State Pot Officials Can Exhale
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State Pot Officials Can Exhale
Posted by CN Staff on October 17, 2013 at 06:09:14 PT
By Bob Young, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Source: Seattle Times
Olympia, WA -- With little fanfare in a drab conference room, the state Liquor Control Board adopted rules for a legal marijuana system after 10 months of research, revisions, wrangling with the federal government and wrestling with who-would’ve-imagined questions. In a unanimous vote Wednesday, state officials charted the course for an experiment that seeks to undercut illegal dealers and launched the next leg of the journey: licensing a recreational-pot industry serving customers with 334 retail stores.
Adults will be able to walk into stores between 8 a.m. and midnight beginning next year to buy small amounts of marijuana products, including buds and brownies produced with state-certified safe levels of pesticides and other chemicals.“The Washington state Liquor Control Board just built the template for responsible legalization of marijuana,” said Alison Holcomb, chief author of the legal-pot law. Holcomb is traveling to England, Poland and the Netherlands in coming weeks to discuss Washington’s law and rules, and is part of a new panel studying the idea in California.Liquor-board members predicted a bumpy ride for the next year or so, with further tweaking of the rules likely. “We might not have it exactly right today,” said board member Chris Marr of the 43 pages of rules. “But we’re in an excellent position to open stores in the middle of next year.” State officials expect stores to open as early as May. Farms would start growing several months earlier.In those stores, marked by a single sign that can’t be much bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet under the rules, consumers won’t be able to sample products. They will be able, however, to smell samples through screened containers that do not allow them to touch pot.Childproof packaging will be required for edible products. All packages will contain warning labels saying marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Labels will warn consumers of health risks, particularly the risks for pregnant women. They also will show potency, as measured in percentage of THC, the key psychoactive chemical in pot. In what state officials hope will be a competitive edge for the recreational system, retail stores will stock only products determined to have safe levels of pesticides, bacteria, moisture and metals. Randy Simmons, the state marijuana project director, said he’s heard of growers who have added sand to pot to give it additional weight, who have painted pot to make it more desirably purple, and who have spiked buds with hash oil to make them more potent.Labels will disclose all pesticides used in the growing of the product. Consumers can ask retailers for full test results of chemicals and foreign matter found in products. State-regulated pot can’t be labeled organic, Simmons said, because the federal government bestows that standard and it still considers marijuana a dangerous drug. But the state is using federal standards for organic products as a model for its rules, he said. Prices in stores will be determined by the market, not state officials. But state consultants have written about scenarios in which prices could range between $6 and $17 per gram depending on wholesale farm prices and markups. Consumers will be able to buy pot grown under the sun in outdoor farms, as well as weed grown indoors, which uses more electricity and has a larger carbon footprint. The rules give an advantage to indoor growers, Simmons acknowledged. That’s because rules limit all farms to a maximum of 30,000 square feet and indoor farms can produce four harvests a year compared with two for outdoor growers in Washington state.Jeremy Moberg, an Okanogan County activist, and Holcomb, criminal-justice director for the ACLU of Washington, both argued for a more equitable system. They proposed limiting indoor farms to half the size of outdoor farms as one way to level the playing field. But Simmons said the state wants to make sure it meets the estimated demand for 80 metric tons of pot next year. It might not if it cut the size of indoor farms, he said, and if it doubled the size of outdoor farms it might antagonize federal watchdogs. Simmons believes demand will increase in time, and when the state expands its supply that will provide an opportunity for outdoor growers to make up ground. State officials believe the 334 pot stores, which are allocated similarly to the state’s defunct liquor stores, will be enough. But Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has asked the state to consider allocating more stores to the city than the 21 it has planned. If there are more qualified applicants in a city than stores allotted, the state will use a lottery system to pick winners, literally by drawing names, Simmons said. The state can’t use a merit system to award licenses, Simmons said. Unlike contracts, which can rely on merit, state licenses are threshold-based, he said; if applicants meet the standards they qualify for licenses. There