If someone sells drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, they can receive a stiffer sentence under federal law. In developing rules for legal marijuana, Washington state regulators tried to depart slightly from that federal rule. They allowed stores to count the 1,000 feet along sidewalks or roads, rather than “as the crow flies.”
The change would have created more legal locations for pot stores. But now the state is backtracking.
Seattle’s 22nd annual Hempfest takes place in Myrtle Edwards park near Belltown this Friday afternoon through Sunday. And times have certainly changed. Initiative 502 has legalized recreational marijuana in Washington. But Hempfest founders say as long as marijuana is illegal under federal law, their festival will still focus on changing drug laws.
Washington state voters legalized marijuana last fall, but the drug still remains illegal under federal law. Most of Washington’s congressional members, including Rep. Dave Reichert and Sen. Patty Murry, have not been supportive of I-502. On the other hand, Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow banks to handle transactions for marijuana businesses without being subject to federal charges. Rep. Heck discusses the proposal with The Conversation’s David Hyde.
As Washington state moves toward licensing marijuana retail stores, a major concern for public health experts is preventing kids from eating marijuana. They are asking the state to ban marijuana-infused candy and other sweets, and require packaging and flavors that are less appealing to kids.
Big marijuana has come to town. That was the message at one of the stranger product launches yet seen in Seattle Thursday. The press conference at Seattle’s Columbia Tower began with a quote from Carl Sagan extolling the serenity bestowed by marijuana. With former Mexican president Vicente Fox at his side, marijuana entrepreneur Jamen Shively told a packed room that marijuana prohibition is like the Berlin Wall and he hopes his new company will help it crumble.
A random drawing: That’s how the Washington State Liquor Control Board proposes choosing applicants for marijuana retail licenses. And it’s drawing major criticism from existing medical marijuana providers.
Two weeks ago the federal Drug Enforcement Administration sent cease and desist letters to 11 medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle. It was the first notable enforcement action in Washington since recreational marijuana was legalized last year. Federal officials say it won’t be the last.
For answers, KUOW’s Steve Scher talked with Thomas McLellan, Ph.D. He’s CEO and co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute, and is an internationally known substance abuse researcher and public policy expert. Most recently, he served as deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Obama-Biden administration, where he was heavily involved in health care reform.
A new state law says you can have a licensed retail store for recreational marijuana, but it can’t be located within 1,000 feet of many facilities: schools, parks, transit centers, arcades, or libraries. In Seattle, that 1,000-foot rule means most of the city is off-limits. Smaller cities may have no eligible sites.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board holds a public hearing tonight at Seattle’s City Hall on how to implement the state’s new marijuana law. The first one drew a standing room only crowd eager to weigh in on how Washington state should set up its system to license marijuana growers, processors and sellers.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:53 am
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Pot becomes legal in Washington on Thursday. But state officials have not even begun to write the complicated rules for who can grow it, process it and sell. That year-long process begins Wednesday.
By the end of this week, adult possession of up to one ounce of usable marijuana will no longer be a crime in Washington. But Initiative 502 -- approved by voters in November -- does much more than decriminalize possession. It requires the state to license and regulate marijuana producers, processors and retailers.
On our show yesterday, we talked with John Davis, who runs a legal medical marijuana business in Washington state. He described one of the big hurdles of starting a legal marijuana business: It's really hard to get a bank account.
His story reveals not only the gray area the marijuana business still inhabits (it's still illegal under federal law), but also just how hard it is to run a small business without a bank.