Beginning next year, as many as 21 marijuana retail stores could be open for business in Seattle — and that's sparked a contentious debate over where these stores can be located.
State rules mandate that retail stores must be 1,000 feet from schools, public parks, libraries and even transit centers. That leaves very few places for pot stores to open. According to the city's preliminary map, in nearly all of central Seattle (including Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central Area), there are very few places that pot retailers will be able to open up. One of those places is the corner of 23rd Avenue and E Union Street.
Starting next year, recreational pot stores will be open for business all over the state of Washington. State officials said the city of Kent could have three. But now, it looks like they won’t have any. Last year, the Kent City Council banned medical marijuana collective gardens over concerns that they violated federal law. Now, the city’s applying that same ban to recreational pot stores. Why?
Pat Fitzpatrick is Kent’s acting city attorney. He talked with Ross Reynolds.
The Washington Supreme Court has sided with a wheelchair-bound pot user who lacked an official medical marijuana card. In a split ruling Thursday, the high court said even non-card-holding patients can mount a medical necessity defense at trial.
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.
A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at Hempfest in Seattle on Aug. 16. Thousands packed a waterfront park for the opening of a three-day marijuana festival, an event that is part party, part protest and part victory celebration after the legalization of pot in Washington and Colorado in 2012.
Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:48 pm
Marijuana-based businesses in Washington will be able to pay their taxes in cash. That’s the word from the state’s Department of Revenue.
The agency is gearing up for more cash filers in its field offices.
Most banks are unwilling to open accounts for marijuana businesses because of the federal prohibition on pot. That means Washington’s new, legal recreational marijuana market could be a largely cash-based enterprise.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 6:18 pm
It was the call Governor Jay Inslee has been waiting for since the beginning of the year. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder giving Washington – and Colorado – the green light to proceed with marijuana legalization. But the feds reserve the right to intervene if they see problems.
It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news. The Department of Justice signals a long-awaited green light on new pot laws in Washington and Colorado. Fast-food workers in Seattle and across the country hold a one-day strike to push for an increase in minimum wage pay. The Obama Administration makes the case for American military involvement in Syria.
Plus, state Republicans choose a new leader, Seattle schools face a possible teacher strike, and same-sex couples get a break from the IRS.
Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:16 pm
Legal pot? Not so fast. That’s the message from a growing number of Washington cities.
Several municipalities are considering whether to pass a moratorium on pot-related businesses. Others – like Bellingham and Olympia – have already enacted temporary bans.
Richland, Pasco and Kennewick are just the latest Washington cities to consider moratoriums. But it’s not just more conservative eastern Washington communities. Liberal Bellingham and Olympia have said ‘time out’ when it comes to legal, recreational pot.
Ross Reynolds talks with author Mark Bittman about food, health and politics and how they all intertwine. Also, Julia Harrison investigates the history and importance of sweets. She tells Ross about the role of sugary snacks in the Pacific Northwest.
Sen. Patrick Leahy is calling on the Justice Department to state its position on marijuana's legal status. Here, a man inspects a shirt depicting the U.S. flag made of marijuana symbols, at a medical marijuana show in Los Angeles earlier this year.
The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he's done waiting for answers about how the Justice Department will handle marijuana offenses in states that have legalized small amounts of the drug.