Legal Cannabis Week #51

Legal Cannabis Day celebration makes headlines

The I-502 Anniversary Party made the front page of the Seattle Times on Saturday.

500-toker pot party gets OK’d outdoors at Seattle Center
NOV 23 | Seattle Times

Kudos to Bob Young for the free publicity. The article has 6,000 Facebook shares and has been rehashed several times:

One-year anniversary pot party to be held at Seattle Center
NOV 23 | Q13 FOX News

Seattle lights up with mass weed-smoking event to celebrate first anniversary of legalization
NOV 23 | Daily Mail

Seattle to Light Up City With Public Pot Party
NOV 23 | TIME Magazine

Happy legal weed anniversary, Washington! Massive party planned for Seattle Center
NOV 23 | Raw Story 

I love how the Internet amplifies the game of telephone. I just signed the contract on Monday, Bob’s story hit the web on Friday, and by Saturday it was being reported as a massive pot party in other parts of the world.

I’m super grateful that folks have stepped up to help pay for this shindig with donations and table space purchases. Everyone seems quite excited! I am a bit concerned we may have more people than initially expected—a good, but cost-increasing problem. The collector poster design is finally complete. I put it on Kickstarter and hoped to include it here, but campaign approval takes a few days (way to plan ahead, stoner), so expect to be able to get one of 420 limited edition, numbered, hand-screened, 18×24″ collector posters some time later this week.

State gets over 800 legal pot license applications in first week

This Monday marked the start of a 30-day application period for the first batch of legal pot licenses in Washington State. According to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, over 800 hopeful entrepreneurs submitted applications.

Washington marijuana license requests top 800 in first week
NOV 23 | Spokesman-Review

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee asked for yet another update from the state liquor board on the implementation of Initiative 502 and heard from WSLCB Director Rick Garza on Friday. TVW has video.

There was discussion of local moratoria and how the cannabis board would handle licenses allocated to cities that ban pot shops. Garza said the agency has asked the Attorney General for an opinion on whether local jurisdictions may preempt state cannabis law—you know, like how state voters chose to preempt federal cannabis law—and WSLCB will not re-allocate licenses from moratorium cities,

The cannabis board is basically setting up a situation where cities are given a countdown to complete cannabis zoning, and has all but promised that state-licensed pot entrepreneurs will sue cities that  try to prohibit legal pot shops. The agency hopes that many moratorium cities will enact sensible cannabis zoning laws within the next six months.

Peter Lewis, 1933-2013

Peter Lewis is dead. Long live Peter Lewis.

Insurance executive Peter B. Lewis dies at age 80
NOV 23 |

Lewis, longtime Chairman of Progressive Insurance, is estimated to have contributed between $40-60 million dollars to cannabis policy reform, including $2 million to help pass Initiative 502 in Washington State.

High Roller: How Billionaire Peter Lewis Is Bankrolling Marijuana Legalization
APR 20, 2012 | Forbes

I didn’t know Peter Lewis personally. That said, I once got a check from him for $40,000.

It was 2003 and I was treasurer for the Initiative 75 campaign to make cannabis offenses the lowest law enforcement priority for Seattle cops and prosecutors. Dominic Holden hatched the idea, telling me he was concerned with the pace of pot policy reform in the wake of a legalization loss in Alaska and other legislative losses or non-starts around the country. Things seemed slow and he proposed we contribute what seemed like an easy win—cannabis decriminalization in Seattle—to help energize the marijuana movement.

Admittedly, we were a bit bummed to discover state law forbids a municipality from passing a lesser penalty for a drug crime. But then Andy Ko from the ACLU proposed and wrote language to simply suggest police leave potheads alone, to direct law enforcement to allocate resources in a certain manner. It seemed a bit lame, honestly—Andy was pretty clear it was essentially unenforceable—but, hampered by the state preemption law and with a singular goal of scoring one for our team, we accepted the best law we could muster, buried our pride and desire to accomplish real legal change, and pressed ahead.

