Photo by Lisa Kirry

Legal Cannabis Week #62

Seattle police suggest pot shop complaints

State regulators received over 400 Seattle pot shop applications, and another 200 applications for Seattle pot growers. If you are one of those applicants, the Seattle Police Department is notifying neighbors about your plans. And in some cases, cops are going further than a simple notice and suggesting potential cannabis complaints neighbors can send to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Check out my story over at The Cannabist:

Are Seattle police overstepping with pot business notifications?
FEB 5 | The Cannabist

The story arises from this email sent by SPD officer Matthew Hurst to Clear Channel Communications about a potential legal pot grow in Seattle’s industrial area. Clear Channel owns a radio station that produces a temporary haunted house in a nearby warehouse. The letter states in part:

“I thought it might be of concern to you since I’m sure many of your patrons to the haunted house are children and families. Some other potential concerns could be the strong odor associated with the production of the marijuana, and the possible increase in criminal activity in the area associated with the production of marijuana.”

After suggesting pot businesses might increase crime in the neighborhood, the letter says complaints can be sent to the liquor board, followed by the board’s contact info. SPD’s official response was, more or less, oops our bad. But it’s unclear if this is a singular error or the typical tone of SPD’s community outreach around potential pot businesses. Department spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb didn’t know and SPD public records people estimated six weeks to get back to me.

I’ll let you know the answer come March. Here’s hoping our police haven’t fearfully motivated too many anti-pot pitchforks.

Seahawks mascot name means cannabis in Japanese

The Seattle Seahawks have two mascots. The first is an auger hawk named Taima. The bird of prey flies lightly, but carries hefty symbolism for local sports fanatics. Little known fact: the word “taima” translates to “cannabis” in Japanese. Seriously, check it on Google Translate. This is but one reason the National Football League needs to stop suspending our players over state-legal cannabis.

Five Reasons Seahawks Should Be Allowed to Smoke Pot
FEB 5 | The Stranger

As I mentioned last week, the amount of energy underlying these semi-pacified war simulations can not be understated. It behooves the cannabis community to capitalize on that where possible. I would like to forward the arguments that 1) we must stop ruining the careers of these highly-skilled young men because they choose cannabis over alcohol, and 2) medical cannabis could help with the scandalous problem of brain injuries in the NFL.

As a roundabout path to those arguments, I made a Taima means Cannabis Facebook graphic. And get this: my regular pot posts get a few dozen or maybe a few hundred views, but this pot-related sports graphic got 800+ shares and 40,000+ views in a few days. And that’s with minimal promotion on my part. Previously I made a “Still Think Marijuana Makes Us Lazy” graphic that quickly cleared 100,000 views.

A few of our colleagues pooh-poohed my hawk meme, but I think most people get it. A logical argument only wins so many people; emotion sways cultural opinion. Regular people don’t need to share my belief that cannabis is a benign and beneficial flower created by the infinitely-wise universe to guide, heal and reveal humankind through the ages. Regular people just need to think pot is less harmful than sending our kids to prison for pot. By my inexact estimations, familiarity is one of the easiest paths to that opinion: having direct experience with the plant, knowing a pot lover, or laughing at a pot joke.

So embrace levity, dear friends, for it is one of our most powerful tools.

Legislative weed watch

Friday was the deadline for bills in the Washington State Legislature to clear their policy committee. (Unless they are “necessary to implement budget,” etc.) That means you can whittle down the list of bills that concern you. And what a big list it was: look for cannabis or marijuana on the drug-related bills list.

Among the apparently-dead pot-related bills: HB 1084, HB 1482, HB 1661, HB 1662, HB 1789, HB 1976, HB 1991, HB 1992, HB 2000, HB 2028, HB 2030, HB 2198, HB 2206, HB 2303, HB 2233, HB 2322, HB 2411, HB 2509, HB 2510, HB 2511, HB 2566, HB 2638, HB 2732, HB 2767, HB 2772, SB 5010, SB 5279, SB 5528, SB 5595, SB 5954, SB 6130, SB 6393, SB 6505, SB 6542, SB 6543.

In list form, these bills cleared their policy committee and are “still alive”:

  • HB 1597 – Making marijuana law technical corrections.
  • HB 2144 – Concerning the establishment of a dedicated local jurisdiction marijuana fund and the distribution of a specified percentage of marijuana excise tax revenues to local jurisdictions.
  • HB 2149 – Concerning medical marijuana.
  • HB 2304 – Concerning marijuana processing and retail licenses.
  • HB 2394 – Concerning state liquor control board enforcement officers.
  • HB 2409 – Delaying the use of existing tax preferences by the marijuana industry to ensure a regulated and safe transition to the controlled and legal marijuana market in Washington.
  • HB 2706 – Ensuring safe, responsible, and legal acquisition of marijuana by adults.
  • SB 5887 – Merging the medical marijuana system with the recreational marijuana system.
  • SB 5966 – Concerning the possession or use of alcohol, cannabis products, and controlled substances in sentencing provisions.
  • SB 6158 – Ensuring safe, responsible, and legal acquisition of marijuana by adults.
  • SB 6160 – Concerning marijuana processing and retail licenses.
  • SB 6178 – Aligning the medical marijuana system with the recreational marijuana system.
  • SB 6214 – Concerning industrial hemp production.
  • SB 6481 – Funding recovery programs for persons with mental illness and chemical dependency disorders.
  • SJM 8000 – Requesting that the Drug Enforcement Administration reclassify medical marijuana as a Schedule II drug.

Rep. Roger Goodman sponsored HB 1597 to make some statutory citation corrections.

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is promoting a trio of bills. HB 2304 and SB 6160 would allow cannabis processors to sell to other cannabis processors, so that a mom and pop bakery can buy hash oil or butter from another company. But those bills also criminalize anyone possessing more than 7 grams of hash—a significant reduction from the limits set by voter-approved Initiative 502. HB 2394 would turn liquor board officers into a full police agency, so they can arrest or kill you while conducting legal pot grow inspections, without as much administrative hassle or potential liability. HB 2706 and SB 6158 would create a handful of new civil infractions and misdemeanors surrounding underage pot purchasers, because we don’t criminalize those little shits enough already.

Municipal marijuana moratoriums would be banned under HB 2144, which also gives cities and counties a cut of state cannabis taxes. The bill cleared the House Government Accountability committee by unanimous bipartisan vote.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a north Seattle democrat, is pushing HB 2409 to deny to the cannabis industry tax breaks that are enjoyed by other state businesses.

Sen. Adam Kline wants to let judges restrict cannabis use by offenders on probation with SB 5966.

Mental health programs would get some pot tax money under SB 6481.

Federal cannabis rescheduling is the goal of SJM 8000, but keep in mind Schedule II means this backyard flower would be restricted to pharmacy sales.

Industrial hemp, legalized under federal law last week, would be planted by Washington State University under SB 6214, sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, on which Ah Warner and Joy Beckerman Maher have done amazing advocacy work.

Medical cannabis seems to be the heavyweight bout this session, with three bills looking more similar with each amendment. Sen. Ann Rivers and two other senate Republicans proposed SB 5887 to fold medical cannabis into the recreational system. This is the bill that last year led to a budget rider requiring the liquor board to make recommendations on how to “merge” our medical and recreational cannabis laws. And Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles sponsored SB 6178 to “align” the two systems. On the House side, Rep. Eileen Cody proposed HB 2149.

Legislative staff prepared a comparison of SB 5887 and SB 6178. It is a good resource to easily understand the two bills. Cody’s HB 2149 is similar to them both. All three restrict patients to 6 plants and 3 ounces of pot—down from 15 plants and 24 ounces—eliminate the right to grow medical cannabis collectively, establish a mandatory registry for patients, and exempt medical patients from certain taxes when purchasing pot from state-licensed retailers.

Interestingly, the Kohl-Welles bill would remove child care, libraries, and transit centers from the 1,000-foot pot-shop setbacks in I-502. Removing child care from the I-502 zoning map would be a godsend for the legal cannabis industry, quite honestly.

Week in review

Bloomberg suggested Congress act on cannabis.

Gov. John Kitzhaber suggested the Oregon State Legislature legalize pot before the people do.

Rep. Randy Richardville stalled two Michigan medical cannabis bills.

Neill Franklin leads Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Washington State Senate forwarded a bill to direct cannabis tax revenues to mental health programs.

Legal cannabis earned $1.24 million in taxes for Colorado during the first month.

Jeremy Capodanno received 7 years for shooting home intruders who took him hostage, all because he grew pot.

Wall Street Journal overviews cannabis entrepreneurism.

Sen. Bob Hasegawa pursues a pot-friendly state bank bill.

Cannabis tourism flourishes in Colorado.

Indiana Senate voted to legalize industrial hemp.

D.C. Council voted to decriminalize cannabis.

Alaska Division of Elections announced a legalization initiative cleared state signature requirements.

Fresno County Board of Supervisors reaffirmed a cannabis production ban.

Rep. Chris Kelly filed a bill to legalize cannabis in Missouri.

Michael Botticelli told Congress that the Obama administration still opposes legal cannabis.

Enumclaw City Council enacted an I-502 moratorium

Bryce Lathrop added cannabis tours to his menu.

Suicide rates decrease in medical cannabis states, study shows.

Pomona Police Department raided a California medical cannabis dispensary.

Arlington City Council considered cannabis zoning

Bainbridge Island City Council considers cannabis zoning.

California Secretary of State cleared two more legalization initiatives for signature gathering.

Washington State University supports industrial hemp legislation.

Phoenix City Council dropped a medical cannabis moratorium.

Bill Chaaban hopes to be the first U.S. entrepreneur approved to grow Canadian medical cannabis.

Vice-President Joe Biden told TIME Magazine that the Obama administration still opposes legal cannabis.

Los Angeles Cannabis Cup opened this weekend.

Cannabis growers appealed to the Maine State Legislature to allow more organic pesticides.

Zillah City Council extended an I-502 moratorium.

House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee approved a bill to ban marijuana moratoriums on a 9-0 vote.

Kirkland City Council enacted stricter cannabis zoning.

Michigan Supreme Court ruled cities may not ban medical cannabis.

Scott O’Neil accepts Bitcoin at his Spokane dispensary.

Washington State Senate forwarded an industrial hemp bill.

Mike Fitzgerald advertised marijuana’s medical benefits in Massachusetts.

Rep. Joe Saunders and Sen. Jeff Clemens filed medical cannabis bills in Florida.

President Obama signed a bill legalizing industrial hemp.

Whatcom County Council opposed a legal cannabis business application.

Oak Harbor City Council enacted cannabis zoning.

Nolan Kane intends to map the cannabis genome.

Bob Young rehashed Dominic’s article on Winterlife Co-op.

Medical cannabis gains traction in the Deep South.

Israel Ministry of Health denied medical cannabis to 1,000+ patients because of a technical glitch.

Worth repeating

“This would be a good first step to make those partnerships between the west side capital and what we have on the east side of the mountains to help them create a business. So any of those peple that are here that are having trouble with their communities, Mabton’s open for business.”

Mabton Mayor Mario Martinez on a statewide ban on marijuana moratoriums

“It’s a good idea to try to fix 502. I just don’t think 502 ought to be fixed. I think it ought to fail.”

Cannabis Action Coalition member Arthur West on a statewide ban on marijuana moratoriums

“We want to take a pragmatic approach. And to be quite honest with you, if it gets in front of the liberal judges in Seattle, anything could happen. I give up on second-guessing the court. Personally, I could argue both sides. Some farmers said it may not be bad idea to regulate it, cut down on backyard killings.”

Zillah Mayor Gary Clark on going either way on a municipal marijuana moratorium

“I think the idea of focusing significant resources on interdicting or convicting people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources.”

Vice-President Joe Biden on not supporting legalized cannabis


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