Marijuana

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Congress's contradictory approach to pot and the children

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 5:01 PM

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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 biggest weed news this week was Congress essentially voting to stop sending the feds after medical marijuana users. States that have sanctioned the drug for medical purposes have found themselves in a precarious situation with the drug remaining illegal under federal law, which has been used to prosecute patients. In one of its last acts before going home for the holidays, Congress voted to end that legal ambiguity by passing a spending bill containing an amendment that cut of funding for federal law enforcement agencies to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

Drug policy reform advocates are applauding the move, but it’s not immediately clear how this will actually play out. Mother Jones has declared that the federal war on medical marijuana is now over. But Reason has a blog post suggesting that the language in the relevant budget amendment is sufficiently ambiguous to still allow federal prosecution of medical marijuana users.

The move by Congress could have important ramifications for medical marijuana users facing federal charges, such as the Kettle Falls Five.

Interestingly, the same funding bill meant to make the feds mellow on medical marijuana also contains a provision to prevent Washington D.C. (the laws of which are subject to approval from Congress) from enacting its voter-approved initiative legalizing pot. The Huffington Post reports that the language of the bill might contain a loophole to allow pot to become legal in the nation’s capital.

Locally, the Spokane County Commission voted to renew its laws that oversee the growing, processing and selling of marijuana in the county, reports The Spokesman-Review.

Elsewhere:

In San Francisco, a yoga studio will allow students to “elevate” their exercise by smoking pot first.

It’s a good idea to give your teacher a bite of your brownie. But it’s a bad idea if that brownie is laced with pot, a lesson a Maryland teen is learning.

Mayor Buzzkill of Seattle is cracking down on a service being called the “Uber for pot.”

Even though pot is more available than its ever been, you can quit worrying about the children. The 2014 Monitoring the Future study, a national survey of youth’s attitudes toward drugs and alcohol conducted annually by researchers at the University of Michigan, has concluded that teen use of marijuana and other substances is down, reports The Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

Speaking of kids using pot, The Denver Post has a long article about families moving to Colorado so their children can use a liquified form of marijuana - for medicinal reasons.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

'All these other retailers are gouging people,' and other pot news

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 3:43 PM

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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]

For my final Weed Wednesday, I thought about just posting the SNL sketch from over the weekend in which Woody Harrelson wears dreadlocks and leaving it at that. But there's a lot to talk about, so skip to the end if that's all you're interested in.

Stores across Washington continue to get licensed and have now topped $40 million in sales. If you think you're noticing more edibles in those stores, you're not imagining it. More than 100 marijuana-infused products have now been approved for sale.

In Spokane, the owners of Cannabis & Glass, who we wrote about last week, continue to promote their low prices. They called us this morning to tell us everything they have in stock is $20 a gram or less and that "all these other retailers are gouging people." It's an interesting tactic in an industry where many of the players like to emphasize how they're all in it together fighting against prohibition. It is, after all, also a competitive business, too. This might be our first look at how that competition is going to play out in Spokane County, where eight stores are now vying for your dollar. (By the way, find all those stores and their contact info here.)

Washington State Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster and member Chris Marr (formerly a state senator representing Spokane) will step down early next year. Marr says he plans to become a lobbyist, though not for alcohol or marijuana companies. (SR)

The state's first marijuana auction took place in Prosser over the weekend, raking in $600,000. The state-licensed grower said he was selling his crop to spend more time with his grandson. (AP)

In Colorado, regulators want the state to pre-approve all edible marijuana products. Washington already requires testing of all edibles and pre-approval of their packaging. (NYT)

Ever heard about the doomsday vault in Norway that includes a bunch of cannabis seeds? Legalization activist Tom Angell writes about the vault this week. "There are 21,500 cannabis seeds being held for safekeeping in the vault," according to Angell. "That’s more weed seeds than there are asparagus, blueberry or raspberry seeds stored at the facility. There are more marijuana genetics in the 'Doomsday Seed Vault' than there are for artichoke, cranberry and pear combined."

Bob Marley's family is creating its own brand of weed to sell in states with legalization. The company "will offer organically grown heirloom Jamaican marijuana strains, in keeping with Marley’s preference for high-quality marijuana grown without the use of fertilizer," reports the Washington Post.

Looking for holiday pot recipes? The Cannabist has you covered.

I have no idea if this is real, but I hope it is: Three grandmas smoke weed for the first time. "I would do it again, if I can get this bag of chips open."