It was never easy—I have rarely felt such incoming disdain as when I gathered initiative signatures on Independence Day—but we succeeded. And, of course, cannabis hero Robert Lunday—smoke a bowl!—died quite suddenly during  the campaign, adding both great pain and sense of mission to the whole thing.

Still, none of that gravity seemed to sway potential funders Dominic and I pitched at out-of-state conferences that year, who were unimpressed with our plan, the initiative’s utter lack of legal teeth, and our polling numbers, which showed only a slight majority when conventional cannabis political wisdom called for a clear margin that would be whittled away to a minimal majority by election day.

It was disheartening to come away empty handed from those fundraising trips, but we pressed on again, raising small donations from around 150 people throughout the city. But even after we gathered all of the signatures to get on the ballot—and were forced to spend most of our money repeatedly gathering more signatures because of a King County elections director who was later fired—and the Seattle City Council placed the initiative on the primary ballot, we still couldn’t rustle up enough money for even a modest campaign.

Until Peter Lewis sent us a $40,000 check. We applied for the money through the Tides Foundation, and Drug Policy Alliance—Peter’s pot adviser—more or less gave us the thumbs up. I didn’t know what to expect in the mail—do rich people have special checks?—and was a bit surprised that it was quite plain, with Peter B. Lewis in capital letters and his mailing address in Ohio. That was it, a $40,000 check from a guy in Ohio named Peter Lewis.

It felt heavier than any other check I’d held before or since that time, though I’m sure it wasn’t. Immediately I dashed up University Way from the post office to the Wells Fargo bank, and when I presented the check to the teller—wearing my “Less Youth, More Prisons” t-shirt—she had to call in a manager to clear the transaction. What is Sensible Seattle? We are running a marijuana initiative, I proudly exclaimed, feeling freed from my usual concern about explaining my pot politics to bankers.

That $40,000 check allowed us to mount a quiet and effective campaign which led to Seattle Initiative 75 passing with 58% support—greater than even our best polling numbers predicted. And, practically speaking, while the initiative changed no law, it set the stage for similar local initiatives across the nation, which were far easier to win than statewide initiatives. And, with the help of a post-election poster campaign devised by Dominic—”I-75: IT’S THE LAW”—the initiative took hold as the spirit of the city, and the police department and city attorney’s office eventually acquiesced to that will.

In this way I knew Peter Lewis. And for that I am grateful.

Zoning map updates

I made the following updates to Map Legal Cannabis:

  • Bellevue zoning added
  • Mountlake Terrace zoning added
  • North Bend moratorium added

Remember to check the data page before subscribing to ensure the map covers the area you want to see.

Upcoming events

Remember to verify meeting dates. Add this free data to your Google calendar, link directly to the ICAL, XML, or HTML formats, or get embed code for your own web site. Get in touch if you want permission to add calendar events, or just email individual events to

Association of Washington Growers and Breeders Meeting
WED NOV 27 @8PM (WEEKLY) | West Seattle Legion Hall

King County Cannabis Zoning Hearing
MON DEC 2 @1:30PM | King County Courthouse

Longview Cannabis Zoning Hearing
WED DEC 4 @7PM | Longview City Hall

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

Vashon Island Cannabis Social
SAT DEC 7 @3PM | Old VFW Hall

Loachfest XXII: Medical Cannabis Benefit Concert
SAT DEC 7 @8PM | Delta 9 Collective

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

CCSE Open Meeting
THU DEC 12 @NOON | Northwest Patient Resource Center

Ellensburg Cannabis Moratorium Hearing
MON DEC 16 @7PM | Ellensburg City Hall

Week in review

Amsterdam shuttered 31 coffee shops during school hours.

New Mexico growers ration medical cannabis.

Mendocino County works mostly in marijuana, cops claim.

Nicole Black and Gracen Hook applied for peninsula pot licenses.