appear to be more than enough entrepreneurs eager to meet the state’s requirements for growers, processors and retailers. The Liquor Control Board is holding licensing seminars in seven cities this month to inform and advise entrepreneurs about the rules and application process. Seminars in five cities already are fully booked. In all, of the 2,440 seats available at all seven seminars, 1,991 were taken by Wednesday. The state on Nov. 18 will open a 30-day window for accepting applications for growing, processing and retail licenses, and expects to start issuing them, after background checks, in December at the earliest. Some cities remain resistant to pot commerce and have adopted moratoriums and other restrictions that would effectively keep pot merchants away. But others such as Seattle, Bainbridge Island and Bellevue are moving ahead with zoning and other regulations for permitting pot commerce. Several lawyers who advise pot entrepreneurs said cities seem to be warming to pot commerce now that the state has adopted rules and the federal Department of Justice has said it won’t try to stop Washington’s legal system — approved by voters last November — provided it is tightly regulated.“It’s not happening quickly, but I do have a sense there’s been a bit of a shift,” said Candice Bock of the Association of Washington Cities. Officials in some of the reluctant cities have said they’re worried about the impact of legal pot commerce on community character. But the Liquor Control Board’s Marr said that excluding legitimate pot businesses only promotes the illicit pot market that already exists within those communities. To keep store ownership from concentrating in the hands of a few, the rules do not allow a person or company to own more than three retail stores in the state. Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Bob Young, Seattle Times Staff ReporterPublished: October 16, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis  Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 19, 2013 at 14:08:31 PT
Please stop bringing your personal issues. We have all read it. Let's get on with reforming the laws. No one cares how cannabis is consumed. It would be by personal preference.
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Comment #11 posted by mexweed on October 19, 2013 at 13:30:12 PT:
"Love of money"-- in this case that surely translates into the steady revenue stream of profits into the $igarette industry, which will crash as soon as cannabis legalization proceeds far enough. Cannabis prohibition has been creating conditions for young persons to be recruited into the ten-times "cheaper" addictive "legal" alternative.Cannabis legalization will bring with it unambiguous legalization of "low-dosage" vape utensils which could then soon replace $igarette paper NOT ONLY FOR CANNABIS BUT FOR TOBACCO TOO. I regret that I have annoyed you (see conversation on other article) by preaching too much on that topic, I didn't mean to accuse any individual of ignorance but fact is the media is, to an extent inadequately recognized, dominated by Big 2WackGo and Alcohol PROFIT interests and they use "entertainment" to train everyone to "ignore" alternatives to the puff-and-throw-away life style which makes money for "them" (all the stagy gestures associated with "cool" $igarette smoking style apply to the "joint" as well, that's part of how they draw youngsters into addiction-- and they use the money to help elect Republican and other foes of cannabis.)
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on October 19, 2013 at 09:25:11 PT
Greed is the new American epidemic
It sure looks like it, doesn't it, Swazi-X.Watching the birth of the legal cannabis business, it's especially vivid. 
Whoever, and I believe it might have been Kap, encouraged us to start bringing up the dreadful cost analysis of what the war on drugs has cost us and continues to cost us and what we got for that cost. What we gained or didn't gain, as a people and how much it fiscally cost us. He was right. And it's working. The lives lost and ruined by the laws didn't matter. The families hurt. The privacy lost. The freedom lost. The trust and hope lost. That didn't seem to matter to many people.I had hope in mankind that cannabis prohibition would be ended, because it was the right thing to do. I had hoped that the people would wake up to that fact and do something about it. Cannabis use itself never hurt anyone like the laws against it have done. Kap said ending prohibition, would be about the money, and not the harm the prohibition itself has caused, and it would have everything to do with the bare fact that they, the prohibitionists, would run out of money to keep their sick, cruel persecution, control, and prosecution fetish going. "The love of money is the root of a great deal of evil". Even now. It's dragging on and on because some people want the money they get from being involved in whatever form of prohibition their job involves. They don't want different jobs or careers. They like the ones they have and the good money they are paid for doing it... even if, at it's core, there is something "not right" about it.Greed and self righteousness together. Aaargh.
