marijuana

Marijuana will be among the top agenda items when the Washington legislature convenes Monday.

Seattle Medical Marijuana van, usually parked outside a dispensary on Fremont Avenue near the Woodland Park Zoo. Tensions have mounted between medical marijuana entities and state-licensed pot shops.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Ross Reynolds talks with John Davis, owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center, about why we wants medical marijuana to be regulated by the state. Davis is also executive director of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics, a cannabis industry group.

What's Next For Colorado Marijuana?

Jan 2, 2015

It’s been a year since the Colorado law legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana has been in effect, and while the long lines have died down, pot shop owners and cities are still raking in big revenues from sales and taxes.

But, as Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports, there are challenges on the horizon.

The state government and the marijuana industry in Colorado are working to educate people about how to use pot safely. But in the high Rockies, one community is taking matters into its own hands.

The local sheriff in Aspen is leading an education effort that targets skiers and snowboarders flocking to the winter resort. And the sheriff isn't waiting until visitors hit the slopes — their education starts at the airport with pamphlets on marijuana.

Voters have legalized recreational marijuana in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to find illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

Flickr Photo/Goodiez (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with state Senators Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Ann Rivers about their proposals to regulate medical marijuana in Washington state.

Saying that Colorado's law legalizing recreational marijuana use is unconstitutional and places a burden on them, Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit against the state with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marijuana was made legal in Colorado after the state's voters approved an amendment in 2012. Its first recreational dispensaries opened at the start of this year.

Oregon is gearing up for a year-long process of crafting regulations for recreational marijuana.

Maria Moses of Dockside Cannabis in Shoreline, Washington, shows off a jar where customers can smell a marijuana sample.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

When you talk to the state’s licensed growers and sellers of marijuana, you discover that many initially opposed Initiative 502. They favored marijuana legalization, but they didn’t like the details of the initiative itself.

That was the case for Danielle and Juddy Rosellison of Bellingham, Washington. But once voters approved the initiative, Danielle said they jumped right in. 

“We got two mortgages on the two homes that we own," she said. "I called all our credit cards and told them I was going to put a BMW on it and they extended our limits to ridiculous amounts.”

The U.S. Department of Justice this week opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.

Sharon Foster, with Gov. Gregoire, announcing the ban on alcoholic energy drinks in Washington in 2010.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Sharon Foster has many proud milestones from her term as chairwoman of Washington’s Liquor Control Board. She was appointed by Governor Gregoire in 2009 and has helped the state tackle medical marijuana, liquor privatization and legalized recreational marijuana.

“I never intended to ask for another term. I really do believe six years is plenty,” Foster told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman in an interview for The Record. “They'll get somebody younger with new ideas and I think that's great.”

It's been nearly a year since Colorado made recreational marijuana legal, and since then, pot has become a billion-dollar business in the state. And some growers have made it a mission to make it legitimate and mainstream.

"Change the face," says pot entrepreneur Brooke Gehring. "But really, not to be the stereotype of what they think is stoner culture, but to realize they are true business people that are operating these companies."

To gauge international interest in Uruguay's legal cannabis market, spend just a few minutes at a small marijuana shop called Urugrow in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo.

In a period of about 10 minutes, owner Juan Manuel Varela gets a call from Brazil. A man from Canada shows up to see what the market would be for his company, which sells child-safe packaging for marijuana products. Shortly after, two American travelers stop by looking to score weed.

Seattle Medical Marijuana van, usually parked outside a dispensary on Fremont Avenue near the Woodland Park Zoo. Tensions have mounted between medical marijuana entities and state-licensed pot shops.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Across Seattle are storefronts with green crosses out front – medical marijuana providers.

Seattle has long been friendly to these businesses, but there’s mounting friction between them and state-licensed stores as lawmakers sort out the state’s new legal marijuana law.

This week, the City of Seattle will hold a symposium on the city’s booming medical marijuana scene. The event comes as city officials are trying to gently rein in these unregulated businesses.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

To become the Starbucks of marijuana: That’s an alluring goal for the new entrants in Washington’s legal pot business.

So far, state regulations have kept these businesses small. But even now, some marijuana businesses are ramping up to grow bigger and cross state lines.

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