Have you watched the web series about a New York City pot delivery guy, High Maintenance? Everyone basically loves it and Vimeo recently committed to fund six more episodes. Find them all here.

Now, that sketch. Woody H. is a well-known cannabis activist. (He and other famous people sit on NORML's advisory board.) It is worth pointing out, as Jezebel did, that while I'll never get enough of that look on Harrelson, New York's pot shift isn't actually aimed at helping white people get out of their apartments more.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Meet Spokane's newest pot shop

Posted By on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 2:52 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]

Cannabis & Glass owner Tate Kapple - PHOTO COURTESY OF CANNABIS & GLASS
  • Photo courtesy of Cannabis & Glass
  • Cannabis & Glass owner Tate Kapple

Spokane’s newest pot store opened today: Cannabis & Glass is at 6620 N. Market St., Suite 100, and will be open Monday-Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm. In the wash of brightly lit, sparsely decorated rooms selling weed across the city, this one — run by a pair of 20-somethings — is trying to catch your eye.

“Some of these stores feel so clinical to me,” says 22-year-old Cristy Aranguiz, a former KHQ reporter who is helping her fiancé, 26-year-old Tate Kapple, with the store. (Kapple won the retail license this spring and Aranguiz says they’ve confirmed with the Liquor Control Board that he’s the youngest recreational store owner licensed so far.) “We’re obviously super professional and polished … but we wanted to come across as fun because marijuana is supposed to be fun. That’s why you buy it.”

There’s something else unique here.

“We want you to try it with a fresh pipe every time,” Aranguiz says.

Cannabis & Glass sells pre-rolled joints, but other than that, if you want bud you get a pipe, too. The shop is calling these “bud boxes.” They come with your selected amount of pot (from one to five grams), a pipe or bubbler (depending on how much you’re spending), a grinder, a lighter and a sample of hemp wick.

You’ll find these in two strains today — both from Greentree Industries, a separately owned grow house in the same building as the store — and as many as 60 different strains in coming weeks leading up to Black Friday. Aranguiz says that’s the day they’ll really throw the doors open.

This is the first holiday season when you can go ahead and buy marijuana for your friends and family,” she says, “and what better way to do that?”

Keep up with Cannabis & Glass and find out more about their specific offerings on their Facebook page here.

IN OTHER NEWS

The latest Liquor Control Board numbers show Washington's recreational pot stores have sold about $36.5 million of product, raking in $9 million in taxes. Of the days in November so far, Election Day was among the top for sales at just over $754,500. A celebration of the two years since I-502 passed, perhaps?

A student at Seattle University tells KOMO she was suspended after making pot brownies for medical marijuana patients.

Pot shop licensees in Bellevue are suing the city over its rule that prevents stores from being within 1,000 feet from each other, reports the Seattle Times.

It's been rumored that Alison Holcomb, the chief author of I-502, was going to run for Seattle City Council next year, but instead she's taking on a nationwide ACLU effort to reduce mass incarceration. (The Stranger)

In light of Oregon's vote last week to legalize recreational pot, the Multnomah County district attorney says he'll drop 50 pending pot cases where the alleged crime would have been legal under the new law, reports the Oregonian.

In New York City, people caught with small amounts of weed may get a court summons and fined rather than misdemeanor charges and jail time, marking a significant policy shift. (AP)

Is all that blazin' shrinking your brain? Probably, say some researchers. Although, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, "the authors of the study acknowledge that they cannot discern whether a pot smoker's smaller orbital frontal cortex is the cause or the result of chronic marijuana use." So, maybe, but maybe not.

The New York Times profiled one of The Cannabist's pot critics over the weekend. "I think people underestimate cannabis,” Jake Browne told the Times. "You wouldn’t walk into a restaurant and say, ‘I’ll have the wine.’ So why would you assume people would do that for cannabis? In the same way that pinot grigio and pinot noir may sound similar but are completely different, names like Lemon OG and Lemon Skunk are very different strains with very different flavor components and completely different highs."


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Pot at the polls and Charlotte's Web in Colorado

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 4:36 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]

You guys. There was an election last night and we now have two more states joining in on this whole legalize it/regulate it thing — plus, possession is now legal in the nation's capital! Voters in Alaska and Oregon approved measures similar to Washington's and Colorado's and those states will now set about crafting the rules to govern the new industry. Washington, D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow adults 21 and older to possess pot and grow small amounts at home and the D.C. council is now expected to set rules for the legal sale of pot. But Congress could intervene and create a whole new showdown. Meanwhile, an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida won a majority of the votes, but not the 60 percent needed to become law.

