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December 3, 2013 at 7:32 AM
WEST LINN, Ore. (AP) — Police say they have busted a pot ring linked to West Linn High School.
Investigators believe a 51-year-old man hired high school students to tend his marijuana growing operation and paid them in marijuana. They also say marijuana was sold at the school through a network of student dealers.
Police raided the home of the 51-year-old man on Nov. 19 and arrested two more men Nov. 25 in raids on their homes. Officers seized 10 pounds of marijuana and more than $18,000 in cash.
Police said in statement Monday that most of those identified in the investigation are current and former West Linn High School students.
West Linn is located due south of Portland and east of Tigard.
November 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Metro bus robbery: About that 19-year-old guy who was arrested for allegedly robbing people on a Metro bus last night … It appears he got on the bus at Third Avenue and Pike Street wearing a nylon stocking over part of his face. He rode the bus all the way to California Avenue Southwest in West Seattle before he allegedly started robbing people at gunpoint. Kudos to the passengers who wrestled the guy to the ground until police arrived. But didn’t anyone think it was strange that a guy got on the bus wearing a nylon stocking over part of his face and rode the bus for several miles and then started robbing?
Seahawks and pot: Marijuana may be legal in our state, but two Seahawks have been suspended or reportedly face suspension for lighting up. State law is one thing, pro sports league rules are a horse of a different color. Sources say Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner faces a second suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, reportedly for smoking pot, and cornerback Walter Thurmond is being suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, also reported to be for marijuana use. Should pro football players be suspended for smoking marijuana? Vote in our poll.
Remember that Bellingham party that got out of control back in October? … Well, 30 people have been cited for their role in a party up there this past weekend. Five people who lived in the house where the weekend party began were arrested on suspicion of furnishing liquor to minors, disorderly conduct and obstructing law enforcement. All five are students at Western Washington University. The other 25 were cited for drinking or having alcohol. The Bellingham Herald has the story.
The prosecutor in Amanda Knox case argued today that the appeals court that overturned her conviction in the slaying of Knox’s British roommate made mistakes and those mistakes should not be repeated in the re-trial now being heard in a court in Florence, Italy. Knox’s defense said the prosecution offered nothing new in its arguments.
Weather: Sunny today, partly sunny tomorrow, but what’s this, clouds on Thanksgiving? Pshaw. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain. National Weather Service forecast
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
- Seahawks’ Walter Thurmond suspended four games
- Obama stops in Seattle to raise big money for Democratic campaigns
- Brandon Browner reportedly violates substance-abuse policy
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Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or email@example.com
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the item on the party that got out of control in Bellingham this past weekend was mistaken for the party that also got out of control in Bellingham in October.
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 1, 2013 at 5:19 PM
Bob Young, who has been reporting on I-502 and marijuana’s legalization in Washington, is hosting an Ask Me Anything (or AMA) on Reddit.
Young, who has been covering marijuana for nearly a year is answering questions about his experiences reporting on the brand-new industry and pot policy.
Read Young’s latest stories on the subject, “Pot Legalization is changing image of women and weed” and “Average pot user consumes 123 joints per year, state estimates.”
August 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM
The federal government will not try to block Washington state’s recreational marijuana legalization law, Gov. Jay Inslee announced this morning.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his long-awaited decision on a potential legal challenge in a phone call with Inslee and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just after 9 a.m., according to Inslee’s staff.
Colorado’s legalization law, also approved last November, also will stand.
“We have found a way forward,” Inslee declared in a news conference, thanking Holder and President Obama and signaling that much more work is ahead.
“What I’m hearing from the federal government is that they believe there’s a reason to trust the states of Washington and Colorado,” Inslee said. “We’re going to need to show that this system works.”
Holder’s Justice Department described the decision as part of an “an update to its federal marijuana enforcement policy” to focus on eight specific concerns, including preventing marijuana from spreading beyond states where it is now legal.
The other things the DOJ hopes to prevent are the distribution to minors, violence related to distribution, revenue going to criminal enterprises, the use of marijuana as a cover for other illegal activities, drugged driving, pot growth on public lands and use on federal property.
The DOJ will rely on local law enforcement agencies to enforce their own marijuana laws, but will be ready to “aggressively” step in if states do not adopt an effective and strict regulatory scheme, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a memo to all U.S. Attorneys.
“These are exactly the eight interests that we have shown in the state of Washington that have guided our formulation of this very tightly and well regulated distribution system,” Inslee said.
The DOJ’s decision brings an end to months of uncertainty as Washington state has wondered whether the other Washington would sue to stop the implementation of Initiative 502, which passed with 55.7 percent of the vote.
Inslee sent a letter to Holder in February detailing 21 ways the state will carefully implement the law “with public safety being our paramount responsibility.” He told the attorney general that “the world is watching.”
