Legal Cannabis Week #59

Attorney General green lights I-502 moratoriums

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a formal opinion saying its okay for counties and cities to ban voter-approved legal pot business on their turf. Well that’s effing lame. 

State AG’s opinion on barring pot businesses stirs doubts
JAN 16 | Seattle Times

Washington cities can ban pot shops despite state OK
JAN 16 | Reuters

State attorney general says cities can ban pot-related businesses
Jan 16 | Tri-City Herald

State Attorney General rules cities, counties can ban recreational marijuana businesses
JAN 16 | Kent Reporter

AG says cities can block marijuana businesses
JAN 17 | Yakima Herald

As attorney general, Liquor Control Board quibble over marijuana, Tacoma business leader speaks out
JAN 17 | Tacoma News Tribune

Alison Holcomb—smoke a bowl!—vowed to fight cities that maintain I-502 moratoriums, saying the ACLU of Washington is willing to litigate the issue.

ACLU’s Holcomb: We will fight city bans on marijuana businesses
JAN 16 | Seattle PI

A group of ten legislators sponsored a bill to punish anti-pot cities who fight the will of our voters and align themselves with the federal government and black market prohibitionists.

State lawmaker, Pierce County councilman threaten pot fight
JAN 14 | Tacoma News Tribune

No pot-shop freeze-out: Wash. lawmakers seek to ensure licensed marijuana businesses can open
JAN 14 | Associated Press

My take on municipal moratoriums

It looks like we’re in for a bit of ongoing “ground warfare.” I expected this, seeing as most of these folks—and many more—were fervently banning medical cannabis a few years back. In my mind, once the tree shakes out and the bulk of the jurisdictional pieces land on the board, we’ll have to play ’em where they lie, and that may mean a city by city campaign—including leaving be the unwinnable cities.

My desire is to avoid as many of those municipal battles as possible. One technique we can employ is to encourage existing institutions to softly push our causethe will of the people. Last year, I implored the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to put real effort into allaying the concerns of cities and reminding them that they can be sued for locally rejecting I-502. I encouraged the same from the Association of Washington Cities, a quasi-governmental agency that works with our cities.

The threat of lawsuit isn’t gone, despite Bob Ferguson punching that argument in the nuts. But it is more imperative than ever that the state—the cannabis board, the governor, our legislators—and opinion leaders work to convince local councils to implement the people’s law. Don’t be on the wrong side of history, a vestige of prohibition past, like a rusted-out, malfunctioning piece of our forward-looking societal machine. Do right by your people.

I also strongly advise attending moratorium hearings. At a recent Monroe City Council public hearing, former drug addicts—victims of prohibition—confirmed with direct experience that pot use will lead to amphetamine addiction. Meanwhile, the opinion of the legal cannabis industry was represented by a seven-year-old girl. Good job to her, but legal cannabis business applicants need to get their effing heads in the game. They say politics is the art of relationships, and all politics is local. Presence is half the battle.

One final seed I’ll mindplant is a project I schemed on for years waiting for the right time to sprout. The Local Initiative Project had a clear and simple strategy for building municipal power for the medical cannabis community through targeted local initiatives. Start with one city—I used to prefer the one requiring the least amount of signatures, but now I suggest a city with potential licensees willing to put up ten grand to fight back—and qualify a pro-pot initiative that is certain to win at the polls. Once the city council sees their hand can be forced, they will more amenable to rational dialogue. The old carrot and stick routine.

The project will work just as well for the legal cannabis industry, but it requires sufficient capital, commitment to winning language, and door-to-door signature gathering. I’m not well-situated to lead such an effort at this point, but the plan is free, so if you are serious about the requirements and want to discuss, feel free to contact me. In the meantime, participate in city politics and maybe drop a joint by Bob Ferguson’s office—1125 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501—because that effing guy needs to get high if he’s not already.

Sundry updates

I-502 real estate listings. I keep seeing more and more real estate listings in my Google alerts, and figuring them useful for some folks, I started compiling ads at These are mostly scraped from Craigslist. If you have any to add, email or create a free account on Map Legal Cannabis to add listings directly.

