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marijuana

You won’t have to worry about unclear labels on any pot-infused sweets in Washington state after Valentine’s Day. A rule to help keep children from getting more than just a sugar high goes into full effect Tuesday.

Susan Gress says Sessions as AG is just the latest uncertainty for her business. Susan Gress says Jeff Sessions as attorney general is just the latest uncertainty for her business.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

For years, John Davis has helped produce Seattle Hempfest, a sprawling outdoor celebration of all things marijuana. 

So far, more than half of all U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized the drug for recreational use. Varieties of cannabis available today are more potent than ever and come in many forms, including oils and leaves that can be vaped, and lots of edibles, from brownies and cookies to candies — even cannabis gummy bears.

Senator Jeff Sessions.
FLICKR PHOTO/Gage Skidmore (CC by SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/av61Fy

Bill Radke speaks with Puget Sound Business Journal digital editor Greg Lamm about the impact Jeff Sessions could have on Washington's marijuana and tech industries if he is confirmed as the U.S. attorney general.

Marijuana growers use a lot of pesticides — especially when these mildew- and mite-sensitive plants are grown indoors.

But a growing number of farmers and shops are trying to give their customers a satisfying cannabis high without the downer of pesticide-related environmental or health risks.

Johnny Vanella is among them. At the JV Ranch outside Goldendale, Washington, he harvested his first organically grown cannabis crop this fall.

After the results of the November election, more than half of U.S. states have now authorized medical marijuana. And eight of those states also allow recreational marijuana. So if pot helps some humans feel better, how about people's best friends?

After Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana use for adults in 2014, there was no place to legally buy it until October of the following year. That's when a law kicked in that allowed dispensaries to sell to people without medical marijuana cards.

With more states legalizing recreational marijuana, parents are facing the question of whether they should smoke pot around their children.

"I have never smoked and would never smoke around my child," says one mother who lives in San Francisco. California is one of eight states that allows recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older.

When Donald Trump offered Sen. Jeff Sessions the position of attorney general, the pick drew criticism from civil rights groups and immigrant advocates. In the fast-growing, multibillion-dollar marijuana industry, it is also raising fears.

In California, the city of Oakland was the first to regulate and tax medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, some city leaders see the industry's profits and are proposing to take a bigger piece of the action. The Oakland City Council is voting later this month on a pot profit-taking plan.

Harborside Health Center in Oakland is the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the nation.

Its executive director, Steve DeAngelo, says his dispensary brings in about $30 million in annual revenues.

Experts at the Oregon Poison Center are warning parents to be on the lookout for marijuana edibles in their kids’ Halloween candy.

There haven’t been any reports in Oregon of people slipping edibles into kids' candy, but toxicologist Robert Hendrickson, worries it could happen accidentally.

“This is a time of year when there’s lots of candy around the house because they’re going to go out into bowls to be handed out. And there are kids coming home with candies," he said.

Marijuana retailers began collecting a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales starting in January. That money is adding up quickly.

America has a long and storied history with marijuana. Once grown by American colonists to make hemp rope, by 1970, it was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Possession of it was — and is — a federal crime, despite the fact that in recent years 25 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington's 5th Congressional District debated her Democratic challenger Joe Pakootas at Washington State University Wednesday night.

Five states are voting this fall on whether marijuana should be legal, like alcohol, for recreational use. That has sparked questions about what we know — and don't know — about marijuana's effect on the brain.

Matt Carlucci, president of the Center for Palliative Care in Seattle, says legal pot in California could mean fewer people sent to jail.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Willmer

One vote in November isn’t on the ballot in Washington but could have ripple effects here. It’s the initiative to legalize marijuana in California.

Matt Carlucci is president of the Center for Palliative Care in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. His former medical marijuana business is empty now, awaiting a state license to become a marijuana producer and processor.

This story starts with a stay-at-home-mom from the Denver suburbs.

Her name is Abby McLean. She's 30 and lives in Northglenn, Colo. She was driving home from a late dinner with a friend two years ago when she came upon a DUI roadside checkpoint.

"I hadn't drank or smoked anything, so I was like, 'Let's go through the checkpoint,' " she recalls.

McLean is a regular marijuana user but she insists she never drives while high.

Employees at Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle's Central District sell marijuana products on their opening day, Sept. 30, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

King County would test for certain pesticides in marijuana under a new proposal. King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles proposed the ordinance Wednesday. She said the state hasn't made marijuana testing a priority, so the county should act.


There won't be as many happy test-takers in the new future, predicts the Washington State Department of Licensing. That's because a new test replaces the old one on Monday, and there will be more questions.
Flickr Photo/John Meehan CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://bit.ly/2boP91R

A new Washington state driver's test debuted on Monday.

The number of questions has been upped to 40, and there are some new topics.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s disappointed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's decision not to reclassify marijuana. In a letter Thursday, the DEA said marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug for now.

Have a Heart marijuana store in Greenwood was robbed on Sunday evening. Marijuana stores must carry cash because most banks refuse to work with pot stores because they are still illegal under federal law.
Have a Heart sales & promotions http://bit.ly/2aMP847


Legal marijuana sales exceeded $1.3 billion in Washington state in fiscal year 2017.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The moratorium on marijuana businesses in unincorporated parts of King County is just about over. The King County Council voted last night to lift the four month ban.

Council members also considered a move to allow retail pot stores in neighborhood business zones. People like Linda Mango asked policy makers to approve of that legislation.

Even though Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, you can't legally buy the stuff in more than 100 Oregon communities. That's because some city and county governments have banned recreational marijuana businesses.

But voters in nearly half of those places will have the chance to overturn those bans this November.

Washington's Poison Center has unveiled the new warning label to identify products that are not for children.
Washington Poison Center

Mr. Yuk may have a new sibling in Washington: a bright red hand.

Washington's Poison Center has unveiled the new warning label to identify products that are not for children, like edible marijuana. The new label has a red hand, the words "not for kids," and the number for the Poison Center.

Prescription drug prices continue to climb, putting the pinch on consumers. Some older Americans appear to be seeking an alternative to mainstream medicines that has become easier to get legally in many parts of the country. Just ask Cheech and Chong.

Marijuana is legal in Colorado — as long as you're 21 or older. It's still illegal for kids to possess, so juveniles are coming to dominate the marijuana arrests in Colorado. But another startling trend also has developed: Arrest rates have risen dramatically for young blacks and Latinos.

Ricky Montoya isn't surprised that's happening. He's standing outside Courtroom 4F in Denver's City and County Building, where he was just ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for his third marijuana possession offense.

The end is near for a veteran-owned medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Olympia. It’s a casualty of the state merging recreational and medical marijuana.

A marijuana collective on Aurora Avenue North, where there are several medical marijuana dispensaries within a few blocks. The deadline for medical marijuana storefronts to meet state regulations is July 1.
Google Maps

Along certain stretches of highway in Washington state are green crosses painted on a white background.

These crosses signal a medical marijuana dispensary nearby.

Marijuana plants growing at Seattle's first legal pot farm, Sea of Green.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is taking steps to address high levels of pesticides found in some legal marijuana samples. But the agency does not currently require testing for pesticides. Growers say for now, it’s up to consumers to seek that information.

Marijuana cultivation is estimated to use one percent of America’s electricity output. That’s enough juice to power 1.7 million average homes.

And as more states make the drug legal in some form, that power consumption is expected to soar. Northwest energy officials project cannabis grows will suck up three percent of the region’s power by 2035.

Now, efforts are underway to get growers to reduce their energy use.

John Kagia cuts right to the chase.

“Indoor cannabis cultivation is extraordinarily energy intensive," he flatly states.

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