Marijuana: The Path To Legalization In Washington State

Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.

Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.


SPD Community Meeting
1:42 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Seattle Police Chief Goes Directly To Public To Hear Concerns

Marcie Sillman sits down with KUOW reporter Amy Radil to talk about a recent meeting at the Capitol Hill precinct where Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole addressed police use of force and tickets that were issued for smoking marijuana in public.

Week In Review
1:04 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Recycle This Week’s News (Or We Will Fine You $1)

Flickr Photo/Erich Ferdinand (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Is Seattle going too far by making composting mandatory? Is the Northwest the best place to be in a changing climate? Is Hope Solo distracting you from the real domestic violence problem?

Bill Radke discusses these stories plus torn-up pot tickets, washed-up Mariners (maybe) and glitchy ferry clickers with Eli Sanders, Knute Berger, Joni Balter, Luke Burbank, ESPN’s Jim Caple and UW atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass.

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Recreational Pot
9:19 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Marijuana Sales Get Underway, But Youth Prevention Campaign Months Away

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 8:36 am

People are lining up to buy legal marijuana in Washington state. Now the question is how to convince kids not to touch the stuff.

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7:33 am
Tue September 23, 2014

After Coming Out As Owner Of Cannabis Club, Reporter Quits On Live TV

A screenshot of Charlo Greene just before she quit her job.

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 4:05 pm

Talk about a take-this-job and shove it moment: During last night's local news broadcast, a reporter for KTVA-TV in Alaska did two pretty stunning things.

First, after reporting on the efforts of the Alaska Cannabis Club, Charlo Greene revealed she was the club's owner. And then, realizing the kind of ethical dilemma that put her in, she quit on live television.

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Pot Initiative
7:25 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Oregon Cities Consider Taxes On Recreational Marijuana

A number of Oregon cities are considering imposing their own local taxes on legal marijuana sales.

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:55 pm

Some Oregon cities are setting themselves up for a possible legal battle if Oregon voters approve a marijuana legalization initiative this fall.

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3:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Should Seattle Dismiss Citations For Smoking Pot In Public?

Pete Holmes buys marijuana on the first day of legalization in Seattle. A police officer who cited dozens of people for smoking pot in public took on the city attorney in his citations, calling him "Petey Holmes."
Credit KUOW Photo/Michael Clinard

In the first six months of its new ordinance, the Seattle Police Department issued about 100 citations for smoking pot in public.

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Regulation Issues
7:48 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Oregon Voters To Consider Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

File photo. Measure 91 chief petitioner Anthony Johnson prepares to drop off initiative signatures at the state capitol in June.

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 4:35 pm

Oregonians will decide this fall whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Measure 91 would allow adults in Oregon to grow, possess, and sell marijuana under state regulation.

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Pot News
11:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Marijuana Tax Collections Starting To Roll In, Millions More Expected

The first year of legal pot sales in Washington state is expected to generate about $25 million in fees and taxes.

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:49 pm

In a manner of speaking, millions of dollars of "drug money" is starting to flow into Washington state coffers.

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Everybody's Durkan for the Weekend
3:49 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Jenny Durkan Looks Back At Five Years As US Attorney

Outgoing U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan
Credit KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Ross Reynolds talks with Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, who announced that she will step down at the end of the month. She looks back at her role in Seattle Police Department reform, preventing cyber crime and shaping state marijuana laws.

2:25 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Not Enough Weed To Go Around In Washington Pot Industry

Two bags inside Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, Washington on opening day.
OPB Photo/John Rosman

It’s a little after 11 a.m. and there’s a line of people out the door at Main Street Marijuana in downtown Vancouver, Washington. 

A doorman checks IDs and only lets a few people into the store at a time. Those here today are from all over: Washington, Oregon, New York and California.

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EarthFix Reports
11:05 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Indoor Marijuana Growers Create Big Demand For Northwest Energy

An indoor medical marijuana growing facility in Oakland, California.
Flickr/Rusty Blazenhoff

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 6:14 pm

Power planners are studying how much indoor marijuana growing could increase the region’s electricity demands in the near future.

The study is being conducted by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Researchers say they need to know how much energy is being used by Washington’s licensed indoor cannabis producers -- and how much that usage will increase as pot production expands.

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7:33 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Oregon Warns Unlicensed Medical Marijuana Dispensaries To Close

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 5:11 pm

Oregon is warning some unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries to close their doors. This summer, the state has sent letters to nine storefront pot dealers ordering them to shut down.

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8:22 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Washington Welfare Cards Used At Two Pot Stores In July

Marijuana is now for sale legally in Washington state licensed retail stores. It's illegal, though, to use welfare cards in those stores, as two people did in July according to the state.

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 3:21 pm

In the first month of legal, recreational marijuana sales in Washington, two welfare clients withdrew cash at pot stores using their electronic benefits transfer cards in violation of state law.

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Pot Law Challenged
5:12 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Judge Rules That Cities Have Power To Ban Marijuana Sales

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says Pierce County ruling is good news for the viability of I-502.
Credit Amy Radil / KUOW

Friday’s ruling by a Pierce County judge was good news for Washington cities that want to ban marijuana stores. Yet it was also greeted with enthusiasm by supporters of the state’s marijuana legalization efforts.

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Retail Pot
9:59 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Tiny Fife Takes Center Stage In Marijuana Ban Lawsuit

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

A lawsuit over bans on marijuana businesses is headed to Pierce County Superior Court. The legal challenge has put the tiny city of Fife in the spotlight. That’s because the case could potentially derail Washington’s new system for legalized marijuana.

Initiative 502 provided for a new regulatory system for legal marijuana sales. But does that law give cities the ability to ban marijuana businesses if they so choose? That’s the first question for the court.

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