Apparently I’m a parent. It’s true: Ben’s a new papa. I know some of you still think of me as an energetic, end-goaled teenager (perhaps even with a red backpack and an unwillingness to imbibe cannabis), but change is the only constant, dear friends. Beyond the inherent joys of parenthood (“Oh such big toots, little one!”), I’m excited to be well-positioned to control the moral high-ground in those inevitable what-about-the-children arguments.

Welcome aboard, Max. With less time to focus on profit-neutral activist labors of love like this newsletter, I reached out a few weeks back for help, and received several responses. Max Scholder is a recent MBA graduate highly interested in legal cannabis industries, and he is now helping post pot news for the Week in Review.

Welcome aboard, Stefani. I want to know what’s going on around these parts, but it’s hard to track it all because so much is happening in the cannabis world post-legalization. Seattle cannabis attorney Stefani Quane has agreed to help manage the Washington Cannabis Calendar, which is a communal Google Calendar you can add to your phone, scrape events from, etc.

Testing pipes in mile-high green pastures. I am the new paraphernalia reviewer for the Denver Post‘s pot web site, The Cannabist. What an interesting and evolved world. Check out my reviews thus far. If your company has a vaporizer, pipe, or other pot gear you’d like reviewed, contact me for my mailing address.

Cannabis calendar

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. If you have a Gmail account and can help add events, contact I’d appreciate the help.

Legislative Hearing on HB 2409
TUE JAN 21 @8AM | State Capitol O’Brien Building

Walla Walla County Cannabis Zoning Hearing
TUE JAN 21 @9AM | Walla Walla County Public Health and Legislative Building

Legislative Hearing on HB 2206
TUE JAN 21 @10AM | State Capitol O’Brien Building

Legislative Hearing on SB 5887
TUE JAN 21 @10AM | State Capitol Cherberg Building

Legislative Hearing on SB 6178
TUE JAN 21 @10AM | State Capitol Cherberg Building

Washington Marijuana Business Association Meeting
TUE JAN 21 @6PM | Magical Butter Studios

Walla Walla County Cannabis Zoning Hearing
WED JAN 22 @9AM | Walla Walla County Public Health and Legislative Building 

Association of Cannabis Breeders and Growers Meeting
WED JAN 22 @8PM (WEEKLY) | West Seattle Legion Hall

Legislative Hearing on HB 2411
THU JAN 23 @10AM | State Capitol O’Brien Building

Legislative Hearing on HB 2303
THU JAN 23 @10AM | State Capitol O’Brien Building

Health Before Happy Hour Meeting
THU JAN 23 @1PM | Seattle Creative Arts Center

Legislative Executive Session on HB 2206
FRI JAN 24 @8AM | State Capitol O’Brien Building

Cannabis Action Coalition Meeting
SUN JAN 26 @11AM | Access 4 Washington

National Cannabis Association Member Meeting
WED JAN 29 @7PM | The Black Bottle

Issaquah I-502 Moratorium Hearing
MON FEB 3 @5PM | Issaquah City Hall

Issaquah I-502 Moratorium Hearing
TUE FEB 11 @5PM | Issaquah City Hall 

Week in review

Dennis Pavlina filed permits to build an 18,000 foot cannabis production facility in Battle Ground.

Colorado cannabis businesses retain their mom and pop qualities.

The Arcview Group meets in Las Vegas January 23.

Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference runs January 30-31.

Bay State Repeal intends to legalize cannabis in Massachusetts in 2016.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay created an online poll on marijuana legalization which—surprise, surprise—garnered 90% support for pot.

Chris Kealy and Steve Manzeneres testified before Kent City Council.

MasterCard seeks guidance from the feds on legal cannabis transactions.

Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition plans to file an initiative to keep dispensaries open in San Jose.

City of Toronto revisits medical cannabis zoning

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board disqualified over 500 cannabis business applicants.

Bedrocan obtained a Canadian cannabis license and will become the only cannabis legally shipped across international borders.

Cannabis food evolves from its brownie roots.

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

D.C. Cannabis Campaign intends to qualify a legalization initiative.

Colorado legislators consider eliminating medical cannabis tax breaks.

Wayne Dixon and Daniel Brooks buy questionable marijuana domains names.

Representatives Sherry Appleton, Luis Moscoso, Roger Freeman and Jessyn Farrell filed a medical cannabis bill.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island intends to rezone for medical cannabis production.

Vancouver Planning Commission plans a cannabis zoning for January 28.

Everyone struggles with this darn pot banking issue.

Turin, Italy legalized medical cannabis.

Hilary Bricken won attorney awards and accolades.

Randy Kaye imbibed second-hand cannabis smoke while on CNN assignment.

Missouri legislators filed bills to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize small amounts of pot.

Medical cannabis patients testified against HB 2149.

Medical cannabis advocates snipped at each other over petty bullshit.

Rep. Eileen Cody filed a bill to eliminate medical cannabis collectives and force patients to register with the government.

New Hampshire House of Representative voted to legalize cannabis.

Colorado legislators rejected a ban on using public assistance cards at dispensaries.

Monroe residents testified against allowing cannabis businesses while a seven-year-old represented the pro-cannabis opinion.

Colorado Department of Transportation received $400,000 in federal funds to fight drugged driving.

New Approach Oregon forwards a legalization initiative.

Community Alliance to Ban Illegal Cannabis Cultivation filed signatures to put an anti-marijuana law to a vote in Lake County, California.

Missouri Secretary of State approved thirteen legalization initiatives for circulation.

Yakima, Kittitas and Klickitat County entrepreneurs applied for legal pot licenses.

Chelan County Board of Commissioners ended its I-502 moratorium.

Ryan Day pleaded with Washington lawmakers to leave alone the medical cannabis law.

Colorado Springs Airport installed marijuana amnesty boxes.

Maryland legislators consider legalizing cannabis.

Senator Harry Reid supports legal medical cannabis.

D.C. residents support legal cannabis overwhelmingly, survey says.

Pothead sports lovers hope for a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl matchup.

Henry Rollins supports legal cannabis.

Drug Enforcement Agency admits their fear of legalization.

Colorado cannabis prisoners deserve commutation.

Sen. David Haley and Rep. Gail Finney intend to file medical cannabis bills in Kansas.

Thirteen entrepreneurs applied for Tukwila’s single allocated pot shop.

Tacoma News Tribune supports cannabis zoning.

Issaquah City Council discusses extending its I-502 moratorium at a Feb. 3 meeting.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin supports cannabis zoning.

Store #2 repeats prohibition’s repeal in Oregon.

Ashland City Council intends to remove a requirement that businesses avoid unlawful activity.

Privateer Holdings invests in Canadian cannabis production.

Eric Crawford lobbies for medical cannabis in Kentucky.

Senator Ortiz y Pino pre-filed a cannabis legalization ballot measure in the New Mexico Senate.

Walla Walla Board of County Commissioners discusses cannabis zoning Jan 21 and 22 at 9 a.m.

Snohomish County maintains reasonable cannabis zoning.

Shawn Scoleri, Marcus Edwards, Adam Bluff, John Knutsen, Jack Remington, and Brian Laoruangroch applied for legal pot licenses in Snohomish County.

Medical cannabis advocates demanded state legislators leave them alone.

President Obama said marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Worth repeating

“Given the federal government’s position and recognizing this is an evolving legal matter with different standards applicable in different states, our local merchant acquirers are best suited to make any determination about potential illegality.”

Visa on the evolving landscape of legal cannabis banking

“It’s almost like straw applicants. That other person has agreed to sell you their license or to hire you on. The idea is to drown other applicants in the pool.”

Attorney Hilary Bricken on pot license lottery schemes

“They wouldn’t get standing in federal court because it’s the state suing the state.”

Representative David Sawyer on city threats to sue the state in federal court

“Monroe is money-hungry. Let’s do it.”

Seven-year-old Dolly Leisten on why Monroe should enact cannabis zoning

“Our business is free enterprise. This fits in with free enterprise. All these cities are banning this, but there is still a majority of citizens who want to see this legal.”

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President Tom Pierson on legal cannabis businesses

“At one point we all could have been arrested together.”

Medical cannabis advocate Lydia Ensley on cannabis community commonalities


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