The next month, Holder said at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he would be announcing a policy on Washington and Colorado’s laws “relatively soon.”
But weeks and months then dragged on without a decision. Seven congressional Democrats sent a letter in June asking Holder to assure Washington state pot users and sellers they won’t be “penalized by the federal government for activities legal under state law.”
With no decision announced, Holder had been invited to give an update to the Judiciary Committee committee on Sept. 10.
Even with the decision, Inslee and others cautioned that many questions remain — including about the medical marijuana industry and about whether interstate banks will be willing to work with recreational marijuana businesses given that the federal government stills considers pot illegal.
Inslee called that a “significant problem” in need of “creative solutions.”
The governor also sought to allay concerns from potential businesses, saying that a formal agreement between the state and federal government is unlikely but that “we have the fundamental structure of what we need to know” to implement the law.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson added that “there will be important details to work out in the coming weeks and months, but the key point right now is that there’s a pathway forward.”
Other local officials and marijuana activists expressed happiness at Holder’s decision.
“Seattle public safety officials, residents and entrepreneurs can now proceed with confidence that the will of the voters has prevailed in Washington,” Mayor Mike McGinn wrote in a statement.
Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel added that “our department will continue our mission of public safety, harm reduction, and public education encouraging safe and lawful behavior with regards to the guidelines for marijuana established by Washington voters.”
Initiative 502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb said in an interview that Holder’s decision was “incredibly exhilarating.”
“I’m very excited for the Washington voters that they now have clarity that they will in fact get to lead the nation in taking a new approach to marijuana,” she said.
August 8, 2013 at 6:43 AM
Fatal stabbing in Lynnwood: A 35-year-old man was stabbed to death in a fight about 1 a.m. today. The suspect took off on a bicycle, but was arrested several blocks away from the home where the stabbing took place.
The Amber Alert is still in effect up and down the West Coast, including our state, for the 16-year-old California girl and possibly her 8-year-old brother believed to have been abducted by a family friend.
Clint Dempsey looked pretty darn good in his first training session with the Sounders. Duh.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide: Now that marijuana is legal around here, some police officers are being trained to better spot and bust motorists driving impaired by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Stoned? Don’t drive.
Weather? Nice, in the 80s again today, but it’s supposed to cool off by the weekend. National Weather Service forecast
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com:
- Herb Alpert’s ‘Whipped Cream Lady’ now 76, living in Longview and looking back
- Steve Sarkisian puts himself on the line in handling of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams | Jerry Brewer
- Former Microsoft manager charged with rape
- November showdown looms for Murray, McGinn
- Red Bryant eager to be Seahawks’ run stuffer
Memo light: Pearls Before Swine | By Stephan Pastis
Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 17, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Smurfing and pot: Under the draft rules for marijuana sales in our state, we could buy an ounce of weed seven days a week and up to 20 hours a day; out-of-staters, too. Not so in Colorado, where pot also is legal. Lawmakers there limit out-of-staters to buying just a quarter-ounce to stymie what’s called “smurfing.” That’s where someone makes several buys to build up a stash to sell on the black market. Smurfing. Who knew?
Arrests made in racial threats and beatings case: Three men in Clark County have been busted in connection with the March 18 beatings in a Vancouver, Wash., bar. The men are alleged to have beaten three men and threatened to kill one of them based on his race. The suspects took off before police arrived. The Columbian has more details.
And in a pool room and bar incident in Lakewood, Pierce County: A 47-year-old man is in critical condition after being punched in the face by a man he bumped into while both were playing pool. The incident happened Wednesday. The puncher ran off before police got there, but they are using surveillance camera video to help find him. The injuries to the man who was punched are life-threatening.
What’s this? The Mariners beat the Yankees 3-2. As our sports writer Geoff Baker puts it, “The Thursday night thriller might go down as one of the bigger victories notched by the Mariners in years.” And the crowd of 35,392 was a far cry from the handful who turn out for a Mariners home game.
Shooting in North Seattle late last night: A man believed to be in his 30s has life-threatening injuries after being shot in the chest by another man he knows, according to Seattle police. Police were called to the 14300 block of Aurora Avenue North about 11 p.m. in response to a shooting. They found the shooting victim there and learned that the shooter took off on a bicycle. Police are trying to find him and learn what led up to in shooting.
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- Report: Kings sold to Sacramento group for $535 million
Memo light: Dilbert | By Scott Adams
Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or email@example.com
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.
February 14, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Saying “the world is watching,” Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a five-page letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that outlines how Washington’s new legal marijuana system will be tightly controlled to prevent illegal activity such as state-licensed pot from leaking into other states.
The federal government considers all marijuana illegal, despite voter-approved laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize recreational use for adults. And Holder, the nation’s top law officer, has suggested that leakage of Washington weed into other states is one of the Department of Justice’s top concerns, Inslee said after a meeting last month with Holder.