Here in Washington, the Seattle Times reports that the Liquor Control Board broke the state's open-meetings law 17 times while it was writing pot rules, although it didn't actually make any decisions at those meetings that warrant throwing out the rules they ended up passing.

Speaking of the Liquor Board, board member Chris Marr wrote a letter to the editor to the Spokesman-Review about their coverage of City Councilwoman Karen Stratton's pot business, including Doug Clark's usual nonsense on the matter.

"If the intent was to encourage an uneducated reader to view this as a less-than-respectable enterprise, or worthy of the tiresome pot-related humor many of us have been forced to endure of late, they served their purpose," Marr wrote, continuing later, "While [licensees] should be judged in the marketplace on their ability to operate profitably under tight regulation, there is no need to subject them to mockery or suggestions that they are engaged in anything less than a legitimate business."

In Spokane, Cinder opened a new store at 7011 North Division, and edibles and concentrates are showing up at more stores in town.

A bunch of people in Colorado are getting access to Charlotte's Web, a highly sought after high-CBD strain, The Cannabist reports.

There's a portion of the Patriot Act that allows "sneak and peak" actions by law enforcement officers — doing searches without informing the target of the search. And guess what? It's not actually being used that often for terrorism cases. Instead, they're often used in drug cases. More from the Washington Post here and the Electronic Frontier Foundation here.

Uber for medical marijuana? Yep. It's called Eaze.

Synthetic marijuana strikes again.

Snoop ♥s his murse for carrying around "the goods." (Also, Alaska awaits the show he promised if they legalized weed.)


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Voters say "yes" to pot in Oregon, Alaska, D.C.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 10:24 PM

click image NORML urged voters in these states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.
  • NORML urged voters in these states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.

Despite the lore that only old, white, conservative people show up for midterm elections, and a very bad night for Democrats, marijuana advocates won a few fights tonight. (Get ready for even more in 2016.) There were various city-level measures and a winning medical effort in the U.S. territory of Guam, but here are the efforts that have had the national eye: Legalization measures are passing in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C, but a medical marijuana effort in Florida has failed.

Here's what that all means:

JOINING WASHINGTON AND COLORADO

Oregon's Measure 91 — passing with about 54 percent of the vote after early results — will allow adults to possess eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants at home. (Here in Washington, we can have up to an ounce and home grows aren't allowed.) Tax revenue — levied only at the producer stage — will go toward schools, drug treatment and police. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be tasked with rule-making and, unlike Washington, pot entrepreneurs can get in at all levels of the game by holding producer, processor and retail licenses. Voters there were split until the last minute, with a late October poll showing 44 percent for, 46 percent against and 7 percent undecided.

Alaska also voted on a full legalize-and-regulate measure that had the lead with 54 percent of the vote after the first returns. (Because of the time difference, these returns are more preliminary than the others.) There, Ballot Measure 2 will allow residents to have up to an ounce of usable pot and six plants. Taxes will be charged to growers when they sell to stores or processors; where the revenue will go is not specified in the measure. Rule-making will be done by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, but the state legislature could create a special marijuana regulatory board. Polls were close right up until the end in this Republican stronghold, and the pro camp was counting on a libertarian bent to tip things in their favor.

THE SYMBOLIC VOTE

Washington D.C.'s Initiative Measure #71 is a whole different (and very popular) beast than other states' efforts. It passed overwhelmingly, with nearly a 70-30 split. It will allow adults 21 and older to have up to two ounces of weed and grow up to six plants. Like the Washington Post details here, the nation's capital is a big symbolic win, but it's going to face potential congressional interference because that's how weird things get when you're a pseudo-state.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THE SOUTH

Florida had the chance to become the 24th state to allow medical marijuana — and the first in the South to allow widespread medical use — but even though the measure won a majority, it didn't get the 60 percent the state required. Amendment 2 would have legalized medical marijuana in the state and charged the Department of Health with overseeing dispensaries and issuing ID cards to patients and caregivers. But the fight was muddied with big spending from the "no" camp and controversy over who would be able to be a caregiver.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: The Marijuana Midterms

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

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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 un-weed-friendly Valley has its first store inside city limits. Cinder opened over the weekend and has a strain called "God's Gift" that is almost 32 PERCENT THC! Owner Justin Peterson tells us business has been good since they opened and "insane" since KREM did a story on God's Gift. Prices range from $18-22 a gram. Find all of the local stores here.

