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.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Last chance! Take our marijuana survey, win some local cuisine

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 4:08 PM


You may or may not be aware of it, but Washington is fast approaching the first anniversary of recreational marijuana becoming legal in the state and doors opening on stores throughout the state to provide all manner of smokable, edible, rub-able pot products. 

We're going to have some stories about the first year of legal recreational weed in a few weeks, and we'd like to know what readers think about legalization, as well as their own histories with (or without) marijuana. We've set up a totally anonymous and short survey for readers to take to let us know. You can find the survey right here, and we'll be giving $25 gift cards to four lucky responders to dine at some of the area's best local restaurants as thanks for helping us out. 

So go take the survey right here! And if you'd like to win a gift card, leave us your email on the survey — we'll keep it a secret and just use it for contest purposes. 

We'd also like to hear any great stories from the first year of legalized recreational marijuana. Whether you tried pot for the first time yourself, or had a cousin slip a pot brownie to grandma, we'd love to hear about it! You can tell us your story right here. Again, totally anonymous, but we are asking for your email so we can verify your story. 

Thanks for taking part!
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WW: Pot legalization hitting one-year anniversary—take our short survey and tell us a story!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 9:56 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 [email protected]

Washington is approaching the one-year anniversary of I-502 kicking in and making recreational marijuana stores legal in the state. We're currently working on some stories to commemorate the birthday, and as part of that we're asking readers to share some stories from the first year of legalization, and to take a survey about their marijuana habits (including not using it at all). 

Please help us out! You can click right here to take our quick and easy 15-question survey. It's totally anonymous, although you can share your email with us if you're willing to chat with a reporter for a potential story

And you can click right here to tell us any unusual, funny or scary stories from the first year of legalized weed in Washington. Again, totally anonymous, although we'll need your email to verify your story. 

As added incentive, we'll be picking four people at random from our survey to win $25 gift cards to local restaurants from among the folks who share their email with us. 
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Friday, June 19, 2015

You've seen our marijuana survey, now tell us your story from Year 1 of legalization

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to fill out our totally unscientific survey about Washington's first year with legal, recreational marijuana stores. If you haven't done it yet, please do! You can find our marijuana survey right here, and it's just 15 questions long, so it won't take long at all. And it's totally anonymous. 

In addition to the survey, we'd like to hear your stories, in your words, about the first year of legal recreational marijuana in Washington — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hilarious. 

Did you learn anything new? Did you find out edibles are NOT your thing? Did you find a pot brownie perfect for getting through Thanksgiving dinner with the family — or for sharing with grandma? Did you meet someone famous on a munchie run? 

Go right here and tell us your story
for potential use in an upcoming issue of the Inlander

Any stories we use will be anonymous, but as you'll see, we need your name and email to confirm. Again, go right here and write us a tale of your experiences with legal pot the past year. 

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Take our marijuana survey! Win free food!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM


Washington state is coming up on the one-year anniversary of recreational marijuana stores first opening their doors. The Inlander would like to know about the habits and attitudes of our readers when it comes to all things pot-related, so we put together a little survey. It's a short one, just 15 questions, and all your responses will be anonymous — although, if you're game for talking to us about your experiences during the first year of recreational legalization, there's a place for you to indicate as much at the end of the survey

We'll be collecting responses for the next two weeks, so tell your friends and pass it around! We'll also be picking four random responders to win $25 gift cards to some great local restaurants. 

You can start the survey right here!
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WW: Dating on marijuana just got easier — meet the marijuana-smoking matchmaker

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 4:15 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]

Dating fellow marijuana users is about to get easier.  

On Tinder, it’s pretty much the norm to include a small menu of drinks one likes to consume. Assuming one consumes drinks, which most people on Tinder apparently do. Occasionally, someone might mention 420, but that’s not the norm, and you’d do a lot of swiping trying to match up exclusively with those who announce without inquiry that they smoke weed, dab, or whatever else is de rigueur these days.

"I never knew when or how to tell a guy I used," says marijuana-smoking matchmaker and relationship coach Sandra Harmon. "It was never a deal breaker, but I could tell men who liked me weren’t happy when they found out I smoked."

