The past week saw developments locally and around the country relating to cannabis

click to enlarge The past week saw developments locally and around the country relating to cannabis
Cash-free cannabis purchases could be in our future.


Washington state, which blazed the trail to marijuana legalization, has seen a rash of robberies targeting cannabis dispensaries in recent months, with some turning deadly. Regulators and industry insiders believe criminals are targeting dispensaries due to the largely cash-only nature of their industry. Last week, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board issued a clarification about the rules surrounding retail transactions. Specifically, the state pointed to a section of the state code that allows for cashless, third-party transactions on the retail side of the industry.

Retailers are permitted to use third-party services that meet specific requirements to conduct retail sales. The state gave an example of a service that conducts transactions through an app on customers' phones as a potential way to legally handle a cashless transaction.


April 21 may as well have been 4/20 for residents of the Garden State. New Jersey joined the ever-growing list of states with active recreational cannabis markets, as sales were allowed in the state for the first time. Voters approved legalization at the ballot box in 2020, and the following year the New Jersey Legislature passed, and the governor signed, legalization into law.

There were long lines at the 13 dispensaries up and running for the first day of legal sales. New Jersey is home to over a million more people than Washington, but has fewer than half as many operational dispensaries as the city of Spokane. The state also shares a border with New York City, where cannabis has been legalized but sales are not scheduled to begin until later this year.


The Alabama Democratic Party last week launched Free Weed Alabama, a website that lays out the party's platform on cannabis reform and encourages Alabamians to get on board. Alabama has a history of being one of the least-cannabis-tolerant states. It is one of three states, along with Florida and Arkansas, where any cannabis conviction results in a mandatory six-month driver's license suspension, regardless of whether or not a vehicle was involved in the offense. On the other hand, just last year the Alabama Legislature approved legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

The Alabama Democratic Party hopes to go one big step further by legalizing cannabis outright. They're also hoping to sell some shirts that say "free weed" in big letters across the chest. ♦

VolunBEER with Mountain Lakes Brewing Company @ Second Harvest

Wed., March 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
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