Legal Cannabis Week #48

Legal Cannabis Week #48

State hearing on medical cannabis

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced a public hearing on recommendations to effectively repeal the state’s fifteen-year-old medical cannabis law. Thus far disallowing the public from attending these policy meetings, refusing to provide meeting documents, and claiming complete exemption from the state’s public records and open meetings laws, state officials may have considered the possibility that such actions may violate much more than just the spirit of our open government laws, that their behavior could put the state’s medical pot machinations in precarious and reviewable legal waters.

To be fair, they might also really want to hear folks out. Unlike the last public hearing the cannabis board held in Seattle—where irate pot patients hurled insults at the three-member board while the majority of the room, there to learn about pot business rules, frustratedly waited for over an hour to get to the scheduled topic—I think this could be a positively cathartic speaking session, a focused medical cannabis action.

Don’t get me wrong: I still say this is a charade to cover up the intent of legislators and Governor Inslee to guillotine medical pot shops, home grow rights, and what they perceive as special privileges afforded anyone willing to pay $75 to a naturopath. Knowing that the game is charades, the appropriate response—the downriver response, the go with the flow response—is to play charades a bit. Besides, charades can be a fun game.

State Medical Marijuana Hearing
WED NOV 13 @6PM | Worthington Center, St. Martin’s University

The room holds 400, so the board expects quite a turn out. Still, I wonder whether that is enough seats to contain all of the angry asses that want to remind the state that cannabis is a flower given to us by the universe, that it is inherently good and surprisingly safe, that we enjoy a thoroughly positive relationship with it, and that we think them hyper-controlling, war-mongering, nature-fighting, improvident fools for trying to steal living cannabis genetics from the people.

Most certainly all the news people will be there, so this seems a good chance to make good points in defense of home-grown ganja. More than just amazing stories about how cannabis helps patients, I think we need compelling stories about the benefits of growing your own. With the massive variety of genetics and the limited licensing and production the state envisions, I don’t see them winning the argument that pot shops will provide for every patient’s unique pot strain preferences.

I think we need to hear about the healing power of interacting with the living cannabis plant. I’d advise against name calling, but I think honest indignation is a healthy and appropriate response. “These medical cannabis recommendations stink.” “I want the government to stay out of my home and my health care.” “Don’t force doctors to register pot patients in a government database.” I’d even like to hear gun-loving libertarians transpose pot plants into the cold-dead-hands slogan popularized by Charlton Heston.

Remember that the actors the state chose to play their charades were sent to endure your criticism, and not because they deeply care or have power to do anything. By all means, speak to them, persuade them, hem and haw if you must, but I think your audience is beyond the room. Speak to the people watching TV news and the legislators reading the paper. Persuade regular people that homegrown pot is as much our right as home-brewed beer.

State moves to ban cannabis in private clubs

In addition to its legislatively-sourced suggestions to squash medical pot, the state’s new cannabis regulator hopes to snuff out private pot clubs before they’ve had much of a chance to sprout. See the story from Gene Johnson:

Liquor Control Board takes steps to ban marijuana use at bars
OCT 30 | Associated Press

Since I only read news if it comes in a pot-related Google News alert, I learned of this the following day, and was surprised WSLCB never sent their stakeholder notice about the cannabis club ban to those stakeholders who specifically registered to receive notices of cannabis-related rulemaking.

When I asked the agency why pot stakeholders got short shrift on the bar and private club cannabis ban notification—is it so hard to cc the pot people?—cannabis board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter responded, “The Notice to Stakeholders was sent to an alcohol rules distribution list comprised of liquor licensees because it affects an alcohol rule, specifically it pertains to the conduct of entities licensed to sell alcohol in the state of Washington.”

Which doesn’t answer my actual question—why not cc the pot people about the pot bar ban?—but that’s what I have to report. WSLCB is taking public comment until December 11 and will hold a public hearing that same day.

WSLCB Hearing: Pot Ban in Bars and Clubs
WED DEC 11 @10AM | WSCLB Headquarters

Stranger Green Guide released

The Stranger‘s semi-annual cannabis insert is on newstands now, and I’m impressed enough to recommend picking it up. Chock full of pot content, it’s almost like one of those industry rags scrapping for dispensary dollars these days, except you can actually find it without going to a dispensary. Huzzah! Dominic Holden leads the thing off with some big-picture context about how our vote last November has changed everything.

Shit Just Got Real, Stoners!
OCT 30 | The Stranger

Ben Livingston introduces a handful of entrepreneurs hoping to get into the legal pot business.

The Pioneers
OCT 30 | The Stranger

David Schmader considers stoner stereotypes and wonders whether they will fall by the wayside as pot use normalizes.

Beyond Cheech & Chong
OCT 30 | The Stranger

Cienna Madrid talked to a bunch of people who didn’t start smoking pot until after pot became legal. Can you believe that?