As I hope you've noticed, there's an election next week. And in a few places across the country, pot is on the ballot. Alaska and Oregon will vote on legalization measures similar to our I-502, Washington, D.C. is considering a measure to allow adults 21 or older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana, and Florida will vote on medical cannabis. And bills for the next few years are being drafted in plenty of states — even Texas. All this is likely to set up 2016 as the most important election ever for marijuana reform, says the Brookings Institution.  The researchers who've been studying marijuana at Brookings also did a Reddit AMA today that has tons of interesting stuff in it. Read it here.

Hundreds of cashless ATMS, often used by marijuana businesses, were shut down in Washington and Colorado last week because of concerns about federal banking rules, the Denver Post reports. In a meeting in Spokane earlier this week, growers and store owners said they were among those who lost access to these machines.

In Idaho, a truck driver was pulled over and admitted to having an ounce of pot, KHQ reports. In fact, he had 150 pounds of pot.

Earlier this month, a judge ruled in favor of Wenatchee's ban on pot businesses. We wrote about that case earlier this year.

While raiding a medical grow last week, a member of the San Diego Narcotics Task Force wore a shirt (shown in video from a local TV station here) that said, "F—- the growers. Marijuana's still illegal."

Wonder if anything has changed for black market growers since I-502 took effect? The Stranger asked some.

Old, but still interesting: The NCAA released a report this summer about alcohol and drug use among student athletes. Looking for the biggest stoners? Join lacrosse or women's ice hockey.

Finally, our cover story this week is about medical marijuana growers facing federal prosecution for their business. Check it out online right here, and on stands tomorrow.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Why a city councilmember told a newspaper she's growing pot, and other news

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 2:35 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]

Washington state continues to hand out licenses and rake in tax dollars from marijuana growers and sellers across the state. Here in Spokane, we had our own big grower news over the weekend.
Spokane City Councilmember Karen Stratton
  • Spokane City Councilmember Karen Stratton

The Spokesman reported that the newest member of the Spokane City Council , Karen Stratton, is operating a 502-licensed pot grow with her husband. Unlike a lot of things in politics, this wasn’t something Stratton was trying to hide. She volunteered it to the newspaper. While public opinion continues to swing toward favoring marijuana legalization, that's still a bold move in Eastern Washington. So we asked Stratton about the decision to take her second job to the public and how growing weed is going so far.

"I saw [Spokesman reporter and former Inlander staffer Nicholas Deshais] and we were talking and I thought, you know, I would rather have this story come out and me be in front of it than to have somebody else bring it up and turn it into something that it isn’t,” Stratton says.

Like all recreational marijuana licensees in the state, Stratton, her husband and their other unnamed business partners passed background and financial checks to get their license. In the process, she says, she told her family, friends and coworkers at City Hall. Well, most of them. Stratton says she didn’t tell Councilman Mike Fagan or Mayor David Condon because she doesn’t have a “personal relationship” with either of them. The mayor said Monday that the Spokesman story was “the first I had heard of it.”

Stratton says she wasn’t intentionally trying to hide the business from anyone at City Hall, including the administration, and that part of her reason for going to the media was that she was “trying to give them a break from all the budget press." (The council and administration have been fighting publicly over pay raises and other budget issues.)

“I thought, ‘Well I’ll throw my story out there and take the heat off them for a little bit.”

Stratton says she hasn’t used marijuana since a trip to Hawaii when she was 19, but she’s had friends and family members who’ve used medical marijuana and her husband, attorney and Park Board member Chris Wright, had a client interested in starting a grow operation under I-502.

“We’re both 55 years old and we thought this would be a good investment. We have a son in college, so part of it, too, was a financial decision,” Stratton says. The pair says their experience with the Liquor Control Board has been complex, but generally positive.

“You do kind of feel like a pioneer getting started on this,” Stratton says.

The operation is just over 5,000 square feet in a marijuana grow park near Spangle with Cherry OG and Blue OG strains about a month out from harvest. Stratton and Wright don’t have a processor's license, so they’ll be selling to a processor, who will then package the pot for sale in stores. They couldn’t afford to hire staff to help tend the grow, so they’ve been doing most of it themselves. Stratton says she spends her weekends watering and trimming, playing Gonzaga’s classical music station for the plants.

“I was out there one morning watering and the farm next door was listening to this god awful rap music,” she says, “and I thought, ‘My plants can’t listen to this!’ so I went over and turned up the classical music.”

