I-502

Washington: Black Market Dealers Are Loving This State's Brand Of Legalization

WashingtonStateMarijuana[KVEW-TV].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state voters in 2012 voted to legalize recreational marijuana; when the first retail store opened in 2012, many hailed it as a great success for cannabis law reform. Now law enforcement authorities are preparing to close hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state in just two weeks, in a move sure to please black market dealers.

What in the world is going on here? Why are MEDICAL dispensaries, of all things, targeted for closure, when patients actually need their cannabis for medicine instead of just wanting it to get high, like the recreational users? Well, boys and girls, that would be because the wealthy investors who bought I-502 recreational marijuana business licenses "bought" the law they wanted by applying generous campaign contributions to their favorite legislators down in Olympia.

When their competition, i.e., the mom-and-pop medical marijuana dispensaries, cleaned their clocks on both price and quality -- not to mention the sense of community on the medical side, especially in the farmers' markets, and the real expertise they offered when it comes to addressing symptoms with specific strains -- the recreational stores literally had the competition outlawed.

Washington: Willie Nelson Partners With Spokane Marijuana Grower/Processor

WilliesReserveComingSoon

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Spokane marijuana processor has partnered with country music legend and cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson on his new company, Willie's Reserve.

Willie's Reserve is working with growers and processors in Washington and Colorado, including Growing Like A Weed, an I-502 cannabis producer/processor located in Spokane's Mountain Dome Winery building, to grow product to be packaged under the Willie's Reserve brand, reports Azaria Podplesky at Inlander.

"Willie and his family and a few close friends, developed the brand with emphasis on environmental and social issues, to lend support to the gradual end to marijuana prohibition across America," announced a 2015 press release from Willie's Reserve.

Master gardener Fred Renteria of Growing Like a Weed (GLW) said a Willie's Reserve represented contacted him a couple of months back, shortly after GLW switched from the medical marijuana sphere to the recreational I-502 market.

The representative liked GLW's organic approach to growing.

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs

WashingtonStateBlueMarijuanaLeafGreen[GrahamLawyerBlog].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

Washington: LCB Says Patients Can Grow 4 Plants Each, Up To 15 Per Household

WashingtonStateLiquorAndCannabisBoard-Marijuana2016[WSLCB].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Multiple authorized medical cannabis patients living in the same residence in Washington state can grow up to four plants each, up to a total of 15 plants, without being on the patient registry, according to information received from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Thursday.

In answers to a Washington state medical marijuana patient advocate, Brian E. Smith of the WSLCB clarified the home growing rules for patients in the state. Only medicinal patients with a physician's authorization are allowed to cultivate cannabis in Washington without an I-502 cultivation license.

A qualifying patient not entered in the medical marijuana authorization database (Washington's euphemism for a patient registry) is allowed to grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile, according to the LCB. This possession limit is per patient (RCW 69.51A.210) (3)).

Washington: Steep Hill Labs Releases Open Letter To Cannabis Community

PesticideProblemsLegalStatesFace[MarijuanaPackaging.com].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Steep Hill Labs on Wednesday released an open letter to the Washington State cannabis community encouraging a call to action to prevent contaminated cannabis from entering the patient and consumer supply chain.

"In a recent third party audit of certified I-502 laboratories in Washington State, cannabis contaminated with pesticides and microbiological organisms like E. coli are being passed by certain disreputable labs, which means unsafe products are getting onto shelves," said Steep Hill CEO Jmîchaele Keller. "This is unacceptable when technology and the proper science are in place to insure safety to prevent health risk to consumers and patients."

Recent independent third party testing, including that done upon the initiative of Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle, showed many samples of I-502 recreational weed had traces of pesticides, causing concern in the community, especially among medicinal users with compromised immune systems and liver function.

Keller said Steep Hill stands with other leading labs in the industry, like Trace Analytics, who apply scientific best practices to put public health first.

"Together we are here to uphold standards of quality in this industry for consumer protection, and we cannot succeed if other laboratories cheat the system," said Keller.

