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 Legalization
3:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Recreational Pot May Be Coming To Alaska

Alaska could be the next state to join ranks with Washington and Colorado for making recreational marijuana legal.
Flickr Photo/Brett Levin (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Alexandra Gutierrez, capitol correspondent for Alaska Public Media, about a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in Alaska.

EarthFix Reports
9:26 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Pot vs Fish: Can We Grow Salmon-Friendly Weed?

A national park ranger helps other law enforcement agencies eradicate a marijuana growing operation discovered in the park.
David Snyder for the NPS

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:48 pm

As marijuana has become more mainstream, the business of cultivating the plant has boomed. That’s true nowhere more than in coastal northern California. There, the so-called Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties is believed to be the largest cannabis-growing region in the US.

But as the hills have sprouted thousands of new grow operations, haphazard cultivation is threatening the recovery of endangered West Coast salmon and steelhead populations.

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Marijuana Retail
10:44 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Banks Remain Cautious, Washington Pot Entrepreneurs Turn To Cash, Bitcoin

Marijuana business owners say they frequently lose their bank accounts or operate entirely with cash.
Flickr Photo/401(K) 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that legal marijuana businesses need access to bank accounts as a public safety issue. Bankers and pot entrepreneurs hailed those comments as an important step. But they said it will take a change in federal law to make banks truly open their doors.

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Marijuana Legalization
7:46 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Hempfest Backlash: Seattle Police Spokesman Subject Of Discrimination Complaint

The SPD Doritos giveaway at last year's Hempfest was a viral hit, but it is now the subject of a complaint.
NPR Photo/Martin Kaste

The Seattle Police Department made national headlines when officers gave away bags of Doritos at last year’s Hempfest. But some police officers were not supportive of the department’s lighthearted approach to marijuana users.

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Cannabis
12:15 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Indoor Pot Farms Are Energy Guzzlers, Research Shows

Lights used in indoor pot farms can be as bright as those in operating rooms.
Flickr Photo/Fulvio Minichini

While the legalization of marijuana could be viewed as a liberal cause, the counterculture’s favorite herb isn’t exactly eco-friendly.

“Indoor pot farms are energy guzzlers,” said Seattle news analyst Joni Balter.

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Legalized Marijuana
3:58 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pierce County Councilman Responds To Attorney General's Opinion On Pot Moratoriums

The Pierce County Council voted to ban recreational pot.
Flickr Photo/Brian Stalter

Ross Reynolds talks with Pierce County Councilmember Dan Roach about state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's opinion that jurisdictions may ban recreational pot at their discretion.

The Week In Review
1:45 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Inslee's State Of The State, Legislative Session Kicks Off, And Machinists Union President Retires

Tom Wroblewski, pictured in 2012, has stepped down as president of the local Machinists union. His last day is Jan. 31.
Photo IAM District 751

Washington Governor Jay Inslee pushed for a higher minimum wage and increased education funding during his State of the State Address this week. The state legislature kicked off its 2014 session. Also, Boeing Machinists Union President Tom Wroblewski announced his retirement.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

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Legalized Marijuana
4:34 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Reactions To Attorney General's Opinion On Pot Moratoriums

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the state law does not prevent local governments from regulating or banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.
Flickr Photo/North Cascades National Park

Ross Reynolds talks with Alison Holcomb, ACLU's drug policy director, and Candice Bock, government relations advocate for the Association of Washington Cities, about state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's position on local governments' pot moratoriums. On Thursday, Ferguson said state law does not prevent local governments from regulating or banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.

Medical Cannabis
9:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Medical Marijuana Patients Denounce Proposed Plant Limits, Patient Registry

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.
Cannabis Training University Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:54 pm

One of the hottest topics before the Washington legislature this year is how to regulate the medical marijuana marketplace.

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Marijuana Farming
9:55 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Yakama Tribes Take Pot Stand On Traditional Lands

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.
Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:50 pm

Leaders of the Yakama Nation in central Washington say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands.

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Property Forfeitures
11:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Side Effect Of Legal Pot: Police Budgets Take A Hit

The legalization of marijuana could dry up a revenue stream for police, according to reports. Here, two men share a water pipe underneath the Space Needle shortly after a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana took effect in Seattle in 2012.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:04 pm

Some U.S. states are viewing the legalization of marijuana as a chance to gain new sources of tax revenue. Several states allow its use for medical reasons; Colorado has approved its recreational use, and Washington will follow suit this year.

But the decriminalization of pot also stands to remove a funding source for police: property forfeitures from drug dealers. Such funding is "going up in smoke," The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Cannabis Runoff
8:09 am
Mon January 13, 2014

California's Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked

This dead juvenile coho salmon was found in a tributary of California's South Fork Eel River. About 20 large-scale marijuana farms are located upstream from the watershed pictured. All of them divert water from the stream.
Courtesy Scott Bauer

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:08 pm

For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations.

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Week In Review
1:01 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The Year Ahead: Boeing, Marijuana, And $15 Minimum Wage

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Machinists cast their votes tonight on Boeing's contract extension. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes raising the minimum hourly wage for city employees to $15. Legal marijuana enters 2014 under a hazy cloud of questions.

Steve Scher reviews the week's big stories and looks ahead to 2014 with Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, and C.R. Douglas of Q13 Fox. We also get some 2014 predictions from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

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Marijuana
7:45 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Tour A State Permitted-Medical Marijuana Grow

Workers at Solstice, a medical marijuana facility in Seattle's Sodo neighborhood, trim raw, dried buds.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds interviews Alex Cooley, vice president of Solstice, a medical marijuana grow.

Ross Reynolds tours Solstice, a medical marijuana grow in Seattle's Sodo neighborhood.

At Solstice, a nondescript warehouse in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, four people in white lab coats sit at tables in a brightly lit room.

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