Search Results for: I-502

WA NORML Pac Lobbyist: Growing Opportunities For Cannabis Consumers

By M. Bailey Hirschburg

WASHINGTON: It’s difficult asking people to get excited about lobbyists. Who can blame them? There are enough examples of lobbyists putting personal gain and access to power ahead of public good, or striking deals on issues they barely care about just to cash a paycheck.

Still, I’m excited to be a lobbyist. I’ve been hired by Washington NORML’s new Political Action Committee (PAC) to represent cannabis consumers interests in Olympia this year. After years of volunteering my time w/ NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and New Approach Washington’s I-502, this is the first time I’ve been paid to work on drug law reform.

It’s part time. I’m likely one of the lowest paid lobbyists at the Capitol. There are lots of lobbyists dealing with marijuana policies but they often look out for businesses, medical patients, governments or police. What about everyday adult consumers? That’s where I’ll come in.

Strictly speaking, I’m working under the direction of WA NORML PAC’s board of directors. It’s headed by Kevin Oliver, a long time cannabis activist, and a licensed grower from eastern Washington. My proposal to Oliver and WA NORML PAC was based on looking out for cannabis consumers in Washington specifically, and the security of marijuana rights generally. I won’t support bills only to help businesses. I won’t speak for patients or hemp farmers, but I will speak with and stand beside them as much as possible.

WA NORML PAC priorities this session will focus on legalizing homegrow for adults, which every other legal state has in some way. And permitting fair on-site cannabis use policies to make social smoking in licensed businesses and events more common, and use on public streets less common. There’s a lot of cannabis laws already introduced; I’ll be promoting legislation benefiting cannabis consumers while opposing bills that needlessly criminalize or put undue burdens on them. Vigilance is crucial to maintaining the legal system voters enacted.

None of this stops everyday cannabis consumers reading this from contacting their lawmakers and speaking their minds. In fact, NORML.org is a great resource for you. That’s how I got here. You can read up on my required reporting to the state Public Disclosure Commission, beginning next month, here.

And you can learn about the requirements and limitations for lobbyists in Washington here:

NORML is the oldest marijuana advocacy group in the nation, and this year they’re organizing a series of lobbying days nationwide to help put you in front of lawmakers to share your concerns. In Washington, it will be Tuesday, March 7th, headed by NORML Women of Washington and WA NORML PAC, and whatever your canna-policy passion we can help you make your best case to lawmakers.

WA NORML PAC will make all the progress possible, but I hope everyone who cares about cannabis issues will continue to learn and work with legislators so we can secure more rights and enjoy greater benefits across Washington.

M. Bailey Hirschburg is a long time advocate of justice reform with expertise in drug policy and a focus on marijuana law. He is director of Thurston County NORML and was the south sound volunteer organizer for 2012’s Initiative 502 which legalized and regulated adult marijuana use statewide.

Canada Coal Signs Non-Binding LOI With Washington Producer Honu

CANADA: Canada Coal announced that it has signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (“LOI”) with Honu Inc., a licensed marijuana grower and producer of marijuana concentrates and edible marijuana products in the State of Washington. The LOI provides for a 90-day period of exclusivity, which will allow both parties to exchange information and maintain confidentiality as each party seeks to determine whether mutually beneficial business opportunities may exist. The LOI does not represent a change of business for the Company. The LOI contains no terms of compensation, and does not contemplate a definitive agreement between the parties.

In November 2012, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“WSLCB”) passed Initiative 502 (“I-502”) pursuant to a vote by the people of the State of Washington. I-502 authorized the WSLCB to regulate and tax recreational marijuana products for persons over twenty-one years of age and thereby created a new industry for the growing, processing and selling of Washington State-regulated recreational marijuana products. A recent WSLCB commissioned report by the Rand organization suggests that there are currently up to 650,000 recreational marijuana users in Washington State, worth approximately USD $1.25 – $1.5 Billion in annual sales.

Honu Inc. began legally selling cannabis products into the Washington market in April 2015. In 2016, Honu was honoured as having the “Best Cannabis Brand Design 2016” in an online poll published by the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA). In the same year, its Coconut Snowballs were chosen as the best sweet edible recreational cannabis product.