Washington: Board Revises Marijuana Rules; Product Returns Now OK

WashingtonStateBlueMarijuanaLeafGreen[GrahamLawyerBlog].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New rules from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) released on Wednesday include now allowing marijuana retailers to accept any open product return with the original packaging.

The draft rules are necessary to implement SB 5052, 2015 legislation which "aligns the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market" (by, in effect, subsuming the medicinal cannabis market into the recreational market, greatly reducing access for patients).

Under the rules timeline, a public hearing would be held May 4, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on May 18. If adopted, the rules become effective June 18, prior to the availability of regulated medical marijuana products. The draft rules incorporate public comments received at seven public hearings across the state starting last fall.

“”These rules are based on extensive public input,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford. “The Board was diligent in listening and seeking practical input on its draft rules.

Highlights

Some highlights of the rule revisions include:

• Revised the definition of “licensed premises” to include all areas of a premises where the licensee has leasehold rights and any vehicle assigned to transport marijuana.

Washington: Tipping Now Allowed In Marijuana Stores

TipYourBudtender[ArchaicFEVER].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you know a particularly good budtender at a recreational marijuana store in Washington state, you can now legally show your appreciation by adding a little greenery to the scenery.

Monetary tipping of budtenders wasn't allowed in Washington recreational marijuana stores until Monday, March 14, when the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) revised its policy, effective immediately.

"The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has received several inquiries asking about the practice of bud tender tip jars," Deputy Chief Steve D. Johnson said in an email under LCB letterhead. "In response, the LCB has reviewed their position and this bulletin is to clarify the policy on allowable tipping."

"Tipping has not been an allowable practice in a licensed retail marijuana location," the email reads. "This position was adopted based on an interpretation of RCW 69.50.357, and indications that prices of products were being manipulated based on the size of a tip to avoid paying excise tax.

Washington: Board To Close Marijuana Retail License Application Window March 31

WashingtonStateLiquorandCannabisBoard(WSLCB)Marijuana2016.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Monday announced it will stop accepting marijuana retail license applications March 31 at 5 p.m.

The WSLCB had begun processing retail applications on Oct. 12, 2015, to accommodate additional demand and provide additional access points before the medical and recreational marketplace are merged on July 1, 2016.

“We are at the point where the number of highest priority applicants will exceed the number of available retail licenses,” said WSLCB Licensing Division Director Becky Smith. “We’ll meet the retail cap with priority ones and twos that we’re already processing.”

Retail Cap

On January 6, the Board adopted emergency rules to expand the number of retail marijuana outlets to "align the two markets," i.e., preside over the shutdown of medical marijuana dispensaries which weren't able to obtain a 502 license.

Based on staff’s recommendation, the former retail store cap of 334 was lifted to a new cap of 556. The recommendation followed an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace by the state’s contracted research organization, BOTEC Analysis Corporation.

Priority System

SB 5052, the so-called "2015 Cannabis Patient Protection Act," which was devised by I-502 merchants as a way of eliminating the medical competition -- and then passed by a Legislature grateful for the productive new source of campaign donations, both over and under the table -- directed the WSLCB to issue licenses in the following priority order.

California: NORML Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA)

NORML-ItsNotForEveryone.jpg

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on Monday announced that its Board of Directors has formally voted to endorse the California ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Founded in 1970, NORML has been a voice for marijuana reform in states all across the country and has helped increase public awareness of the failures and costs of marijuana prohibition. But the organization's credibility has taken a terrible hit since 2012, when NORML supported I-502, the Washington state legalization measure that has resulted in the decimation of the state's medical marijuana community and the virtual repeal of protections designed to protect safe access for patients.

"With the largest population of both marijuana producers and consumers in the United States, along with the largest voting delegation in Congress, the importance of voters in America's most populous and influential state, California, passing a binding marijuana legalization ballot initiative in 2016 can't be overstated,” said Allen St. Pierre, NORML's executive director. “On the matter of ending marijuana prohibition in America, as California goes, so too goes the rest of the nation."