OCT 30 | The Stranger

I (stop writing in third person and) overview the timeline between now and my first legal pot purchase.

The Timeline
OCT 30 | The Stranger

Then I rehash last week’s piece on the legislative plan to euthanize our medical pot law, hoping it might be relevant in two months when some stoner realizes his or her bong coaster is actually a cannabis guide.

Can the Medical Pot Law Be Saved?
OCT 30 | The Stranger

The winner by far, Dominic Holden really gets readers thinking with his proposal that pot shops should sell low-potency, high-flavor joints. Over 6,000 Facebookers like the idea, and some hardcore megastoners are furious.

The Ideal Legal Joint: Low in Potency, High in Flavor
OCT 30 | The Stranger

Dominic follows up the light-joint news by taking the Seattle City Council to task, once again, for joining the state’s crusade against medical cannabis. But nobody on Facebook cares about that.

Council Tries to Ban Medical Marijuana
OCT 30 | The Stranger

Follow all that up with a calendar and a cannabusiness guide, and The Stranger‘s Green Guide is a wrap. I’m sad to say I couldn’t convince the publisher to include a page of rolling paper, so please disregard my previous suggestions to roll up your weed in the pervasive pot publication.

I-502 anniversary on Seattle Center calendar

My Google News alerts picked up an event listing on the KING 5 events site for an I-502 Anniversary Rally at Seattle Center. Some might recall this apparently-annual pot party started last year when hundreds of excited stoners convened beneath the Space Needle on December 6—thinking it a giant joint that would rain marijuana manna—to smoke newly legal pot in still-illegal public view.

Well, the event appears official now, as further research indicates it is listed on the Seattle Center web site:

I-502 Anniversary Rally
FRI DEC 6 @4:20PM | Next 50 Plaza, Seattle Center

The event is actually listed for 3 p.m., but that must be a typo, right? Next 50 Plaza, between the Experience Music Project and the Monorail station, happens to be under the Space Needle but not nearly as “public view” as the Broad Street lawn. It’s almost like Seattle Center officials decided if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and moved the pot party to a more discrete location to help all the happy potheads comply with the public view prohibition.

Seems like yet another sign that the tide is turning, cannabis is winning, and we have arrived. See you there!

Zoning map updates

I made the following updates to Map Legal Cannabis this week:

  • Friday Harbor zoning added
  • Island County moratorium added
  • Hoquiam moratorium added

I had hoped to map more pot zoning this week than just the tiny Town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. But despite ten plus hours of map work last Sunday, I ran into three distinct problems trying to map three different jurisdictions, and ended up consoling myself by adding Hoqiuam’s moratorium and the Quinault Indian Reservation.

Aberdeen thwarted my efforts when it became apparent that the only zoning map the city has online is in such low-quality format, it’s practically impossible to determine the exact color of certain areas. The agency that made the map has wonderful, high-res zoning maps online for nearly every other town in Grays Harbor County, but not the one they made for Aberdeen. They told me that the published Aberdeen zoning map is super outdated anyway, and that Aberdeen actually has their own map people now. So I got the updated zoning map from those folks days later, but haven’t got it online yet.

After a few hours wasted on Aberdeen, I said screw it, I’m switching to another city. I intentionally chose one that had already created cannabis zoning maps, in hopes that I could effectively copy their work. Barely thirty minutes into the Kirkland map, I became confused. Kirkland decided they didn’t need pot-specific zoning at all, that their existing zoning can handle pot businesses. Some zones allow for pot business, but not all of those zones are on their map—meaning I don’t have the full story about where pot businesses are allowed in Kirkland. Not wanting to get lost down a rabbit hole of municipal code, I decided to bail on the plan and call someone from the Kirkland Planning Department during the work week.

Then I moved on to Everett, which I mapped for medical pot in January. I thought I could just update my existing map, but my data lacked the granularity necessary to update the layer with certainty. So I needed to re-build the Everett map, which previously I had done by overlaying their PDF zoning map onto the tax parcel shapefile and manually selecting the pot-zoned properties. But Everett has tricky pot zoning, because it requires a 500-foot setback from residential zones, so not only must one identify cannabis zoning, one must identify and buffer residential zoning. That whole process took me several days when I did it ten months ago.

After a very frustrating map-making Sunday, I almost felt defeated, but gave myself a pep talk and asked a pertinent question: are you going about this all wrong? The short answer, I decided, was yes. Rather than take each jurisdiction one at a time, figuring out mid-project that I don’t have everything I need to move forward with certainty—a problem inevitably discovered late at night or on the weekend when municipal GIS specialists relax at home—I should assume that such will always be my lot, and proactively contact city planners for help.

So I spent Monday feverishly contacting city staffers and planning departments around the state for their native-format geospatial zoning data. Most of them have printable maps, which are helpful for sure, but there’s nothing quite like the underlying datal’original. I hope to have better map luck this week.

