washington legislature

Washington: Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill, 26 More In 'Fit of Childish Rage'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You have to love state Rep. Cary Condotta of Chelan, Washington. This straight-shooting libertarian-leaning Republican calls it as he sees it, and he's very unhappy with Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee, piqued with the Washington Senate for not agreeing to a House budget, vetoed 27 bills in a row, according to Condotta, including an industrial hemp bill.

"Apparently in a childish fit of rage our moron, yes that's what I said moron, governor has vetoed a number of really good bills including our hemp bill which was three years in the making," Condotta posted on Facebook late Thursday night. "I would hope that Democrats and Republicans alike would immediately start a recall campaign for this idiot who has never had any business holding this office to start with."

"I think we have grounds to find him unfit for office," Condotta posted. "He has accomplished absolutely nothing in his four years and now has unaccomplished a lot fo hard work because he's emotionally unstable.

"Enough," Condotta posted. The state deserves a competent governor, Democrat or Republican, that has the talent and maturity to lead."

Condotta went on to call Inslee a "The so called governor," and called his fit of pique the "Most outrageous action imaginable."

The representative, no fan of former Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, even went so far as to post "She was very classy compared to this guy."

Washington: Legislature OKs Industrial Hemp Cultivation; Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow licensed farmers to produce industrial hemp in the state as part of a research program.

Senate Bill 6206 unanimously passed the Washington House, 97-0, on Tuesday after passing the state Senate last month, reports the Associated Press. It now heads to Governor Jay Inslee's desk.

The measure would allow Washington State University to conduct a research program on the feasibility of industrial hemp production in the state. WSU would report to the Legislature in January 2017.

Industrial hemp can be made into a number of products such as food, fuel, fiber, clothing, cosmetics and medicines.

The Washington Department of Agriculture would supervise the program and license hemp farmers.

Graphic: Marijuana Venture

Washington: Marijuana Sharing Law Passes House

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

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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.

Washington: Top Marijuana Advisor Steps Down

RandySimmons[JohnLok-TheSeattleTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The bureaucrat who helped implement Washington state's recreational marijuana law -- and dismantle the state's medical marijuana program -- is stepping down.

Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said this year's "difficult" legislative session played a factor in his decision, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times.

Battles erupted as monied I-502 business investors lobbied the Washington Legislature to "fold" the state's medical marijuana industry into the recreational side; that happened, effectively channeling all patients through I-502 stores and shutting down access through medical dispensaries statewide. It was an unappetizing spectacle, with 502 merchants picking over the remains of the medical marijuana community, looking for more profits.

"It was a hard legislative session," Young complained, evidently feeling patients should have uncomplainingly been led down the primrose path of eliminating medical dispensaries. "I felt tired of all the battles going on."

Simmons, 63, is leaving his job at the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board at the end of August to take a senior administrator's job at the Washington Department of Revenue. He said he's looking forward to a less stressful job.

Washington: Governor Signs Bill Reducing Marijuana Taxes, Loosens Pot Zoning

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill simplifying the tax scheme for marijuana was signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday. HB 2136, which the Legislature approved last week, also significantly loosens the rules on buffer zones that have kept recreational I-502 marijuana shops away from many dense commercial areas.

As originally approved by voters, I-502 taxed recreational marijuana at three tiers: producers (growers), processors (curing), and retail. Under the new scheme, the three-level tax system has been collapsed into one 37 percent point-of sale tax, reports Bryan Cohen at Capitol Hill Seattle. According to Ian Eisenberg, proprietor of Capitol Hill recreational marijuana shop Uncle Ike's, his customers won't see much of a change in pricing due at 37 percent tax.

I-502 originally stated recreational marijuana stores can't be located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and other public gathering places. Localities could soon have the power to bring that buffer down to 100 feet under HB 2136

The 1,000-foot buffer greatly restricted permitted locations for marijuana retail; it was written as an attempt to placate federal officials, who have released guidelines under which the Obama Administration won't go after state-legal pot shops, including just such a buffer zone. There are specific penalties for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools under federal sentencing guidelines.

Washington: Save Medical Marijuana -- You Can Now Get R76 NO Signature Sheets At Any FedEx

R76NO.orgVolunteerYourTime,Talent,andDonateToday!