The Long And Winding Road Leads To Where The Grass Is Always Greener…

WASHINGTON: Jenny Carbon & Shauna Mindt have become familiar faces to the Redmond Town Council, appearing regularly over the past three years giving testimony at countless public hearings in an effort to change local zoning restrictions that are impeding the couple’s ability to open the first pot shop in upscale Redmond, WA.

Awarded a lottery #1 position in March of 2014, the pair has found it nearly impossible to find a licensable property due to the tony community’s multitude of parks and other state mandated buffers.

Jenny and Shuana applaud Redmond, WA's new zoning regulations

Jenny and Shuana applaud Redmond, WA’s new zoning regulations

While the city of Redmond voted 62% in favor I-502 in November, 2012,  legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana, the city council has chosen a cautious “wait and see” approach for making any changes that would reduce restrictions, until this week. On June 7th, the body voted unanimously, with a 6-0 vote, to reduce buffers from 1,000 to 100 ft. —  the first city in Washington state to adopt the minimum requirements.

Although the journey has been much longer and more difficult than ever imagined what the duo has discovered is that “winning over hearts and minds takes time.

“There’s no greater victory then having the full support of your city council behind you,” Carbon told MJ News Network.  “Now we can get to the work of delivering safe and responsible access to our community.”

“We are thrilled to push open this door of discovery for Redmond residents,” Ms. Mindt added. “The world of what cannabis has to offer is still just beginning and what awaits us is amazing. We are very grateful to be at the forefront of the cannabis movement and thank the Marijuana Business Association, the Cannabis Women’s Alliance and support of entire community for bringing us across the finish line.”

 

Support The Seattle Hempfest As It Turns 25

By David Rheins

The longest-running hemp and cannabis festival in the world is turning twenty-five this year, and it’s looking for a few good sponsors to help them celebrate. The Seattle Hempfest, August 19, 20, 21st, is the granddaddy of all hemp festivals, attracts hundreds of thousands of peaceful hempsters every year to the sprawling “Protestival” along the banks of the Puget Sound.  The best deal in entertainment all year, The Seattle Hempfest is a mile and a half of hemp happenings over three days:  speeches, music,  exhibitor booths and even an educational “Hemposium” — all FREE to attendees (a suggested donation is requested at the entrances, but sadly many folks just walk on by).

“There’s nothing in I-502 that allows a community to opt out,” Washington state Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said. If a marijuana retailer meets the state’s requirement for a license then it will be granted.

The Largest Protestival in the World Turns 25

It is a daunting logistical challenge to build, operate, tear down and clean up the event, one that falls to General Manager Sharon Whitson, who is in charge of both operations and sponsorship.   “The Seattle Hempfest enters its 25th year with a volunteer event staff of 1,000, and operating 6 stages of non-stop speakers and music & 400 arts, crafts, food, and informational vendors,” Whitson told MJNewsNetwork. “Hempfest is a non-profit, so how do we run things? With generous and like-minded businesses’ support and co-marketing.”

For its special 25th anniversary, Sharon and her team have put together a comprehensive suite of marketing packages designed to help marketers reach the influential marketplace all year long.  Sponsorship pricing begins at $2,500, and goes up to $50,000; packages include premium vending placements, informational displays in a range of print and online media, banners on stages, and logos on advertising & marketing materials.

“The work’s not done, man! Sure you and I can buy outrageously expensive herb at stores here in town, but the Feds think it’s a felony and a hard-core narcotic! Six-hundred and eighty-thousand Americans were arrested last year for marijuana-related offenses! Our war veterans don’t have access to it to help with their PTSD, and parents are having their kids taken away for using it as medicine all over the country!”

The Seattle Hempfest

“We are where the cannabis industry, entrepreneurs and consumers, come together to show the world who we are as a culture,” Whitson told MJNN. “Going into our 25th year you will get the best of both worlds by attending & vending at the world’s largest & oldest cannabis event.”

