Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have more in this week's issue on the lawsuit taking on Wenatchee's ban on marijuana businesses. It's a case with the potential to thrust some huge questions in front of a judge, including whether federal law can bar the state from legalizing marijuana at all. Yet, in talking to other jurisdictions with bans for the story, I found that it's not causing them to reconsider — at least not yet. "We expect there are going to be some [legal] challenges. We'll probably have one here at some point, but the board [of county commissioners] has spoken. The next step, if there's going to be one, will come from somebody challenging us," Gordy Euler, with Clark County's community planning office, tells the Inlander. There, in an effort led by Euler, the county has passed regulations for marijuana businesses, but they won't take effect until the drug is no longer federally illegal. Cities across the state, including nearby towns like Liberty Lake and Newport, are also blocking the businesses.
Also in local news, you may have seen a story promising that Spokane's first marijuana store will open July 1. (This has since been picked up all over the place.) But it's worth noting a couple important things most of the stories are leaving out. First, the Liquor Control Board — the body in charge of the licensing — is not confirming the July 1 date. As it has long promised, the board still plans to issue "a bunch" of retail licenses in the first week of July, as locations pass their final inspections, says spokesman Brian Smith. But the Liquor Control Board says it doesn't know for sure whether it will issue licenses on July 1 (or another day that week or even later) to a Spokane store or anyone else, so it's unlikely the local store owner knows that for sure either. Once licensed, stores will have to get product to their location and entered into the state's mandatory traceability system before sales begin. For the store in question, that will be easy because it's in the same building as Kouchlock Productions, the state's first licensed grower/processor. (Another common error: While the name Kouchlock Productions has been used to refer to both businesses at the location, they are separate endeavors with separate owners because the state does not allow growers to also sell marijuana. The business seeking a retail license is "O'Neil Industries.") So, it's safe to look forward to that first week of July, but don't take the 1st off from work just yet.
The Seattle Times has launched a series following a grow operation from seed to sale. The first installment ran Saturday and it sets some high stakes. I can't wait for more. Read it here.
An Arizona judge ruled that the state health director there acted illegally when he decided PTSD patients did not qualify for medical marijuana use. But state law allows the health director to reject the ruling. He has until July 9 to decide.
Colorado has released its latest marijuana tax revenue numbers, showing the state brought in a total of about $5.3 million in taxes and fees from medical and recreational marijuana in the month of April. That's up about $5 million from March, the AP reports. (Thanks, 4/20.)
Here's a taste:
MAUREEN (To the audience, sweetly.): Well, hello … My name is Maureen Dowd — (a proud aside) — Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times and best-selling author known for my obsessive columns about President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. (Beat.) And this … THIS IS MY BRAIN!! (She produces her brain for the audience to see.)
WOMAN 1: Oh my God! It’s Maureen Dowd’s brain on pot!! MAUREEN And if this is my brain … Oh my God … Does that mean … Am I dead??
MAN (HOMELESS): No ma’am … You’re in Denver.