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.

Across Seattle are storefronts with green crosses out front – medical marijuana providers.

Seattle has long been friendly to these businesses, but there’s mounting friction between them and state-licensed stores as lawmakers sort out the state’s new legal marijuana law.

This week, the City of Seattle will hold a symposium on the city’s booming medical marijuana scene. The event comes as city officials are trying to gently rein in these unregulated businesses.

To become the Starbucks of marijuana: That’s an alluring goal for the new entrants in Washington’s legal pot business.

So far, state regulations have kept these businesses small. But even now, some marijuana businesses are ramping up to grow bigger and cross state lines.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said he's concerned about how the state will implement the voter-approved marijuana legalization initiative.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks to Christopher Ingraham, reporter for the Washington Post, about the state of the national marijuana legalization movement after the 2014 midterm election.

Flickr Photo/Brian Stalter (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor for Bitch Media, about results from ballot measures in Oregon regarding marijuana legalization and GMO labeling.

Facebook Photo/Save Bristol Bay

Jeannie Yandel talks to Alexandra Gutierrez, state government reporter for Alaska Public Radio, about some of the measures that passed in Alaska after the 2014 mid-term election.

Submitted Photo

Voters in Washington, D.C., have approved the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Supporters of the D.C. marijuana measure had a 65-29.5 percent lead as of 9:09 p.m. ET, with 20,727 voting in favor.

Flickr Photo/Goodiez

In a parked car, in a neighborhood near downtown, a driver passes a small brown paper bag of marijuana across the front seat. In exchange, the guy in the passenger seat hands over a wad of cash and quickly examines the contents of the bag. 

Oregon’s ballot measure campaigns are continuing to pull in big-money donations.

PORTLAND -- New threats and a legal settlement prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal today to list West Coast populations of fisher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The fisher, an elusive cousin of the mink, otter and weasel, was first driven into scarcity by fur trappers and loggers in the late 1800s. Today it's getting poisoned by marijuana growers.

Washington's law legalizing recreational marijuana made its way into Idaho's gubernatorial debate on Friday.

This Week In Downsizing

Oct 3, 2014

Boeing reduces local defense jobs, Metro reduces bus cuts and Seattle reduces its plans on the waterfront. Plus: How are you reacting to Ebola’s arrival in the U.S.?

Bill Radke discusses these topics with Crosscut's Knute Berger, KUOW reporter Deborah Wang and Maria LaGanga, Seattle bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.

Posey Gruener / KUOW

Ross Reynolds speaks with  producer Posey Gruener on the scene at the opening of Seattle's second marijuana retail store, Uncle Ike's Pot Shop on 23rd and Union in the Central District.

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.

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