Elsewhere in Washington, Seattle is warning medical marijuana dispensary owners that they are running out of time to get state-issued licenses even though those licenses don't exist yet (Seattle PI) and King County's sheriff is endorsing Oregon's legalization initiative saying, "It's working here."

A new law in Liberty Lake allows cops to ticket minors for being high even if they don't have any pot on them (SR)

And the state's Liquor Control Board wants to increase how much pot can be produced (AP).

In Colorado, sales are up and edibles are still a unsolved problem, The Cannabist reports.

In New York, "despite campaign promises made in 2013, marijuana possession arrests under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg," according to a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance. Read it here.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Local stores' sales and Neil Young's trick to avoid paranoia

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 1:52 PM

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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 state continues to license growers, processors and retailers — though still not as many as Colorado. The Liquor Control Board is also now releasing sales data by license number, so we can see how businesses around here are doing. Below is a breakdown of each of the five stores operating in Spokane County, with how much they've sold and, in parenthesis, how much they've paid or owe in excise taxes to the state. Unsurprisingly, the stores that opened first have done the best. (As a comparison, Seattle's first store has sold $1,321,427 of product so far, about $320,000 more than Spokane's first shop.)

Green Leaf: $1,001,855 ($250,463)

Satori: $392,528 ($98,132)

Sativa Sisters: $335,641 ($83,911)

Green Star: $165,222 ($41,305)

Greenlight: $27,537 ($6,884)

Statewide, marijuana stores have sold just under $24 million worth of pot, generating almost $6 million in excise taxes. More about where all that money will go here.

Find all the stores in our area on the map here.

A commenter last week suggested we do a story on responsible cannabis use, especially in hotels, where it's often not allowed and the smell can stick around a room. There's definitely more we could talk about here, but for now, check out our marijuana issue from this summer, where we gave some advice on how to get high without being a jerk. And remember, hotels have extra cleaning fees and they're not afraid to charge them. Know what's allowed and where. (If you're visiting Spokane or Seattle and looking for a cannabis-friendly place to stay, check out this site.)

In Airway Heights, neighbors tell KXLY they're upset about a grow operation that may soon open in the area. (One note on the linked story: I-502 passed in 2012, not 2013, though implementation didn't really begin until this year.)

The Seattle Times has the story of a woman from Chicago who moved all the way to Washington to make marijuana-infused simple syrups with flavors like coffee, chicory and strawberry.

A 24-year-old in Missoula was arrested for causing an explosion in a University of Montana student apartment building, which police say was caused by a hash oil-making operation, reports KPAX. (Making hash oil, which gets you super high, involves the dangerous process of filtering butane through marijuana and then heating the resulting product to remove the butane.) Meanwhile, the Denver City Council is trying to regulate home hash operations (Denver Post).

President Obama's top pick to head the civil rights division of the Department of Justice has said she supports decriminalizing marijuana, reports the Washington Post. This could signal a big shift in how the department views marijuana.

Rolling Stone has a list of 12 things they learned from Neil Young's recent interview with Howard Stern, but there's really only one you need to know: Neil Young's trick to avoiding pot-induced paranoia. "Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid," he told Stern. "Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it."

Snoop Dogg (Lion?) is getting more and more vocal about his support of legalization and pro-legalization candidates. The Cannabist asks, "Is Snoop Dogg hip-hop's retort to the Koch Brothers?"

The Italian army is going to start growing marijuana to keep prices down for it's medical marijuana program. (Reuters)

Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant was on the Colbert Report last week, where he handed Stephen Colbert a joint. “For the purposes of my lawyer and my network, this is a cigarette,” Colbert said with a surprised smile.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Pullman's new store and a cute animal threatened by pot farming

Posted By on Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 2:00 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 state has now issued licenses to 251 growers, 208 processors (many of whom are also growers) and 65 stores. Pullman's first store, MJ's Pot Shop, opened over the weekend and prices started around $36 a gram there. You can find all of the region's open stores on the map here.

Satori is hosting a "Meet the Growers" event Friday from 7-10 pm. Details here.

In Bellingham, marijuana soda is exploding, the AP reports. And in Seattle, a church is upset about the new pot shop nearby (via The Stranger). Throughout the state, growers hope the increasing harvests will drive down prices, reports the Yakima Herald Republic.

In Colorado, a Denver ad agency is feeling the blowback from telling the New York Times that in working to normalize marijuana use it was "weeding out the stoners." "I don’t understand why one group has to be insulted so the other can feel better about what they’re doing," a Colorado photographer focused on the marijuana industry told The Cannabist. "It’s one of the things that I’ve always enjoyed about cannabis culture: There doesn’t have to be a cultural divide.”