Medical marijuana dispensaries are slated for extinction in Washington state, thanks to the passage of SB 5052 by the Legislature. But the R76 NO campaign would head off 5052 at the pass, essentially nullifying the law through the voter referendum process.

The R76 NO campaign, representing as it does a way out of the death sentence imposed upon the medical marijuana community in Washington as we've known it for the past 17 years, is gaining a lot of support statewide, but one recurring question has been where supporters can get signature sheets so that they can help the referendum qualify for the November ballot. Due to the untiring efforts of Washington activist Don Skakie, medical marijuana supporters can now go to any full service FedEx location in the state and get printed, double-sided, 11x17 Referendum 76 signature sheets for just 12 cents each.

According to Skakie, all you have to do is ask for File Retrieval Code 2EE4248 under Account Discount #0589281101 to print the signature sheets. "We have been given permission to use this account from the Georgetown Cultural Arts Center," Skakie said. "YOU MUST PAY FOR THESE COPIES, but the activity will benefit the Center by helping them meet their annual minimum purchases to keep their account open at these prices. Go and do great things!"

Washington: R76 NO Would Say NO To Ending Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

WashingtonMedicalCannabis[MarijuanaGrowersHeadquarters]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

According to Paul Stanford, who heads up the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF Clinics, which has authorized more patients in Washington than anybody else), which owns Hemp News, if 500 medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state contributed $1,000 apiece, a voter initiative or referendum could qualify for the ballot, potentially saving medical cannabis in the state.

According to Stanford, who has plenty of experience on the political scene, $500,000 is the minimum amount needed to gather enough signatures to qualify. Will Washington's medical marijuana community step up to the plate?

"It's a matter of survival," Stanford said. "The clock is ticking, and it's time for the leaders of Washington's medical marijuana community to step up and take action. CRRH supports the preservation of safe access for Washington state patients."

"We authorized about 35,000 patients last year in Washington State," Stanford said."History, we've helped about 100,000 patients in Washington State get their cards since 2003, when we started helping patients in Washington. We started in Oregon in 2001, and we had people coming to our clinics there saying 'We need a doctor in Washington.

"We want to uphold our responsibility to the patients of Washington," Stanford said. "We're going to have petitions in our offices for patients. We've pledged $1,000 to the campaign, and we're going to be donating more."

Washington: Gov. Inslee Signs Bill Eliminating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

JayInsleeFrowns[GreenTechMedia]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday signed into law regulations which essentially eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, along with the medicinal cannabis system as it's been known there since voters approved it back in 1998.

Purportedly an "overhaul" measure to subject medicinal cannabis to the licensing, testing, inspection, and tax requirements of the recreational side, the bill's actual intent and effect is to get rid of the pesky medical marijuana community, which has consistently outperformed the recreational I-502 cannabis outlets with better product and lower prices.

Patients who have for years enjoyed the ability to visit medical marijuana dispensaries where the employees themselves were also facing medical challenges, and had bothered to inform themselves about medicinal applications of cannabis, will now be forced into the recreational market, where the focus isn't on medicine and in fact where I-502 store employees are forbidden by law from even mentioning the medical applications of marijuana.

Plant counts for patients, in one fell swoop, are being reduced from 15 to 6. Dried marijuana limits are similarly being slashed from 24 ounces to 3 ounces per patient. Ironically, the 15 plants/24 ounces limits were themselves compromises reached a few years ago when the best scientific studies available showed more appropriate limits would be 71 ounces and 99 plants.

Washington: Legislature OKs Gutting Medical Marijuana Program Under Legalization

BoycottAllI-502Businesses[SteveSarich]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday approved a bill essentially gutting the state's medical marijuana program, sending to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee a bill that eliminates medicinal cannabis dispensaries now that the state's recreational market is nominally in place.

The Senate concurred with changes made to the bill in the House last week, then voted 41-8 to send it on to the Governor for his expected signature, reports Beth Nakamura at The Oregonian.

Republican Senator Ann Rivers of La Center claimed the state could "no longer wait" to "reconcile" the medical and recreational markets, effectively forcing patients to pay the much higher prices in recreational pot stores, where employees are forbidden to even mention the medicinal applications of cannabis.