For more sponsorship information, call Sharon at Hempfest Central 206-364-4367 or Email: sponsorship@hempfest.org

Legal Cannabis Marketers Carefully Sell Their Wares

WASHINGTON:  While marketing quality cannabis to eager consumers may seem like simple stuff, licensed cannabis marketers are tasked with operating under strict regulatory guidelines, and must stay diligent or risk the wrath of both federal and state regulators.  The Federal Trade Commission is the overseer of advertising in the US, and that includes Washington State’s I-502 legal cannabis industry, while the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) and the Attorney General are the industry enforcers. Advertising is one of the few areas of regulation that is stricter in Washington State than in other recreational cannabis states.

The WSLCB has increasingly been focusing it’s actions on product packaging and internet marketing, and in response the Marijuana Business Association has invited leading cannabis industry attorneys Aaron Pelley and Anne van Leynseele of NWMJ Law to present ‘the dos and don’ts of marketing, advertising, packaging’ to an audience of producers, processors, retailers, and a diverse group of ancillary business owners at the HOT BOX: The Best in Marijuana Design and Packaging 2016  seminar on June 2nd in Tacoma, Washington.

“We will start with an overview of the constitutional rights; making the important distinction that advertising is not considered free speech so it can be regulated,” Anne van Leynseele told MJNN. “Building the foundation that the principle concepts of advertising and marketing law include truth in advertising and avoiding unfair trade practices. The Constitution is also the basis for Intellectual Property laws and the often misunderstood difference between assets that can be protected and those that cannot.”

NWMJ Law’s featured presentation will include advice that every business marketing cannabis brands on the internet and social media needs to know.  including Encouraging each business owner to carefully assess their compliance with for example: compliant packaging, proper signage on retail premises, displaying their valid license, and including mandatory warnings on ads.an update on the pending changes on labeling, as well the general principles, protective strategies, and our insights about what is happening in this critical and subjective aspect of the cannabis industry.

Advance Tickets on sale here:

As Pierce County Says NO To Marijuana Businesses, Tacoma City Council Discuss How To Welcome More

MJNN EXCLUSIVE REPORT
By Aaron Ball

WASHINGTON: Just hours after Pierce County residents voted No on 1 — a measure that would have allowed legal marijuana production and sales in the unincorporated county — the Tacoma City Council convened to reconsider its cannabis policy.  The Council held a public hearing Tuesday evening to receive input about recommended amendments to its pot regulations, including modifications to Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) Title 13 Land Use Regulatory Code and to the nuisance regulations contained in TMC Title 8 Public Safety.

In response to merging of Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana industry into I-502, and an increase in the number of Retail Licenses allotted for Tacoma by the State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), Tacoma Planning and Development Services manager Brian Boudet presented recommended amendments to the regulations that govern legal cannabis within city limits.  The LCB recently doubled the cap on Tacoma retail stores, from 8 to 16.  Under the current Tacoma zoning regulations, there is very little compliant space left to accommodate the increase in retail outlets.

To solve the dilemma, the planning commission recommends that the buffer for sensitive areas such as parks, libraries and arcades be reduced from 1,000ft to 500ft and transit centers be reduced to 100ft.  The 1000ft buffer from schools and playgrounds would remain.  Mr Boudet stated that it was important to maintain “equitable distribution” to ensure “that the entire community is served” while controlling against “high concentrations of retail stores.”

Staff and Planning Commission recommendations are very close on these recommendations; where they differ is the Planning Commission is recommending no buffer between retail locations while staff is recommending a 500-ft buffer downtown and 1000-ft elsewhere.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland expressed a concern for the 30 or so medical stores operating within the city limits. “The city council has always had an open minded attitude about respecting the will of the voters,” she said.  But, she bemoaned the fact that local government is still waiting “for the state to do its job and offer the guidelines” for implementing legal cannabis.   In the meantime, the council  “looked the other way,” she admits, and allowed for “many business that are open now, who wont be when these rules are put into place.”

The Mayor emphasized the importance of ensuring that “there is a place and an opportunity for those who did the right thing and played by the rules” to be able to open, while making sure that those who are operating illegally get closed down.  She concluded by saying that in the end “we are trying to normalize the market.”

