Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:48 pm
As marijuana has become more mainstream, the business of cultivating the plant has boomed. That’s true nowhere more than in coastal northern California. There, the so-called Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties is believed to be the largest cannabis-growing region in the US.
But as the hills have sprouted thousands of new grow operations, haphazard cultivation is threatening the recovery of endangered West Coast salmon and steelhead populations.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that legal marijuana businesses need access to bank accounts as a public safety issue. Bankers and pot entrepreneurs hailed those comments as an important step. But they said it will take a change in federal law to make banks truly open their doors.
The Seattle Police Department made national headlines when officers gave away bags of Doritos at last year’s Hempfest. But some police officers were not supportive of the department’s lighthearted approach to marijuana users.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee pushed for a higher minimum wage and increased education funding during his State of the State Address this week. The state legislature kicked off its 2014 session. Also, Boeing Machinists Union President Tom Wroblewski announced his retirement.
We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.
Ross Reynolds talks with Alison Holcomb, ACLU's drug policy director, and Candice Bock, government relations advocate for the Association of Washington Cities, about state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's position on local governments' pot moratoriums. On Thursday, Ferguson said state law does not prevent local governments from regulating or banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.
The legalization of marijuana could dry up a revenue stream for police, according to reports. Here, two men share a water pipe underneath the Space Needle shortly after a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana took effect in Seattle in 2012.
Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:04 pm
Some U.S. states are viewing the legalization of marijuana as a chance to gain new sources of tax revenue. Several states allow its use for medical reasons; Colorado has approved its recreational use, and Washington will follow suit this year.
But the decriminalization of pot also stands to remove a funding source for police: property forfeitures from drug dealers. Such funding is "going up in smoke," The Wall Street Journal reports.
This dead juvenile coho salmon was found in a tributary of California's South Fork Eel River. About 20 large-scale marijuana farms are located upstream from the watershed pictured. All of them divert water from the stream.
Credit Courtesy Scott Bauer
Left: A North Coast marijuana grow site in 2010, with nothing but a little white roofed structure. Right: The same site in 2012.
Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:08 pm
For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations.
Machinists cast their votes tonight on Boeing's contract extension. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes raising the minimum hourly wage for city employees to $15. Legal marijuana enters 2014 under a hazy cloud of questions.
Steve Scher reviews the week's big stories and looks ahead to 2014 with Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, and C.R. Douglas of Q13 Fox. We also get some 2014 predictions from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.