"The reality is that we have a thriving illicit market," Rivers said, ignoring the fact that medical marijuana collectives have been legal in the state since 1998. "It's essential that we shut that down.

"But it was also essential that our patients had a clean supply and an adequate supply," Rivers said, in a statement that is dripping with irony given the fact that her bill does neither.

Washington: Lawmaker Proposes Removing Marijuana Flowers From Medical Dispensaries

AnnRivers(WAStateSenatorGOP-WAStateWire)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One Washington state Republican lawmaker is proposing that medical marijuana dispensaries in the state stop selling marijuana. Wait, what?

Yes, state Sen. Ann Rivers -- who really should talk to some actual medical marijuana patients about their needs -- is proposing that dispensaries stop selling smokable dried cannabis flowers, reports Sarah Aitchison at the Puget Sound Business Journal. Her bill would limit medical dispensaries to cannabis-infused edibles and concentrates.

Rivers seems to be trying to find a middle ground between the complete elimination of patient collective gardens and dispensaries proposed by her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle, and continuing business as usual for the dispensaries, which are seen as competition by the recreational marijuana stores which have opened as I-502 is implemented.

"Recognizing the health concerns relating to smoking marijuana, the legislature intends to prohibit the sale of products that must be smoked at medical marijuana retail outlets," says a draft of the measure reports The Associated Press.

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Wants To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes was a big supporter of Washington state's marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502, all along. Now it seems Holmes is so gung-ho on 502, he wants to extinguish current medical marijuana dispensaries, which existed for years before recreational legalization was approved in 2012, and force medicinal cannabis patients through the state's expensive recreational pot stores.

Holmes in a policy memo on Monday urged the Washington Legislature to fold medical marijuana into the state's recreational system, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times. He also pushed Seattle city officials to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries which he claims aren't following state law or city regulations.

"If you're a commercial (medical marijuana) operation lacking a 502 license, it's a felony operation. Period," Holmes said.

Holmes claimed some of the business aren't operating with proper permits, and that others have neglected to pay local business and occupation taxes. He said some of them opened after the Seattle City Council passed an intended moratorium on new dispensaries in the city.

The city attorney said he published the wide-ranging memo to clarify any confusion about medical marijuana laws. Holmes said he hopes his memo "reframes" the debate about medical marijuana.

Washington: Cannabis Consumers, Businesses Invited To Take I-502 Medical Patient Impact Survey

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It is clear, according to Seattle-based patient advocacy group Cannabis Action Coalition, that the Washington State Legislature will attempt to eliminate or significantly change the state's medical cannabis laws during the 2014 session.

The CAC, a nonprofit organization, is conducting a survey to identify the impacts the adopted rules and recommendations implementing Initiative 502 will have on medical cannabis patients and small businesses in Washington.

The information from this survey will be used by the group to create a report to educate the Legislature, Liquor Control Board, and members of the public on the potential effects the I-502 rules and recommendations will have on medical cannabis patients, dispensaries, medical clinics, and small businesses.

Patients and cannabis consumers are invited to complete the survey by Monday, January 13, and send it on to others as well. All responses will remain confidential and will not be identified by individual participant.

Here is a link to the I-502 Medical Patient and Small Business Impact Survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CZFX8HM

(Graphic: The Weed Blog

Washington: Board Reverses Itself; Recommends Medical Marijuana Patients Can Grow At Home

ThaiKush

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a major victory for the medical marijuana community, the Washington State Liquor Control Board, under heavy patient pressure, on Wednesday reversed itself, signaling they will recommend to lawmakers that medical marijuana patients continue to be allowed to grow cannabis in their homes.

The LCB's previous recommendation that home growing be outlawed, in order to force patients to conform to recreational legalization measure I-502, had produced outrage in Washington's medical marijuana community. I-502 is the recreational cannabis legalization measure approved last year by state voters.

Board members now say they recommend that patients, or their designated providers, be allowed to grow up to six plants, three flowering and three nonflowering, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times. Currently, patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants at any stage of growth. Unexplained was why the 15-plant limit -- reached by the Legislature after extensive discussion -- was abandoned.

"We're all in agreement on home grows," said chair Sharon Foster of the three-member board. Members on Wednesday worked on changes they'd like to make to their recommendations, but didn't take formal action.

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