NORML joins the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project, California Cannabis Industry Association, California Medical Association and California NAACP, among others, in support of AUMA, which has been supported to the tune of a million bucks by Napster founder Sean Parker, who was also in on Facebook at the ground floor with founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Washington: Marijuana Sharing Law Passes House

SharingAJoint.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Washington state's marijuana legalization law, I-502, passed, it didn't take long until folks figured out it is the most badly written "legalization" law yet passed. It's so badly written, in fact, that under this purportedly "progressive" legislation, it's a felony to pass a joint to your significant other.

Since the people of Washington apparently didn't read the damn thing before they passed I-502, seemingly not making it past "legalization" and thinking "how bad could THAT be?", it now falls upon the hapless Washington Legislature to fix the mess -- and that's pretty damn scary to anyone who knows just how clueless is that body of lawmakers when it comes to cannabis.

But they get points for trying, at least when it comes to the sharing issue. House Bill 2494, "An act relating to penalties for marijuana offenses," on Monday passed the Washington House on a 73 to 24 vote, and has been referred to committee in the Senate, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.

Washington State Has First Cannabis Recall Due To Pesticides

EvergreenHerbalThe4.20BarCBDDarkChocolateCannabis.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

While marijuana product recalls have seemingly become commonplace in Colorado, Washington state had seemed remarkably free of such problems -- until now. Washington-based Evergreen Herbal on Friday issued the state's first voluntary cannabis product recall due to pesticide concerns.

The recall is an indirect result of two producers, New Leaf Enterprises and BMF Washington, recently being investigated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for using prohibited pesticides.

While the LCB did find prohibited pesticides on cannabis products from both companies and made them pay fines of $2,500 and suspend operations for 10 days, interestingly, BMF -- despite using no fewer than 12 prohibited pesticides -- was allowed to continue selling tainted flowers with a "warning label" after paying the fine. (All concentrates were destroyed upon orders of the LCB; the process of making concentrates also means higher levels of poison, as well as THC.)

Evergreen Herbal, clearly not wanting to end up like New Leaf and BMF, announced its voluntary product recall via press release on Friday, reports Graham Abbott at Ganjapreneur. The three products being recalled are the high-CBD edibles Hibiscus Quencher, Strawberry Quencher, and CBD Dark Chocolate 420 Bar; all three were, at one point, produced using Dama CBD oil, according to Evergreen.

Washington: Two Big Marijuana Growers Fined For Using Banned Pesticides

PesticideUseInMarijuanaProduction[BeyondPesticides]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two of Washington state's largest legal marijuana growers last month were barred from all sales, pending an investigation into their illegal use of banned pesticides.

New Leaf Enterprises, makers of Dama Oil and the Dama line of products, and BMF Washington LLC, whose marijuana is used by brands including Liberty Reach and JuJu Joints, received orders to stop sales on December 29 and December 17, 2015, respectively, reports Tobias Coughlin-Bogue at The Stranger.

The investigations were prompted by third-party complaints, according to the documents. The stop sales weren't announced the the public, but rumors were rife in the industry that something had happened to New Leaf.

A public records request filed with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) revealed that both New Leaf and BMF were nailed in pesticide investigations.

The WSLCB brought in Washington State Department of Agriculture pesticide experts including Erick Johansen, and in the case of New Leaf, also contracted Trace Analytics, the state's first lab able to do pesticide testing. (The Board in the past had dismissed pesticide residue testing as expensive and unnecessary.)

Washington: Lawmaker Says Black Market Weed Still Cheaper Than The Legal Stuff

MarijuanaTaxes[MedicalDaily-Shutterstock].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

State Rep. Christopher Hurst, who just last week wouldn't allow a committee vote on a marijuana home grow bill, said on Thursday that it's still cheaper to buy black market cannabis in his state than it is to go in a store and buy the legal stuff.

House Bill 2347, which Hurst (D-Enumclaw) is sponsoring, would reduce the tax on legal recreational marijuana from 37 to 25 percent, reports LaVendrick Smith at the WNPA Olympia News Bureau. The idea is to make legal marijuana prices more competitive with those on the black market, according to Hurst.

A reduced tax would be one of the most important ways of eliminating black market sales of marijuana, according to Hurst, who said the black market still makes up 65 to 75 percent of cannabis sales in Washington state.