John Davis and Shy Sadis radioed with The Takeaway.

Tripp Keber and Scott Van Rixel offered tips on multi-state marijuana marketing.

Heather Mizeur plans to legalize pot if elected governor of Maryland.

Some say legal pot could bolster ski bums.

Sean Green plans for recreational cannabis but is worried about the medical side of his business.

GW Pharmaceuticals won orphan drug status for a CBD-based medicine to treat epileptic children.

Bruce King, Marla Molly Poiset, Daniel Curylo, Angel Swanson, Todd Spaits, Bilye Miller , Eugene Frid, Steve Smith, Cecilia Sivertson, and Paul Schrag pursue legal pot business dreams.

Uruguay Senate intends to pass legal pot legislation soon.

Senators Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer announced a Pennsylvania medical cannabis bill.

Indianans support legal pot, survey says.

Cops say pot is highly available ’round these parts.

Long Beach fines pot shop landlords.

Castle Rock City Council enacted cannabis zoning.

Aaron Sankin calls winners and losers of legalization.

Annie’s received the first legal pot retail license in America.

Committee members differ on whether Oregon jurisdictions can ban medical pot shops.

North Bend City Council enacted an I-502 moratorium two weeks ago.

Mountlake Terrace City Council enacted cannabis zoning.

Cannabidiol qualifies as a dietary supplement, some say.

Senator Joe Bolkcom intends to introduce medical cannabis legislation in Iowa

Elkoplast Slusovice earned the Czech Republic’s first medical cannabis importer license.

David Lampach predicts cannabis testing revenues will increase eightfold in two years.

American Medical Association opposes legal cannabis still.

Legal pot hurts B.C. cannabis exports.

Denver Post seeks a pot editor.

U.S. Treasury Department discusses legal pot banking.

West Virginia lawmakers introduced medical cannabis legislation.

Redhook and Hiliard’s crafted hemp beer, in case you missed it.

Adam Eidinger and Alan Amsterdam work to legalize pot in D.C.

Thomas Ash hopes to grow legal pot in Sequim.

Steve Freng represents the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Oregon lawmakers discussed legal cannabis.

Maine legislators killed a bill to legalize cannabis.

Okanogan County planners field many legal pot calls.

Jacob Sullum contends medical dispensaries are doomed.

Washington State Patrol says pot-positive driver tests increased this year.

Swedish cops complained about weed smell at work.

Bernalillo County, New Mexico prohibits employees from using medical cannabis.

DEA, IRS and Denver Police raided more than a dozen pot-related businesses.

Carlos Solano and Gerardo Uribe deny allegations their Denver dispensary was connected to organized crime.

Canadians risk border trouble if they disclose any pot tourism plans.

Worth repeating

“My mission is to reduce the penalties for growing, using and selling marijuana. It’s that simple. … On legalization beyond medical use, we may be some years away, or we may find that we suddenly reach a tipping point, much like the end of alcohol prohibition in the last century. I’m supporting innovative ideas to move toward a system that would regulate, control and tax marijuana.”

Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis on cannabis prohibition

“Hey, if they want to come over, we could bill them as ‘Heady’ Vedder, ‘Stoned’ Gossard and Mike ‘McWeedy.'”

Center for Legal Cannabis Director Ben Livingston on inviting Pearl Jam to a city-permitted Legal Cannabis Day celebration

“I can own a houseboat in Washington for three months to become a resident, and then I own the collateral license for myself.”

Dixie Elixers CEO Tripp Keber on expanding a pot brand nationally

“There’s hope that by the end of the year, much like the memorandum we received from the Department of Justice, [we will see] something from federal banking regulators that allows for these businesses to be able to use banking services.”

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Director Rick Garza on cannabis banking

“We have several members who would be very anxious to bank the marijuana industry, but have been told they cannot.”

Colorado Bankers Association Senior Vice President Jennifer Waller on cannabis banking


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