Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WW: Legalization mascot up in smoke, weed prisoner walks free, pot studies

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 11:52 AM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

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Last week, ResponsibleOhio, the group that is driving a November ballot measure that could legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State, unveiled its mascot “Buddie,” an anthropomorphic marijuana bud with six-pack abs, a cape, underwear outside of his pants and a big “B” on his chest over an outline of Ohio.

After the group posted the photo to its Facebook page (which appears to have been taken down), it drew comparisons to Joe Camel, an infamous cartoon character critics claimed was used to entice children to take up smoking, reports

Buddie drew complaints from a children’s advocacy groups, saying that it sent the wrong message to kids. The Weed Blog ran an article titled, “‘Buddie The Marijuana Mascot’ Might Be The Worst Idea In The History Of Marijuana Politics.”

The offending mascot now appears to have been scrubbed from ResponsibleOhio’s website. .

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Health officials in Denver continue to quarantine pot that’s been treated with pesticides not approved for use.

According to a recent study, college students are more into smoking weed than cigarettes.

According to another recent study, marijuana may lower sperm count.

According to yet another recent study, marijuana may not be shrinking your brain.

Jeff Mizanskey, who spent 20 years on a life sentence for a nonviolent marijuana charge, is a free man.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WW: Corruption in weed worker unionizing, Larry Harvey dies, fatal crashes linked to pot?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Earlier this month, Dan Rush, the director of the United Food and Commercial Workers' national medical cannabis and hemp division, was indicted on allegations that he violated labor law by improperly colluding with a marijuana grower all while lining his pockets. The indictment is significant because Rush has led the union’s efforts to organize workers in the nascent cannabis industry in California, which have extended to Eastern Washington.

SF Weekly reports that the union swiftly distanced itself from Rush, who was nicknamed “Superman” for his unionization efforts. After the news broke, Isaac Curtis, who is organizing Eastern Washington cannabis workers, called up the Inlander to stress that Rush is a separate figure from his affiliate, which he insists is free of corruption.

“This guy in California was writing toothless neutrality agreements,” says Curtis, referring to arrangements employers enter into to ensure they won’t attempt to influence unionization efforts.

Curtis says that his unionization efforts were put on pause after the news broke, but will resume shortly. Currently he’s in negotiation with the Herbal Connection Spokane, The Happy Collective and JD's Collective Garden –– all medical dispensaries that could be shuttered next year as a result of the state’s reform of marijuana laws.

“This campaign is about the employees,” says Curtis. “That’s our agenda.”

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Monday, August 24, 2015

More drivers test positive for THC; Seattle lawyer says legal limit unconstitutional

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 10:27 AM

Last week we wrote about a Spokane Valley deputy's success rate when identifying drivers under the influence of marijuana. According to the deputy's own records (which he provided to the Spokane County Public Defenders Office, who shared them with the Inlander), he's wrong about half of the times he requests a blood draw from those he suspects are too stoned to drive. 

Deputy Todd Miller says the Public Defenders Office and the Inlander interpreted his stats incorrectly, arguing that he's correct in closer to 80 percent of the cases. 

As the article explains, the issue hinges on Washington state's per se limit for a marijuana DUI, which is 5 nanograms per milliliter of active THC in the blood (as opposed on inactive or "carboxy" THC, the stuff that sticks around in your fat cells). A per se limit is the point at which the law says "Yep, you're too high. You get a DUI." However, it is possible to be convicted of a DUI if you have less than 5 ng in your blood. The officer just has to prove you were too impaired to drive based on a standard field sobriety test. 

But one lawyer in Seattle is arguing that 5 ng per se limit is a violation of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process. The per se limit established in the statute that legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, David Iannotti argues, is too vague for people to know if they're breaking the law. 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WW: Milepost 420 is removed in Idaho, Tacoma closes its medical pot shops

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

In Idaho, milepost 420 has been removed from highways in the state. The milepost has been changed to 419.9. to stoners kept stealing it.

Tacoma will see most of its 60 medical marijuana dispensaries close in response to a state overhaul of pot laws.

An initaitive to legalize pot in Ohio has qualified for the ballot.

The vast majority of federal money spent on researching pot has been on its potential for abuse. Just a sliver has gone to study its medicinal effects.

The Oregonian, which is a drug-free workplace, is looking for a pot critic.