According to a newspaper in South Bend, Indiana, high-quality weed from Washington and Colorado is fetching $800 an ounce on the black market. According to the cops, "they call this stuff 'Loud.'"

Washington, D.C. residents with nonviolent marijuana convictions could get those records sealed under a bill that passed a first vote of the city council. (WaPo)

A Georgia man tells local TV that cops mistook the okra plant in his garden for marijuana, knocking on his door with a K9 unit and a helicopter overhead. Yes. A helicopter.

click image USFWS PHOTO
  • USFWS photo

Look at this adorable creature. It's called a fisher and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing listing it as a threatened species. Part of the reason: illegal pot farms' use of rat poisoning. The FWS says the poison is increasingly being found in fishers in California and Oregon, threatening their already eroding populations.

This year's campaigns for legalization are heating up. Rick Steves is in Oregon and the New York Times has endorsed measures in Oregon, Alaska and D.C. But some advocates are already looking to 2016, reports the Washington Post.

I'll leave you with this (mostly cheesy except for Fred Armisen's amazing dancing) Rock the Vote riff on "Turn Down for What," featuring Lil Jon saying he's turning out for marijuana legalization and taking a hit off an oversized joint. You're welcome.


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WEED WEDNESDAY: Spokane testing sewage for THC? Not so much

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

unnamed-1.jpg

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]

Slowly but surely, Washington. The state has now licensed 235 growers (up just two from last week) and 61 stores (four more than last week). Seattle's second store has finally opened and you can find Spokane's stores on a map here. Statewide sales as of Monday totaled $18.75 million, generating almost $4.7 million in state taxes.

Here in Spokane, there's been talk about the city government testing sewage for THC levels to see if more people are getting high now that it's legal (see this SR story and this KXLY piece and this one from KREM). I know. It makes a great headline, right? But here's the thing: No one is actually talking about doing this in Spokane. In a city council committee meeting last week where city and state leaders talked about good ways to measure the effects of marijuana legalization, I-502 author Alison Holcomb mentioned the tactic as a way to test usage levels because there are university researchers doing it on the westside (we told you about this back in July). “What an awesome new use for our sewage,” Councilman Jon Snyder said in response, cracking a smile.

That was it.

There is no actual plan to pursue this tactic in Spokane, Snyder tells the Inlander. He says since the comments got media attention, he's checked into the project in Tacoma and found that the researchers "are getting a $100,000 grant, plus they have a quarter-million dollars worth of equipment to do this, which is not cheap." Combine that with the fact that there's other data that's easier to get, and that the city is dealing with much bigger wastewater issues. Since this non-issue hit the local news, Snyder has even done interviews with Reuters and The Guardian about it, and says he's gotten angry calls from people worried the city is trying to figure out who's smoking pot.

"You know, you work on issues for years and try to get publicity for them, and it's funny how one offhanded comment in a meeting gets attention," Snyder says. "Nothing fascinates people like sewage and drugs, I guess."

Don't light up in your car. That's the message from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, which wants the state to ban people from opening marijuana inside vehicles, reports the Tacoma News Tribune. When we talked to legal experts, including the chief author of I-502 this summer, we were told it's not legal to have marijuana open inside a vehicle because that's considered in view of the public, but the Traffic Safety Commission wants more explicit language inked into law.

Oregon's legalization campaign has launched its first TV ad, featuring a retired cop who says the time he and other officers spent on marijuana cases would be "better spent solving murders, rape cases [and] finding missing children." Watch the ad below.

Washington pot lawyer Hilary Bricken says "'pay to play' is going to be the new theme for Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry" as cities there start imposing taxes before the measure is even passed.

Biologists say water use in the Emerald Triangle — an area of Northern California and Southern Oregon where a ton of pot is grown for medical users and the black market — is threatening salmon already in danger of extinction, reports the AP.

It's a big week in Colorado. Back when the recreational industry started there in January, medical marijuana dispensary owners were given a head start to open recreational stores. Now, everyone else can get into the business, with 46 new stores licensed. And the Colorado State Supreme Court heard the case this week of a quadriplegic Dish Network employee who was fired from his job after he tested positive for pot, even though there's no evidence he was high on the job, reports the Denver Post. The decision could have big implications for states where medical marijuana is legal but employers continue to ban it.

ICYMI: Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently said Americans should consider rescheduling marijuana, resigned (via The Cannabist and Politico).


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