vote.
April 26, 2013 at 8:42 AM
TACOMA (AP) — Police in Washington may soon find themselves in real trouble if they ignore a judge’s order to return marijuana they seized from a man during a traffic stop.
Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery told Tacoma Police on Thursday to return the drug to Joseph L. Robertson within seven days, or they could be found in contempt.
The judge first ordered police to return the drug on Feb. 28, but they have refused. It was seized in May when an officer pulled over the Tacoma man for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Prosecutors dismissed the drug charge in December, after state voters decided to legalize small amounts marijuana. Robertson then asked for his pot back, and provided proof of medical marijuana authorization.
April 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM
The state Liquor Control Board made it official this morning: Pot licenses for growers and processors will be granted later than initially planned, likely meaning pot stores won’t open until next spring.
As we reported last week, the board’s staff was moving toward a delay, saying it makes more sense to issue all three licenses at once instead of staggering them as the board’s tentative timeline had done.
Under that earlier timeline, the first draft rules, for growers’ licenses, would be issued this month. After public comment, the licenses would be granted in August. Processor licenses would follow in November and retail licenses in December at the earliest. All rules would be finalized by Dec. 1 as voter-approved Initiative 502 required.
In theory, stores could’ve opened in time for consumers to buy heavily taxed holiday treats this year.
April 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The state may delay issuing licenses to grow pot by a couple months, according to a state Liquor Control Board official.
Speaking to a pot industry group Tuesday night, liquor board Deputy Director Rick Garza said the state is looking at restructuring its timeline for implementing a recreational pot system.
The board had planned to stagger the licensing of producers, processors and retailers. In its initial timeline, the board would issue producer licenses in mid-August. Then it planned to issue processor licenses in early November and retailer licenses in mid-November. Under that schedule, state-regulated stores might open as early as December.
But Garza told local members of the National Cannabis Industry Association that board staff believe it’s probably better to create all three licenses at the same time. “All three probably need to know what the market looks like” at the time they’re getting licensed, Garza said. The Liquor Control Board would be finalizing a new timeline soon, Garza said, and it “won’t change dramatically, maybe by a couple months.”
“We’re finalizing the timeline based on what we’ve learned and bringing the consultants on board,” said board spokesman Brian Smith. ”The published timeline has always been tentative.”
The state’s top pot consultant, Mark Kleiman, said two weeks ago that stores may not be open until the spring of 2014.
The decision is up to the three appointed board members, Garza stressed. Staff would be making their recommendation soon, he added.
“We want to do it right,” said board member Ruthann Kurose, who attended the Tuesday panel discussion at McCormick & Schmick’s on Seattle’s Lake Union.
Also at the event was Michael Sautman, who was the top horticulture expert on Kleiman’s consulting team. Steve Davenport, project manager for Kleiman’s BOTEC Analysis team, confirmed that Sautman was no longer part of the team.
Sautman declined to comment about his leaving the team. Davenport said Sautman wasn’t fired.
He had “some contractual issues with a previous employer,” Davenport said, adding he was reluctant to say more about Sautman except that BOTEC had another expert on its team, Matt Cohen of the Emerald Growers Association, to provide expertise.
Randy Simmons, marijuana project director for the Liquor Control Board, said Sautman apparently had an agreement with another company that made his work for BOTEC a potential conflict. “The issue is between BOTEC and him,” Simmons said, not Sautman and the state.
Sautman expressed frustration about the situation in a meeting Monday with liquor board contracting officials, Simmons said. “I think he’s upset, thinking there’s nobody with his expertise in production,” Simmons said.
April 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM
The state Liquor Control Board voted this morning to start making rules aimed at stopping the consumption of marijuana in bars.
“It is important that the Board clarify now that consuming marijuana in a state liquor-licensed establishment is not acceptable,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “Public consumption of marijuana is clearly illegal under Washington’s new law.”
The issue became a concern for the board and Gov. Jay Inslee after an Associated Press story about two venues, Frankie’s in Olympia and Stonegate in Tacoma, letting patrons use pot within their walls. Inslee is concerned about the proliferation of pot bars.
Voters legalized recreational pot through Initiative 502. But I-502 prohibits public consumption, specifically in public view.
The board also is concerned that mixing alcohol and marijuana in liquor-licensed locations could cause increased impaired driving.
