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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Delayed Research
12:33 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Evidence On Marijuana's Health Effects Is Hazy At Best

C. Nash smokes after possession of marijuana became legal in Washington state on Dec. 6, 2012.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:23 am

Colorado opened its first pot stores in January, and adults in Washington state will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana this summer. But this legalization of recreational marijuana is taking place without much information on the possible health effects.

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Marijuana Legalization
8:43 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Pot Tax Revenue Estimates Likely Hazy

Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:37 pm

Within the next year, marijuana taxes will start arriving in Washington state coffers. But how much money can the state realistically expect to take in from legal, recreational pot sales?

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Pot Legalization
3:25 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

No Easy Answers For DUI Concerns As Marijuana Gains Support

A customer smells a strain of marijuana while being helped by employee Billy Archilla inside the retail marijuana shop at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:14 am

The Lodo Wellness Center in Denver has been selling medical marijuana for several years. But since Jan. 1, when marijuana in Colorado officially moved from underground to behind the counter, the center has also been selling legal, recreational pot.

A majority of Americans now say they support full legalization, and the trend is spreading to other states.

Meanwhile, the public health community is warning of a potential safety problem: more people driving while stoned. But health officials and law enforcement don't yet have the data or the tools to address the concern.

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Marijuana
8:42 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Pot Legalization: What Can Washington Learn From End Of Prohibition?

file photo

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:16 am

This summer marijuana stores will open for business across Washington.

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Marijuana Regulation
8:41 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Washington Liquor Board Rolls Back How Much Pot Producers Can Grow

File photo
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 4:49 pm

Applicants to grow recreational pot in Washington could have their state licenses in hand two weeks from now.

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Marijuana Legalization
8:38 am
Tue February 18, 2014

State Regulator: Pot Banking Guidance Should Solve 'Bags Of Money' Issue

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Marijuana businesses in Washington may soon be able to open a bank account. 

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Marijuana
8:58 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Bans Or Legalization? Discussing Pot In Oregon's Capitol

File photo of a cannabis plant.
Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 4:58 pm

Oregon lawmakers are considering two very different approaches to regulating marijuana this month.

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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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