There were competing views regarding limiting the number of pot shops in the city. Staff recommends that the city impose a local cap of 16 retail locations, the current cap imposed by the LCB.  The Planning Commission recommends that there be no local cap at all.  Proponents of a local cap being implemented argue that in just short of a year the LCB doubled the allotted stores for Tacoma.  If the state were to increase this allotment again staff wants the City Council to be able to revisit the new number before applications begin flooding in.  Councilman Thoms thought a cap, at least in the short term, was a good idea. “We saw in increase from 8 to 16 without having a say.”

Almost all of the public testimony was from individuals related to the cannabis industry and although some of the details varied the general message was a plea for the council to relieve some of the stifling land use regulations.  The only voice in opposition to lessening regulations was the owner of an Alzheimer assisted living home, who said that the marijuana store on the corner “changed the complexion” of the neighborhood and brought “gang activity.”

The City Council will have a study group on these proposed amendments on May 3rd and will have a first reading on May 10th.

 

  Existing Regulations Staff Recommendations Planning Commission Recommendations
Cap on Retail Stores No max cap on stores in the city Cap at 16 (Current state cap) No Local Cap
Buffers for Retail Stores
  • 1000ft for schools and play grounds
  • 1000ft for other sensitive uses (parks, arcades, libraries, etc)
  • 1000ft for schools and play grounds
  • 100ft for transit centers citywide
  • 500ft for sensitive uses within Downtown
  • 1000ft for other sensitive uses elsewhere
  • 1000ft for schools and play grounds
  • 100ft for transit centers citywide
500ft for sensitive uses citywide
Dispersion between stores Not required
  • 500ft for  Downtown
  • 1000 ft for other sensitive uses  elsewhere

 

Not required
Medical Endorsement Not currently addressed 50% of retail stores will be required to have State Medical Endorsement 100% of retail stores will be required to have State Medical Endorsement
Medical Cooperatives Not currently addressed Allow Cooperatives, with Standard State buffers:

  • 1 mile from retailers
  • 1000ft from sensitive uses
Allow Cooperatives, with reduced buffers:

  • 1 mile from retailers
  • 1000ft from Schools and playgrounds
  • 100ft from other sensitive uses

 

Washington Cannabis Sales Soar 40% On 4/20 Holiday

WASHINGTON: The April 4th “420” celebrations in Washington ignited retail sales yesterday across the state, according to data compiled by Seattle-based TetraTrak and published on its new MJTicker.com website.

April 20 DataThe unofficial stoner holiday saw many I-502 licensed pot shops offering special sales and promotions, which drove consumption of flower, edibles and concentrates, the business intelligence firm reports.  4/20 brought good news for both retailers and customers according to TetraTrak’s CEO Brian Yauger.   Data published on his mjticker.com shows that a normal Wednesday would usually generate daily retail sales of just shy of $1.4 million; however projected sales for Wednesday April 20th, 2016 were just over $2.7 million, an increase of almost 40% of sales the day before.

Customers benefited as well, with recreational cannabis consumers enjoying lower prices.  On average recreational consumers paid around $9.10 a gram out the door price last month, (approx. $6.65 pre excise tax).  After 4/20 discounts and specials were factored in, holiday customers spent mid $7 out the door ($5.75 pre tax).

The Future of Marijuana Policy: MJNN’s Exclusive Q&A With BOTEC’s Mark Kleiman

By David Rheins

It’s time for marijuana policy, and marijuana policymakers  in this country to get serious.  Over the past twenty years medical marijuana has grown wild and wide, with a patchwork of 24 different state policies, no two alike.  Adult-use marijuana has been legalized in four states, plus DC, and here too each local market has its own set of regulation, and levels of taxation.

Legal marijuana accounted for some $5.4 Billion in 2015, and current tax revenues in Colorado, Washington and Oregon are being measured in the hundreds of millions.  Voters in some 14 additional states, including California, Arizona and Nevada, are considering legalization of pot in 2016, and in this presidential election year, rescheduling or de-scheduling of cannabis has gained support among savvy politicians who seed the tide of prohibition has finally turned.

That marijuana prohibition is ending is widely accepted. How best to unwind it, is a subject for debate.  To consider the best way forward, some of the top policy minds in legal cannabis — scientists, journalists, academics, lawyers and industry leaders — will gather in New York for the Cannabis Science and Policy Summit, April 17-18. The meeting will serve as an ideal opportunity for the industry’s stakeholders to take stock, evaluating what the past two years of legal recreational marijuana has looked like, and charting a path forward.