Inslee’s letter, dated Feb. 12 , doesn’t offer much in the way of new details. For the most part it spells out what the state’s law calls for in the way of restrictions, safeguards, law enforcement and expertise.
“Clearly, the world is watching the states of Colorado and Washington as their initiatives are implemented. We intend to do it right,” Inslee wrote, “to minimize diversion and the illicit market.”
Inslee listed 21 separate ways in which the state will carry out the law in a thorough and disciplined manner, “with public safety being our paramount responsibility.”
Alison Holcomb, a sponsor of Initiative 502 that enacted the state’s legal pot law, praised the letter for highlighting the controls written into the law. “Everything looked accurate to me,” said Holcomb, drug policy director for the ACLU of Washington.
Calling the letter an update on strategies under consideration to prevent diversion of pot across state borders, the governor said he was “personally committed to having a well-regulated, disciplined system with tight investor controls and close coordination with law enforcement.”
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, the agency implementing I-502, has until December to come up with rules for the state’s seed-to-store system, untested on the planet.
While it’s too early to say exactly what all the rules will be, Inslee said his goal is to create a system that “minimizes the illicit market through price, access and convenience while simultaneously controlling the product.”
Some of the controls highlighted by Inslee:
- Only licensed producers, processors and retailers within the state will be allowed to sell marijuana products.
- The law only allows adults to possess, consume, grow, process or sell pot products.
- Washington state agencies are talking with Colorado officials about their tightly controlled medical marijuana system that uses bar codes to electronically track each step of the plant’s progress to market.
- Washington is also looking at private-sector models for digital tracking of products. The state’s apples, Inslee noted, can be traced from orchards through packing houses and ultimately to market.
- The state will run background checks, which are likely to include fingerprints, for license applicants and other parties of interest.
- The state will develop audits to identify reporting discrepancies by licensees.
- Non-licensed cultivation and distribution remains illegal under state law and law enforcement agencies will vigorously enforce I-502.
- The state’s high tobacco tax and experience with intercepting contraband cigarettes should help strengthen marijuana controls.
Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Inslee, said there are no specific next steps the governor plans to take with Holder. But Smith said the governor will continue to provide regular updates to Holder as the rules evolve and answer any questions the Department of Justice might have.
January 29, 2013 at 7:50 AM
Mayor Mike McGinn’s message Monday night to a packed room of marijuana advocates and entrepreneurs: Be good neighbors, respect Seattle values, eat at local restaurants.
Speaking under chandeliers at the Washington Athletic Club, McGinn marveled at what he called the “new normal.” It was like addressing real-estate agents or homebuilders, he said, except with a lot more cameras watching.
Noting he was the first big-city mayor to come out for legal pot, McGinn said he came to realize, as a spate of murders rocked the city last year, that black-market drugs caused too much violence. The mayor said he thought legal, regulated pot for adults would make it harder for kids to get weed.
The mayor also noted that so many medical marijuana dispensaries have sprouted in his neighborhood “they’re putting the green in Greenwood.”
He asked the 100-plus pot entrepreneurs and advocates convened by the National Cannabis Industry Association to appreciate Seattle’s virtues from historic buildings to local foods.
The mayor then spoke of the kind of budding business he wanted to see.
“We like local, crafted, authentic. We want to know our products. We don’t want genetically modified organisms. We want fair trade.” His big concern with the new industry: “Will it speak to local values, contribute to local causes, behave responsibly?”
In other words, the new normal.
There weren’t a lot of question/answers last night, but the mayor did say this: No, he wasn’t going to let pot stores invade single-family neighborhoods. Yes, restrictions under the new statewide law would make the area for pot stores smaller than the overall area for business in the city.
But mostly the mayor, with legal counsel Carl Marquardt and state Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, at his side, acknowledged the new industry was governed by a new state law calling for a model untested in the world, for which rules did not yet exist.
By December, you’re supposed to be able to go into a state-sanctioned store and buy a state-licensed and heavily taxed bit of holiday cheer. But the state has only started the rule-making and key Democratic lawmakers are already calling for a delay in implementing voter-approved Initiative 502.
State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, writing in his blog, called for a one-year delay. But later Monday, Carlyle backpedaled, saying he didn’t have a specific strategy. He was just trying to elevate issues, he said, particularly about how tax rates will be applied to the new law and whether more study is needed in the delicate balance between supply-price-taxes and black-market competition.
“How we tax marijuana has historic international implications,” said Carlyle, chair of the House Finance Committee. “I’m 100 percent on board with the spirit of the initiative … I’m just troubled by the enormity of the task relative to designing a taxation scheme that doesn’t have unintended consequences with respect to the black market and over-pricing.”
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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