"We can't get there if we price ourselves so much higher than the illicit market," Hurst said. "The criminals love the tax rate being high, because they don't pay it, and it makes it so the legal people can't compete with them."

Then again, nobody knows for sure what Rep. Hurst even means when he says "black market," since last year he said he viewed all medical marijuana dispensaries as black market dealers -- and they have openly operated in the state for more than a decade, with many paying taxes. With the shutdown of medical dispensaries looming, medicinal cannabis patients will be forced to go through the recreational system to buy marijuana beginning July 1.

Washington: Adult Home Grow Bill Would Allow Up To 6 Plants

WashingtonStateMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill has been filed in the Washington Legislature would allow adults in the state to lawfully grow up to six marijuana plants. Washington is currently the only state with legal marijuana which doesn't allow any home cultivation; under the state's I-502 legalization law, all recreational cannabis must be grown by state-licensed commercial producers.

It's a chance for Washington to finally join the states where cannabis has been more fully legalized, because as any thinking person realizes, if you can't grow your own, it's not really legal yet.

HB 2629, filed by Rep. Brian Blake, a Democrat representing Washington's 19th Legislative District, would make the following amendments to current state marijuana laws:

• Authorizes individuals to lawfully engage in non-commercial (i.e., without an exchange of money) transfers of small amounts of cannabis and cannabis seeds;

• Authorizes adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home and to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana harvested from the home-grown plants;

• Makes the possession of up to the three times the current legal limit for cannabis products (i.e., useable cannabis, infused products, and concentrates) a civil infraction rather than a felony offense;

• Makes the possession of more than three times the legal limit for marijuana products, but not more than 12 times the limit, a misdemeanor offense;

• Makes the possession of more than 12 times the legal limit for cannabis products a felony offense;

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Promises Crackdown On Black Market Marijuana

PeteHolmesSeattleCityAttorney[ElaineThompson-MyNorthwest.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization gets rid of the black market, and makes it obsolete, right? Wrong, if your legalization law is written as badly as Washington state's.

I-502, the clunky cannabis legalization measure, was made even worse by SB 5052; last year, that execrable piece of legislation assisted the original measure in completing a coup de grace on medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets in the state.

The onerous taxation scheme and miles of red tape forced upon marijuana retailers by state rules -- along with a healthy dose of old fashioned greed -- mean that, ironically enough, cannabis costs more in legal marijuana stores than on the black market, thus ensuring that the illegal market continues to flourish, even as the state desperately tries to prop up its anointed retailers by arresting their competition.

That's right: in the eyes of recreational marijuana retailers, not just black market dealers, but medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets represent unwelcome competition. You can really see their point when you realize that I-502 store prices average roughly twice the going rate in dispensaries and three times that in farmers markets.

Most patients are on limited incomes as they struggle with chronic illness, and the I-502 store prices, along with the 37 percent tax, makes medicine just about unaffordable.

Washington: Cannabis Board Adopts New Rules; Bans Infused Products Requiring Cooking

WashingtonStateLiquorandCannabisBoard(WSLCB)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Following six public hearings held throughout the state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Wednesday voted to revise the draft rules to accommodate public input it received on its original draft rules.

The draft rules are necessary to implement SB 5052, 2015 legislation which "aligns" (actually, mostly subsumes) the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market.

Under the revised rules timeline, a public hearing would be held Feb. 10, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on Feb. 24. If adopted, the rules become effective March 24.

“We spent many hours listening to and reviewing public comment,” claimed Board Chair Jane Rushford. “Since the beginning, this has been an open and transparent process.

"Today’s revised rules reflect the Board’s continued commitment to transparency and the willingness to listen and make adjustments that may improve the rules,” Rushford claimed.

A year ago, the Board paid $192,000 to make public records gadfly Arthur West of Olympia go away, reported Gene Johnson of the Associated Press. West, known for filing records requests and complaints of open meetings law violations at various public agencies, accused the board of breaking the state's open meetings law as it began working on rules for the new legal marijuana industry.