MJNewsNetwork had the opportunity to ask Mark Kleiman, BOTEC’s chairman and event chair of the Cannabis Science and Policy Summit, to give his perspective on the state of the state of legal cannabis. Here is our exclusive Q&A:

It’s been nearly 2 years since Washington State opened its first recreational marijuana market, how well have your market estimates held up? 

That depends on what you mean by our market estimate.  In terms of market share, our prediction of a roughly even split between commercial, medical, and illicit markets seems to be holding true.  In terms of price, we predicted a significant drop, which has occurred at the production level but hasn’t occurred at the retail level.  In terms of overall size, no one was sure what would happen, so our very broad prediction of between $0 and $2 billion has held true with the latest figures from the WSLCB putting I-502 revenue at roughly $460 million last year.

What new insights have you had about the legal cannabis market since you first issued your report?

I’ve been surprised at the strong movement towards edibles and concentrates in the recreational market.  The interaction between alcohol and cannabis (or to be more accurate, the lack of interaction) was also surprising.  I expected more that users would substitute cannabis for alcohol, and thus we would see alcohol consumption drop, which hasn’t been the case.

Who is the typical recreational cannabis consumer? How much do they consume?

There is no “typical” recreational cannabis consumer.

The typical consumer (in sense of median consumer) uses cannabis about once a month and as such really consumes a negligible amount of it.  The average consumer, on the other hand, consumes about $1,000 dollars of cannabis a year.  If you ask users how much they spend, you find that there are actually very few people spending $1,000 per year.  Instead, you find lots of people who spend a negligible amount on and a few people who spend well over $1,000 per year, which is what pulls the mean up.

Interestingly, we have no idea if this use pattern holds true for consumers of recreational cannabis, as there has yet to be a study of only users of legalized recreational cannabis.

Washington’s marijuana excise tax is 37% Colorado’s is 25% and Oregon is 17%; why such a wide disparity between the legal recreational states?  What should the right level of taxation be?

These differences stem from the fact that cannabis legalization has been a piecemeal process that heavily relied upon horse-trading to reach enough votes to become law.  Thus, the tax rates we see are the results of political negotiation, not rigorous analysis.  What they ought to be, however, is the same everywhere and based on the THC content, not a percentage of price.

What are the greatest challenges to the legal cannabis industry?

The single biggest challenge is dealing with the incoming price collapse.  Everyone involved in the cannabis industry have based their financial projections on being able to continue selling a licit product at illicit prices, which can’t continue forever.  This is a challenge that both industry and government have to worry about, as falling prices mean reduce profits and increased problematic use patterns, which is a public health issue.


 

The single biggest challenge is dealing with the incoming price collapse.  Everyone involved in the cannabis industry have based their financial projections on being able to continue selling a licit product at illicit prices, which can’t continue forever.  This is a challenge that both industry and government have to worry about, as falling prices mean reduce profits and increased problematic use patterns, which is a public health issue.


 

What is the future of legal cannabis in the US? Will we continue to see legalization happen one state at a time, or do you envision an end to Federal prohibition in the not too distant future?

First, cannabis is here to stay.  Second, whether we see state-by-state or an end to federal prohibition depends on this election.  If Democrats get both houses and the presidency, federal prohibition isn’t long for this world. Otherwise, state-by-state will continue.

This being said, California is really the place we should be watching.  California accounts for about an eighth of the U.S. population and much more than that in terms of cannabis consumption and production.  If California legalizes, all the other dominoes start falling too.


 

Mark A.R. Kleiman, MPP, PhD, is the chairman of BOTEC Analysis and a world-renowned expert in crime reduction, justice, and drug policy. In addition to his work with BOTEC, Dr. Kleiman is a Professor of Public Policy and the Director of the Crime Reduction & Justice Initiative at New York University’s the Marron Institute, a member of the Committee on Law and Justice of the United States National Research Council, and co-editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.

Wink-In-Weed: Cannabis Class Is In Session

By David Rheins 

Class is in session for participants in Washington’s legal cannabis trade.  Coming off of the collegial CCC show in Portland, Team MJBA is back in Western Washington this week continuing our quest to provide professional education and promote best business practices for our nascent industry.