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Comment #9 posted by museman on October 18, 2013 at 14:52:06 PT
"Greed is the new American epidemic - and it's fu*kin' everywhere in the cannabis industry."I agree, however I feel I must point out that greed and the people-who-think-their-shit-don't-stink were predominant in, and since the "founding" of this country.The scams they have laid on the people -from the "War of Independence" to the WOD to setup this crazy mess are so far reaching and so deeply embedded, most people thought "The Patriot Act" was about 'patriotism.'Having 'served' this country and gotten the shaft from the time I entered school, continuing right on to the present day, and knowing that the Truth ultimately trumps BS, I can give no credibility whatsoever to this system of things. This system of things is corrupted beyond repair. It was that way before the first pilgrim landed, and its only gotten worse.The continuing support for these failed systems only perpetuates them. There is no solution in that support, only support to the wrong people, for the wrong reasons.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #8 posted by Swazi-X on October 18, 2013 at 14:19:28 PT
Not Quite
"..undercut illegal dealers.."? You can't do that by using prohibitionist pricing - $7 - $16 per gram?! Bullsh*t plain and simple. Try $50/oz. max.When you undercut someone in the market, you price your items below what they're charging. The reason cannabis is so expensive is the risk in growing an illegal plant - that's the premium you pay when you buy it in the black market.Why should a legal cannabis seller price their now-legal product at the same level as the illegal product? The cost to grow it for the legal seller is much lower than for the illegal seller - both cash wise and risk wise. So why are our masters supporting the black market by adopting black market prices?It's mind bending to see the level of greed involved when people sell cannabis - legally or otherwise. And if a vote in CA comes up for recreational cannabis, ironically it will only pass because the mass closings of medical dispensaries - and the related loss of profit to the operators - has weakened the opposition to opening up the cannabis market to competition. Greed is the new American epidemic - and it's fu*kin' everywhere in the cannabis industry.
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Comment #7 posted by HempWorld on October 18, 2013 at 09:20:57 PT
Thanks afterburner!
This has confirmed what I've said all along: "Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Californians support legalizing, regulating and taxing recreational marijuana in the state, according to a Tulchin Research poll."Check it out!
Tulchin Research poll!
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on October 17, 2013 at 23:35:03 PT
Voters to Serve and Protect
Kathleen Miles. 
California Is Poised To Legalize Marijuana In 2016. 
 Posted: 10/17/2013 5:50 pm EDT | Updated: 10/17/2013 8:52 pm EDT
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 17, 2013 at 20:42:17 PT
I like this phrase...
"The template for responsible legalization of marijuana".It's happening. No reason to be killing, demonizing, terrorizing, tearing families and lives apart, spying, tattling, accusing, ratting on, or imprisoning anyone over cannabis. Ever. Ever again.Thanks for that news, Storm Crow. I didn't know they didn't allow people to use those terms. That's just weird. 
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on October 17, 2013 at 19:30:54 PT
good going Storm Crow
hopefully this system will also.
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on October 17, 2013 at 17:16:39 PT
A small, unnoticed victory!
For the last few years, every time I wanted to use the word "cannabis" in a response to a Yahoo news article, even one with the word "cannabis" in the title, it would be censored out like it was a "cuss word", unless I tricked the censor. I have made more than one comment about just how "1950s", and just plain ridiculous, their policy was.Yahoo has changed! (a little) They now graciously allow us to use the word "cannabis" without censorship! Not a really big thing, but it shows that the attitude toward cannabis IS changing!  However, the term "medical marijuana" is still being censored. But we are getting there, little by little! 
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on October 17, 2013 at 09:32:48 PT
Yes, And It's Time For Us To Inhale!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on October 17, 2013 at 08:40:18 PT
This Is Great!
Except: "particularly the risks for pregnant women"Ok, and what are those? Have you read the study from Jamaica with pregnant women using Ganja Tea, over there? Apparently not!Yes, so I keep laughing, it's getting, better and better except for the falsehoods; that marijuana or cannabis is toxic, which it is not!Game On!
Marijuana Stores
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