Randy Simmons, a bureaucrat who helped implement Washington’s pot law, is leaving his post. But not before getting in a few pot shots.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WW: Pot on a plane, don't say weed candy in CO and the Bard was a stoner

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 12:38 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Shortly after marijuana became legal in Oregon, Portland International Airport decided to allow passengers to take their stash with them if they were traveling in-state. So what about Spokane International Airport? Can you take marijuana with you on your travels? The answer is a qualified yes.

According to an email from Todd Woodard, airport spokesman, under state law it is legal for a person 21 years of age to possess marijuana purchased from a licensed store regardless of mode of transportation.

The caveats are that you have to be of legal age, undergo a criminal history check before boarding and you can only take an ounce with you. Under state marijuana law, you still can’t fly out of state with your pot, even to other states where it’s legal, according to Woodard.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

In Colorado, makers of weed candy may no longer be allowed to call their product “candy.”

A New Jersey judge has ruled that a teen can’t use medical marijuana at school.

Presidential contender Marco Rubio says he would crack down on legal weed if he became the commander in chief.

A researcher thinks he’s found evidence that Shakespeare smoked pot.

Is marijuana contributing to California’s drought?

Fires in California are burning up marijuana farms.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has called on Congress to allow states to make their own laws regarding marijuana and hemp.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WW: DEA head says pot "probably" not as bad as heroin, Oregon TV anchor fired for positive weed test

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 11:16 AM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at: [email protected]

Here are the headlines of the past week in weed: 

Former prisoner of war and Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl popped up in the news again this week — during a raid on a California pot farm. (KREM)

Over in Oregon, where weed is now legal for recreation use as well as medical use, a TV news anchor was fired after testing positive for THC (Potlander). She doesn't seem too broken up about it. She's now calling herself a marijuana advocate:

Speaking of Oregon, the governor earlier this week signed a law that allows recreational pot sales to start earlier than originally intended, this Oct. 1. (High Times)

One of the so-called Kettle Falls Five was sentenced to 16 months in prison by the feds. (The Cannabist)

Senate Bill 5052, designed to align Washington's medical and recreational marijuana industries, went into effect on Friday (The Columbian). The good: Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries can qualify patients for a medical marijuana card. The band: medical marijuana patients could lose the ability to get medicine that's proven to work in their individual cases as medical shops are forced to re-apply for licenses. 

The new head of the DEA, while admitting he's "not an expert," acknowledged that pot is probably not as bad as heroin. (US News & World Report). 
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WW: Poison center sees increase in pot-related calls, and the Church of Cannabis sues

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at: [email protected]

The number of pot-related calls to the Washington Poison Center has increased from 109 cases in the first quarter of 2014 to 133 cases in the first quarter of 2015. But before you get all worked up about how the state’s emergency rooms are being flooded with screaming, red-eyed victims of the devil’s lettuce, there are a few things to consider. Dr. Alexander Garrard, the center’s clinical managing director, says that the rise in pot-related calls doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more people who are having adverse reactions to marijuana since it’s been legal.

“Now that it’s legal, people are more comfortable calling for help because there’s no fear of legal prosecution,” says Garrard, who notes that increased educational outreach that has accompanied the drug’s legalization may have also played a role.

Common calls to the center, says Garrard, are for situations where young kids found edibles that have been left lying around or have gotten into locked or unlocked cabinets to ingest weed-laced treats. But the two biggest age groups that had reported exposures were 13-19 and 20-29. Garrard says that these two groups are more open to experimentation with drugs already and that hasn't changed with legalization.

The majority of the cases also weren’t that big of a deal and were categorized as being "minor" or "moderate" incidents, and there were no fatalities.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Opponents of legal marijuana are using a federal law intended to combat organized crime to put Colorado pot shops out of business.

In Oregon, you can take pot on the plane if you’re traveling somewhere in the state.

A federal appeals court has ruled that marijuana businesses still can’t deduct their business expenses from their taxes like other businesses.

In a test to the state’s new religious freedom law, Indiana's First Church of Cannabis is suing state officials, arguing that the adherents are entitled to smoke pot.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WW: Happy birthday, recreational marijuana stores!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

A year ago today, recreational marijuana stores opened for business in Washington state. Long lines of stoners eager to pay high prices for marijuana formed outside often nondescript stores across the state.

