By Steve Elliott
A Washington marijuana businessman is suing the state's Liquor Control Board, saying the agency rejected his application to retail cannabis over a minor technicality. The suit alleges that the board put him and his partners at risk of substantial financial loss.
The suit, filed by Pete O'Neil in King County Superior Court, seeks to overturn the Liquor Control Board's decision to deny a license for C&C Cannabis to sell marijuana in Lynnwood, Washington, reports Valerie Bauman at Puget Sound Business Journal. The application was rejected for only having an electronic signature, instead of both a written signature and an electronic one, according to O'Neil, who manages C&C.
Officials at the Washington State Liquor Control Board refused to comment on ongoing litigation.
The board could be subjected to dozens or even hundreds of similar lawsuits as it makes its way through the first year of implementation of I-502, a limited legalization measure approved by 54 percent of Washington voters in 2012. The first cannabis stores opened on July 8, and more are gradually opening for business as the supply from growers increases; 334 retail licenses were awarded statewide.
More lawsuits by disappointed entrepreneurs like the one filed by O'Neil are expected. Many business people feel wronged by what they say is a system which set them up for failure.
By Steve Elliott
Legendary actor James Garner, who portrayed two of television's most memorable characters in "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files," died on Sunday at the age of 86. Garner was a longtime supporter of marijuana legalization, and in his memoir said he'd used cannabis for 50 years, even adding "I don't where I'd be without it."
"I started smoking marijuana in my late teens," Garner wrote in his memoir,
"Grass is smooth," Garner wrote, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI. "It had the opposite effect from alcohol; it made me more tolerant and forgiving."
"I smoked marijuana for 50 years," Garner wrote. "I don't know where I'd be without it. It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now its active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain.
"I've concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal," Garner wrote. "But, good luck with that."
By Steve Elliott
In a bit of news that surprises absolutely no one, a majority of Arizona's sheriff's and county attorneys officially oppose the legalization of marijuana. Just to make sure we know that, they helpfully approved a resolution by voice vote at their annual meeting.
The resolution came as marijuana advocates have selected Arizona for a legalization drive for 2016, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at the Arizona Republic. The Marijuana Policy Project plans to pursue full recreational legalization through a voter initiative in the state.
The resolution adopted by a voice vote of the Arizona County Attorney & Sheriff's Association meeting includes nearly two dozen whiney points outlining why the group refuses to join the 21st Century. It includes such fanciful Reefer Madness claims as marijuana being harmful to teen IQ (it actually grows brain cells) and pot use "leading to risky behavior."
The exercise in futility, I mean the law enforcement resolution, cites more than two pages of references to support its outlandish statements.
Graphic: 420 Petition
By Steve Elliott
Seattle's only state-licensed marijuana store -- closed after quickly running out of pot last week, in its first few days of business -- plans to reopen again late next week.
"We will be open on the 25th with enough product to remain open, with continuous supplies from then on," claimed Cannabis City manager Amber McGowan, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.
Cannabis City was the first marijuana shop in Seattle to open, on July 8, and made it just three days before running out of weed. McGowan said the store is waiting until the 25th to reopen so that they can actually stay open for business instead of closing and reopening every few days.
By the 25th, McGowan said, "we expect to have two consistent large volume suppliers on board, with a third a few days later; with that, then, we hope to be able to conduct a more normal type business operation with no future closures ... that's the plan, at least."
The shop will only have ready-to-smoke marijuana flowers for sale this month; McGowan said they plan to have cannabis oil and vape pens in August.
Two other marijuana stores are almost ready to open in Seattle, according to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which was put in charge of implementing limited legalization measure I-502 in the state.
Photo of Cannabis City owner James Lathrop at his shop in Seattle: Elaine Thompson/AP
Historic Vote Falls on Heels of Votes in May to Prohibit DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws
Meanwhile Conflict Over Washington, DC Decrim Law and Legalization Ballot Measure Increases
In a historic vote, the U.S. House on Wednesday passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192.
In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.
“Congress is yet again rejecting the failed war on marijuana,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “They have read the poll numbers and are doing both what is right and what is politically smart.”
Retired Superior Court Judge Jim Gray will be debating marijuana legalization with Dr. Kevin Sabet of Project SAM on Wednesday, July 16, at the Colorado School of Mines in an event that will be broadcast live.
A former federal prosecutor, judge advocate for the Navy JAG corps and superior court judge, Gray is in the Denver area this week meeting with media and civic groups and preparing for the Wednesday debate on the merits of marijuana legalization, regulation and control.
Judge Gray is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials who believe that prohibiting illicit drugs only serves to empower the criminal networks that sell them, wastes law enforcement time and resources, contributes to racial disparities in the justice system, saddles people who would be better served by treatment with criminal records and ultimately is ineffective at reducing use.
The event will be broadcast live at http://www.fee.org/seminars/page/is-legalizing-marijuana-a-responsible-p... .
"The essential question is, would you rather have government regulators and legitimate business owners deciding how marijuana is grown, what it's laced with, and who can buy it, or would you rather leave those decisions -- and multiple billions of dollars in profits -- to drug cartels and juvenile street gangs?" Judge Gray asked.
Citizens for a Safer Maine on Monday submitted its petition in support of an initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults within South Portland city limits. The group submitted more than 1,500 signatures, with just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
The city clerk has 20 days to certify the petition.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows joined Citizens for a Safer Maine at a news conference inside South Portland City Hall prior to submitting the signatures to the City Clerk’s Office.
“Our goal is to get people talking about marijuana and the benefits of ending prohibition,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
“Marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and for society," Boyer said. "It should be treated it that way, and that entails no longer punishing adults who choose to use it responsibly.”
A marijuana industry job board website, 420careers.com, has reached out to Mike Boyer, the first Washington state citizen to purchase recreational marijuana and to get fired for using recreational marijuana, find a new job in the marijuana industry.
Boyer was the first person to purchase recreational marijuana in Washington’s new marijuana industry and was fired hours later after his employer recognized him on multiple TV stations that aired interviews of him and the historic moment.
Boyer said he’s “been officially terminated for violation of the drug use policy,” but that he hopes he can “spin this and get a job in the marijuana industry… It’s a new industry, they need qualified people.”
“The marijuana industry is one of the few industries creating large quantities of job opportunities in the US, and businesses are in need of qualified, law-abiding employees like Mr. Boyer," said Dan Kingston, president of 420careers.com.
"More than 10,000 marijuana industry jobs have been created in Colorado alone," Kingston said. "And hundreds, if not thousands, of more jobs will be created in Washington and other states that legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational use."
Currently trending marijuana jobs offered on 420careers.com range from marijuana writers to advertising sales people, budtenders to cultivation experts, security to administrative positions, and more. Presently, marijuana jobs are in the highest demand in Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona, where the marijuana industries are booming.
Bathroom-Themed Ads in Las Vegas Restrooms Highlight the Costs of Prohibition and the Benefits of Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol
One ad design features toilet paper made of money and says law enforcement’s ‘limited resources should be reserved for serious matters’ instead of punishing adult marijuana consumers; a second ad design features a toilet full of money and asks why Nevada is flushing revenue from marijuana sales down the toilet into the underground market
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Friday launched its first ad campaign in support of a 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Nevada. The bathroom-themed ads, which are scheduled to appear in restrooms at more than two dozen restaurants and bars across Las Vegas throughout July and August, highlight the costs of marijuana prohibition and the benefits of replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
“A lot of people know alcohol prohibition failed but have yet to realize marijuana prohibition is just as big of a disaster,” said Joe Brezny, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “These ads will reach folks at a time when we know they have a few minutes to put some thought into it.”
By Steve Elliott
Tourists are responsible for up to 90 percent of recreational marijuana sales in some Colorado ski resort towns, according to a new analysis from the state. Those visitors are infusing tens of millions of dollars into the Mile High marijuana economy.
The study was prepared for state marijuana regulators by the Marijuana Policy Group, which is a collaboration between private consultants and the University of Colorado-Boulder Business Research Division, reports Trever Hughes at USA Today. It says that about 9 percent of Colorado residents are using cannabis at least once per month.
According to the study, which was released on Wednesday, 22 percent of users consume about 70 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado. The study defines a "heavy marijuana user" as someone consuming a gram or more a day at least 21 days monthly.
Colorado residents will consume about 121.4 metric tons of weed each year, while tourists will buy nearly 9 metric tons, according to the study. Earlier this year, state tax officials estimated the market at just 91 metric tons, and a separate study released last year estimated it at just 64 metric tons.
By Steve Elliott
A bar patron in Denver Tuesday night offered President Obama a joint, asking, "Do you want to hit this?" The President laughed and smiled, but didn't answer as he shook hands with other patrons.