Harmon is getting ready to launch a new marijuana dating service, M-Date, by the end of the summer to help others struggling to connect with other marijuana-friendly singles. Of course, if you only want to date people who partake in marijuana, you can already arrange that from the comfort of your couch. In April 2014, became the industry pioneer; their website isn’t too attractive but founder Miguel Lozano says they’re 83,000 users strong and growing. There’s also the Tinder-like HighThere smart phone app that launched earlier this year. HighThere features a glossy interface and thoughtfully forces users to select their typical energy level when stoned. Users also declare what way they consume their marijuana, so dates aren’t broken up by logistical road-blocks like “Wait, your diet doesn’t allow brownies?” 

As weed-based dating becomes more common, here's what you need to know:

Does the world need this? The market for these services is potentially huge: according to the World Health Organization, 147 million people use marijuana globally; nationally, marijuana use went from 14.4 million people in 2007 to 18.9 million in 2011, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and in post-legalization Washington, sales at recreational marijuana retailers are climbing every month.

Is it possible to meet weed-loving singles in the real world? Yes, it is. In the olden days (last year, even) people met through friends or by hanging out on their weed dealer’s couch. Harmon suggests Washington women looking to meet weed-consuming guys the analog way head down to their local recreational marijuana shop and “pick a man, turn toward him, look at him for three seconds, smile and look away. It’s dynamite.”

What is fun to do on a marijuana-assisted first date? “It’s just a normal first date,” says Harmon. “If you were in some place and both used, or if you both used at home before the date, it makes things a little more comfortable. You’re ready to smile, ready to enjoy art and music and each other.”

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WW: Santa supports legal weed at North Pole, 420-friendly ranch, EPA pot pesticide guidelines

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 11:53 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 this week's headlines in weed news: 

Santa Claus is a medical marijuana patient
who wants the drug to be legal in the North Pole.

A Kansas woman is facing a 30-year prison term after her son mentioned his mother’s use of medical marijuana in a drug education class.

The pot tourism industry in Colorado continues to grow with a 420-friendly ranch opening up next month.

If Chris Christie were president, he’d put an end to legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado.

Marijuana is safer than tobacco, according to a UCLA prof.

Smoking it might also keep away parasites.

The Wall Street Journal says to just say no to buying stock in marijuana companies.

Weed lawyers now have their own professional association.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued guidelines on pesticides on weed.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WW: Real talk on marijuana with Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 11:05 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 case you haven’t heard, there’s an election coming up. One of the positions voters will weigh in on is city council president. Ben Stuckart, who currently holds the position, is being challenged by John Ahern, an 80-year-old former Republican state representative. 
Council President Ben Stuckart.
  • Council President Ben Stuckart.

While Ahern says that his central issue is improving the business climate in Spokane, he’s repeatedly called for a moratorium on the sale and production of marijuana in Spokane, an idea that Stuckart opposes.

In order to get a better handle on what both candidates think about marijuana, we called up both requesting interviews on the subject. We wanted to give Ahern the first opportunity to lay out his views on weed because he brought it up in the first place, but he never called back. So here is a lightly edited interview with incumbent Council President Ben Stuckart on marijuana.

Inlander: What do you make of having a moratorium on marijuana?

Stuckart: I think it’s bad for two reasons. I think the first reason is that because it goes against the will of the voters of the city of Spokane. The yes vote [for legalization] in the city was 57 percent. So I think the city of Spokane spoke loud and clear that they would allow the legalization, processing and production of marijuana.

The second reason is because it’s a job killer. The research I have done shows that in the city there are 41 businesses with licenses, that economic impact of the sale from July of last year through the end of April was $5.3 million in sales, $1.3 million in excise taxes, $66,639 in local sales taxes.

We called all 41 businesses, and a conservative estimate of seasonal, part-time and full-time employees is 1,500 people. So I think to put a moratorium on it would absolutely hurt our economy immensely and be a job-killer.

You supported I-502, right?

Absolutely. I went to a campaign event with [TV personality and marijuana legalization advocate] Rick Steves and did not hesitate to come out as pro-legalization.

Continue reading »

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