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.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has been a longtime supporter of legalizing marijuana. But when he was elected in 2009, he said he never would have imagined that his goal would be achieved so quickly. This week Initiative 502 takes effect, or at least the part of it that allows people to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
Marijuana has been historically cast as a dangerous drug for outcasts and societal dropouts. But with the passage of I-502, marijuana is going mainstream. A Seattle web entrepreneur is building tools for the masses to bring marijuana – and its users – into the 21st century.
Officials with the Washington state Patrol say about 8 percent of the drivers they pull over turn out to be impaired by drugs. A lab test verifying marijuana in the blood is a factor in showing driver impairment, they say, but there’s never been a legal limit the way there is for alcohol. That changes with the new law allowing marijuana possession, which takes effect Thursday, Dec. 6. It contains a new limit on marijuana components in a driver’s bloodstream.
Medical marijuana is available in 18 states, and the vote on November 6 legalized the possession of pot in Colorado and Washington. With the highest incarceration rate in the world, and more than $2 trillion dedicated to fighting the "war on drugs," we continue to fill our prisons with drug offenders. Is it worth it? From the series Intelligence Squared U.S., the motion is Legalize Drugs.
Paul Butler, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
A coalition of law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents have signed a letter asking US Attorney general Eric Holder not to interfere with Washington and Colorado’s new legal marijuana laws.
The letter to Eric Holder was organized by the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, otherwise known as LEAP.
The communication asks Attorney General Holder to respect the will of the people of Washington and Colorado. Both states passed laws legalizing recreational use of marijuana by roughly a 55 percent majority.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee looks out the window of his plane as it flies over the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, on the way to Richland, Wash. Inslee toured the facility and met with Dept. of Energy officials.
Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced three members of his transition team yesterday, just as the state revenue council announced their prediction of a $900 million budget shortfall over the next two years. Inslee spoke with KUOW’s Steve Scher about his approach to closing that gap and his role in supporting the initiative that passed recreational use of marijuana.
The Supreme Court of Washington ruled earlier this year that the state is not meeting its constitutional duty to fully fund public education. What does a well-funded school system look like? We talk with Diane Ravitch, research professor of education at New York University.
Correction: In the original story Steve Sarich was referred to as an attorney. He is not an attorney but a medical marijuana consultant and an opponent of I-502.
Hold off on that trip to Amsterdam. It appears recreational marijuana will soon be legal for adults in Washington, at least under state law.
The mood was jubilant at the official I-502 party at the Hotel Andra in downtown Seattle. In attendance was Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a primary backer of the measure. He says this law change is about good government.
A new online Seattle startup called Leafly is targeting medical marijuana patients. The website (and mobile apps) feature information about medical cannabis strains and dispensaries based on tens of thousands of patient-generated reviews. Ross Reynolds talks with Leafly’s CEO Brendan Kennedy about how the site works.
Should marijuana be taxed and regulated in Washington state? Initiative 502 would allow for the sale and possession of marijuana for adults over 21. If voters approve I-502, Washington state would be out front in challenging federal marijuana policy. We discuss legalizing pot with Alison Holcomb of New Approach Washington, Douglas Hiatt of Sensible Washington, former DEA administrator Peter Bensinger and former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper.