Photo by Ben Livingston

Legal Cannabis Week #97

Gettin' the band back together

I last sent this newsletter out on April 15 of this year, after 75 weekly data dumps. And then, well, 4/20 in Seattle, man. Six months later I’m like, what the hell just happened?

Many factors contributed to my decision to drop this task from my plate. Mainly it’s because the shit don’t make me money. I started with a goal of keeping pot people informed because I feared we weren’t in the clear on this legalization thing, and I thought allowing my team a baseline, surface-level understanding of what’s happening in the ever-quickening world of cannabis politics and business would help build leadership and confidence, and cement our victory against the potential “equal and opposite reaction” of political physics.

But I am so far past that fear it’s ridiculous. And freeing. I have faith that these modern cannabis entrepreneurs will defend legalization when it benefits their bottom line. They will understand the importance of winning, and of capitalizing their battles. In 2009, the Cannabis Defense Coalition hired a lobbyist specifically to work on a marijuana bill — a first in Washington State. Five years later it seems like everybody’s got a lobbyist. I think that’s wonderful. Some folks have multiple lobbyists. Even better!

And now I have this quite-enjoyable, perspective-warping, 9-month-old child that provides immeasurable reciprocity, and I’d prefer to spend my non-income-generating time crazy-playing the piano as she rasps the cover on the ever-intriguing air filter like its a washboard and shouts monosyllables. So I decided to focus my work time on making money, obvious as it seems.

Four months ago I got a real estate broker’s license, and I’ve been helping some folks with real estate searches, consulting, and buying and selling 502 businesses / applications. I need to communicate with the market for business reasons, and I think this newsletter is a good avenue for that. So we cleared some cobwebs, dabbed some oil on the cogs, and fired up the old machine once again.

You’ll get the same valuable, comprehensive, sometimes-overwhelming distillation of the week’s cannabis news. Plus that unvarnished honesty you’ve come to love (except for that one week it made you want to unsubscribe). And the dry wit, don’t forget that. But now I will also have more blatant advertising, like the section below where I ask producer applicants to get in touch if they’re interested in selling. That’s the trade, and I hope it’s tolerable. If not, I won’t be offended if you jump ship.

Thanks for your continued support. And thanks for being part of cannabis legalization.

Wanna sell the farm?

I once got super annoyed at junk faxers and other scum and sued a bunch of them in small claims court. The judge always spends a while explaining the whole process to the amassed litigants, and they really push mediation as a way for the bickering poor to resolve their petty squabbles. One memorable judge put it succinctly: “Because all of you come in here thinking you’re gonna win, and half of you are wrong.”

Similarly, 1,000+ entrepreneurs applied to grow pot in Washington and, let’s be honest, half of them are screwed. They probably don’t have the necessary capital. Some of them don’t know how to grow pot. Maybe they just heard there was a lottery happening and bought a ticket. Maybe they thought they could grow on their land, but the county changed the rules on them and they can’t afford to move.

To those people I say “sell!” Let me convince you that your undercapitalized pot business — an application and a dream — will eventually lose all value if you can’t get through the licensing process or find an investor or buyer. Don’t let it slip through your fingers like sativa-soaked sand. I have buyers. Let’s talk.

This can work a number of ways. The buyer could pay a flat fee for the whole business. The seller could keep an equity stake (likely for a smaller up-front payment). If you’re super specific on what you want, I can shop that around and relay any feedback. I can almost certainly get you $15k for a tier 1, $25k for a tier 2, or $40k for a tier 3 producer/processor application.

There’s no cost to you — I’m getting paid by the people with the money in this equation (smart move, huh?) — so feel free to get in touch with me at 206-335-9214 or

Marijuana advisory vote on Washington ballot

SB 6505, passed in the 2014 legislative session, removed agricultural tax preferences for I-502 marijuana producers. Well, it will be on the ballot this November for an advisory vote, because someone convinced our citizens we don’t have enough crap to vote on and thus should review all tax increases.

The vote is non-binding, but it would be really cool to win it nevertheless. It is, in a sense, a referendum. We can tell our legislature, “yes, marijuana is an agricultural product.” And beyond just making a logical — lexicological, even — argument in support of the cannabis plant and rational cannabis tax policy, winning this vote is a way for the cannabis industry to build its power. A couple thousand dollars in polling could likely confirm whether the battle’s even winnable.

It’s an interesting idea. If you want to make it happen, well, get on it. Otherwise, just remember SB 6505 to disallow agricultural tax breaks to cannabis farmers is up for an advisory vote, and you should reject it.

Week in review

This is really the last couple weeks in review. It’s a super fat dab of cannabis news. Future weeks should be lighter.

Adam Ingram sued his dispensary landlord for racial discrimination after receiving eviction papers.

Connecticut dispensaries started selling cannabis.

Cannabis edibles arrived on Washington pot shop shelves.

Alison Holcomb — smoke a bowl! — suggested testing sewage to measure cannabis use, which is already being done by researchers in Tacoma, Washington.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission asked the state legislature to criminalize in-car cannabis consumption.

Some pot taxes fund a defunct state account, and cities and counties want some.

Marijuana Policy Project filed an initiative to legalize cannabis in California.

Colorado Sen. Mark Udal uses marijuana money.

Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program received 369 dispensary applications.

University of Kentucky harvested a hemp crop.

Washington and Colorado forecast $800 million from legal cannabis sales in the next five years.

Uruguay nears legal cannabis.

Syqe Medical 3D-printed a cannabis inhaler.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas recruited cannabis researcher Dr. Sue Sisley.

Colorado Supreme Court considers whether employees may be fired for medical cannabis use.

National Marine Fisheries Service labeled pot grows a key salmon threat.

Ian Eisenberg opened Uncle Ike’s, Seattle’s second cannabis retailer.

Illinois Department of Public Health sent the first approval letters to medical cannabis patients.

Hillsboro City Council taxed still-illegal recreational cannabis.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and candidate Tom Foley smoked cannabis, but still want it outlawed.

Jamaica Justice Minister Mark Golding announced legislation to decriminalize cannabis.

Mark and Tracy Williamson obtained a license for Jefferson County’s first legal cannabis producer, Outback Bud Company.

Cannabis alleviates symptoms for 92% of medical cannabis patients.

Sandy Soderberg grew a test hemp crop in Blaine, Washington.

Viki Christophersen formed the Washington Cannabusiness Association political action committee.

Prohibition complicates pot patents and trademarks.

Mississippi for Cannabis filed a legalization initiative.

Michigan Legislature Joint Committee on Administrative Rules debated medical marijuana rule changes.

Oltion Hyseni opened Ocean Greens in north Seattle.

State Employees Credit Union announced New Mexico dispensary account closures.

Kevin Sabet schlepped his anti-pot rhetoric around Oregon.

Georgia cops testified in favor of low-THC medical marijuana legislation.

Rick Steves tours Oregon in support of Measure 91.

Eastern Washington pot entrepreneurs hope the fall harvest will lower legal pot prices.

John Branch bought real estate on Capitol Hill for his Mello Times pot shop.

Philadelphia decriminalized cannabis.

Pete Tutmark appears in television commercials in support of Oregon’s Measure 91.

Pueblo City Council considers a ban on home cannabis cultivation.

Tom Beckley and John Evich insured their Bellingham retail shop, Top Shelf Cannabis.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum declined to place an East Lansing, Michigan marijuana measure on this year’s ballot.

Andy Joseph manufactures hash oil extractors.

Georgia Governor’s Task Force raided Dwayne Perry’s okra patch.

Fresno County Superior Court upheld a ban on medical cannabis production.

Olivia Mannix and Jennifer DeFalco brand cannabusinesses.

Susan and Thomas Ralls obtained approval from Grant County Commission for their Good Buds pot shop.

Annette Atkinson opens Bremerton’s first cannabis store, Highway 420, on October 10.

Gary Storck placed legalization billboards in Wisconsin.

Twelve companies applied to grow and sell medical cannabis in Minnesota.

Guam Election Commission responded to a lawsuit against a medical marijuana ballot.

Bec Koop arranges cannabis flowers.

Sam Whitten crowdfunded $25,000 to make hemp sunglasses.

Wenatchee World overviewed the I-502 game.

Dallas County plans to implement a “catch and release” policy where pot citations don’t result in arrest.

Drug usage rates increased in the UK, so The Guardian made a bunch of great infographics.

Dr. Thomas Arneson became Minnesota’s medical cannabis research chief.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris softened her anti-legalization stance.

New York Times endorsed legalization initiatives in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C.

James Mullen signed a lease for his Vancouver cannabis retailer, The Herbery.

Northern Hospital threatened to call police on Rhett Wallace and Cassie Batten for administering cannabis oil to their son.

Mount Calvary Christian Center protested Uncle Ike’s pot shop.

Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull produce a cannabis business reality show.

Connecticut pot patients petitioned for whole buds.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment built human-size rat cages to educate kids about marijuana.

Main Street Marijuana expects no more pot shortages as prices drop in Vancouver.

Indiana DEA dipshits suggest legal pot from Washington and Colorado is crossing their borders and being sold for up to $28 a gram — less than retail price in some Washington pot shops.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov dismissed a blue ribbon panel report suggesting we reassess drug prohibition policies.

Homeless people smoke pot, too, FOX News revealed.

Cannabis hooks entrepreneurs especially now that it’s legal.

Jefferson County Commissioners heard divided public testimony on their I-502 moratorium.

Dutchess Capital sponsored the Marijuana Investment Conference in Houston.

John and Debbie Bacon opened Bellevue’s first legal pot shop, Green Theory.

Cannabrand lost clients after telling the New York Times that many dispensaries “look like underground abortion clinics.”

Washington Poison Center reported a small increase in pediatric overdose reports for pot-sickened kids.

Angela Brown faces charges for treating her son with cannabis oil.

Numerica Credit Union services over 30 pot producers and processors, the House Business and Financial Services Committee heard.

Mary Jane Smith opened MJ’s Pot Shop, Pullman’s first legal cannabis retailer.

Tacoma City Council works to draft new medical marijuana regulations.

Mowgli Holmes maps cannabis genetics at Phylos Bioscience.

Barrcorp plans pot-growing warehouses at a Longview industrial park.

Morocco considers legalization of cannabis.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called cannabis legalization “reckless.”

Floridians think medical cannabis will lead to legalization.

Richland City Council banned I-502 businesses.

Cannabis catches up to tobacco use among teens.

Ferndale City Council overturned its I-502 moratorium.

Washington, D.C. City Council approved easier cannabis crime records sealing.

Oregon cities and counties enact preemptory pot taxes.

Ryan Moxon created a cannabis dating web site.

College of Family Physicians of Canada published a guide to authorizing cannabis use.

Brandon Brock opened a new glass pipe factory for Mary Jane’s House of Glass.

Mirth Provisions cannabis soda exploded at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham.

Robert Randall — smoke a bowl! — created the medical cannabis movement.

Some medical marijuana entrepreneurs worry legalization might imbue the cannabis industry with profit motive.

Carl Sagan rocks my world, especially when I’m high.

Ian Eisenberg responded to pot shop protests.

Neary Ouch opened Everett’s first legal pot shop, High Society.

United States of America patents cannabis while prohibiting cannabis.

Melissa Etheridge plans to sell cannabis-infused wine.

Clallam County Commission restricted its cannabis zoning.

Snohomish County Commission prohibited pot grows in Rural 5-Acre zoning.

Port of Benton banned cannabis-related businesses.

Kent City Council banned cannabis businesses.

Cheech and Chong played Alaska.

Cannabis businesses bake less stoney brownies for the newbies.

Harvard Medical School received a $500,000 donation for their Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery Program

Kittitas County Planning Commission heard divided testimony over I-502 zoning.

Beer sales increased after legalization.

East Coast Marijuana Conference hits New York this weekend.

Proderechos published a guide to growing cannabis in Uruguay.

Drug Enforcement Administration tracks U.S. investors in Canadian marijuana firms.

Florida Division of Administrative Hearings denied a petition to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the medical marijuana lottery.

Marijuana tax hikes face an advisory vote in Washington State.

Men tolerate pot better, Washington State University research suggests.

Bay State Repeal placed six marijuana advisory questions on the ballot in Massachusetts.

Worth repeating

“We smoked the way other American families would have wine with dinner. For us, it was our sacrament. It was something that made a great life sweeter in every possible way.”

Ann Druyan on consuming cannabis with Carl Sagan

“The LCB would never have given me a license if I wasn’t within the rules.”

Ian Eisenberg on protests of his Uncle Ike’s pot shop

“As far as medical marijuana is concerned, it does not appear to be a big threat to the beer industry.”

Analyst Trevor Stirling on increasing beer sales

“If they sought legal advice on this, they were grossly underserved.

Unnamed DEA official on U.S. firms investing in Canadian cannabis companies

Blatant advertising

Canna Law Group has supported this project since the beginning, so I assume they’re okay with me just placing them here and invoicing them. They’re pot business lawyers, in case it’s not obvious. And who doesn’t need a pot business lawyer these days?

Canna Zoning visualizes cannabis zoning and I-502 buffers in Seattle, King County, and many other jurisdictions. This is my mapping service, and I recently remapped child care and schools in King County and a few other jurisdictions (like Benton County).

Contact us below if you want to place your ad here for $25 per weekly newsletter.


Center for Legal Cannabis fertilizes and strengthens the ground under advocates, entrepreneurs, regulators, and media professionals. Sign up for weekly updates at or by emailing or by writing PO Box 95227, Seattle, WA 98145. Email us to unsubscribe, or reach Ben via telephone at 206-335-9214.