March 27, 2013 at 4:43 PM
The Seattle City Council is proposing new rules for marijuana that would restrict dispensary or retail locations and the size of grow operations, in an attempt to limit impacts on neighbors, particularly in residential and historic areas.
City officials started drafting the rules last year after medical marijuana dispensaries sprouted all over Seattle. Then voters legalized recreational pot in November through Initiative 502, changing the marijuana landscape.
State officials are still working on those rules and state-licensed recreational stores won’t open until December at the earliest. As it stands, the new state law wouldn’t allow recreational stores within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and other facilities where youth are present, but it doesn’t address residential or historic areas per se.
The city’s new proposed rules, unveiled at a council meeting today, presume that both medical and recreational businesses will operate in Seattle — and that some may try to cater to both consumer groups.
March 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM
According to the trade publication, Botec Analysis Corp., based in Massachusetts, has received the initial go-ahead to provide consulting services in each of the four major areas identified by the state: product and industry knowledge, product quality standards and testing, product usage and consumption validation, and product regulation. The state considered hiring different consultants to advise it on the various areas.
State officials would not confirm the selection, which will be official pending final approval and is expected to be announced Tuesday.
March 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM
The Associated Press
BREMERTON – About 200 people attended a marijuana forum Thursday night in Bremerton, the last of eight the state Liquor Control Board has held around the state as it prepares to draft licensing regulations.
The Kitsap Sun reports speakers asked for rules that would allow a marijuana cottage industry, rather than a few corporate producers and a black market.
Others expressed concerns about high taxes, the marijuana blood limit for driving and exposing drug use to children.
Under Initiative 502, approved by voters in November, the board is drafting rules for licensing marijuana producers, processors and retailers. Legal sales of marijuana for recreational use should start in December.
March 6, 2013 at 7:58 AM
At 7:13 a.m. Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont popped the question to federal Attorney General Eric Holder that so many in Colorado and Washington have been anxious about.
At a far-ranging Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Leahy asked Holder if he was prepared to announce the federal government’s response to new legal recreational marijuana laws in those two states.
Both states are moving ahead with implementing regulations, but could face lawsuits and prosecution from the federal government which considers all forms of marijuana a dangerous illegal drug.
Early risers in Colorado and Washington tuned into CSPAN did not get an answer.
Holder said he had “good conversations” with elected leaders in those states, including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“We expect our ability to announce a policy relatively soon,” Holder said.
In what Leahy then called a bit of editorializing, he suggested Holder’s Department of Justice should pursue “more serious things than minor possession of marijuana.”
From there, senators moved on to other issues: use of private jets by Justice officials and use of drones to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Alison Holcomb, the author of Washington’s new pot law, was encouraged by Holder’s few words.
“On the one hand, the statement didn’t shed much light on DOJ’s likely response,” Holcomb said. “On the other, Holder made a point of commenting on his productive conversations with state leadership. That’s important. If DOJ intended to reject outright the citizens’ efforts to reform our failed marijuana laws, there would be nothing to discuss.”
Holcomb’s view is shared by other key figures in Washington state who think that Holder wants to see more details of what the state-regulated marijuana systems will look like in Colorado and Washington — and how they will safeguard against leakage of legal pot into the black market — before he announces a policy.
March 5, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Two key figures in Washington’s legal pot law said there’s nothing new or particularly relevant in the call from eight former DEA chiefs to nullify new pot laws in Colorado and Washington.
The author of Washington’s new law, Alison Holcomb said the anti-drug warriors are reprising the same arguments they used in campaigns against the two states’ new laws last year. “They’re not raising new issues. They’re arguing we need to stick with the status quo,” said Holcomb, drug policy director for the ACLU of Washington.
The federal war-on-drugs has been an “abject failure,” said Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, who leads state House oversight of the new law. Hurst accused the ex-DEA chiefs of “irrelevant meddling.”
A former narcotics detective, Hurst said Washington residents have the right to determine their destiny. “I stand with the citizens of Washington to try and get it right,” said Hurst, a retired police officer.
The bigger issue looming over the two states is an impending decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on how to respond to legal marijuana for adult recreational use. The federal government still considers marijuana a dangerous drug with no medical value, like heroin. Holder recently said his decision is imminent.
Many, including the former DEA chiefs and Holcomb, speculate that Holder may announce his policy at a Wednesday meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C.
Holcomb said she has no “inside line” to the Department of Justice and no solid information on Holder’s thinking. (more…)
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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