Washington: Marijuana Legalization 'Largely A Technicality'; Laws Still Target Poor

MarijuanaWelcomeNo[RollingStone]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Washington state since 2012, but just how legal is it? To all appearances, legalization, as implemented in the state, has benefited mostly the wealthy, from those who've been able to afford the expensive licensing process for the recreational pot shops to the well-to-do weed consumers who don't have to worry about being busted anymore.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of ways for every-day pot smokers like me and you to run afoul of the law. For the masses, "legalization" in Washington feels like "more of a theoretical freedom," with cannabis governed under the same laws that prohibit public consumption of alcohol, reports Michael Thomsen at Slate.

"If you're smoking in plain public view, you're subject to a ticket," Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said back in 2012, just as legalization measure I-502 was going into effect.

In Washington state -- as in the rest of America, even "legalized" places -- publicly sharing a marijuana high with friends can land you a court summons, and possibly even a night in jail.

Washington: Board To Increase Number Of Retail Marijuana Stores

WashingtonStateMarijuana

Board to increase the number of retail stores by from 334 to 556 "to ensure access by medical patients"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556.

The methodology for the cap will be part of emergency rules which will be announced Jan. 6, 2016. The allocation of retail licenses determined by the board will be published on the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

Earlier this year the Washington Legislature enacted, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) ironically entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (the Act dismantles the system of safe access which has existed for patients in the state for 17 years).

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” claimed WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative,” Garza said.

Unsurprisingly, Garza didn't mention that the Board's original recommendations were to entirely eliminate home growing entirely. Garza also negelected to mention that the Board reduced the number of plants patients are allowed to grow from 15 to 6 (if on the state patient registry) or just 4 (for patients who opt not to be on the state registry).

Washington: Breath Test For Marijuana Coming Within A Year, Researchers Say

DrivingMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Washington voters approved I-502, the ballot initiative which legalized recreational marijuana in the state, most of them didn't think the DUI provision in the language wouldn't be a big deal; after all, they voted for it anyway. Those who warned about the unscientific 5 nanogram per milliliter cutoff point for THC -- a "bright line" based on numbers rather than actual impairment -- now have more reason than ever to worry, as a "breath test" is expected in the state within a year.

Researchers at Washington State University said they're about a year away from having a portable breath test that police can use to detect if someone recently used cannabis, reports Melissa Santos at the Tacoma News Tribune. Notice I said "recently used cannabis," not "impaired by cannabis"? That's because the test will reveal nothing about impairment -- but sadly, it will be used to charge people for exactly that.

Herbert Hill, a WSU chemistry professor working on the project, said his team has completed the first round of testing of the cannabis breathalyzer and has made some improvements. A second round of testing is about to begin, and Hill said police should have the device to use in the field sometime in 2016.

“For it to be used to help the arresting officer make a decision I hope is about a year away,” Hill said on Tuesday.

Washington: Troopers Remind Drivers of Marijuana 'Open Container' Law For Vehicles

MarijuanaCarSeat

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You can't legally drive around in Washington state with an "open container" of marijuana. The state, thanks to a law passed by the Legislature last summer, now bans open cannabis containers in vehicles.

The law, which went into effect September 26, means that using marijuana in vehicles, or driving with open containers of cannabis or infused products, is illegal, repots Brooks Johnson at The Longview Daily News.

Washington State Patrol troopers said they are trying to get the word out, since they've encountered many motorists who had no idea that what they've been doing for years is suddenly against the law.

"One trooper reports contacting a motorist on a recent traffic stop who was carrying a quart-size plastic zip-lock full of 'pungent' marijuana buds in the console of his vehicle," according to a WSP press release. "The driver told the trooper he didn't know it was illegal to do so."

Marijuana and infused products, sealed in the original packaging, can be kept anywhere. But opened packages (jars or bags) must be kept in the trunk, or in a locked box out of reach of driver and passengers.

Packages shouldn't be stored in the glove compartment, according to the law, though it's OK to stash the weed behind the last row of seats.

Breaking the open container law is considered a traffic infraction, and comes with a $136 fine.

Syndicate content