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.

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Marijuana
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/6716761531/in/photolist-bexaci-j6CvG2-3J2ju-egU4pY-egNhFV-egNic6-egNiiT-egU4Jf-fEgJgt-fEgJfe-nVP5VW-afDraH-3DYxK-3J2jo-3J2j6-3J2jx-3J2iZ-3J2jc-3J2iQ-3J2iD-bevX

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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Marijuana
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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Marijuana
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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Week In Review
1:08 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Grab This Week’s News Before It’s Sunk

Dive into the inky black waters of Lake Washington and you may find the oldest wreck recorded: A dozen coal trains from a wreck 139 years ago.
KUOW Photo/Jake Warga

This week, we found out what’s really at the bottom of Lake Washington. The reporter who did the story surfaces to tell us. Plus, do Seattle TV stations have the right to surveillance video of the SPU shooter? Do coal companies have the right to ship from our shores? Is it right to pay voters to vote? And was something not right with Steve Ballmer and Lakeside High School basketball?

Bill Radke asks those questions and more of this week's panel: Crosscut’s Knute Berger, The Stranger’s Eli Sanders and Maria LaGanga of the LA Times.

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Oregon Politics
8:23 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Marijuana Dispensary Leads To Small Town Political Showdown

Brie Malarkey owns Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill, Oregon.

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:56 pm

The town of Gold Hill, Oregon is in turmoil. Two-thirds of its City Council is the subject of a recall election on Monday.

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Plant Seizures
8:25 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Amid Legal Pot, The Search Continues For Illegal Grows

File photo of 'guerrilla' cultivation of cannabis

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 3:37 pm

Legal marijuana grows are just getting started in Washington state. But it’s the illegal ones that local, state and federal agents are searching out this month.

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Marijuana
5:09 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Europe's Latest Grass-Roots Movement: Cannabis Social Clubs

Eliane Detraz, a 42-year-old Swiss national member of the Sibaratas Med Can club, rolls a joint at the plantation of the association in Spain's Canary Islands in April 2013.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 10:46 am

Gabriela walks into a large, dimly lit apartment, goes to a counter, buys a bag of sativa and sits on the sofa with her friends, joint in hand, like in Amsterdam. Except this is not Amsterdam. This is Barcelona, and the open sale of marijuana is illegal.

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Risky Business
11:30 am
Mon August 18, 2014

As Pot Laws Relax, Restrictions On Research Still Tight

A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 7, 2014. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 11:45 am

Medical marijuana is now legal in nearly half of all U.S. states, but doing research on the drug is harder than one might think. Because of federal laws and regulations, it can take years to get the approval necessary to start a study.

University of Arizona doctor Sue Sisley says she was fired for her research on marijuana. Sisley was leading a federally-approved study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and medical marijuana, when the university cut ties with her.

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News From Canada
2:52 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Canada's 'Prince Of Pot' Looking For Political Revenge

Marcie Sillman talks to Les Leyne, legislative reporter for the Victoria Times Colonist, about the news from Canada. Marc Emery, the self proclaimed "Prince Of Pot" was released from U.S. prison and has arrived back in Canada. Also, test results have come back favorably for the Mt. Polley mine dam breach in British Columbia.

Marijuana
7:32 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Ground Zero For Washington Pot Wars: Fife, Wash., Pop. 9,421

The Poodle Dog diner in Fife, Wash., is a site for debate about whether the city should ban marijuana business.
Credit Flickr Photo/Great Beyond (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This July, the Fife City Council prohibited all marijuana business inside Fife city limits.

That ban has been challenged by State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU. The Fife case has a hearing in Pierce County Superior Court at the end of this month. It could end up in Supreme Court by the end of the year.

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Marijuana
3:29 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Pot Business Sues City Of Fife Over Ban

Ross Reynolds talks with James Dusek, owner of Downtown Cannabis Company in Pacific, Wash. He and two other marijuana business have sued the City of Fife over its ban on marijuana businesses, worrying that the ban could spread to other areas. The case has been taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington.

Week In Review
1:44 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Park It There For A Discussion Of The Week's News

Flickr Photo/Dann Cove (CC-BY-NC-ND)

So long, Seattle parks levies! We won't be needing you anymore. Seattle's Proposition 1 to permanently fund parks looks to be passing. And speaking of parks, should police only enforce the outdoor pot smoking ban if kids are nearby?

Also, there were some interesting primary election results, but did this week’s vote reveal bigotry in Western Washington? When should your city take a stand on world events?

KUOW's Bill Radke discusses these issues with Joni Balter, C.R. Douglas, Erica C. Barnett and special guest John Moe of Wits and Rewind.

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