Matt Anton, the man who offered marijuana to the President, posted footage of Obama on his Instagram account with the caption, "Asked him if he wanted a hit of pot ... he laughed! #legalizeit #inhaled," reports Dave Boyer at The Washington Times.
As the President's motorcade came into Denver from the airport, someone had held up a sign reading, "Free Weed for Obama."
After the President greeted a supporter outside the bar who was wearing a horse's head mask, a Time magazine reporter tweeted a Photoshopped picture of Obama confronting an entire group of people with horse heads, with the caption, "The moment POTUS remembered Maureen Dowd's warning about the Denver cookies."
The President has expressed support for allowing legalization to proceed in Colorado and Washington. "It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," Obama told an interviewer in January.
By Steve Elliott
Twenty months after Washington's voters approved limited marijuana legalization measure Initiative 502, the first licensed recreational cannabis stores in the state opened on Tuesday to long lines. With only four shops open statewide of 24 that received licenses on Monday, prices were high and competition was nonexistent.
Thomas Snyder of Richland went to Altitude in Prosser at 9 a.m. for Tuesday's grand opening. "I didn't actually go inside," Snyder told Hemp News on Wednesday. "I decided we couldn't afford two grams (at $30 each), so I let my wife go in while I watched the kids in the car."
"The place was very professional," Snyder told us. "The line was maybe an hour and a half wait when we got there an hour after they opened. Twice while I was waiting, the staff came outside and handed out bottled water and soda."
But inquiring minds want to know: Was the marijuana any good?
"Not too bad at all," Snyder said of the weed's quality. "It could have used a longer cure, but that's what happens when it's all rushed to get to market."
Altitude is only serving 300 customers a day until later this month, when the supply catches up with the demand, according to Snyder, who is an authorized medical marijuana patient.
The first stores where adults can legally purchase marijuana in Washington State are set to open on Tuesday, roughly six months after Colorado launched what is so far seen as a successful effort to regulate sales of the drug there. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Monday issued the state's first 24 marijuana retailer licenses.
At least three retail shops will open on Tuesday, reports Tony Dokoupil of NBC News: Cannabis City Seattle, Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham and The Freedom Market in Kelso.
The state faces a huge backlog for licenses, with only 18 license reviewers trying to process thousands of applications. The first grower approvals didn't happen until March, which left very little growing time to stock the shelves.
That's given rise to a predictable shortage of recreational marijuana, and more and more irate entrepreneurs. Some have already gone under as opening day was delayed again and again, due largely to Washington's foolish decision to scrap the existing medical marijuana market and create the recreational marijuana market from scratch.
A California company which specializes in custom vending machines and automated retailing systems announced on Wednesday that its new Lane Recognition Technology will have a "profound impact" on America's growing legal marijuana industry.
According to a press release from AVT, Inc., the technology, which identifies every item in its temperature controlled storage area, provides verification on each package that it dispenses. The system eliminates human error, and provides 100 percent dispensing accuracy, according to the company.
This can be especially important in retail environments where precise "seed-to-sale" tracking is often required.
The use of marijuana to treat a variety of conditions is now allowed in almost half the country, reports CNN. New York was one of the latest states to pass a form of medical marijuana legalization.
"The momentum has picked up recently," CNN reported, as more states line up to pass sensible laws regarding the medical use of cannabis.
D.C. Hoping to Follow Colorado and Washington, as Polls Show Over 60% Support for Legalization Among DC Residents
The D.C. Cannabis Campaign will submit 58,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections at 441 4th Street NW, Suite 250, on Monday at 10 a.m., in order to place Initiative 71 on the November ballot. The Board of Elections will have 30 days to verify that the campaign has the required 23,780 signatures to qualify.
Monday at noon, members of the campaign will join D.C. elected officials on a national press teleconference to discuss the impact of the ballot initiative and the City Council’s bill on overall marijuana arrest rates, issues surrounding racial justice, and the District’s fight for self-determination.
D.C. hopes to follow in the steps of Colorado and Washington by legalizing marijuana and polls show the issue is popular among District residents, with support above 60 percent. The District of Columbia currently has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S.
In 2010 black people in the District accounted for 91 percent of all marijuana arrests -– even though black and white people use marijuana at roughly similar rates.
Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, and allows for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home.
District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. City Council is currently considering a bill which will tax and regulate marijuana within the District.