Upcoming events
Week in review

Mendocino County turned over its cannabis patient registry to the feds two weeks ago.

New Approach Oregon filed an initiative to legalize cannabis.

Colorado allows existing dispensaries a choice between medical, recreational, or both.

Washington, D.C. intends to decriminalize cannabis.

Jamaica considers legalizing two ounces.

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles vowed to fight for home grow, which will likely be tied to a cannabis patient registry.

Diego Pellicer re-earned national coverage from last year’s press release.

Jacob and Jennifer Welton sued Arizona to allow medical cannabis extracts for their child.

Fully Informed Jury Association placed jury nullification ads in Washington, D.C. subways. Read more or contribute to the brilliant project—I got ten on it.

Privateer Holdings announced plans for a Canadian pot farm.

Israel intends to announce comprehensive cannabis reform.

Knesset Member Tamar Zandberg submitted a bill to decriminalize cannabis in Israel.

Canna-Pet medicates animals.

White Salmon City Council considers a city-run pot shop.

Every prime minister smoked pot, defense attorney argues.

Adam Wookey faces drug trafficking charges after a large Toronto bust that had nothing to do with his synthetic cannabis company.

Palm Springs votes on medical cannabis taxes this Tuesday.

Denver City Council scaled back a bill to criminalize pot smells.

Steve Elliott modified the previous article ever so slightly before slapping his name on it.

Kari Boiter held medical cannabis patient meetings across the state.

Franklin County Board of Commissioners enacted a collective garden moratorium.

MMAR Coalition Against Repeal prepares to sue the Canadian government for removing patient home grow rights.

Sgt. Kevin Glaser called Missouri medical cannabis activists illiterate welfare recipients.

Central Washington University Office of Alumni Affairs presents an I-502 panel at Seattle Center on November 21.

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board asked Attorney General Bob Ferguson for a formal opinion on municipal cannabis moratoria.

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board filed paperwork to prohibit cannabis consumption in private clubs.

President Obama waged the pot war as forcefully as previous pot-smoking presidents.

Lynnwood Police Department returned six pounds of pot and 202 dead plants to Aaron Pelley‘s clients. But who packed the Columbian coffee bags?

Cannabis producers consider reducing their hefty carbon footprint.

Pierce County Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg opines in favor of clear cannabis zoning laws.

Killy Nichelin complained about state pot rules that allow entrepreneurs without qualifying locations to obtain provisional licenses, saying they could “game the system.”

Jeff Stewart found it difficult to find a pot production location.

Laura Kriho compares Colorado’s pot tax proposal to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

Ben Livingston predicts Colorado’s pot tax proposal will pass with 79%, and sometimes writes in third person.

Obamacare eliminated the Basic Health Plan, where we planned to put a large chunk of our pot taxes.

Alex Cooley grows pot.

Bloomberg snapshotted the national pot politics situation.

Legal pot supporters abstain from pot, mostly. Check out John the Freak’s legal ounce!

Oregon faces similar municipal moratorium issues as Washington.

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced a hearing November 13 on legislative recommendations to gut medical cannabis patient rights.

Worth repeating

“I think that supporting home-grows makes sense. It’s the humane thing to do. It just has to be controlled.”

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles on defending patient home grow rights, and tying those rights to a pot patient registry

“Once someone has a license, they essentially have a legal right, and therein, if you potentially impact that legal right, there is question as to whether you have the authority to do that. And there’s potential consequences to that, meaning, of course, legal action.”

Franklin County Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Verhulp on potential consequences of using a moratorium to further a prohibitionist agenda

“This just seemed like a gem of a property, and we really liked the City of Nanaimo and the people we met there and it seemed like a good investment for us.”

Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy on starting a Canadian pot grow

“I probably think that there’s going to be one on the west end, and the City of White Salmon was looking at it. Isn’t there a way to go ahead and make some money with it?”

White Salmon May David Poucher on pursuing a city-owned pot shop

“There’s only one kind of registry in this state and it’s for sex offenders. I’m not a sex offender. I am a sick person, and it is extremely offensive to be classified in that manner.”

Medical cannabis patient Kari Boiter on a proposal to force pot patients to register with the government

“We’re the little guys who really thought we had a chance. At this point, with all the work we’ve done, it’s unfair to change the rules this late in the game. … There’s going to be thousands of people in the lottery now.”

Pot entrepreneur Killy Nichelin on concerns that ill-qualified pot entrepreneurs will beat them in an ill-advised state lottery

“A quick scan of the room should by itself be ample evidence for not legalizing marijuana. It scared the hell out of me that these people actually go to the polls and vote. But I voiced my opinion and they voiced theirs. Tomorrow I go back to fighting crime and serving the public and they go back to drawing their welfare check and trying to figure out how to legally grow marijuana, I mean hemp, so they can turn this economy around, cure cancer, treat glaucoma, and destroy the Mexican Drug Cartels.”

Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Kevin Glaser on cannabis activists


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