Early on, the system struggled with a lack of supply and high prices. But since then, more producers have come online, stabilizing the price the and supply of marijuana. So far $267,551,520 worth of pot has been sold, generating $66,887,880 in taxes, according to figures from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

To commemorate the event, the Inlander is putting out a big ol’ pot issue this week. You can find out all about the recreational marijuana shops in the Inland Northwest, the results of our pot survey, what’s changed and what hasn’t, all the new ways to consume marijuana, what ever happened to the first guy who purchased legalized cannabis in Spokane, what’s going on in Idaho and more.

Figures on Washington pot sales through June weren’t available by press time, but the Inlander crunched the numbers today to find out how much marijuana has been sold by stores in the Inland Northwest. Here ya go: 

Cinder (both stores) 
Sativa Sisters
Spokane Green Leaf
Greenstar Cannabis
MJ's Pot Shop
Treehouse Club
Cannabis & Glass
Savage THC
The Top Shelf
4:20 Friendly
The Green Nugget
Royal's Cannabis

Grand total:

Here’s the news elsewhere:

In Washington, lawmakers quietly inserted a provision into a marijuana tax bill that outlawed clubs where marijuana where pot can be consumed socially. Since marijuana became legal, social stoners and accommodating businesses have sought to create places where people can consume pot together, not unlike a bar. However, local authorities have often chafed at the idea.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, pot activists are collecting signatures for a ballot measure that, if passed, would allow for “social marijuana use” that would not be unlike having a beer at a bar.

Adolescents who see marijuana advertising are more likely to indicate that they will use the drug.

Marijuana farming is ruining California, according to the Sacramento Bee.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marijuana "clubs" now illegal in WA, Spokane Valley club not so sure

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 10:33 AM


Marijuana clubs, a place where stoners can gather in a social setting, are now illegal in Washington state.

Tucked inside HB 2136, a bill hailed by the state’s marijuana industry as a way to make the heavy taxation it faces more palatable, is a provision that outlaws marijuana clubs. 

The new law makes operating “a club, association, or other business, for profit or otherwise, that conducts or maintains a premises for the primary or incidental purpose of providing a
location where members or other persons may keep or consume marijuana on the premises” a class c felony.

The 2012 ballot measure that legalized marijuana in Washington prohibits the consumption of marijuana in public. A handful of establishments, such as the Members Lounge in Spokane Valley, have used legal loopholes to stay open. Ganja enthusiasts wanting to enter the lounge have to buy a membership, making the club a “private” not public setting. Members can bring their own marijuana or can obtain it at the lounge for a “donation” not a purchase.

However, local authorities have been uncomfortable with these lounges. Spokane Valley City Council, which placed a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, has been no exception and has sought greater regulatory control over the lounge.

"Right now, reading [the law] from my limited understanding, it says "public;" we’re not public,” says Eric Buchanan, the proprietor of the Members Lounge.

Buchanan says that the law is aimed at preventing marijuana bars from opening. Because his establishment is private, not unlike a religious organization, it's not covered by the new law, he says. 

Carolbelle Branch, Spokane Valley’s public information officer, says that the city is also examining the new law.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WW: Legal weed law tweaks good for pretty much all parties

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the weed lobby group Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA), has been wrangling hard all legislative session for a solution to many of the I-502 kinks — crazy taxes, fewer retailers than anticipated, grey market medical marijuana dispensaries — that have threatened the future of the nascent marijuana industry. “If House Bill 2136 doesn’t pass, the industry is not sustainable,” marijuana producer Cip Paulsen told the Inlander last week. The industry got its solution yesterday when Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 2136 into law, modifying several aspects of I-502 and eliciting a collective sigh of relief from stakeholders across the board.

"As of today there is 37 percent point-of-sale tax on all product," wrote Christophersen in an email message sent to WACA members this morning. "This is likely to be a little clunky as the transition occurs."

The most important bits of HB 2136:

No more double-tax scenario: A 37 percent tax will be tacked on at point-of-sale. "Tax used to be counted towards income," says Liquor Control Board Communications Director Brian Smith. "It's really going to help the bottom line for producers, processors and retailers." 

Cities are winners, too: The state will start sharing revenue with local jurisdictions; this should lift moratoriums and bring shops to markets where they've been frozen out.

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