Collaboration was the theme of CCC 2016

Collaboration was the theme of CCC 2016

On Tuesday, February 13th,  6-8:30 at the Factory Luxe  in Seattle, MJBA and NWMJ Law will present,“Managing Your 502 Business,” a 2-hour bootcamp designed to review essential business basics, tools and best practices that every I-502 licensed business should follow.  Attorney Anne Van Leynseele, NWMJ Law, will lead the this 2-hour interactive bootcamp, aided by a VIP Panel of cannabis business experts, including Norm Ives, Mosaic Insurance, CPA Dani Espinda, and business consultant Debbie Whitlock.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mshbd7MS3E&w=560&h=315]

Seating is limited, so reserve your place today!

Thursday, February 18 is the start of CannaCon,  a 3-day celebration of all things canna-business at Pier 91 on Seattle’s waterfront.  This year marks MJBA’s fourth CannaCon.   It has been truly amazing to witness as the show and the industry develop together. CannaCon founder Bob Smart was one of MJBA’s first business members, joining us back in the fall of 2013!

In preparation for the show, Bob, Dave Mesford and I paid a visit to KLAY 1180 AM last week, appearing on “The 411 on 420” talk show, hosted by Amy Ansel and Darrel Bowman.

The 411 on 420, hosted by Amy Ansel and Darrel Bowman

The 411 on 420, hosted by Amy Ansel and Darrel Bowman

Billed as “the world’s largest cannabis marketplace for products, services and ideas” the 2015 Seattle event claimed more than 11,000 attendees, over 200 exhibitors and 50 educational sessions, with over $6 million in business conducted on the floor.”  This year’s CannaCon promises to be even bigger, with a complete sell out of exhibitor booths, and an all-star lineup of speakers.  The event seminar schedule features three separate tracks: Cultivation, Technology and Business Development, and includes some of the industry’s top voices, including Ed RosenthalAh Warner, Megan Schwarting, Farmer Tom Lauerman, Aaron Pelley, Don Wirtshafter and Kyle Kushman

Canna Con 2016

I will have the honor of playing moderator for much of the Business Track sessions on Thursday and Friday.  We’ll cover a host of important topics. I’m particularly excited about our “Town Hall” session Thursday at 1PM with Washington’s top cannabis regulators: WSLCB Director Rick Garza, Washington Department of Agriculture’s Steve Fuller, and the Washington Department of Health’s Kristi Weeks.

MJBA’s Morgan will be moderating and participating on a Women in Cannabis Panel, along with Crystal Oliver, Danielle Rosellison, Sharon Whitson and Shawn DeNae.

Marijuana Channel One will be capturing all the excitement. Look for our live streaming and tweets, and our exclusive interviews with industry thought leaders here.

Chelan Community Meeting About Plain Marijuana Farm; Jan 22nd

WASHINGTON: As previously posted on this site, the Chelan County Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the status of marijuana operations in the County on January 27th. This issue and meeting are of particular importance to our area because of the marijuana growing operation proposed for site in “downtown” Plain. The site is immediately adjacent to the Napeequa Winery.

The time for public testimony at the Planning Commission will be limited. To maximize the impact of information we can provide to the Commission and minimize duplication, members of the community who have been active in tracking this proposed activity would like to meet with all interested members of the community on January 22nd to prepare for the January 27th Planning Commission meeting.

Jerry Jennings of Plain will bring the community up to date on the facts regarding the proposed  “pot grow” in Plain and what the proposed Ban of the Production and Processing of Cannabis in unincorporated Chelan County will mean to all of us going forward.  Understanding they cannot be asked to take an advocate role or argue for us, it is hoped that law enforcement will be present to help community members understand the ramifications of this proposal for our community.  It is hoped that the meeting will bring community members together to organize what must be said and present it in a constructive, positive way to help the County know our concerns as they formulate future zoning restrictions and regulations regarding I-502.

The public meeting to prepare for the County hearing will be held at the Ponderosa Lodge at Mountain Springs Lodge on Chiwawa Loop Road at 7:00 PM on Friday, January 22nd.